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Sacramento Intellectual Property Law Blog

Disney alleged of copyright infringement

Quite often, residents in California are likely to be most used to hearing about large corporations taking strong steps to protect their intellectual property. These giants may at times be seen as squashing down on smaller players, even individuals, in an effort to maintain their brand integrity and prevent unlawful infringements of the uses of their original works. Interestingly, today it is one of the big companies that is a defendant in such a lawsuit.

As explained by The Hollywood Reporter, mogul Disney and ABC, which is owned by Disney, have been named in a lawsuit that accuses them of copyright infringement. At the heart of the matter are clips used by Disney in the making of a documentary about the late entertainer, Michael Jackson. The film includes snips from the singer's music videos and a concert film.

What purpose does a logo serve?

As a business owner in California, you might be asking yourself whether or not you actually need a logo. After all, you may not be aspiring to internationally recognized brand levels, or you might feel like your business doesn't really need one. But some would say that a logo is actually of crucial importance no matter what sort of work you do.

All Business shares fourteen different reasons that you should consider having a logo for your business. Some of the reasons are tied to your brand, your reputability, and your recognition levels. After all, there are certain things you don't even need a name for to recognize where they come from, which is a familiarity that any business could benefit from. Something sleek, simple, and easy to remember will help customers associate your name to your business easily.

What are the steps to applying for a patent?

As an entrepreneur or business owner living in California, it's important to be familiar with the patenting process. After all, having a patent for your unique inventions and methods of handling business will be a big help in structuring your overall success.

FindLaw first points out that there are two different types of patent applications that you could go with. One is called a provisional application, and it costs less and is considered more accessible to the general public. It requires neither a declaration nor an oath, which is not true for non-provisional applications. However, these can't be used for design inventions. You must also still pay a filing fee, and remember to attach a cover sheet specifically to state that the application is provisional. This gives you 12 months to file for a non-provisional application. You can use the term "patent pending" in the meantime.

Can you protect your IP on the internet?

California business owners like you have a vested interest in protecting your intellectual property, and for good reason. However, it can be difficult to do that when the internet seems like it runs on its own set of laws and logic. Millstone, Peterson & Watts, LLP, are here to help you guard your ideas from being stolen or abused online.

The internet can be an amazing tool for spreading information, getting your ideas out there, and making your name known. However, there are drawbacks to it as well. On the internet, some people feel like they can get away with stealing more easily because the laws seem like they're more complex. They may feel safe from law enforcement because they don't feel like their wrongdoings can be traced back to them. In other cases, a misunderstanding of copyright laws can lead to them thinking that they aren't doing anything wrong in the first place by using your intellectual property.

Basics of copyrights

Many companies in California look for ways to protect their intellectual property. This may entail patents, trademarks, service marks or copyrights. Each type of protection is for something different and copyrights themselves are used for creative works. Understanding what a copyright is and is not or does and cannot do is important for anyone who creates the types of work that may be protected by copyrights.

As explained by Forbes, a copyright grants the owner the ability to reproduce, display, perform or distribute either physically, in person or digitally the original work. They may also create similar but new variations on the work. In some situations, the person or entity who holds a copyright is not the person who actually literally created it as a company may end up receiving the protection.

Copyright of artistic work subject of suit

Being the home to the movie industry, California is a hotbed of creative innovation and therefore many people in the golden state are aware that artistic works may be subject to copyright laws. These laws, like trademark laws, are designed to provide protections to the holders of them. Copyrights may be granted for things like movies, music, books, sculptures, photographs and paintings.

Also, like trademarks, it is the responsibility of the person or the entity who holds a copyright to enforce it. One artist who painted a mural on an exterior building wall in Detroit, Michigan is today attempting to do just that. The case was actually filed in a federal court at the beginning of this year according to Automotive News and will soon be heard in a district court in Los Angeles.

Evidence to support trademark infringement

In today's world, a brand can be one of if not the most important assets a company has. Many businesses in California understand this and work hard to protect their brands in a competitive and online space. When another business takes actions that undermines that brand, the first company understandably seeks action. A recent case involving two major footwear manufacturers brings more clarity to the type of evidence that a court may require before issuing any type of injunctive relief.

As reported by JD Supra, in the case involving Sketchers and adidas America the court found that testimony from adidas employees about alleged damage caused by Sketches was insufficient for making any relief ruling or award. However, adidas did also put forth evidence from parties external to the company which the court did find credible and concrete enough on which to rule in the company's favor.

The unique challenges of software patents

California's Silicon Valley is looked upon as the hotbed of innovation not just in the United States but globally. This is with good reason and certainly it is easy to see that software is at the heart of a great deal of this innovation. Understanding this it is logical to wonder how companies protect their inventions when these inventions are at some level layers of code and mathematical instructions.

Some companies have sought and obtained patents for their software products. As reported by InfoWorld, however, there have been debates about the validity of these patents or about whether or not they should even be allowed to exist. Critics of software patents argue that they inherently stifle further innovation and that is bad for the industry as a whole. Supporters of software patents point to thriving markets and businesses even with these patents in existence.

Understanding state trademark filings

If you are one of the many entrepreneurial and creative people in California, you may at some point find it important to protect some of your important work. There are many different types of protections for what may be classified as intellectual property. For marks or designs that identify a particular company or its products or its services, you may want to seek trademarks or service marks.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office oversees the granting of registrations for trademarks and service marks across the nation. However, for protections within the state specifically, your company may file for a trademark or a service mark directly with the California Secretary of State. Applications for these protections may be made online but should be complete if you wish them to be approved. It is also important to know that you may request a trademark or service mark for something that you were denied federal marks for. However, you will need to provide details to the state about your federal request and the nature of the denial.

Six indicted for alleged trade secret violations

Because California is such a hotbed of innovation and product development, there can be a high level of competitiveness among different companies. It is important for anyone who works in the technology sector to understand some basics about what may be involved with allegations of violating trade secrets, leaking intellectual property or other such offenses. Companies also should be well-versed in how to protect themselves against such actions.

Contracts such as non-disclosure agreements may commonly be used by employers as a means of protecting their confidential information as employees often have access to sensitive data in order to perform their jobs. The Mercury News recently reported on a case in which six people who each worked for at least one year for a company no longer in business have been accused of violating their non-disclosure employee agreements.

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