Intellectual property such as patents, copyrights and trademarks are often the most valuable assets of companies in California, and they may go to great lengths to see that they are protected. Business owners could be forgiven for thinking that proprietary technology, formulas or designs are safe from infringement once a patent has been issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, but a review process put into place in 2012 may prompt them to reconsider this assumption.
People in California who like video games and who follow YouTube may be familiar with the phrase 'Let's Play." This is the term used in the titles of enormously popular YouTube videos that feature recordings of video games with commentary by the players. Recently, Sony attempted to trademark 'Let's Play" but had its trademark application rejected.
California musicians as well as their fans may know that Spotify was sued by a musician in December for allegedly reproducing copyrighted material. Now a second musician has filed a similar lawsuit against the music-streaming service, joining with the first plaintiff to request that class-action status be granted to them and other musicians allegedly victimized by the company.
Most businesses are not the owners of all of the intellectual property that they use. Some of their IP rights are obtained from people or other entities under license agreements, which gives them the right to use the IP but does not give them ownership. Some California licensees, however, might want to be prepared for what happens if the licensors file for bankruptcy.