• Assigning “Goodwill”

    by  • July 23, 2008

    In the United States, an assignment of a trademark is invalid if the “goodwill” is not also assigned with the mark, but there’s no requirement that any tangible assets be transferred. So what exactly does it mean when agreements recite something like “Assignor does hereby assign to Assignee all rights, title and interest in...

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    Who Owns the Mark?

    by  • July 22, 2008

    There are few disputes more difficult to solve than deciding who owns a trademark after co-owners have a falling out. Family businesses seem particularly susceptible, my guess would be because they are started more casually without formal documents that even contemplate trademark ownership. European trademark blog Class 46 reports one way to solve the...

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    Sold! Or Just Licensed?

    by  • July 20, 2008

    It’s perhaps a bit off-topic for this blog to post about ownership of tangible property, rather than the ownership of the IP itself. But the disagreement over when an object that contains copyrighted work is sold or merely licensed is heating up. There are three recent district court cases in the 9th Circuit that...

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    Mattel Wins Bratz!

    by  • July 18, 2008

    Following up on a previous post, in an unsurprising outcome the AP is reporting that the jury found that the designer of the Bratz dolls conceived of the idea while employed at Mattel, hence the concept is owned by Mattel. It’s not quite clear from the AP article what exactly Mattel owns, since the...

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    Combining Trademarks in a Jointly Owned Holdco

    by  • July 15, 2008

    The May-June 2008 Trademark Reporter has an article entitled “Combining Trademarks in a Jointly Owned IP Holding Company,” by Lanning Bryer and Matthew Asbell. It discusses the risks and advantages of using jointly-owned trademark holding companies for management of “combined” trademarks, i.e., where one trademark is used by unrelated entities (like Volvo) or the...

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    Lassie Speaks!

    by  • July 14, 2008

    Professor Patry‘s primer on the termination provisions of copyright (straightforward to him, convoluted to the rest of us). Don’t miss his “About Me” portrait on this one – Updated August 5, 2008: Here is a link to the decision in Classic Media, Inc. v. Winifred Mewborn that I have posted since it is no...

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    Works Are Never Made for Hire

    by  • July 12, 2008

    Malibu Textiles, Inc. v. Carol Anderson, Inc. is a good demonstration of the confusion that, almost 20 years after CCNV, still surrounds whether a work is a “work made for hire.” In Malibu, designs for lace were created by an independent party but Malibu filed copyright applications for the lace designs listing ownership as...

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    Ownership of Music in Snow White

    by  • July 12, 2008

    The Los Angeles Intellectual Property Trademark Attorney Blog reports here that there is an ownership dispute over the music in a 1987 live-action version of Snow White. The blog reports: MGM asserts that defendant, Arik Rudich, is an individual now residing in Israel, who composed certain music and/or songs included in the picture, which...

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    Warner/Chappell Still Happy on Birthdays

    by  • July 12, 2008

    I’m a little late to the game, but I just got around to reading Robert Brauneis’ “Copyright and the World’s Most Popular Song,” available here, blogged here, here, and here. It’s an interesting and thorough investigation into whether “Happy Birthday” is still protected by copyright. The telling of the story covers initial ownership of...

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