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Roseville Intellectual Property Law Blog

Trademark myths: You need a logo

You have your own company. While you have done a fair amount of branding, you don't have an official logo. You figure that you don't have anything to trademark, as a result, because trademarks are just for logos. Is this true?

It's not, but it is a common myth. It is true that logos are one of the most commonly trademarked pieces of intellectual property in the United States. But you could still benefit from a trademark even if you do not have a logo for your company, and you never plan to get one.

Public access and public domain are very different things

People sometimes confuse public access with public domain. One of the biggest copyright myths is that these two things are actually the same. They are very different.

For example, artwork that is available on the internet is open to public access. That does not mean someone can use it without direct permission or a license to do so. Even so, people do it illegally all the time.

Report: Most employees steal company secrets

If you're thinking about how to protect your trade secrets, you may be thinking about a rare situation where an employee decides to sell out your secrets for a personal payday. You want to make sure it doesn't happen, even though you think it's uncommon and even unlikely.

Well, it may be a bit more likely than you think. One report actually claimed that most employees stole company secrets when they moved on to new jobs. Here are two key stats from the study:

  • About 60% of employees who get fired or choose to leave a company end up stealing company information on the way out the door.
  • About two-thirds of those employees, or 67%, then take the secrets they stole to their new jobs.

2 types of trademark dilution

Trademark infringement often involves a mark being used without permission but not always. Sometimes, it just involves a very similar mark being used and harming the reputation of the first. This type of infringement can change the public's perception of the original mark. They once thought it related to something particular, singular or unique, but the second, very similar mark can make them stop thinking that even when the two are not the same.

This happens in two basic ways:

  • Tarnishment: The first mark's reputation is harmed by the use of the second mark. For instance, a company's logo stands for quality products that consumers can trust. The second company, under a similar logo, produces inferior products. Consumers now conflate the two marks in their minds and stop trusting the original company to produce quality products, even though they have done so the entire time.
  • Blurring: This just means that the first mark is no longer as distinctive. Perhaps it was once immediately recognizable, even at a glance. The existence of the second mark means that consumers who see either one do not immediately know which one they are seeing. This makes it harder for the logo to stand out and may confuse buyers, who will then turn to other, more distinctive brands.

Twitch facing Russian lawsuit over soccer streaming

Twitch is a streaming service that is owned by Amazon. While it handles a lot of different types of content, it appears that soccer games have been streamed on the site -- at least, that is what is being alleged in a new lawsuit.

The lawsuit originated in Russia, where a company called Rambler has the legal rights to run English Premier League soccer matches on its streaming platform. The Premier League is very popular, and Rambler paid $7 million to pick up those rights.

Getting a patent with multiple inventors

You work with your business partner to come up with an invention. It's going to be the basis for your new company. You think there is a huge market for it and no one else makes anything like it.

As such, you decide that you absolutely want to get a patent on the idea. You know that this is generally done by the inventor alone. They are the only one who can legally apply. If someone else does it, it could be fraud or an attempt to steal the invention.

Technology changes plagiarism scandals

Technology seems to change everything in time, and the rate at which it has developed over the last 50 years is nearly mind-blowing. It seems like nothing is left untouched. That even goes for plagiarism scandals.

Take, for instance, the accusations of plagiarism leveled on the author of a book called "The Girls." The author's ex-boyfriend said that he had written parts of the book in email messages, and that she stole them and added them to the work.

Companies go to great lengths to protect recipes

For food producers, the recipe for a certain food is often the most valuable thing that they own. Anyone can make a similar food, but no one can make that same exact dish. It's that unique blend that allows the company to thrive.

One of the most prolific examples of this is KFC. The company makes fried chicken, which is common on its own, but their blend of spices and herbs is what gives it their unique flavor. They have gone to great lengths to protect that recipe.

How long will your copyright last?

You're an artist. Maybe you write songs or novels, for instance. You love to create.

At the same time, though, you know that it's a business. People do steal other people's creations and intellectual property for their own gain. That's why your copyright on your work is so important. You want to share it with the world, but you also want to make sure that you still own everything that you have put so much time and effort into.

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