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What an Antitrust Case Can Teach Us About Design When I was in law school in the late 1990’s, it was an article of faith that the U.S. didn’t protect industrial design, but Europe did, and that’s why Europeans were so much better at it than Americans. Think, for example, of the emphasis that Italians and French reputedly place on design. More accurately, several European countries had specific protection regimes for industrial design, and the…
Who, What, Why AND Where One of the peculiar features of the U.S. legal system is that, while certain fields are governed exclusively by federal law—i.e., law that applies everywhere in the U.S.—others are governed exclusively by state law. That means, obviously, that there are fifty sets of laws1 governing a given subject, including some of the heavy-hitters, like contract law. And it get’s worse. Sometimes federal law coexists with state law. Sometimes federal…
And Why Sometimes You Have to “Go to Legal” Trademarks and copyrights are really, really, really different. They do different things; they protect different interests. But they overlap in one area of subject matter: logos. The overlap is coincidental. It doesn’t mean that they have anything in common. But the overlap itself is real, and it leads to a lot of confusion and heartache. Or we could pretend like it’s 2005 and call it a…
While California still irons out the details of its highly anticipated Consumer Privacy Act and leaves data brokers holding their breath about whether it will include a private right of action, last week Nevada just took the lead from its Western neighbor in giving consumers some control over the sale of their online data. I say “some” because although consumers do now have a right to opt-out of having their information sold, it is not…
When 330,000 Yards of Lace Still Isn’t Enough This is a copyright case involving lace designs. Yes, lace designs. Have I mentioned before the tremendous breadth of the subject matter of copyright? The same law that protects “Thank You, Next” and random medical brochures in your physician’s waiting room also covers lace. Here are the two designs I want to discuss, with the accused design on the right and the asserted design on the left.…
When 330,000 Yards of Lace Still Isn’t Enough This is a copyright case involving lace designs. Yes, lace designs. Have I mentioned before the tremendous breadth of the subject matter of copyright? The same law that protects “Thank You, Next” and random medical brochures in your physician’s waiting room also covers lace. Here are the two designs I want to discuss, with the accused design on the right and the asserted design on the left.…
In studying for my CIPP/E Certification, I had to learn about a myriad of treaties and directives that existed in Europe prior to the GDPR. One of those was Convention 108, the first legally binding international instrument in the area of data protection. Convention 108 was first opened for signature on January 28, 1981, and was adopted because of the Council of Europe’s view that if data processors were going to hold information in computerized…
The Perils of Believing People Are Generally Honest This is the sort of case that keeps lawyers up at night and, if taken seriously, increases litigation and litigation-avoidance costs. It’s the sort of case that makes lawyers ask, “Is this just a bizarre outlier, or must I start advising my clients to it?” And, if you spend any time around lawyers, you know that legal advice is subject to a ratchet effect. You really do…
The Dilemma: You Can’t Take It. But You Don’t Think the Company Can Survive. Imagine you’re an engineer in a company that relies heavily on the technology you’ve developed and keep developing for the company. Although you make good money from it, it’s also a labor of love for you, and you like the other engineers you work with. Then, one day, the company’s founder dies unexpectedly. He was so young! And, then, his mom…
The Real Lesson from the Kardashian-Kroma Trademark Dispute So this is about that trademark case against the Kardashian sisters, which is what has made it newsworthy. However, since most of aren’t Kardashians, and are more likely to be in the position of the other players, I want to focus on why the plaintiff was suing in the first place, and why it pays to be mindful when granting and accepting trademark licenses. A Transatlantic…