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Roseville Intellectual Property Law Blog

Questions about common law trademarks

You have heard the term "common law marriage," but have you heard of a "common law trademark?" In a common law marriage, two people consider themselves married although they haven't gone through the legality of registering their marriage. It is the same with a common law trademark; a trademark is being used that has not yet been registered.

Also, just as the law recognizes common law marriages in some states, a common law trademark is recognized. Unfortunately, though, if it is not registered, someone else may accidentally or intentionally embark upon the use of the same mark. This results in having to prove who first put the trademark into use.

Apple has filed for a new patent

Apple already has a wide market on its Apple products. Now it is expanding those services with a new patent regarding wireless charging. This new patent expands on the wireless power that was developed and patented by Energous.

Energous was just recently granted their certification from the U. S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for their wireless technology. Now Apple has two applications submitted for patents; one for technology for long-range wireless charging, and the other to control the order in which devices are charged.

Trade secret quandary at Uber

The Uber quandary seems to get thicker and thicker as the story and evidence keeps unraveling. It first made news when Waymo, a sister company of Google, filed a suit against Uber claiming that they stole trade secrets relating to their lidar sensors for self-driving cars. Allegedly, a former employee downloaded thousands of files before leaving their company and sold the information to Uber for $680 million.

Of course, Uber denied the allegations, and the former employee of Waymo pleaded his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination, refusing to testify. A jury trial was set to begin in December, but then new evidence came to light, postponing that trial to Feb. 5, 2018.

What you need to know about trademark registration

When you start a new business to sell goods or services, how are you going to market those goods? Do you need a trademark or service mark? You do if you want your products or services to be distinguished from others and recognized by clients.

If your business involves products or goods, you need a trademark. If it involves services you will be providing, you need a service mark. You can make your trademark or service mark whatever you want as long as it is not already in use by another individual or entity. It can be a picture, a logo, a symbol or letters.

When it comes to patents, China is hard to beat

Creative minds of the human race never cease. Every day, there are new inventions, new products, new movies, new books and new "anything you can think of" being developed or created. That, of course, results in new patents and trademarks being filed.

According to a recent report from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), patent applications in 2016 increased by 8.3 percent from 2015. Unfortunately, the United States cannot take credit for the majority of those patents. That trophy belongs to China, who was responsible for 98 percent of the increase.

Is it hard to prove intellectual property infringement?

Whether it is a big business move, an invention, a book idea or a movie plot, no one likes to see someone else using their idea and then taking credit for it. It is even worse when they make money off of it -- money that should have rightly been yours.

The movie business is common ground for complaints of intellectual property infringement. Many popular films have been the subjects of intellectual property lawsuits. You may be familiar with some of them: "The Matrix," "The Cabin in the Woods," "Avatar," "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl," "Finding Nemo," "The Hangover: Part II," "Cars," "Titanic," and "Frozen," just to name a few.

Scott Pruett: Race driver or wine maker?

It appears that Scott Pruett, the legendary race car driver, is also a wine connoisseur. Wine hobbyists are common in America, but Pruett has turned a wine hobby into a full-blown business. Wine Spectator Magazine has placed Pruett Vineyard's 2014 Syrah wine equivalent to the best in the world.

According to Pruett, he started his winery in what used to be his garage in Auburn. Being a fifth generation farmer, he planted and cultivated his vineyards by hand. His explanation for what makes the wine so good is the Sierra Foothills dirt.

Why should you have a trademark?

What is the main purpose of having a trademark? It makes your goods or services recognizable in the marketplace. The more popular your goods or services become, the more you want them to be known and recognized under an exclusive trademark.

Can someone else use the same trademark?

Don't overlook social media when protecting trade secrets

The use of social media has become second nature to most of us in today's world. We have all become so accustomed to using social media that we may post content online without even thinking about it. In most cases, this practice is harmless, but if an employee posts content related to work without a second thought, it may compromise your trade secrets.

Realistically, it would be difficult if not impossible to tell employees that they cannot use social media. It is equally difficult to convince workers to share login data about their accounts so that you can monitor their posts. In fact, a FindLaw survey revealed that Americans are strongly against sharing their social media passwords with employers.

Music infringement cases that helped advance copyright law

When you look back at the history of music, it is easy to see patterns in which artists borrowed heavily from other creative musical minds. At one time, not much happened to prevent or dissuade this practice, but about 50 years ago, artists began to take a more serious stance against plagiarism.

As these artists sought to protect their original works in the legal realm, copyright law began to change, resulting in better protection and remedies for artists. This post will explore a few landmark infringement cases that helped to advance copyright law in America.

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