Technology Law Blog

Showing 15 posts by Samuel J. Frederick.

YouTube Will Pay Content Creators’ Legal Fees in Defense Of Fair Use

Tech continues to test the elasticity of the law and use case precedent as its own disruptor. The Google Goliath, YouTube, is moving forward to pay several video content creators’ legal fees in copyright infringement disputes that use the defense of fair use.

A copyright is an expression of an original idea through words, music, pictures, computer programs, or any other method conveying ideas as works of authorship. The copyright is governed by federal law and is, unlike many of our laws, explicitly identified in the U.S. Constitution. A copyright gives authors the exclusive control of their works of authorship, including derivative rights. An author controls whether or not the copyright – work of authorship - may be used or displayed.

There is, currently, one minor exception: fair use. Read More ›

Categories: Copyright, Intellectual Property, News & Events

How to Protect Your Business's Intellectual Property

Sam Frederick and John Mashni, both attorneys for Foster Swift, will be presenting a live webinar on how to protect your business's intellectual property on Tuesday, September 15, 2015 at the Lansing Regional Chamber Board Room. The webinar will be held from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

They will discuss copyright, trademark and trade secret basics and the importance of monitoring and enforcing your intellectual property rights. Frederick and Mashni will also present the best practices for protecting your intellectual property.

For more information and to register for the webinar, click here.

Categories: Intellectual Property, Patents, Trade Secrets, Trademarks

What's in a Name: Selecting a Name for Your Business

Why is a business name so important? A name is everything, it is your business's identity. When you select your business name, from a legal perspective, you need to come up with a unique name, a name that does not infringe on others rights. Unique names are the easiest to protect. Learn more about protecting you business name in the video below:

Categories: Intellectual Property, Trademarks

Cincinnati Who-Dey Ruling is Big Deal for Internet Commerce: Website immune from Ex-Bengals Cheerleader’s Defamation Lawsuit

The gossip website,, is immune from liability for online posts about an ex-Bengals Cheerleader’s sexual promiscuity and acquiring a sexually transmitted disease. In a closely followed decision from a case that has generated considerable media coverage because of its potential to chill online speech and hold internet websites such as Facebook, Twitter and newspaper sites liable, which allow third party users to post content, was reversed. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently overturned a jury verdict of $338,000 against gossip website and its owner Nik Richie. Sarah Jones v. Dirty World Entertainment Recordings LLC arose after Sarah Jones, a former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader and teacher who was subsequently convicted of having sex with a high school student, sued the website after it posted unflattering information about her sexual promiscuity with football team players, she demanded the posts be removed, and the website refused. She filed state law tort claims for defamation and privacy torts and won at trial. The defendants appealed. Read More ›

Categories: First Amendment, Privacy, Social Media

The Importance of IT Contract Review

Technology is increasingly becoming an essential component of all industries. This is especially true for the health care industry. As health care providers continue to increase their use of technology, they are asked more and more frequently to enter into software or other IT contracts. Before entering into a contract, no matter the industry, you should always have an attorney review the document.  

Learn more about IT Contract Review for health care providers on our Health Care Law Blog here.

Are you interested in IT Contract Review for another industry? Contact one of our technology attorneys to help you review your agreement before you face unexpected problems or unwanted liability. 

Categories: IT Contracts

Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid = Trade Secrets

The toxic cocktail of chemicals in a company’s hydraulic fracturing fluid – much like Coca Cola’s secret recipe - is a trade secret.

Fracking involves pumping water, chemical fluids and sand underground into rock formations to fracture the rocks; the granular sand keeps the cracks open, thereby allowing the release of oil and natural gas from the fractured created rock veins. Read More ›

Categories: Trade Secrets

Trade Secret Theft: Speed Date Sues for $6 million

Speed Date USA, Inc. is suing the online dating company for $5.65 million for allegedly breaching its contract and misappropriating trade secrets. In essence, the lawsuit claims that terminated the contract early and then breached its obligations to hold joint events. terminated the contract, according to the lawsuit, upon learning Speed Date's trade secrets. then allegedly began to run its own speed dating events without compensating Speed Date USA.

Trade secrets are commonly defined by state statues and generally consist of four elements for the information to constitute a trade secret. The elements of a trade secret are: (i) information; (ii) that has independent economic value; (iii) which is not generally known or readily available; and (iv) such information is subject to reasonable efforts to maintain its secrecy. Read More ›

Categories: E-Commerce, Intellectual Property, News & Events, Trade Secrets

Intellectual Property Rights and the Crowdfunding Platform

Intellectual Property words graphicCrowdfunding, some would say, is the new social networking platform of raising money from people online.  While crowdfunding is a relatively new term and concept, traditional principles of law still apply.  Artists, startups and online creators using this new platform are governed by Intellectual Property principles.

Intellectual Property (IP) refers to the creations of the mind; and most commonly include ideas or inventions, literary and artistic works, symbols that identify your brand, names, logos and/or competitive business ideas or information.  Under this broad umbrella of Intellectual Property, there are generally four categories that govern the use of Intellectual Property:

  1. Trademarks
  2. Patents
  3. Copyrights
  4. Trade Secrets

Before pitching or disclosing your concept to an online crowdfunding community to raise money these four categories of protection and the potential resulting consequences should be thoroughly examined.  Failure to do so could result in the inadvertent theft, infringement or forfeiture of your IP rights.  Let's take a deeper look at these four categories. Read More ›

Categories: Copyright, Crowdfunding, Intellectual Property, Patents, Trade Secrets, Trademarks, Venture Capital/Funding

Proposed Legislation Expands Protection of Trade Secrets

Legislation allowing victims of trade secret theft to sue in Federal court was introduced in the Senate recently. The Protecting American Trade Secrets and Innovation Act of 2012, sponsored by Senators Herb Kohl, Chris Coons and Sheldon Whitehouse, grants companies the option of using Federal courts to bring a civil lawsuit against offenders. The proposed law helps companies maintain their global competitive edge by ensuring an effective and efficient way to recover their losses from trade secret theft. Read More ›

Categories: Intellectual Property, Trade Secrets

Barbie vs. Bratz: The Tirade of a Trade Secret

Trade SecretsLet's take a look at a common scenario.  An employee named Ted leaves a company, let's say "Company A," and goes to work for another company in the same industry – "Company B."  While employed by Company A, Ted worked on key projects and had access to and developed many new and creative concepts.  When Ted joins Company B, he implements many of the new and creative concepts he helped develop while working for Company A.  Company B later commercializes some of these concepts developed and brought over by Ted.  Company A then sues Company B, claiming misappropriation of trade secrets.  A trade secret, of course, is any information that has economic value because it is not generally known to the public and is subject to efforts to keep the information secret.  This scenario is common - the characters in the real life saga of Mattel v MGA Entertainment are not. Read More ›

Categories: Employment, Intellectual Property, Trade Secrets