Minnetonka Based UnitedHealth Group Loses Domain Name Battle

Optum, Inc. v. Paul Mellen / Mellen Marketing Claim Number: FA1712001762046 Optum, Inc., a subsidiary of Minnetonka based UnitedHealth Group recently filed claims against Mellen Marketing who had registered the domains <healthsafeid.com>, <healthsafeid.info>, <healthsafeid.net>, and <healthsafeid.org>.  Optum's attorney (Kenneth L. Wilton of Seyfarth Shaw LLP, California) based their claim, in part, on an allegation that Mellen had specifically targeted Optum and had repeatedly offered to sell the domains  for two-million dollars.  Mellon responded by alleging that the domains were registered in relation to a prior business he was engaged in, and that Optum first approached him about purchasing the domains.  The Panel deciding the matter found that Optum didn't began using the HEALTHSAFE ID Mark in commerce until October 1, 2016, and Mellon registered the domains  on March 22, 2016. The ICANN Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) requires that a complainant prove three elements to obtain an order that a domain name should be cancelled or transferred: the domain name registered by Respondent is...
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Copyright Office Introduces Online Group Registration of Photographs

In recognition of the difficulties facing photographer's to register large volumes of photographs, the U.S. Copyright Office has announced that starting in February (2/20/2018) , they will accept group registrations of photographs via the online registration system (eCO).  Each online application can include up to 750 images from a single copyright owner (not photographer).  The Final Rule published by Copyright Office includes a number of other modifications, as well as a detailed discussion of the reasoning behind these changes. Included in the discussion was this analysis of the needs of photographers: The CVA surveyed 1,744 photographers and asked them to identify the average number of photographs that they take in a single day and over the course of a single month. The vast majority of the respondents—70%—reported that they take fewer than 750 photos on an average day, while another 17% reported that they take between 751 and 1,500 photos on an average day. This presumably represents the average rate for a daily photo...
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Less is More: Copyright Office Changes Deposit Requirement for Musical Compositions.

Modification of Current Deposit Rules The United States Copyright Office on Tuesday (January 17, 2018) published a modification to the current rules regarding registration of musical compositions.  Under the current rules, registration of compositions that have been published in both print and as part of a sound recording  can be registered by depositing a copy of the recording only.  This modification, changes this rule and requires that the print edition be submitted.  However, if only the recording exists at the time of the application, only the submission of the recording is required. This modification is in line with the requirement that applicants must submit the "Best Edition" of the work. The final rule is available here and goes into effect on February 16, 2018. What Does this Change Mean to Me? Composers should take note that this change may require the submission of a complete set of sheet music if it exists.  The rule and commentary remains somewhat vague as to whether, with less formal compositions, publication...
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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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