Property, intangible

a blog about ownership of intellectual property rights and its licensing


  • Brother versus Sister

    Sometimes things in your life intersect. I recently had the pleasure of attending “The TTAB Comes to Boston,” a day when the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board heads to Boston for the day. It was a fabulous event, a great case and a great panel. And then the first case that landed on my desktop […] Continue reading

  • “Dad, Who Owns the Mark?”

    Arredondo v. Arredondo is a classic family dispute over trademark ownership. Here, two brothers, Carlos and Caesar, were successful real estate developers–so successful that they established the Arredondo Properties Limited Partnership (APLP) to invest in projects and gather and distribute income to the Arredondo family for the next 200 years. APLP had no employees and […] Continue reading

  • A Routine Trademark Ownership Dispute

    The case about the ownership of the LIGHT STAR TRAVEL trademark is almost blissfully routine. It simply boiled down to whether one entity acquired ownership of another – if so, the alleged acquiror owned the trademark, if not, the original owner retained ownership. It looks like the parties are acting without the advice of counsel, […] Continue reading

  • Divorce Entitled to Full Faith and Credit

    Co-inventor Mundi Fumokong was married to Fonda Whitfield when he filed for two related patent applications.  In California, all property acquired by a married person during marriage is presumed to be community property, including patent applications.  Fumokong and Whitfield later filed for a  “quickie” divorce (those are the court’s words), more formally called a summary […] Continue reading

  • Astaire v. Astaire

    My favorite kind of spat, family. In the plaintiff’s corner we have Robyn Astaire, widow of Fred Astaire. How could I not have a gratuitous embedded video of the master: In the defendant’s corner we have her stepdaughter, Phyllis Ava Astaire McKenzie, along with two other individuals and Career Transition for Dancers, Inc. What is […] Continue reading

  • It’s Only One Mark

    Sometimes the TTAB is an alternative reality. It’s happening right now as it struggles with trademark ownership disputes. In Arturo Santana Gallego v. Santana’s Grill, Inc., there was family falling out. The TTAB reached a conclusion that may be right, but in a way that is so doctrinally irrelevant that we can’t know. The cast […] Continue reading

  • And Not Even a Passing Reference to Whitman’s Chocolates

    Family relationships are frequent fodder for a blog about ownership of IP and also my favorite kind of case, because they are such tangled human stories. The contracts are also poor or nonexistent and the IP rights misunderstood if recognized at all, so trying to get to a fair outcome sometimes an interesting exercise. I […] Continue reading

  • Penguin to Continue Publishing Steinbeck

    In the past I could have just linked to William Patry’s blog for a case like this, but unfortunately no more. We’ll just have to soldier on and do our best to understand the intricacies of termination rights in copyright law without the benefit of his knowledge and insight. A recently published termination case, Penguin […] Continue reading

  • Who Owns the Mark?

    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 problem […] Continue reading