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You know you’ve chuckled at a few of them–the  ubiquitous internet meme.  But, have you ever wondered whether all this sharing, changing and going “viral” is legal. Protecting or commercializing your meme If you create or are the subject of a meme, it can be difficult to commercialize it or protect it. There are generally two “rights” that can be associated with a meme—trademark and copyright. Copyright:  Copyright protects original works of authorship including literary,…
Back in late 2015, I wrote a five-part series on the Expanding Scope of the TCPA or Texas’ Anti-SLAPP law. The Supreme Court of Texas confirmed our analysis last week with its decision in the ExxonMobil v. Coleman confirming that Anti-SLAPP protections can and do apply to internal corporate communications when there is a defamation claim. ANTI-SLAPP 101 The Texas Anti-SLAPP law is known as the Texas Citizens Participation Act (the “TCPA” found at …
What do I need to do to protect my mark after it is registered? Unlike copyrights and patents, trademarks can last forever if you take the right steps. Once properly registered, you will have to file your first Declaration of Continued Use between the 5th and 6th anniversary date of your filing. Your next renewal will fall between the ninth and tenth year. After that, you have to renew the mark every ten years. At…
What Happens After My Application is Filed? After your application is filed, you should receive an email from the USPTO confirming the submission. In a few business days, the USPTO will confirm the application has the necessary information to be considered. On average, it is then taking about two to three months for an application to be assigned to an attorney within the USPTO. If there are no issues, the USPTO will publish the mark…
Common Questions During the Application Process Have you used your mark in commerce and what is the impact of that? If you are already selling your product or service with the mark on it, you are “using” your mark in commerce. As a result, you will need to provide proof that you are already using it. You can still register your mark even if you have not started yet.  You can file what is referred…
Do I trademark my name, my logo or both? You can register just your name, your logo, or you can do both. The logo and the name constitute two separate trademark registrations and would require two separate payments to the USPTO of $275. If you need to choose, then, generally speaking, companies start with trademarking their name. Protecting your name gives you the broadest protection because it prevents any use of it that causes confusion,…
In the most general sense, getting a trademark protects your brand. A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of another. By registering your trademark, you will be entitled to a presumption of ownership of the brand on a national level and a presumed right to use the brand nationwide. It prevents someone from registering a confusingly similar mark after you…
You may have heard about new overtime rules from the Department of Labor. It’s not all about bathroom laws. Michael Kelsheimer, author of the Employer Handbook, broke down the new rules in Federal Changes to Overtime Exemptions Alert. In a gross over-simplification, employees that oversee others, i.e, manager, were exempt from overtime if they earned more than $23,660 year. Come December 1, that amount is increased to $47,476 per year. So that…
My colleagues Michael Kelsheimer (author of the monthly Employer Handbook blog), intellectual property lawyer David Lisch and I put together a client alert on the new Federal Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 law. You can download the DTSA 2016 Client Alert or keep reading.   President Obama is expected to sign the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA), which was passed by Congress at the end of April 2016. This law could…
If you watched the first round of the NFL Draft, the big story was the sliding of Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil out of the top five to number 13. As the draft was unfolding, someone released a video of him smoking marijuana through a gas mask.  You can read the story here.  You can watch this interview right after he was picked. https://cdn.streamable.com/video/mp4/9m2e.mp4 To make matters worse, after he was picked, someone…