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Roseville Intellectual Property Law Blog

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.

Trademark law: Learning about the term, likelihood of confusion

As intellectual property attorneys intent on helping our clients as effectively as possible, we may sometimes forget that certain terminology might sound like gibberish to the other people. The phrase, "likelihood of confusion" is one such term. It is used in trademark law as a means to prove infringement. In this post, we will talk about likelihood of confusion so that you will not be, well, confused about the term.

As you may already know, a trademark works to identify goods or services and helps to distinguish them from brands. But what if you have already established a trademark and another company comes along with a mark very similar to yours? This is when the likelihood of confusion model comes into play.

Do I have any rights during the process of applying for a patent?

From the moment you file an application to protect your invention, you do have rights under patent law. However, until the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) approves your application for a patent, protection for your invention may be somewhat limited. Taking it phase by phase, the sections below describe your rights during the process of applying for and acquiring a patent.

The first thing you should know is that prior to submitting your patent application, you have very little protection. However, it is possible to take legal action against another party should an attempt to steal your ideas occur. In such a circumstance, you could pursue a trade secret infringement remedy as long as you have taken steps to protect valuable information about your product.

Hollywood takes aim at TickBox TV in intellectual property suit

TickBox TV is an android streaming TV device that enables users to stream content via open source media software. Now, several of California's media giants are targeting TickBox TV through intellectual property litigation. Chief among these media giants are Netflix, Amazon and Disney, but many Hollywood Studios such as Universal, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. are also on board with the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges that TickBox TV enables its users to pirate streaming media. This essentially means stealing content from legitimate sources like Netflix, Amazon Prime and cable TV channels. The suit also says that TickBox offers add-ons that link users to unauthorized streams of movies and television shows.

Trade secret protection when an employee exits your company

Employees will come and go in all types of California industries. This is a fact that most company owners understand all too well. You likely already know how important it is to protect your trade secrets through the hiring process and for the duration of employment. However, you should also understand how to protect your secrets through the exit process as well.

Regardless of why an employee chooses to leave your company, he or she could take your trade secrets upon exit. Sometimes, this occurs as an accident and sometimes it is by design. Whatever the case, your employee exit procedure is a time in which you can remind the exiting employee of his or her legal obligations to protect your secrets post-employment.

How trademarks can benefit your California business

A registered trademark serves as a visual symbol to consumers. It can be an image, a word or numeral, a series of words or numerals or just about any type of distinguishing mark. A well-designed trademark offers many valuable benefits to entrepreneurs and companies. One of the most notable is that it enables your company to stand apart from your competitors in the eyes of potential customers.

Under trademark law, the trademarks you register help to protect your brand's unique identity. In turn, this gives your business or company another layer of protection from those who might attempt to steal your identity or your customer base. Below are some additional benefits registered trademarks give to California businesses.

  • A trademark will never expire as long as you are using it.
  • Trademarks allow potential customers to identify you at a glance.
  • A trademark can also become a valuable business asset.
  • Trademarks expand your company's visibility across the internet.
  • Businesses with established trademarks have a better chance of success when expanding into additional industries.
  • Trademarks provide you with legal options to seek action against an infringement.

What are the different notices of copyright?

Copyright law is both simple and complex at the same time. It is simple because intellectual creations automatically receive legal protection. It is complex because unscrupulous people can take your work and claim it as their own anyway.

Since March of 1989, intellectual property does not require a notice of copyright to remain protected. However, it is still a good idea to include such a notice on your works. Doing so may deter someone from stealing your property and may strengthen any copyright law actions you pursue against the alleged thief.

Does Comic Con violate the Comic-Con trademark?

Here at Costello Law Corporation, we advise people and businesses about legal issues related to trademarks, including whether the usage of a brand likely violates a pre-existing mark. We also represent parties in disputes about trademark violations in related litigation.

An interesting San Diego trademark case just survived dueling motions for summary judgment and is scheduled for a November 28 trial, according to Ars Techica. The dispute concerns the San Diego Comic Convention's Comic-Con and Dan Farr Productions' Salt Lake Comic Con.

Intellectual property issues in tech startups

Aside from being huge and successful businesses, what do Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Apple have in common? They are just a few of the many companies that started in a humble garage. The founders of these companies did not let a lack of funds or property get in their way. We are betting that many of the current tech startups in California have founders that feel the same way.

Ideas are wonderful and can lead to many great things, but the time to start protecting intellectual property is when the first spark of an idea flames into life. If you are working hard on your tech startup, the last thing you want to think about is intellectual property litigation. However, you also need to know that it can happen even in the early stages of building a company.

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