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Toymaker Clashes with Beastie Boys Over Fair Use

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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

Surveying Survey Evidence

170588495Survey 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

Before Starting Up a Start-Up

blog-87344376Internet 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?

Continue reading

Have You Done a Trade Secret Audit?

secret_105634725The best way to analyze a company’s trade secrets (and how well protected they are) is through a formal audit. Here’s an overview of how to do a trade secret audit. Continue reading

So Happy Together: 15 Things to Discuss with Joint Venturers

When clients come to you to set up a joint venture, they’re often excited and focused on the big picture. You need to be the details person, and maybe a bit of a wet blanket. Continue reading

What IP Attorneys Need to Know About M&A Agreements

Although federal and state corporation, securities, antitrust, and tax laws governing mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are complex and nuanced, and the structure of a given transaction is usually driven by tax and securities considerations that aren’t within intellectual property counsel’s control, it’s useful for intellectual property lawyers to know the basic structures of these deals and the impact on the intellectual property provisions in the agreement. Here’s a crash course on basic types of M&A agreements. Continue reading

Get Intellectual Property Counsel in on Your M&A Deal

Despite Zuckerman’s decision to go it alone on the Instagram deal, intellectual property counsel play an increasingly important role in mergers and acquisitions (M&A). M&A used to be the domain of corporate lawyers, and corporate lawyers still typically lead M&A transaction teams, but it’s now common to see intellectual property counsel from both sides working as part of the team to draft and negotiate the intellectual property aspects of the agreement. That is as it should be. Continue reading

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