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Questions Answered by Robert Philip Cogan

1 Answer | Asked in Trademark for California on

Q: My Trademark has been denied because the name of our Company is "descriptive of the product we are selling".

If I add our logo will the trademark then be approved or do I need to add something to the name itself?

Robert Philip Cogan answered on Aug 16, 2019

Usually when the refusal to register is based on descriptiveness, the examining attorney includes a description of some options that are available to you. Apparently you have not considered these options.

If you add the logo or something else, the mark being considered is no longer the...
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2 Answers | Asked in Business Formation and Business Law for California on

Q: If I am looking to start a business, but the name is taken on facebook and instagram but inactive, can that be trouble?

I am trying to start a business but the name is taken on instagram and facebook, but the accounts have not posted in years, and has under 100 followers on instagram and just 2 on facebook, can that lead to trouble?

Robert Philip Cogan answered on Aug 6, 2019

"Taken" is not the issue for trademark conflicts. There are many marks that are the same as others. However, they are generally in different categories and have minimal or no overlapping customer bases. A trademark attorney can assist you in determining the chances of your mark becoming a... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on

Q: Is it fair use for a professor to show an historically based movie to a campus club then explain its inaccuracies.

Would it be more likely or less likely to qualify as a fair use, if a History Club, that is part of a nonprofit educational institution, were to show historically based movies to club members and to have a history professor comment on and critique the accuracies and inaccuracies of the historical... Read more »

Robert Philip Cogan answered on Jul 23, 2019

In a book review, the writer quotes brief passages of the book as a basis for making a comment. The writer does not reproduce the whole book and than make a comment.

Your question gives the impression that you want to show the whole film and then have a professor comment on and critique...
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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Entertainment / Sports for California on

Q: I'm making an independent feature film and in the script I verbally reference work by other people.

Do I need to obtain clearance if the work is mentioned verbally and not actually seen on screen?. For example, if I have a line from a popular musical. Another example would be if I just mention a Television channel, like National Geographic?

Robert Philip Cogan answered on Jul 23, 2019

The copyright statute covers the form of expression in the work and not the ideas in it. Factual reference to an item is usually not infringement. However, it is difficult to tell what you mean by "verbally reference." Are you referring to the mention of a painting or are you repeating lyrics... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on

Q: Need to know if any royalty payments are due for any of my dads patents I inherited in 1993 by Inventor Allen C. Thomas

I seen 13 patents on your site stated Allen C. Thomas inventor of ,I own all rights due to inheritance

Robert Philip Cogan answered on Jul 21, 2019

Further facts are needed to address this question. How do you know you inherited the patents? This cannot simply be assumed. Is there a will specifying that this property went to you? Did your father own the patent rights when he died? Who may have used the patent rights and when? Did this all... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Business Law, Contracts and Real Estate Law for California on

Q: The contract signed electronically by both parties does not have the sellers legal name or correct initials. Is contrac

Is contract legal?

Robert Philip Cogan answered on Jul 19, 2019

As you will so often hear from attorneys on this forum, it is impossible to provide an answer regarding a contract sight unseen. However, the contract very well could be "legal." If you have any money at stake it might be penny wise and pound foolish to fail to consult an attorney.

1 Answer | Asked in Products Liability and Copyright for California on

Q: Can I use online-posted scientific research in support of my new product sales?

Can I post other's online pictures and text from their scientific experiments to help sell my new products?

Robert Philip Cogan answered on Jul 18, 2019

This is an open-ended question. In many cases using ideas from other publications is not copyright infringement. Using pictures and quotes could be. An interesting concept is that of getting permission from the author. This is not always difficult or expensive. Consulting an attorney could be a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Trademark for California on

Q: When if I had a brand name, and someone else is using it now. I can prove it.

I also had the same brand name for pod cast

Robert Philip Cogan answered on Jul 18, 2019

What do you mean by "have a brand name?" If you have a product or service you provide under the brand name there might be an issue to consider. If you happen to have a name that you wrote down and nobody else knows about it there might not be anything protectable there. You can usually get better... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for California on

Q: Will I have any copyright infringement?

Hi. I'm Alex. I will be brief. I develop a technology based on Artificial Intelligence which produces its own music in real time. The thing is that I teach MY system by using copyrighted music. Will I have any copyright infringement if I monetize the technology? Thanks.

Robert Philip Cogan answered on Jul 18, 2019

As a generality, if you copy music and use it, it is copyright infringement whether or not you monetize it. There are exceptions for "fair use." However, those exceptions are much narrower than most copiers think they are.

Serious companies consider paying a license fee. Sometimes the cost...
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2 Answers | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on

Q: Hello, I am wondering if its worth getting a patent on half page pockets that go inside journals.

I have never seen the type of pocket inside any journal/notebook before. Is it even patentable?

Robert Philip Cogan answered on Jul 18, 2019

The patent statute allows patents for inventions that are new, useful, and non-obvious. There is excellent tutorial material at the Patent Office website, www.USPTO.gov.

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Q: If a patent is assigned to a company, would the inventor get royalties or just the company?

My father was involved in patents and was not sure if the family is entitled to anything from them.

Robert Philip Cogan answered on Jul 18, 2019

As your question indicates, the company had full ownership. Therefore, the inventor normally does not get any compensation based on royalties. Many universities have royalty sharing agreements with research and engineering staff. The vast majority of US companies do not.

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2 Answers | Asked in Trademark and Intellectual Property for California on

Q: Is it legal to sell wireless earbuds that look like Airpods but have a different brand and no reference to Apple at all?

The Idea would be to sell functioning wireless earbuds for cheap with my own brand and wording without any reference to Apple or their specific product (Airpods). Would there be any legal problems I could get into if I was sell these wireless earbuds on Amazon?

Robert Philip Cogan answered on Jul 18, 2019

A common definition of trademark infringement is creating a likelihood of confusion in the marketplace as to the source of the goods. It would be necessary to look at the facts. It is probably a more difficult case if "look like" means direct copy.

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1 Answer | Asked in Business Law, Contracts and Mergers & Acquisitions for California on

Q: How do I protect my contract in case of acquisition of company I am in contract with? & New comp does not want to renew.

My company (A) is about to go submit a service proposal to company B. What if Company C acquires Company B and then Company C does not want to continue with our existing contract with Comp. B? What clause can I put in my contract with Company B to protect my company from taking that loss?

Robert Philip Cogan answered on Feb 2, 2018

Usually, company C takes company B subject to all its obligations, e.g., a contract with company A. One way to address this is by having your attorney address in the contract what happens if you get terminated without proper cause.

1 Answer | Asked in Tax Law and Business Law for California on

Q: I have a small nonprofit and I am looking for a lawyer that help me comply with regulations, BOD resultions and the lik.

Robert Philip Cogan answered on Jan 29, 2018

Justia has a lawyer directory that you can consult. I and many other lawyers do this kind of work. You should pick one you feel comfortable with.

2 Answers | Asked in Business Law and Contracts for California on

Q: I am in process of buying gas station in Ca.Seller &I have signed contract of sale for $585K with$435K down & $150K to

pay in 3yrs@5%int.When I went2 open escrow he had changed 2 all money due @close which I don't have.What are my options?Your help is greatly appreciated.Thanks.

Robert Philip Cogan answered on Jan 25, 2018

Your best option is to contact a business attorney. If you are paying $585,000, what makes you think that it is a good idea to do it yourself?

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2 Answers | Asked in Mergers & Acquisitions for California on

Q: A competing business offered to take over my business (essentially buying it out) and I'm interested. How long does an

acquisition generally take?

Robert Philip Cogan answered on Jan 15, 2018

A few weeks to a few years, depending on how complicated the business is, whether you are agreed on the price, whether licenses need to be transferred, whether you agree on future non-competition obligations, other business factors, and whether you have lawyers who focus on getting the deal closed.

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on

Q: i m been sued and dont know what to do

FOR SETTLEMENT PURPOSES ONLY NOT TO BE USED IN LITIGATION OR FOR ANY OTHER PURPOSE

Good afternoon,

Please be advised that this firm has been retained by Joe Hand Promotions, Inc., the lawful owner of the copyright and the commercial distribution rights and public performance for the... Read more »

Robert Philip Cogan answered on Jan 9, 2018

The question does not include the whole letter. Therefore, it is impossible to assess the situation. However, it appears that you might not have been sued yet. "What to do" is call an intellectual property lawyer who can seek to solve the problem. In many other cases, people unfamiliar with the... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Products Liability for California on

Q: I was injured in an auto accident due to a defective part. The manufacturer did issue a recall, and I was planning to

bring the vehicle in but I got into an accident before I could. Will this affect my ability to file a claim against the vehicle manufacturer?

Robert Philip Cogan answered on Dec 11, 2017

Call a contingency lawyer for a free evaluation. Stop posting details of your case on a public forum.

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1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Copyright for California on

Q: How to phrase my NDA so the duration of it, five years, begins at the conclusion of business/communication not the start

I am giving an engineer proprietary information and want my NDA to begin once our relationship ends. So if we work together for three years, the five year period starts at the end of our three years. If we work together for a month, it starts after that month. Etc.

Robert Philip Cogan answered on Dec 8, 2017

Your objective is understood. It can be achieved. However, it looks like you want to give up confidentiality on all information generated during the relationship. Perhaps you may wish to consult counsel as to whether any other unintended consequences could result from the arrangement you... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Products Liability, Civil Litigation, Gaming and Intellectual Property for California on

Q: Can I use Albert Einstein's name and picture in a math game I'm making?

Robert Philip Cogan answered on Nov 27, 2017

Albert Einstein's image has been established as a protectable property. It is likely that a license would be required. The cost may fit within your margins and may make the game more desirable. One prudent course is to engage an attorney to contact the rights proprietor.

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