The Great IDEA | Newsletter

What is the point of Intellectual Property and what does it mean to my business?

GREATIDEA

Posted April 4, 2017

What is Intellectual Property? Most people will tell you that it is a trademark, a copyright, or a patent and that is all true. But what does that mean? Generally, a patent protects inventions, a copyright protects a creation, and a trademark is a word or symbol associated with a company or product. Your business could have one or all of these types of intellectual property.

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AMAZON ASKS: ARE THESE THE DRONES YOU’RE LOOKING FOR?

GREATIDEA

Posted March 1, 2017

The opportunity for automated delivery systems is booming, and Amazon is going all-in. The USPTO recently granted Amazon’s patent application for “In-flight reconfigurable hybrid unmanned aerial vehicle,” representing only one of Amazon’s 100+ patents or patent applications related to unmanned aerial vehicles (“UAV”). But, this one might stand out.

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DISNEY ANALYZES RIDERS’ EXPRESSIONS TO CUSTOMIZE EXPERIENCES

GREATIDEA

Posted February 1, 2016

The market for personalized ecperiences is booming, and disney may be on at the leading edge. The USPTO recently published Disney’s “Sensing and Managing Vehicle Behavior Based on Occupant Awareness,” and this invention has wide ramifications for theme parks as we know them. Disney’s patient application provides for a system and method that analyzes riders’ real-time emotional states and adjusts the rides accordingly.

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WHEN SOULS COLLIDE: PROTECTING BRANDS AGAINST CONSUMER CONFUSION

GREATIDEA

Posted July 27, 2016

“Souls colliding” sounds like a line from a love song. However, it is currently being used to describe a trademark clash between two health and fitness companies: SoulCycle, Inc. and The Color Run, LLC. SoulCycle is the company behind the indoor cycling classes set to high energy music in a club-like atmosphere. The Color run is the company that created running events where runners are splattered with colored powder Lately, however, The color Run has begun offering yoga classes under the moniker “Soul Pose.”

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“PARADISE CITY” ISN’T ALL ROSES FOR AXL ROSE: TAKING UNWANTED PHOTOS OFF THE NET

Issue15

Posted June 20, 2016

A photograph of Axl Rose, famed lead vocalist of the band Guns N’ Roses, has recently become one of the most prevalent memes circulating the internet. The picture was taken by Boris Minkevich, of the Winnipeg Free Press, in 2010 while covering a Guns N’ Roses concert. Denizens of the Internet have used this image of an overweight Axl Rose to create comical memes such as: “Take me down to the bakery city/Where the pies have cream and the cakes are tasty” and “Remember the 80s….Axl Rose ate them.”

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Kevin Spacey’s Patented Technology: Fighting Back Against Unwanted Emails

Issue15

Posted May 23, 2016

From an elusive crime lord in The Usual Suspects to the President of the United States of America in house of cards, Kevin Spacey’s roles have covered a large spectrum of characters. The critically-acclaimed actor can now add another feather to his illustrious cap: patent inventor. The USPTO recently issued a patent to spacey and Dana Brunetti (Spacey’s longtime producing partner) for a “systems and Methods for Implementing Email Delivery,” U.S.Patent No.9,306,887 BI….

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CHINA GRANTS DISNEY SPECIAL INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY PROTECTION

Issue15

Posted November, 2015

For years, international brands have struggled to overcome rampant counterfeiting in China. Up until now, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Olaf the snowman were no exception. However, in an effort to “promote the development of a fair and competitive market,” the Chinese State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) announced plans to give special intellectual property protection to the Walt Disney Company….

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FOSTERING INNOVATION THROUGH COLLABORATION:GOOGLE PATENT TROLLS

Issue15

Posted October 1, 2015

As the number of patent law suits filled in the United States reaches record levels, Google has begun an effort to protect startups from nonpracticing entities(NPEs) otherwise known as patent trolls. NPEs are different from traditional patent holders in that they don’t sell any products or offer any services. Instead, their business model is centered around acquiring rights through patents and then enforcing…

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$41 MILLION VERDICT RENDERED IN TORY BURCH TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT SUIT

Issue15

Posted August 18, 2015

Fashion icon Tory Burch was awarded $38.9 million in damages, $2.3 million in attorneys’ fees, and a permanent injunction to stop New York-based jewelry manufacturer Lin & J from the manufacture and sale of knockoff products. Prior to filing suit, Burch “sent a representative to Lin & J’s showroom in New York that was shown a variety of knockoffs and…” “identified a wholesaler in Alabama…

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REDSKINS REGISTRATION REVOKED: TRADEMARK REGISTRATIONS NOT PROTECTED SPEECH

Issue15

Posted July 15, 2015

The Redskins may no longer receive the full protection offered by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to prevent others from using the Redskins trademark on merchandise and other promotional materials. Earlier this year, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board cancelled six trademark registrations held by the Washington Redskins as being offensive to Native Americans

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IRON MAN TECHNOLOGY: IS MICROSOFT MAKING IT A REALITY?

Issue15

Posted June 8, 2015

Microsoft was recently granted a patent for a holographic interface. Similar to Iron Man Tony Stark’s JARVIS, this system would allow users to view and interact with graphic projections overlaid onto real-world objects by simply donning a pair of computer-enabled spectacles. This technology has a multitude of uses ranging from gaming devices to detection of and reaction to user’s stress levels.

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I“HAPPY” OSCAR WINNER PHARRELL AND WILL.I.AM SETTLE TRADEMARK DISPUTE

Issue15

Posted March 14, 2014

When Trademark Registration Hits a Sour Note
Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am wasn’t singing “Happy” when he sought legal action against Oscar-winning music producer Pharrell Williams. Will.i.am accused his fellow musician of not respecting the intellectual property rights of others while alluding to an ongoing dispute Pharrell and Robin Thicke are having with Marvin Gaye over the hit song “Blurred Lines.”

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Lululemon And Ck Reach Yoga Pant Settlement

Issue15

Posted November 13, 2013

Design Patents Continue to Play a Large Role Protecting Designers from Copycats
High-end Yoga giant Lululemon claims a big victory in the name of ingenuity while defending their original designs against misappropriation. In a lawsuit filed in Delaware Federal Court last month, Lululemon accused well known design house Calvin Klein, Inc. of copying their patented designs and selling them as their own.

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‘BLURRED LINES’ – The Hit of the Summer comes Under Fire but Thicke isn’t taking it is sitting down.

Issue15

Posted August 19, 2013

Facing criticism and public accusations of copyright infrigrmrnt by Marvin Gaye and George Clinton, Robin Thicke has turned to the Federal Courts for declaratory relief. Attornerys who represent Thicke and his collaborators Pharrell Williams and T.I.,

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Proposed Legislation to make Inventors Race to the Patent Office

Issue15

Posted February 16, 2011

The United States is one of the only industrialized countries in the world to have a “first to invent” patent system. Currently, if inventor Adam files a patent application and later inventor Ben files a patent application for the same invention, Ben could still be awarded the patent. This would happen if Ben proved he came up with the invention before Adam. Most of the world uses a “first to file” system. Here, the patent would go to Adam because he filed his application before Ben.

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Apple Faces Trademark Opposition from Microsoft

Issue15

Posted January 12, 2011

The creator of the iPhone is now facing opposition from Microsoft as they attempt to trademark the name “App Store” for their popular software application. In general, trademarks are granted different levels of protection based on originality and creativity. The more bespoke a trademark is, the more protection the government is willing to grant. A trademark which is comprised of a totally made-up word such as “ShamWow” is labeled fanciful and given the highest level of protection.

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Net Neutrality and the Impact on Your Copyrights

Issue15

Posted December 29, 2010

In a recent 3-2 vote, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) came out in favor of Net Neutrality. This name was given to the principle that all web traffic must be treated equally without restriction or limitation on the content individuals can access. The decision marks the first time the commission has taken up enforceable rules to direct the web.

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The Supreme Court Takes On Microsoft Patent Case

Issue15

Posted December 15, 2010

It used to be that one rarely heard about the Supreme Court reviewing a Patent Law issue. These cases were historically relegated to the Federal Circuit. The reasons being the Judge’s experience with science and technology and the complexity associated with patent law. However, perhaps in growing recognition of the important role patents play in our economy, the high court has once again cast its gaze on this area of intellectual property law.

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Freedom of Speech on the Net backed by U.K. Supreme Court

Issue15

Posted December 1, 2010

Today, the U.K. Supreme Court issued a ruling that enhanced speech rights of it’s citizens on the internet. Traditionally, you could get into a lot of trouble for things you said about others on networking sites such as facebook and twitter. If the comments you made were not true and caused harm to another, you may be found liable for defamation.

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Gerard Butler Sued for TM Infringement

Issue15

Posted November 17, 2010

The well-known leading man is being sued for injunctive relief and $2 million in damages for naming his production company “Evil Twins Entertainment.”

The trademark infringement lawsuit is being brought by Kristen Armfield and Harri Mark. They are the owners of a production company called “Evil Twin Productions” who prudently registered the trademark in 1996. Their screen credits include High School Musical 3, The Dark Knight and the band Coldplay’s Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends, as well as others.

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LimeWire found Liable for Copyright Infringement

Issue15

Posted November 10, 2010

Popular file sharing software LimeWire was in litigation over four years before it was shutdown on November 6. If you try to access it now, all you will find is a banner that reads: “This is an official notice that LimeWire is under a court-ordered injunction to stop distributing and supporting its file-sharing software. Downloading or sharing copyrighted content without authorization is illegal.”

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DOJ Shocks the Patent Community…Are Gene’s Still Patentable?

Issue15

Posted November 3, 2010

Patent practitioners in the United States have long understood that isolated and purified gene sequences constitute patentable subject matter. Now, however, the Department of Justice is trying to change that.

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The FBI Requests New Legisation which may make your Personal Data more Vulnerable

Issue15

Posted October 27, 2010

Relatively new communication services such as Google Chat, Skype, or Blackberry Messenger use special types of encryption to protect confidential information from hackers. The FBI is now seeking to gain more access to user information…

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Twitter and the Law…How to avoid getting in Twouble

Issue15

Posted October 20, 2010

Twitter makes it easy for users communicating to large audiences over the Internet. There’s very little preparation that needs to go into what you’re going to say and in seconds you can conceivably communicate your message to millions of people.

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Apple Awarded Sexting Patent

Issue15

Posted October 13, 2010

As technology increases our access to limitless information so does the need for parental controls on advanced devices. Clearly recognizing this need, Apple was recently awarded a patent for a “Text-based communication control for personal communication device.”

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Trademarks: USC v. USC… USC wins

Issue15

Posted October 6, 2010

By refusing to hear the University of South Carolina’s appeal, the Supreme Court ended a 13- year-old dispute over interlocking letters “SC”. Prior to this appeal, the Federal Circuit held the University of Southern California and not South Carolina is the proprietor of intellectual property rights in the mark. Their ruling stands.

Trademark law protects identifiers of origin. Put more simply, the reason you know shoes bearing the “swoosh” emblem are Nikes and not something else is because of trademark law. Nike has registered the “swoosh” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office limiting other company’s ability to fool buyers by placing it on their products.

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Copyrights and Copycats: Prevent others from Stealing your Creative Works

Issue15

Posted September 29, 2010

On September 28, 2010 the Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill that could ban
access to websites violating United States copyright laws.

Copyright law protects original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium. This
can be distinguished from patent law which does not require the invention be made
before it can be patented. Common subject matter protected under the Copyright Act
includes music, screenplays, and works of art. The particular way a website looks can
be copyrighted. Similarly, so can a painting or photograph…

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