Intellectual Property Blog

Lyft and Uber Involved in Trade Secrets Case

Ride sharing company Lyft Inc. is asking the courts to prevent their number one competitor in the ride service industry, Uber Technologies Inc., from accessing confidential information about its drivers. This is the latest in a case involving a data … Continue reading

Fair Use and YouTube

Who could have foreseen the impact that a video of a dancing baby uploaded by his mother in 2007 would have so much impact on YouTube users and how the DCMA is interpreted? The DCMA law has been tested for … Continue reading

Dollar Shave Club Files Countersuit Against Gillette

Dollar Shave Club has entered a countersuit against Gillette in an ongoing lawsuit alleging intellectual property violation. Two months ago, Gillette sued Dollar Shave Club, claiming that Dollar Shave Club, a subscription service, had violated a patent that reduces the … Continue reading

Suit Filed over Oscar Swag Bag Copyright

Los Angeles-based Distinctive Assets, known for handing out its so-called the “Oscar swag bag” to Academy Award Nominees in five categories, has been named in a lawsuit last Tuesday for infringement of Academy trademarks and logos. It also wants Distinctive … Continue reading

Internet Piracy Reaches New Heights

The bane of the motion picture industry, torrent website The Pirate Bay, has fired a shot across the bow of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and other copyright groups. The Pirate Bay has now released their new browser … Continue reading

Authors Guild Case May Reach Supreme Court

The Authors Guild’s long-running dispute with Google could be reaching a final conclusion in the coming weeks. All of it depends on whether or not Supreme Court decides to take up the case. At issue is Google’s scanning of books … Continue reading

Newegg Sues Patent Troll After they Drop Case

There seems to be no end to the number of people or even companies who will try to enforce patent rights against other companies. Many of these companies don’t really manufacture anything at all, but they want to be paid … Continue reading

USPTO Rejects “Let’s Play” Trademark

Sony is now far less likely to gain control over the phrase “Let’s Play” after the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has updated its rejection of the company’s attempt to trademark it. The cited reason for the rejection … Continue reading

Plant Patents are Complex

One area of patent law that can be rather confusing surrounds the area of plant varieties. Since the Plant Patent Acts of 1930, the Patent Act of 1952 and the Plant Variety Protection Act (PVPA) of 1970, plants and the … Continue reading

Study of Patent Trials Released

When you have a good idea you need to protect it. If you have invented a device, written a program or come up with a solution that is unique and never been done before, then obtaining a patent for that … Continue reading

Beastie Boys Settle Lawsuit with Monster Beverage Corp

The Beastie Boys have settled a suit that they brought against Monster Beverage Corp. They fought for their copyright, and now they have settled for a sizeable sum. The Beastie Boys sued Monster Beverage Corp after the company allegedly used … Continue reading

50 Cent Wins Copyright Lawsuit

Rap star and entrepreneur 50 Cent, AKA Curtis Jackson, has seen his fair share of a courtroom recently. After recently losing a case that caused him to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, he has scored a win that is in … Continue reading

Street Artists File Copyright Lawsuit Against Church

A Miami church is facing a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by eight street artists who donated their talent to paint striking murals at Jose de Diego, a struggling middle school in Wynwood. The donated murals were created by artists from … Continue reading

Spotify Under Fire for Royalties

The music streaming website Spotify is once again facing a copyright lawsuit. This is the second lawsuit in two weeks. Melissa Ferrick, a Massachusetts-based artist, claims that Spotify did not notify her or obtain a license to use her music … Continue reading

Gillette Sues Dollar Shave Club over Patent Infringement

If you’re active on the internet and social media, you have probably seen the ads for Dollar Shave Club. They have print ads and television ads running as well. The premise of the Dollar Shave Club is offering razors and … Continue reading

IP Disputes On the Rise in the UK

The internet has made our lives easier. We’re able to stay connected, research, and find recipes that allow us to cook meals. However, the internet has complicated some aspects of life. The number of court cases filed by small businesses … Continue reading

Michigan Rep. Takes Taylor Swift to Task

Copyrighting has been a part of marketing for a long while. People copyright everything from tag-lines for movies to catchphrases. Who can forget the developers of a certain popular Facebook game trying to copyright the word ‘candy’? But attempts to … Continue reading

Music Sampling Lawsuit Involves No. 1 Hit on Billboard

In the world of music, copyrights are important. Those who remember the 90s can recall that there was a large lawsuit between rapper Vanilla Ice and the writers of the song “Under Pressure,” which the rap artist was accused of … Continue reading

Google Files Patent for Blood Glucose Watch

Everyone’s favorite search engine appears to be getting into the healthcare wearable business if their patent applications are any indication. Google recently filed for a patent for a watch that may eventually replace blood glucose meters. The watch, which is … Continue reading

Wine and Kombucha Companies Fight over Name

When a company trademarks something such as a name or a logo, they are doing it because it protects their business. In a society where brand recognition is often based on colorful labels and logos and decals, protecting your logo … Continue reading

Larry the Cable Guy Files Suit against Gas Station

Names and logos can be trademarked. So can catch-phrases. One has to be very careful when naming their business or company after an already-existing trademark. Litigation can be the end result in such cases. The company that owns the merchandising … Continue reading

Fan Conventions Fight it out over Name Trademark

Trademark disputes can be tricky things to pursue. Often, whether or not a trademark has been violated can depend on the presence of space or a punctuation mark. Such small minutiae can mean that a trademark has not been violated. … Continue reading

YouTube Fights on Behalf of Content Creators

When it comes to intellectual property law, the Digital Millennium Copy Right Act (DMCA) protects owners of a copyright online and allows them to demand a site take down user generated content that violates a copyright. If they refuse to … Continue reading

Unwired Planet Wins Patent Trial Against Samsung

It stands to reason that a company would want to protect its patents. A patent can mean the difference in producing something groundbreaking and mimicking what others are already producing. Patents can even affect stock markets, sending stock prices soaring … Continue reading

TPP Prompts Japan to Revise Copyright Laws

The controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership has prompted Japan to consider revising the copyright laws in their country. Many provisions are contained within the agreement pertaining to copyrights, patents and trademark protections. A provision extending the length of time a copyright protection … Continue reading

Coca-Cola Bottle Patent Turns 100

When it comes to patents, you can never have too many. Even improving a design in just a minuscule way deserves a patent. One company has been innovating and patenting a particular item for 100 years. Their patent for their … Continue reading

The Patent Law Utility Requirement

Patent law can be a tricky issue to approach. The object of getting a patent is so that you can protect your invention from anyone else marketing or selling it. However, there are certain requirements that you must meet in … Continue reading

Cannabis Dealers Having Trouble Registering Trademarks

Registering a trademark should be one of the first things any savvy business owner does. A trademark, whether it is a name or a logo, can not only make a business identifiable and stand out, it can also be protected … Continue reading

Urban Farmers Lose Trademark Fight

One of the dangers of having a trademark is that it can become generic if you do not police your mark. A simple example of this is Google. To “google” something has become a verb. While Google can protect their … Continue reading

USPTO Opens New Satellite Office in Dallas, More Coming

There’s good news in the IP law field for people who live in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is opening a new branch in Dallas. Dallas is becoming known as a technology hub. Having an … Continue reading

Apple Loses Patent Fight, Must Pay Hundreds of Millions

Patents are invaluable when it comes to protecting your idea or invention from those who would seek to use it for their own gain. A patent marks it as your own, and protects it from being used without your permission. … Continue reading

Pittsburgh Steelers File Cease and Desist to Protect Trademark

When it comes to trademarks and logos, many companies and organizations take it very personally when another uses a version of its logo for their own purposes. The Steelers and the National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Laws are … Continue reading

How Tech Companies Hide Their IP From Competitors

Large tech companies run on secrecy. Just a leak about a proposed product can make other tech manufacturers rush to market or announce their own products around the same time to steal the thunder. Trademarks are especially vulnerable because they … Continue reading

Donald Trump Moves to Defend Campaign Trademarks

The 2016 U.S. Election season is underway, but what does that have to do with IP protections? Sure, at least one candidate every cycle seems to use a song at a campaign event without permission but that’s not what we’re … Continue reading

TPP Reaches Final Agreement

As you may have heard in the news, the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP has just reached their final agreement. All that remains now is for it to be ratified among the member countries for it to go into effect. The … Continue reading

Who Owns IP When You’re an Employee?

Intellectual Property, or IP, is a very lucrative commodity in the digital age. Everyone with an idea, from entrepreneurs to business owners, has a stake in the game of intellectual property. IP can be a very difficult thing to define, … Continue reading

India Struggles with Improper GI Registrations

India has a concept called Geographical Indications, or GI as part of their intellectual property rights laws. A similar concept exists in other countries across the world. This right is meant to protect the uniqueness of particular products within a … Continue reading

USPTO Releases Intellectual Property Icons

The variety of IP protections out there can be confusing, and as IP gets more international other countries may not have the same fine distinctions that we do. The USPTO has a solution for that. They have released a new … Continue reading

Artist Sells Instagram Images for Tens of Thousands

An artist has some Instagram users up in arms over what they did with their images. Richard Prince, an artist, screengrabbed posts people made on Instagram, turned them into prints, and put them on display in the Frieze Gallery in … Continue reading

US and China Come to Agreement on Cyberwarfare

Corporations may worry about cyberattacks from foreign nations like China, but the US and China just came to an agreement that they will not support or conduct cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property during peacetime. President Barack Obama and President Xi … Continue reading

Internet Piracy Arguments Flawed

The internet makes it very easy to transmit vast amounts of information to any computer connected to it. This has enabled great strides in human advancement and creativity, but it also has enabled those who would steal intellectual property without … Continue reading

Know Infringement when you see it

Intellectual property can be confusing to a new business owner. It can be instructive to look at past intellectual property cases and see where and how infringement may have occurred so you can look for similar things in your future … Continue reading

Burning Man and Quizno’s in IP Spat

The line of what constitutes fair use and parody can be a tricky one to find without help. Both parody and fair use protections are built into intellectual property laws, but they must follow certain rules as well. An interesting … Continue reading

Who Owns your IP?

Intellectual Property, or IP, is a very lucrative commodity in the digital age. Everyone with an idea, from entrepreneurs to business owners, has a stake in the game of intellectual property. IP can be a very difficult thing to define, … Continue reading

History of IP Protection

We’d like to take a minute to appreciate an article written in the Washington Examiner about the history of IP protections. IP protection may seem like a very modern concept, but it really due to the Internet that it came … Continue reading

Are your Patents Strong Enough?

A trade magazine has expressed worry that many U.S. patents may not be as strong as they seem. IAM magazine quotes experts that say at least one in three intellectual property experts are concerned about the low-quality of U.S. patents. … Continue reading

The IP Battle of Quinoa

A fascinating story in Harper’s underscores the problems that can arise when natural products native to a region and IP rights start to intersect. You may have seen advertisements for quinoa in your local health food store, but quinoa is … Continue reading

FBI Warns About Chinese IP Theft

China has over a billion people, which makes it a very attractive market. They also have lower labor costs than the U.S. But doing business there can be very nerve-wracking for people with sensitive IP. China is well-known for copying … Continue reading

What Happens in Countries with Few IP Protections?

IP protections online are very important, but there is also a culture of information freedom that is at odds with IP rights. Cries of “information must be free” are common among internet pirates. It can be instructive to see what … Continue reading

Always Read the Fine Print

A clause in a contract at the Small Biz Dev Hackathon caused an uproar on Facebook and an apology from the sponsor. A hackathon is an event where programmers get together to brainstorm new applications and develop them in a … Continue reading

Protect your IP if you want Venture Capital

Do venture capital firms care about IP protections? The answer is undoubtedly yes! For a new startup, the value of the IP may be 80%, 90%, or even more of the total valuation of the company. If that IP doesn’t … Continue reading

New Bill May Bring IP Back to US

Sometimes a company may decide to keep its IP in another country. A new bill has been introduced that may draw some of that IP back to the US. Representatives Charles Boustany, Jr. (R-La.) and Richard E. Neal (D. Mass.) … Continue reading

Twitter User Invokes DMCA to Protect her Tweets

Continuing our theme this week of social media users asserting copyright, we have the case of another Tweeter arguing that the material she posts on her site is protected by copyright law. Twitter user @runolagrun is using provisions from the … Continue reading

Conan O’Brien Sued by Twitter User for Allegedly Stealing Jokes off Feed

Are your posts on social media protected intellectual property? Some think so, and are willing to go to court over the issue. The comedian Conan O’Brien has been sued by a Twitter user for allegedly stealing four jokes off of … Continue reading

Developing Wearables? Protect your IP

One of the latest tech fields to come out of the gate is the field of smart wearables. These are wearable devices, from watches to socks, that do all sorts of things from measure heartbeat to provide smartphone-style interfaces like … Continue reading

Six Tips to Protect your IP Online

Do you want to know how to protect your IP from people who would steal it online? You could do worse than following the six tips in an article from Manufacturing Business Technology. In brief, the tips are: * Prioritize … Continue reading

Are you Using Open Source Software Properly?

Does your business use open source software? Most businesses use some form these days, but using open source software can open up some legal IP trouble if it’s used improperly. Let’s take a look at what open source software is … Continue reading

Apple Spat Exposes IP Problems in Creative Industries

Many IP stories in the news revolve around technology and software, but IP fights happen in many creative fields as well. Today, we’re not going to be talking about piracy, but about Taylor Swift and her recent challenge to Apple … Continue reading

Ford Motor Company Sued by Versata for Alleged IP Infringement

One software company in Texas is taking on Ford Motor Company for an alleged IP infringement. The company, Versata, is seeking an injunction to stop Ford from using their software product. The software significantly reduces warranty costs, and brings vehicles … Continue reading

IP Fight over Bitcoin Wallet Technology

Businesses that fight over IP don’t always do it over direct use of the IP. Sometimes the fight is over whether an IP was developed using the resources of one company before it was taken to another for sale. Bitcoin … Continue reading

IP and Product Safety a Focus at European Commission Meeting

Most intellectual property rights battles are about securing the rights to get economic benefit from an idea, but there are other reasons as well. One of them is product safety. A knockoff product that tries to copy an original IP, … Continue reading

Taylor Swift Blasts Apple for IP Violation

Many IP stories in the news revolve around technology and software, but IP fights happen in many creative fields as well. Today we’re not going to be talking about piracy, but about Taylor Swift and her recent challenge to Apple … Continue reading

The More IP Protection the Better

An article on Tech Vibes brings up some very good points about intellectual property protections. Sometimes a single filing isn’t enough. A broad approach that uses several different kinds of IP protections can protect your IP much better than a … Continue reading

IP Farms Gain More Attention

A growing form of IP development in Europe may soon find its way over to the US if it continues to find results. Newsweek has recently reported on IP farms. These are companies that seek out new IP in university … Continue reading

More IP Troubles for Ford

The Ford Motor Company is also experiencing hot water over another patent infringement case, but they are fighting back hard. A Baltimore company, Paice, sued the automaker over five patents it says were infringed over hybrid engine technology. That case … Continue reading

What do those Funny Trademark & Copyright Symbols Mean?

New business owners trying to wade into the pool of possible IP protections may soon find themselves very confused. Figuring out exactly which protections are necessary is vital. Do you need a patent or a trademark? How do I file … Continue reading

Even Small Businesses Need IP Protection

An article from Forbes shows just how important IP protection is for all businesses, not just IT and pharmaceutical companies. Any idea you create about your business, from the name to recipes to a business model are all your intellectual … Continue reading

Supreme Court Rules on Commil vs Cisco

An IP infringement case has worked its way all the way through to the Supreme Court. To understand the case between Commil and Cisco, we need to explain a bit of law. Someone can directly infringe on a patent by … Continue reading

What Happens When Countries Disagree Over IP?

When companies or individuals are accused of stealing from each other, lawsuits happen. When countries do it, it’s not so simple. China has been accused of stealing IP from US sources for quite some time, but to call them out … Continue reading

What Happens When the Public Trademarks You?

Trademarks are normally developed through long marketing meetings and lots of brainstorming. Selecting a Trademark is often a difficult decision involving aesthetics, what appeals to the right demographic, and so on. Logos and marketing messages are all carefully crafted. But, … Continue reading

Craft Alcohol Companies Duke it Out over Name Infringement

We’ve been talking a lot lately about sweeping international IP changes. Here is a story about a possible IP infringement that hits closer to home. A Washington state wine producer is suing a Boulder brewing company for using its name. … Continue reading

Modi Government Moves to Improve IP Laws

International intellectual property rights can be much trickier than defending IP within a country. There are more things to worry about than just the theft of an idea. Regulatory barriers and market access barriers can stifle a company’s ability to … Continue reading

TPP Will Have Big Effect on IP Law

One of the big subjects in the news is the TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement between the US, Japan, and other Asian countries. The 12 countries that are in negotiations represent about 40% of the world’s economy. The treaty … Continue reading

New IP Agreement Between Cellectics and the University of Minnesota

One of the ways that research universities generate income is through developing new intellectual property and licensing it to businesses. These agreements generally allow the university to continue development of the technology for the benefit of their students and for … Continue reading

Learn about the Upcoming Hague Agreement

Industrial design IP is an important part of today’s marketplace. Look no further to Apple’s success to see that. Their sleek designs and functionality are one of the big draws to their technology. U.S. design patent application filings have doubled … Continue reading

Patent Re-examination can Help or Hinder your Case

If you are facing IP litigation, there are some strategies you can take to defend yourself. Sometimes a defendant accused of patent infringement might ask the court to stay the case while the U.S. Patent Office re-examines the patent for … Continue reading

Celebrate World Intellectual Property Day on April 26th

April 26th is World Intellectual Property Day. In advance of this holiday, we want to talk a bit about why intellectual property rights are so important and why they must be protected. Every invention has an idea at the heart … Continue reading

Watch Out for Internal IP Theft

Legal protections for IP are crucial to the success of a business, but there are many ways that a company can fall from within due to IP theft. It only takes one malicious insider with access to sensitive information to … Continue reading

Watch Out for these IP Ownership Problems

Many startups don’t start with a formal business agreement. Instead, it’s just a small group of people with an idea. Perhaps it’s just one person with an idea and several others with business experience. Once multiple people are involved in … Continue reading

IP Theft Ring Members Plead Guilty in Tech IP Case

Intellectual property theft is a major worry among technology companies. Companies stand to lose massive amounts of money if their information gets out where others can use it. Naturally, the government takes a dim view on people who steal information … Continue reading

Is your Startup Performing Due Diligence on your IP?

An interview on Med City News has some good information for healthcare startups seeking to protect their intellectual property. Startups are vulnerable to IP theft from many different directions. If you have an idea that is central to your business … Continue reading

Royalty Challenge over Famous Diary

A challenge to the foundation that allocates the royalties from the book, “The Diary of Anne Frank” has been made by both a French lawmaker and a French scholar when they both published separate online editions of the book on … Continue reading

Segway Files Lawsuits over Hoverboards

Segway and its parent company Ninebot have recently filed suit against two companies manufacturing versions of their self-balancing scooters, commonly called hoverboards. This comes in an effort to counteract negative media coverage on the safety of those products in recent … Continue reading


During the 1980s after the breakup of “Ma Bell” (AT&T Corp.) when US regulators broke up the AT&T Corp. monopoly by a consent decree in the anti-trust lawsuit, United States v. AT&T, a nefarious marketing technique known as “slamming” became … Continue reading


The Artists’ Rights and Theft Prevention Act of 2005 permits preregistration of certain types of unpublished works if it determines that such works have a history of infringement prior to commercial distribution. The purpose of preregistration is related to potential … Continue reading


The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) was created by Congress as part of patent reform legislation under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) signed into law in September 2011. PTAB is the administrative law body of the United States … Continue reading


What are your rights when the trademark you properly protected ends up — just slightly altered — as the domain name of a totally unrelated party? That was the question before a WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) arbitration panel in … Continue reading


Although there is no requirement that a trademark actually be used by the applicant prior to filing a trademark application, there is a requirement that the person or enterprise seeking to obtain rights in a trademark establishes that the mark … Continue reading


On September 16, 2011 the America Invents Act (AIA) was signed into law, thus heralding a radical shift in U.S. patent procedure away from the historic—and globally practiced—”first to invent” laws, and in its place adopting a “first to file” … Continue reading


Copyright laws were designed to recognize the creative rights — and their resultant profits — that artists and authors possess in the creative works they contribute to society. Accordingly, such works are protected against copyright infringement pursuant to U.S. copyright … Continue reading

Second Life TOS: A Partial Analysis and How to Protect your Digital Content

In November 2003, Linden announced that it would recognize participants’ full intellectual property protection for the digital content they created or otherwise owned in Second Life. As a result, Second Life avatars could from that point forward buy, own, and … Continue reading

Cyber Piracy Law: Domain Names and Right of Privacy

Causes of action for the use of someone’s famous name are CyberPiracy, unfair competition and false advertising in the nature of false endorsement which is essentially the federal equivalent of a state violation of the right of publicity. Most states … Continue reading

How To Do Email Marketing Right

In short, you may send unsolicited email so long as you follow the rules. include your physical postal address indicate that the email is an advertisement or solicitation notify recipients of their ability to decline further mailings and tell them … Continue reading

Social Media Sites and Intellectual Property

Social media sites are the “go to” Internet forums for fun and e-commerce. Internet users spend a great deal of time at these sites, not merely for pleasure, but also for monetary gain, to create and build careers and to … Continue reading


In a landmark copyright ruling hailed internationally—but largely criticized at home—the U.S. Supreme Court decided on January 18, 2012 that the copyright clause of the Constitution does not prevent the United States from fulfilling its treaty obligations regarding copyright ­protection … Continue reading

Domain Name and Trademark Dispute

Domain names and trademarks are related, but not the same thing. The rights derived from each are very different. Trademark rights flow from use of a mark for goods or services in interstate commerce or within a state’s boundary. Domain … Continue reading

Reverse Domain Name Hijacking

Many people or organizations create websites strictly to share information, to advertise their non-profit services, to advertise their small craft projects, or to voice their political or religious beliefs. They will agonize over choosing the most appropriate domain name that … Continue reading

The Internet Business and Business Plan Patents

SPECIAL NOTE: The law regarding Internet Business & Business Plan Patents is currently in great flux. The following article was written years ago, when many Internet Business & Business Plan Patents were being granted. Please read only for historical significance. … Continue reading

Personal Finance for Business Owners

In the rush of day-to-day business activities, many small business owners may lose sight of what they had originally hoped to accomplish from their hard work. In addition, as a business grows over time, personal objectives that may have been … Continue reading

Business Continuation Planning for Succession

Successful business owners invest a great deal of time and effort in building their companies. With the day-to-day demands, it is often difficult to imagine stepping down for retirement. Yet, in order to help build financial security for retirement and … Continue reading

Timing in the IP World & a Country’s Intellectual Capital

In the United States, the first to invent is the first in right. However, this rule has been modified, so you should talk to our registered patent attorney, Michael L. Greenberg, if you desire more information. Outside of the United … Continue reading

What is a Trade Secret

A trade secret is defined as “Information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique or process that: (a) derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from being generally known to the public or to other persons who can … Continue reading

The best-known areas of Intellectual Property: Patents, Trademarks and Copyrights

A Patent oftentimes protects things which have some sort of function. Before filing a patent application, you should have Michael L. Greenberg, our registered patent attorney, perform a patent search to find out if your idea appears patentable. A patent … Continue reading

The Trademark

“A mark is a sign or a symbol which enables its owner to distinguish his goods or services from the same or similar goods or services of another.” World Trademark Law and Practice, Matthew Bender & Co., Inc., Ethan Horwitz, New … Continue reading

Registered Copyright

Grounded in the US Constitution, US Copyright laws protects a creation that is fixed in a tangible medium. At the moment the creation is fixed, a copyright is automatically secured. That is, if someone stands up on the street and recites … Continue reading

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