Monthly Archives: February 2012

Bits and Bytes

After a Sixth Circuit decision this week, Sony/ATV owns the copyrights to some of the great Roger Miller’s works, including one of my all time favorite songs, the iconic “King of the Road.” The case turned on the question of who owned the renewal rights to the works–Sony as Roger Miller’s assignee, or Roger Miller Music, Miller’s widow’s assignee. The Sixth Circuit reversed a roughly $900,00 verdict for Roger Miller Music, finding that Sony owned the renewal rights and was entitled to the ownership and royalty income from the works.

Justin Beiber was Sued in Florida Over “Joustin Beaver” Mobile Phone App. The plaintiff seeks declaratory judgment of non-infringement, non-dilution, and a determination that it is merely lawfully exercising its First Amendment rights. The Beibs has not weighed in yet but this seems like a great publicity stunt for the App…

Fuel Clothing Co. sues Nike in South Carolina, claiming Nike’s use of “Fuel” infringes its trademarks.

The 2012 Defense Act May Make it Difficult for Defense Contractors to Protect Their IP.

Top Five Ways to Protect Your Website

Below are the top five things to consider to ensure that your website and its content are adequately protected:

1.      Own Your Own Content

As a threshold matter, you need to create all the content yourself or, if it is created by others, it must be done pursuant to a “work for hire” agreement. If not, the person writing the content or providing the graphic or photographs owns the content, not you or      Continue reading

As If Wall Street Didn’t Have Enough Problems…

The Second Circuit issued what could be a significant blow to the one percent last week. Wall Street has been using the Economic Espionage Act (“EEA”) as an important weapon in its arsenal to protect its trade secrets against theft by rogue employees. For example, Goldman Sachs Group, Inc’s former programmer was convicted under the EEA of stealing Goldman’s confidential Continue reading

Another Cautionary Tale of Copyright Infringement: MergerMarket v. Cantor Fitzgerald

Here’s another case that points out the perils of copying and distributing content belonging to others. MergerMarket sued Cantor Fitzgerald and its managing director on Tuesday for copyright infringement. MergerMarket is a business news organization that provides its subscribers, mostly financial institutions, with the latest news and intelligence on mergers and acquisitions. According to MergerMarket’s Continue reading

Bits and Bytes

Madonna and “Girls Gone Wild“…Trademark Infringement or Publicity Stunt?

10 Tips for Creating a Social Media Policy for Your Business…

5 Simple Ways to Take Better Pictures, No Matter How Cheap Your Camera Is…

Do This Before You Get To The Fun Items on Your Bucket List…

Chattanooga, Tennessee Designs its Very Own Typeface….

7 Wildly Successful People Who Survived Bankruptcy

2011 Media Law Year in Review….

5 Reasons Teenagers Act the Way They Do….(Other Than the Fact That They Are Contractually Obligated to Do So…)


Who Wins the Race to Use A Trademark First?

In a shoot-off between two users of the same trademark, everything hinges on who used the mark first. It seems like this would be a simple determination: whoever can show that he or she used the mark first in commerce wins. Case closed. Like most things in the law, it is not quite that cut and dried. In order to establish that you are the senior user of a mark, you not only have to show that you used the mark first in commerce, you have to show that your use was “systematic and continuous.” People commonly assume that “continuous” means that you used the mark and you have never abandoned use of the mark. Because “abandonment” means non-use of a mark for some period of time (usually three years but can be shorter under some state statutes) with an intent not to resume use, most people think the “continuous” element is a lost cause when trying to attack another’s user’s seniority. However, an absence of abandonment is not the standard when determining whether the first one to use the mark made systematic and continuous use of it. Instead, in this context, “continuous” means “use without significant interruption.” 5 J. Thomas McCarthy on Trademarks, § 26:55 (2008) citing Casual Corner Associates, Inc. v. Casual Stores of Nevada, Inc., 493 F. 2d 709 (9th Cir. 1974) (non-use for one year was not “continuing” use).

Continue reading

Social Media Explained For the Newbie

This pretty much sums it up, folks. Let me know if you have any questions.

The Blog Got a Makeover

I’ve been working on improving the blog which meant moving to a different host. Please bear with me while I’m working out the bugs. I have heard from a number of folks that the RSS link doesn’t work and I’m trying to sort that out. I really appreciate the number of nice emails that I’ve received about the blog and  the folks that are reading it. I hope you like the improvements. Paige

Knox County School System Trademarks High School Mascots and Logos to Create a Valuable Revenue Source


The Knox County School System has invested in trademarking the school names and logos of its 12 high schools, tapping a source of revenue that was not previously available. According to school superintendant Jim McIntyre, the school district realized that others were selling merchandise emblazoned with its school mascots, etc., and the district was not being compensated for those uses. The district has registered its marks and entered into a licensing deal with Strategic Marketing Affiliates in order to monetize the trademarks. The district has already received its first royalty check for $940 from merchandise sold at Walgreens. This is not an insignificant amount for many cash-strapped school systems. Is your school system passing up badly-needed funds because it hasn’t protected and policed its valuable intellectual property?