Does your client need to acquire rights to certain intellectual property (IP), e.g., someone else’s invention or copyrighted work? Licensing IP, rather than purchasing, can be advantageous in many circumstances, but there can be drawbacks as well. Before advising a client to enter into an IP license agreement, consider whether it makes sense given the client’s business needs.
Trade secrets are not necessarily outed in litigation. There’s a conditional privilege that protects owners of trade secrets from being forced to spill their secrets. Continue reading
It has been clear for some time that cybercrime isn’t an outlier in the spectrum of corporate risk. Yet many organizations have been slow to wake up to that reality, or having awoken, are unsure of what steps to take to manage that risk. Law firms are in the thick of it with nearly half of all firms infected with viruses, spyware, or malware last year. Continue reading
Can you state the difference between an idea and the expression of that idea? Don’t worry if it doesn’t slip off your tongue. This distinction is one of the most difficult areas of copyright law but far from academic because copyright law doesn’t protect ideas, but it does protect expressions of ideas. And this distinction remains key to technology copyright cases. Continue reading
Once an exception, the use of free and open-source software (FOSS) in commercial software products has become the rule. FOSS is particularly attractive to resource-strapped companies looking to avoid high software development costs or licensing fees, but even the biggies in the tech industry use FOSS. Despite its common use, FOSS carries risks and you need to do your due diligence.
Poaching employees from a rival company has risks. So does agreeing with your rivals not to poach employees from each other. Potential poachers beware… Continue reading
If you represent businesses, you know how important it is to protect their trade secrets. A crucial part of that effort is developing and implementing a trade secret protection plan. Specific company needs may vary, and plans have to be crafted with those needs in mind, but some elements should be included in any trade secret protection plan. Continue reading
The following is a guest blog post by Harmony Groves Kessler, a solo practitioner assisting individuals, small businesses, and attorneys with legal issues in criminal defense, business contracts/transactions and public agency law in northern California. She is the former Mayor of Arcata, California, where she served a four-year term on the City Council.
Updated March 18, 2014: The Beastie Boys and GoldieBlox have settled the suit. As part of the settlement, GoldieBlox will no longer be able to use its parody of the Beastie Boys’ song and will publish an apology to the band.
Updated January 3, 2014: Although GoldieBlox removed the song “Girls” from its video, the Beastie Boys sued GoldieBlox for copyright and trademark infringement, among other claims, seeking an injunction, damages, and lost profits based on the toy’s massive increase in sales, which they believe are the direct result of the video.
A creative rewrite of the Beastie Boys’ iconic song “Girls” recently stirred up trouble for a toymaker with good intentions. Continue reading
Survey evidence can be very useful in some cases, but questions are growing about its reliability. By knowing the issues involved with surveys, you’ll be better able to successfully use or oppose survey evidence. Continue reading
Internet start-ups are exciting ventures that can achieve remarkable growth on a shoestring. But smart entrepreneurs realize the value of hiring attorneys to form a legal entity for their start-ups, whether the entity is a corporation, partnership, or limited liability company. If a start-up comes to you for help, would you know the key pre-formation questions to ask?