Legal Blogs

McDonalds Accused of Trademark Bullying

Posted by Brandon Selinsky on May 4, 2017

The fast food company McDonald’s was recently accused of of being a trademark bully in a complaint filed with the European Union Intellectual Property Office by the founder and CEO of the Supermac fast food chain. The company claims that McDonald’s is bullying its competition by trademarking every word containing either “Mc” or “Mac.”

While this case involves a decision by a European court, trademark bullying is also a significant problem in the United States. Each year, there are a number of cases in the news involving “trademark bullying.”

While some individuals view this type of behavior as merely adequate enforcement of an individual’s trademark rights, other individuals feel that this type of behavior goes beyond the reasonable bounds of trademark protection. 

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Topics: Intellectual Property, Trademark Law

What is a Patent Term Extension and How Do I Get One?

Posted by Brandon Selinsky on May 3, 2017

For some types of inventions, such as new and nonobvious pharmaceutical compositions, securing a patent from the federal government is only half the battle. In addition to obtaining patent rights, pharmaceuticals and other compositions that might be consumed by humans are required to undergo a review process conducted by the Federal Food and Drug Administration.

Patent rights prevent others from making, using, selling or importing the patented invention. But patent rights are only enforceable for a set amount of time (twenty years from their filing date), and the prosecution of the patent application can take a number of years on its own. But even if a patent is issued for a novel pharmaceutical composition, that does not mean that the pharmaceutical company can immediately go sell the product. New pharmaceuticals cannot go to market without FDA approval.

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Topics: Intellectual Property, International Law

4 Common Legal Opinions Concerning Patents

Posted by Brandon Selinsky on May 1, 2017

When it comes to obtaining patent protection for a new and nonobvious invention, there is a lot to consider. Obtaining intellectual property rights in the form of a patent often requires a huge investment of time and financial resources.

However, the benefits of obtaining patent protection can far outweigh the upfront costs. Since patents are such a valuable assets, but also a costly undertaking, many people who are considering filing for a patent or who have already obtained a patent find obtaining legal opinions concerning various aspects of their invention or patent can be reassuring.

Whether you are considering pursuing patent protection for an invention or you already hold a patent, there are many situations where you may need a legal opinion concerning your intellectual property. 

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Topics: Intellectual Property, International Law

2 Common Types of Patent Infringement

Posted by Brandon Selinsky on April 29, 2017

If a competitor is making, using, selling or importing a product that you have patented, you cannot standby andallow the infringement of your intellectual property rights.

Unauthorized use or selling of the product by your competitor is a violation of your right to exclude others from making, using or selling your patented invention.

In order to put a stop to infringement, you should first send a cease and desist letter that is prepared by a patent lawyer to the alleged infringer. If a letter does not put a stop to the infringing conduct, then a patent infringement lawsuit is the next step for enforcing your patent rights.

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Topics: Intellectual Property

What You Need to Know About Bundled Patent Rights

Posted by Joseph Whitcomb on April 16, 2017

Bundled Patent Rights

Patent rights are one of the most valuable forms of intellectual property because a patent is not just a single right - a patent actually consists of a bundle of rights. The bundle of rights can be broken down or segmented into individual rights or smaller groups of rights, which can be licensed, assigned, sold, or otherwise exploited for financial gains.

Savvy patent holders often work closely with experienced patent lawyers to figure out ways to commercialize their patent rights and other intellectual property.

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Topics: Intellectual Property

Managing Our Vices: Understanding the Alcohol Tobacco Tax Trade Bureau

Posted by Brandon Selinsky on December 3, 2016

Who's in Charge of the Beer?                                        

In the realm of brewing, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Trade Bureau, or TTB, evaluates things at several different stages:

  1. Operations approval
  2. Formula approval
  3. Beer label approval

Great American Beer Festival season is upon us and our turns our thoughts to beer.[1] In recent years, discussions of brewing law have often revolved around trademark disputes, which have become increasingly contentious and numerous. But trademark disputes are like the early arrival of pumpkin beers: we need a break from all that. Instead, we are going to look at the decidedly less sexy—but equally important--topic of the TTB.

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Topics: Intellectual Property, Trademark Law

Equitable Estoppel Defense and Intellectual Property Infringement

Posted by Brandon Selinsky on May 12, 2015

This blog post will be the first of a series dealing with this subject.  In completing my LLC (Master of Laws) in International Business Transactions at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, I spent the last 4 1/2 months studying the subject of Intellectual Property rights in an International Business Transactions setting.  

This series of blogs will be about the International Trade Commission’s treatment of four affirmative defenses over the last ten years:  Collateral estoppel, waiver, laches, and acquiesces.  The author’s method of research involved reviewing a sampling of 85 International Trade Commission (ITC) decisions issued since January 1, 2005.  Most of these cases involved hundreds of filings and some were filed by Fortune 100 companies. 

What this blog will deal with are the affirmative defenses raised in these cases, the elements of those defenses, and the Administrative Law Judges’ (ALJs’) treatment of those defenses.

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Topics: Intellectual Property, Trademark Law

Copyrights, Intellectual Property, and Work Done for Hire

Posted by Brandon Selinsky on May 12, 2015

Is Work That Was Created for My Employer Eligible for Copyrights?

When you create a work that is normally protected by U.S. copyrights law, you normally assume that protection yourself, as the creator. But this is not always true.

In the case of a work made for hire, the employer or other person for whom the work was prepared is considered the author and owns all of the rights that comes with the copyrights unless the parties have expressly agreed otherwise in a signed document.

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Topics: Government Contracting, Intellectual Property

Disney Hit With A Copyright Infringement Suit For “Frozen”

Posted by Brandon Selinsky on January 6, 2015

How similar is "similar" in a copyright infringement suit?

Frozen very quickly captured the hearts of young children and adults all over the world.  It seems that every child, girl or boy knows the words to every song, and because of this, most parents have most likely seen the video at least once.  

In addition to its popularity, this fan favorite animated movie has meant big business for Disney.  It could be Disney’s biggest film ever grossing $1.22 billion as of May of 2014, winning an Oscar for Best Animated Feature, and hosting the biggest selling soundtrack in the U.K. since Mamma Mia!  

But could it be that the Frozen trailer is actually a copy of another animated film?  For animator Kerry Wilson, the trailer for Frozen is a copy of her 2-D animated short, The Snowman.  Wilson is so certain of this that she has filed a copyright infringement suit for infringement against Disney.

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Topics: Intellectual Property

Understanding Copyright Infringement & YouTube Advertising

Posted by Brandon Selinsky on January 5, 2015

Can advertising on Youtube lead to copyright infringement?

YouTube, the ubiquitous video-sharing website now owned by Google, has become a launching ground for individuals and businesses seeking to increase their recognition.  Many international businesses have used the site as an inexpensive means of international marketing.  An effective YouTube channel or video can reach potential customers across the globe at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising.  Red Bull’s YouTube channel is a great example of an effective use of YouTube.  

However, many small businesses use the site as well, and when they do, they place themselves at risk of being sued if certain precautions aren’t taken.  Unfortunately, without in-house legal teams overseeing their every move, small businesses are at higher risk than large corporations.

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Topics: Intellectual Property