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Questions Answered by Timothy John Billick
2 Answers | Asked in Copyright for Ohio on
Q: Is a short story from 1920 now in the public domain?

I would like to reprint in a book I am writing a story story that has its first publication date November 26, 1920. The author passed away in 1923. Can I print a copy of this short story in my book without permission and therefore not be subject to any legal repercussions? Thank you.

Timothy John Billick
Timothy John Billick answered on Jan 21, 2021

The particular work itself is in the public domain, yes. However, it's possible that *other* works using similar characters and the like could be protected by copyright law. Though your risk of infringement is low here, your best bet is to still consult with an IP attorney to cover your bases.

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1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property for Michigan on
Q: How much would it cost for one individual to buy an intellectual property, more specifically, a video game character?

The character in question is "Karnov", a character created by the now defunct video game company "Data East", the current owner of this IP is "Gmode". This company redistributes Data East's old arcade titles as digital games online.

Timothy John Billick
Timothy John Billick answered on Jan 21, 2021

Unfortunately this question will be answered with "it depends." If the character/IP is not being used, you may have some solid negotiating leverage in getting a good price. Please consult an IP attorney to help with this issue.

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Kentucky on
Q: Is it legal to use pictures found online for private use?

My family and I play dnd as a small group. Is it legal for us to use images from google as tokens for our characters?

The tokens do not get distributed and the images are only seen by us.

Would this qualify as fair use or would we need to seek permission to use the pictures.

Timothy John Billick
Timothy John Billick answered on Jan 9, 2021

My colleague gave a good run-down of fair use, but didn't answer your question.

If you keep the images to yourself (i.e. don't display the images prominently on social media, make T-shirts, etc.), your risk of infringement here is very, very low.

Have fun and don't crit!

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2 Answers | Asked in Trademark for Georgia on
Q: If someone is using my company name as a website can I do anything?

Company name is trademarked.

Timothy John Billick
Timothy John Billick answered on Jan 8, 2021

Yes. You have options.

Assuming you have a solid case of infringement, you could perhaps file a trademark lawsuit in state court, federal court, or start resolution through whomever is hosting the website (likely ICANN).

Please talk to an experienced IP attorney to discuss these...
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1 Answer | Asked in Trademark for Florida on
Q: Is it legal to use the name "Love Spell" on a candle?
Timothy John Billick
Timothy John Billick answered on Jan 8, 2021

It is possible that this phrase is protected under trademark law. In which case, the scope of your rights could be determined by any prior use of the same or similar mark.

Whether your use of a mark infringes on someone else's use hinges on a number of factors including:

(1)...
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2 Answers | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for Arizona on
Q: I want to use an ice cube bag tray to sell my product that has a patent. Can I still use it without legal issues?

I have seen many of these types of ice cube bags sold on amazon, but I want to clarify if I can fill them with my liquid and sell them.

Timothy John Billick
Timothy John Billick answered on Jan 7, 2021

To conduct a worthwhile patent analysis, please provide an experienced patent attorney with product photos or samples along with the patent(s) at issue.

Your question is unclear if you are making, using, selling, or offering for sale a patented invention.

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2 Answers | Asked in Trademark for South Carolina on
Q: Would I be able to legally make my slogan We went to Jared?
Timothy John Billick
Timothy John Billick answered on Jan 7, 2021

Most likely not, but it depends on how you plan to use the mark. Trademark infringement is a highly fact-intensive inquiry covering a lot of factors:

(1) strength of the marks, (2) relatedness of the goods, (3) similarity of the marks, (4) evidence of actual confusion, (5) marketing...
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2 Answers | Asked in Consumer Law, Products Liability and Intellectual Property on
Q: Is it legal to make a promotional video for a product that is not mine?

I had a question for an idea i wanted to do but not sure if it is legal? is it legal/ok to make promotional video for a product thats not mine. For example if i make an affiliate link on amazon products but would like to advertise my affiliate link with a self made video of product in a paid... Read more »

Timothy John Billick
Timothy John Billick answered on Jan 7, 2021

Most likely not, as a reasonable consumer may think you are providing a false endorsement of a product when you are not the source of that product.

Consult with an experienced IP attorney to review your materials to give you a better idea.

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2 Answers | Asked in Copyright, Civil Litigation, Civil Rights and Communications Law for Alabama on
Q: a you tube program has published photos of me without my permission, It is illegal? I don't want them to use my image

a you tube program has published photos of me without my permission, It is illegal? I don't want them to use my image

Timothy John Billick
Timothy John Billick answered on Jan 6, 2021

We all have a right of privacy, which includes our "right of publicity." However, if your image was taken while you were in a public place, and/or your image was only briefly shown, it will be much harder to assert your claim. Please consult with an IP/privacy attorney to fully assess your rights.

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2 Answers | Asked in Trademark, Communications Law and Identity Theft for Alaska on
Q: If I should change my domain name, would this change be of any damage to my original trademark invention?
Timothy John Billick
Timothy John Billick answered on Jan 6, 2021

Please update this question with more information

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Trademark for Pennsylvania on
Q: Can I put “one tree hill” on a tshirt and sell it?? Or sell a tshirt with the show character names on it?
Timothy John Billick
Timothy John Billick answered on Jan 4, 2021

This course of action runs a high risk of copyright infringement. Copyright protection extends to television characters and television shows. It is also possible this show has a trademark separately on the show name as well. As always, please consult an experienced intellectual property before you... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Trademark for Tennessee on
Q: Can I use the name Let Love Rule Plus for my education platform?

I know Lenny Kravitz has the name Let Love Rule trademarked. I wasn't sure if I could use Let Love Rule Plus without and conflict.

Timothy John Billick
Timothy John Billick answered on Jan 1, 2021

If someone has the exact mark trademarked you run a high risk of infringement. But it’s possible you could have good counter arguments depending on a number factors. For example, knowing how LK uses this mark in commerce would be highly determinative.

1 Answer | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) on
Q: Hello, how do I check if the product I intend to sell has any competitor products that are patented?

I plan to sell on amazon.com, I am a new seller and I am trying to understand the process of checking if any of the competitor products to my own, have existing patents. Can you help me understand how to check for patents on specific products?

Timothy John Billick
Timothy John Billick answered on Dec 31, 2020

A patent attorney or patent agent can perform a "clearance search" or "freedom to operate" opinion for you. The USPTO and other international patent offices has databases for you to explore as well. The geographic scope of where you plan to sell will dictate which countries you... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Trademark for New York on
Q: Why is our trademark showing Published For Opposition after we already got our certificate with the registration number?

and how can I change that?

Timothy John Billick
Timothy John Billick answered on Dec 31, 2020

My colleague above unfortunately has not given you an accurate answer.

Being "published for opposition" is a routine occurrence in the trademark world. This means that your application has been published in the Official Gazette; and essentially allows third parties to object to...
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2 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Trademark on
Q: Is it a violation of copyright law to write memoirs about a boat named the Kahlua Kruiser?

In 1985, I named my houseboat the Kahlua Kruiser and posted the name on the boat. I owned the boat for 15 years until I sold it in 2000. I am now writing memoirs about my houseboating on Lake Powell. I have used the name Kahlua Kruiser in these memoirs. Kahlua is a copyrighted name and if these... Read more »

Timothy John Billick
Timothy John Billick answered on Dec 31, 2020

This is a tough call, but you are running a risk of trademark infringement and false designation of origin violations. Trademark infringement is a highly fact-intensive analysis, so you should consult with an IP attorney before you embark on this project.

Some factors courts analyze in an...
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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Texas on
Q: I want to create kids ABC flash cards with my own art work but the need around movie characters.
Timothy John Billick
Timothy John Billick answered on Dec 31, 2020

If you're planning to use movie characters, you run a high risk of copyright infringement. Characters are copyright-protected. Please consult with an experienced IP attorney before you embark on this project to fully assess your risks.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Georgia on
Q: Can i make resin items with a triangle, cirlce and line? There will be no words included

I am looking to make a resin decoration with a deathly Hallows type design with no words.

Timothy John Billick
Timothy John Billick answered on Dec 31, 2020

It's possible the rights-holders to the HP series would take issue with this approach. However, you keep the design generic-looking you can minimize your risk of copyright infringement.

Please consult with an IP attorney to conduct a proper search and comparison of potentially similar...
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2 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Patents (Intellectual Property) on
Q: Do I require permission from companies to use purchased parts to build a complete new item to sell?

Hi, I'm considering starting my own "small guitar company" with the goal of producing around 24-36 guitars/basses per year. The guitar bodies will be of my own designs and built by me. However, I’ll need some parts such as neck, tuners, bridge, pickups, electronics and a few other... Read more »

Timothy John Billick
Timothy John Billick answered on Dec 31, 2020

My colleague above failed to account for the "first sale doctrine," which, in most circumstances, permits you to buy parts off-the-shelf and use them in new products. If you buy the products from a licensed retailer/wholesaler, you're most likely in the clear.

As a musician...
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1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property for Virginia on
Q: Can I register my chocolate Labrador Retriever's AKC name as Chewbacca? Star Wars trademark covers non-dog categories.

From Lucas trademark filing: Goods and Services: Christmas tree ornaments and Christmas tree decorations, plush toys, stuffed toys, toy action figures, toy guns

Timothy John Billick
Timothy John Billick answered on Dec 30, 2020

Trademark Infringement is a highly fact-intensive inquiry based on a number of factors including: (1) strength of the marks, (2) relatedness of the goods, (3) similarity of the marks, (4) evidence of actual confusion, (5) marketing channels, (6) degree of consumer care, (7) defendant's intent... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Trademark for Ohio on
Q: How can I determine if an old trademark is available for use without permission from the previous trademark holder?
Timothy John Billick
Timothy John Billick answered on Dec 30, 2020

My colleague did not provide useful information, unfortunately.

A trademark search can and should be conducted before you begin using a brand in commerce. An experienced trademark attorney can scope a search to your relevant geographic and subject matters to advise you on the risks with...
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