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Category Archives: Archive

Now That’s a Hallmark Moment

When you think of Hallmark, you often think of the word “giving.” In a recent case, though, Hallmark will be doing the getting: a repayment of a substantial severance package by a former executive who later used Hallmark’s trade secrets to compete against it. As the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeal explained in Hallmark Cards, […]

When Being The Best Is Not Enough . . .

Dunkin’ Donuts has found the hard way that being the self-styled best isn’t good enough. The United States Patent & Trademark Office has refused to register its slogan “Best Coffee in America,” as being merely descriptive and not having a secondary meaning to consumers. Dunkin’s prime claim to trademark registration is that the slogan became distinctive over the […]

More Online Services Fall Under the COPPA Cabana

Online content providers – including websites and apps – need to add something to their 2013 To-Do list. Beginning July 1st, the Federal Trade Commission’s new rules under the Child Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) will apply covering more online services. While the new rules have been criticized as “a mess,” they still apply. Most […]

Limits on Civil Torture

It is easy to feel smug when we look back on our ancestors 1000 years ago. They had donkeys — we have 400 horsepower, 4 wheel drive vehicles. They had the Black Death — we have vaccines for all types of illness, even cancer. For a justice system, they had trial by ordeal — we […]

Sad Trolls, Happy Humanity

The copyright trolls had a bad day at the beginning of September, as Judge Phyllis Hamilton of the Northern District of California found that wireless router owners do not have a duty to secure Internet connections from outsiders. The issue in AF Holdings v. Doe (Hatfield), US Dist Court, ND Cal. C12-2049 (PJH)  is negligence. […]

Return of the Scammers

A few years ago, we warned about scammers who were sending official-looking notices from the “Business Filings Division,” asking for $239 for statement of information filings. It was all a scam — but I remember spending fifteen minutes looking at one, trying to verify that it wasn’t official. It seems that these scammers are back, only […]

Resist the Torrent

If you had any doubts, the New Scientist has published a report that says that most torrent downloaders have their internet protocol (“IP”) addresses logged within three hours of the download. The article wonders whether the information will be reliable enough to be admitted in a court of law, but another legitimate question is whether there are […]

Who Is Using Your Trademark? (Google II)

New Legal Developments in Keyword Advertising Go ahead: after you google yourself, google your company name. We’ll wait. Hold on – did you see that? Above your company name is an ad from someone pretending to be a reseller of your product – but you’ve never heard of them. Can they do that? Can companies […]

Viva La Small Biz!

As the son of a stockbroker, I grew up listening to talk about large, well-established businesses. IBM. Gerber. Proctor & Gamble. All successful companies, in industries that will last a long time. But all, in their way, static. IBM’s headcount of American employees has been falling for years. Most Fortune 500 companies in America that […]

Has “Google” Become Generic? (Google III)

My fellow Business of Media instructor, Eric Sinrod of Duane Morris, has a good article today about a lawsuit an Arizona entrepreneur has brought against Google, claiming that the trademark “Google” has become generic. One of the perils of a popular trademark is that when it becomes the term for the product or service itself, anyone […]

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