• The Drifters, Yet Again

    by  • March 22, 2015 • 0 Comments

    One thing that’s sure to make my eyes roll back into my head is the word “Drifters” in a case caption. Westlaw has 13 cases listed, 8 federal, 3 state and 2 TTAB. Now the TTAB has had another crack at it, including looking at evidence that goes all the way back to the...

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    Who Owns a Community Trademark?

    by  • March 19, 2015 • 0 Comments

    I’ve written a lot about trademark ownership disputes under US law, where trademark rights arise through use. The question comes up when two or more formerly cooperating parties have a falling out and each claim to own the same trademark. But the issue can’t arise just in the US, certainly there are failed business...

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    Attention Sharks

    by  • March 16, 2015 • 0 Comments

    I like to watch Shark Tank. If you haven’t seen it, entrepreneurs come pitch a panel of notable business people asking for an investment in their nascent companies. Often the topic of intangible assets—generally patents and trademarks—comes up, which presumably the sharks are taking into account when valuing a company. The entrepreneurs make representations...

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    Two for One

    by  • March 12, 2015 • 1 Comment

    I like the cross-over of different legal disciplines. Ownership issues arise as part of an infringement claim, but also come up in trusts and estates, mergers and acquisitions, taxation, and bankruptcy. These cases can end in an unexpected way, sometimes happening because there is a failure to understand exactly how the various trademark, copyright...

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    No, It Doesn’t

    by  • March 10, 2015 • 2 Comments

    I previously asked whether the below check transferred copyright ownership: It doesn’t, at least not on a motion for summary judgment. If you can’t read it, on the memo line the check says “For rights to song ‘Dos Horas De Vida.” The check was written by defendant Hacienda Records to Jose Guzman, the songwriter...

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    Today’s Quiz

    by  • March 7, 2015 • 2 Comments

    Does this check transfer copyright ownership? If you can’t see the image, the check (which was cashed) is for $75.00 and on the memo line says “For rights to song ‘Dos Horas De Vida.” What do you think? Leave your comments below. The text of this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No...

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    Challenging the Sublicense to Your License

    by  • February 23, 2015 • 0 Comments

    Hang in with me, we have a bit of a licensing chain to follow here. The lawsuit is about whether a Russian performer, Sergey Lazarev, had a license to record and perform the song “Almost Sorry”: The song was written by Taryn Murphy and Chris Landon. They pitched Lazarev’s manager in 2006 and we...

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    Ninth Circuit Walks Back Sybersound Records

    by  • February 16, 2015 • 0 Comments

    As I’ve written about before, Sybersound is a 2008 Ninth Circuit decision that was not well-received by copyright authorities. We now have a second Ninth Circuit opinion interpreting Sybersound that undoes the original harm. The decision is Corbello v. DeVito, the case that just keeps on giving for someone who writes about copyright ownership....

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    Consideration Can Be a Failed Expectancy

    by  • February 3, 2015 • 0 Comments

    I’ve written about MemoryLink Corp. v. Motorola Solutions, Inc. in the past (recursive link). Peter Strandwitz and Bob Kniskern, owners of plaintiff Memorylink, had collaborated with defendant Motorola Solutions on the development of a handheld camera that could wirelessly transmit and receive video signals. Standwitz and Kniskern trusted Motorola Solutions with filing patent applications...

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    The Complication of Government Forms

    by  • January 27, 2015

    When we file trademark applications electronically, there is a form declaration for the signatory. At the time Slep-Tone Entertainment filed its applications, this was the language: The undersigned, being hereby warned that willful false statements and the like so made are punishable by fine or imprisonment, or both, under 18 U.S.C. Section 1001, and...

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    Contracts 101

    by  • January 22, 2015

    Patent law heavily involves interpretation of language. In addition to the construction of the claims themselves, it has an almost unintelligible set of rules for distinguishing licenses from assignments and special rules for the language one must use to assign a patent. But in Fort. v. Innegra Technologies, LLC, we have a more interesting...

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    Not His First Time at the Rodeo

    by  • January 20, 2015

    In 1992, plaintiff Oleg Pogrebnoy began publishing a Russian language newspaper in New York titled in Cyrillic “KYPbEP,” which translates as “courier”; Pogrebnoy also later used the word “Kurier.” Pogrebnoy claimed ownership of the unregistered trademarks through a chain of transactions, starting with his own use in 1992, through five different companies (probably all...

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