Technology Law Blog

Showing 11 posts in Trademarks.

Will the Government Force the Redskins to Change their Name?

On June 18, the United States Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO") cancelled the Washington Redskins' trademark in its team name, concluding that the term "Redskin" was racially offensive and derogatory towards Native Americans. 

Under the Lanham Act, Federal Trademark Law prohibits the registration of trademarks that "may disparage" individuals or groups or "bring them into contempt or disrepute."  In a controversial 2-1 decision, the USPTO agreed with a group of petitioners who claimed the team name was disparaging to Native Americans, and thus was not permitted to receive the protections afforded by trademark law. The Washington Redskins plan to appeal the decision and have responded by saying that the term is meant to honor Native Americans and is not considered offensive by many. Read More ›

Categories: News & Events, Trademarks

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

Listen Up - Foster Swift Attorneys Discuss Interplay Between Intellectual Property and Your Business

Intellectual property is a valuable asset for any business.  Recently, on the Michigan Business Network Legal Impact Hour, Foster Swift intellectual property attorneys, Sam Frederick and Zach Behler, discussed the interplay between intellectual property and business success. Listen to podcasts of the discussion:

If you have a question regarding intellectual property, please contact one of Foster Swift's IP attorneys

Categories: Copyright, Intellectual Property, Patents, Trade Secrets, Trademarks

Defensive Registration of .XXX Domain Names

Earlier this year, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the body responsible for managing top-level domain name spaces (e.g., .com, .org, .edu and .gov), approved .xxx as a new top-level domain name space.  .xxx top-level domain names are intended for adult content.  However, as noted in a prior posting, the .xxx top-level domain could result in unwanted affiliation between your brand and the adult entertainment industry or create an opportunity for brandjackers to register "www.YourCompany.xxx." Read More ›

Categories: Domain Name Registration, Intellectual Property, Trademarks

Intellectual Property: The Basics and Your Business

What is "intellectual property" and why should it matter to your business? At the most basic level, "intellectual property" is one of an organization's most valuable assets. Intellectual property frequently differentiates extraordinary companies from "average" organizations. For that reason, IP must be zealously protected.  IP breaks down into four areas: patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. Read More ›

Categories: Copyright, Intellectual Property, Patents, Trade Secrets, Trademarks

The Basics: Trademark Infringement

Apple App StoreTrademark infringement is a reoccurring problem for many businesses.  Recently, Apple, Inc. was denied an injunction prohibiting Amazon.com from using its mark: "App Store." Amazon.com utilized the name "Amazon Appstore for Android."  Despite similarities between the parties' marks and services, the court found that a likelihood of confusion did not exist and Amazon.com did not infringe on Apple's mark.

With that in mind, let's take a look at the basic elements regarding trademark infringement. Read More ›

Categories: Trademarks

Trademark Infringement By A Competing Website? Take Action Now.

Trademark signRecently, I received a phone call from a client asking for advice on a reoccurring issue.  The client asked: “Do I have legal recourse against a competing website that is utilizing my trademark in its domain name?” 

The short answer is yes, but let's look at the reasons why.

Simply put, a domain name is a Web site's unique address on the Internet.  It can be used to identify organizations and other entities on the Web (e.g., www.nike.com).  Like any other advertising message, signage, or other communication, a domain name can infringe upon a trademark.  However, a claim of trademark infringement involves more than simply proving that your trademark is being used in another’s domain name. Read More ›

Categories: Intellectual Property, Trademarks

Patent Reform Bill Passes House

The America Invents Act recently passed the US House of Representatives by a vote of 304-117.  A similar bill was approved 95-5 in the Senate in March.  President Obama has pledged that he would sign a patent reform bill once it reaches his desk.  Therefore, it appears that it is only a matter of time before it is sent to the President to be signed into law. Read More ›

Categories: Intellectual Property, Patents, Trademarks

.xxx Domain Names: Trademark Holders Beware!

.xxx added to top level domainsThe Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the body responsible for managing top-level domain name spaces (e.g., .com, .org, .edu and .gov), recently approved .xxx as a new top-level domain name space.  .xxx top-level domain names are intended for adult content.  However, the .xxx top-level domain could result in an unwanted affiliation between your brand and the adult entertainment industry or create an opportunity for brandjackers and cybersquatters to register “YourCompany.xxx” in order to trade off your company’s brand or extract payments. Read More ›

Categories: Domain Name Registration, Trademarks

A Little Known Secret to the War on IP Piracy – that is Free

IP LawHow would you like to have the weight of the U.S. Federal Government behind you in combating piracy of your product?  And how would you like to have it for free?  If you answered no to both, perhaps you should reevaluate your business acumen.  For those who answered in the affirmative, please read on.

The free service is offered through the Office of Intellectual Property Rights (OIPR) of the U.S. Department of Commerce.  OIPR can assist your company in combating intellectual property piracy of your products.  After you have secured your intellectual property protections at home and abroad and taken local enforcement steps through the administrative or legal process, OIPR will step in on your behalf and work with the foreign government to target, confiscate and destroy the piracy items. Read More ›

Categories: Intellectual Property, Privacy, Trademarks