Lawrence G. Townsend Intellectual Property Lawyer
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October 2017 Archives

News and Notes Focused on the 3 Public Faces of IP Law

  • Brand Image Protection - Trademark Law
  • Visual Image Protection - Copyright Law
  • Personal Image Protection - Right of Publicity Law

The Image Protection Law blog has been created in order to share stories and information on the legal aspects of: 1) the marketplace reputation of a company or product captured in its trademark, 2) published or publicly-displayed artwork, photography, and any created visual design, and 3) use of a person's photograph or likeness for product promotion or other commercial purposes.

The "IP3" share at least one thing in common: Image is everything. In these posts let's look at what that means in the realm of intellectual property in the news, but let's also be prepared to explore if there's something more beyond "everything." Don't forget, the intellectual in "intellectual property" doesn't mean smart or brainy, although by nature true creators often are. The word is used to refer to any creation, i.e., a "product of the mind." While this blog will be regularly updated, you are encouraged to share your thoughts on these posts.

2 years later, dispute over copyright on primate selfie settled

Philosophy is a tricky thing. The questions wrestled with often seem simple, but a deeper dive into an issue shows the complications. One example is the famous question, if a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Another that might warrant the same scrutiny is one we posed more than two years ago. "Who should own the copyright in a selfie that is composed, art-directed, and shot by a monkey?" Should it be the owner of the camera or the monkey?

Is scope of publicity rights being put to the test in Ali case?

Even if you aren't a boxing fan, you likely know who is being talked about when the words, "I am the greatest" are heard. Heavyweight legend Muhammad Ali is the man identified with that phrase, even 40 years after he first uttered the words. Ali died last year.

Comic convention lawsuit: 'Genericide' in action?

In our last post, we explored the issue of "genericide." As we discussed, the genericization of a product or a brand is something that attentive business people want to avoid. The risk is that if a trademark isn't defended and the product or service it's associated with becomes commoditized, it can erode the ability to optimize earnings.

How can I avoid the hazards of 'genericide'?

Some readers with receding hairlines or graying tresses will remember the age of generic products. Back in the 1980s, goods from bleach to spaghetti noodles started appearing in grocery stores. They stood out for what they lacked - specifically colorful labels, company branding and logos. Generics carried minimalist black and white labels; so instead of Budweiser, a person might buy simply Beer.

4 ways startup founders can prevent trade secret lawsuits

4 ways startup founders can prevent trade secret lawsuits

Lawsuits from an old employer can add up to expensive legal problems for a new business owner. Many startup founders face accusations from their old employers, claiming that they stole trade secrets. Startup owners may fear that they do not have the resources to fight back against these lawsuits. A trade secret claim is at the heart of a $2.6 billion lawsuit Google filed against Uber for trade secret theft. The problems started when Uber bought Otto, a self-driving car startup founded by a former Google employee. Following are four steps startup founders can take to help prevent trade secret lawsuits brought by former employers.

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