Intellectual Property: Start to Finish seminar

Want to: Build a strong understanding of the various forms of intellectual property protection. Delve into substantive case law and see intellectual property laws at play. Anticipate when the copyright fair use rule is and is not applicable. Pick up trademark application and enforcement best practices. Protect clients' confidential information or trade secrets through solid non-disclosure agreements. Gain helpful strategies for dealing with various patent issues I will be a featured presenter for a National Business Institute online seminar on January 22, 2017 , providing high level overview of trademark basics, registration, and enforcement.  See https://www.nbi-sems.com/ProductDetails/78436ER?ctname=SPKEM for additional information and pricing.  ...
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Is this a Scam? – Invoices to Maintain your Registration

Is this Invoice from the Patent & Trademark Organization a Scam? If you are asking this, the answer is probably yes. Over the years there has been an ever increasing number of private companies that have taken it upon themselves to offer either non-existent services or services that have no benefit to businesses registering their trademarks. The trademark scam typically starts with a very official looking letter arriving in the mail with a very official name on it like the "Patent & Trademark Agency," Patent & Trademark Organization," or "TPP – Trademark & Patent Publications." The letter mentions a real trademark application and then states that some fee is due to put it on their registry, or to block someone else from registering it on their register. Even if their register or publication exists, it provides no legal protection - it is just a vanity publication. Sometimes these fees are higher than what the person paid for their original application. These documents...
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Open enrollment for 2018 Health Insurance

Open enrollment for 2018 Health Insurance

Good Advice From  Insurance Broker Sarah Smith XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Open enrollment for 2018 health insurance begins November 1st. As I write this on October 20th, the U.S. Congress recently struck a deal with the White House to approve subsidies to health insurers, which in turn helps stabilize health premiums. 2018 rates are expected to be very close to 2017 rates, and in some cases, you may have a slight reduction. Last year, the Minnesota legislators approved rebates of ~25% for those of you who did not qualify for a MnSure low income subsidy. That rebate will be expiring December 31st. At present, I’ve not heard if Minnesota plans to renew the program. If you have a bronze plan (the most affordable offered) and you like your current doctors, you’re probably best to keep that same plan in 2018. OUT-OF-POCKET (OOP) LIMITS FOR 2018 OOP is the most you can be on the hook to pay, above and beyond your monthly premium. These limits are up $200 over last...
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Trademark Application Timeline

Trademark Application Timeline

How long does the trademark application process take? Answer: While there is no absolute answer - for most applications the  trademark application process takes between 8-12 months and can be broken into several stages - each with its own variables. Step One - Trademark Clearance: The first step is the one before you file the trademark application.  Prior to filings any trademark application, you should take time to review prior registrations that might block your application from being accepted.  This can be done by you or by a trademark lawyer. When working with an attorney, this involves discussing the mark and your business, and it typically takes between 1-7 days depending on the type of trademark screening you decide to have done and the attorney's workload. Step Two - Preparation of Application: Assuming your trademark is cleared, an application is prepared based on the information you provide, and if working with a trademark attorney, the analysis of the lawyer.  You can count on 2-3 days for this...
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Halloween Trademarks 2017 Edition

Halloween Trademarks 2017 Edition

While no one asked for it - here it is - 2017 Edition of Spooky Trademarks.  SHRED BUNDY - Tasteless on so many levels   LIFE AND DEATH - That's just weird - listed services sound very sophisticated though - "Consultation and advice regarding musical selections and arrangements for sound recordings and live performances"   UNDEAD BETTYS - Roller Derby rocks!!!!!!    SN87504276 - I just like this one due to the cinematographic nature of the description of the image, which I find kinda scary: The mark consists of seven figures around a four-sided table; six of the figures are animals (from upper right proceeding clockwise: donkey, horse, boar, goat, duck, and lion); between the duck and the lion is a female human (an ale wife/barmaid) wearing a headscarf and holding two tankards that she is bringing to the table; she wears a long apron; on the far side of the table a lion wears a doublet which tied around his waist using a rope belt; the doublet...
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Copyright Office Proposes Rule to Establish a Group Registration for Unpublished Works

NewsNet Issue 686 October 12, 2017 Copyright Office Proposes Rule to Establish a Group Registration for Unpublished Works The United States Copyright Office is proposing to create a new group registration option for a limited number of unpublished works. The proposed rule would replace the current “unpublished collections” registration option. Among other things, applicants would be required to submit an online application and upload their works to the electronic registration system, although the Office may waive these requirements in exceptional cases. The proposed rule offers a number of significant benefits compared to current practices: it would allow the Office to more easily examine each work for copyrightable authorship, to create a more robust record of the claim, and to improve the overall efficiency of the registration process. The notice of proposed rulemaking and instructions on how to submit a comment are available here. Written comments must be received no later than November 13, 2017, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time....
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Fair Use Guidelines for Teachers – Q&A

Fair Use Guidelines for Teachers – Q&A

I'm a Teacher, so copyright laws don't apply - Right?? Answer "Face to Face" exception Well - sometimes.  While it is true that there are exceptions to the rules regarding use of copyright protected works by teachers , they are limited. When setting up the copyright laws, Congress created the "Face to Face" exception which allowed use of protected works for "Performance or display of a work by instructors or pupils in the course of face-to-face teaching activities of a nonprofit educational institution, in a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction." (17 U.S. Code § 110, Emphasis Added).  Notably, this exception is loaded with qualifying language that requires the exception to be interpreted pretty narrowly. Fair Use Guidelines However, teachers have another option.  Like the general public, the rules governing Fair Use  can be applied to teaching activities - in fact teaching is specifically called out by the statute as a limitation on the exclusive rights of copyright owners.  17 U.S. Code § 107 .   The challenge, of course,...
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Related Goods & Likelihood of Confusion

Related Goods & Likelihood of Confusion

What are "Related Goods" for the purpose of evaluating Likelihood of Confusion? Answer The leading case on evaluating likelihood of confusion is the 1973 case E. I. DuPont DeNemours & Co.   In it, the Court sets out a series of factors  to be evaluated when determining likelihood of confusion under § 2(d) of the Lanham Act.  One of these factors looks to see if the two marks are used on "related goods" or services or if their marketing activities would result in consumer confusion. If the goods are not related at all, or they are NOT marketed in a way where potential consumers would incorrectly create an assumption that they come from the same source, then, even if the marks are identical, confusion is not likely. When evaluating whether goods are related goods and precluded from registration, courts have repeatedly noted that the question of relatedness requires a showing that the goods are connected in the minds of the consumer. They, in...
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Notice from Minnesota Secretary of State regarding pre-2015 limited liability companies in Minnesota

From the MN Secretary of State ### NOTICE: Owners of pre-2015 limited liability companies in Minnesota: Upcoming changes to the law will affect your business. The Office of the Secretary of State (OSS) wants to remind all limited liability companies formed prior to August 1, 2015 that they will become subject to a new law passed by the 2015 Legislature, Chapter 322C, beginning January 1, 2018. It is recommended that owners contact their attorneys, accountants or other business advisors well before the end of the calendar year to review the impact of the new law. The new law pertaining to LLCs may bring significant changes to governance and management, operating agreements, and other aspects of your business. All owners of an interest in an LLC should be aware of the impending law change, and should review the governing documents of the LLC to determine whether any adjustments are necessary. The law does provide certain provisions to smooth the transition to the new law. For further information...
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Copyright Office Releases an Updated Draft of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition

Reprinted From Library of Congress NewsNet Issue 666, June 1, 2017 Copyright Office Releases an Updated Draft of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition Acting Register of Copyrights Karyn Temple Claggett today released a revised draft of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition. This draft includes the first proposed updates to the Compendium since its release in December 2014. The public draft is available on the Office’s website at https://copyright.gov/comp3/draft.html. It will go into effect on July 3, 2017. The Compendium is the administrative manual of the Register of Copyrights concerning the mandate and statutory duties of the Copyright Office under Title 17 of the United States Code. See 37 CFR. § 201.2(b)(7). The proposed updates are the result of a comprehensive review of the Office’s practices and procedures. The draft revisions to the registration chapters clarify how and when the Office communicates with applicants and how it handles duplicate claims, deposit requirements, and claims involving multiple works, among other improvements....
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