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Questions Answered by Robert Philip Cogan
1 Answer | Asked in Business Law and Contracts for California on
Q: I am trying to get a credit for hard costs incurred when a contracted freight company mishandled my product.

They refuse to offer any sort of compensation as well as require me to pay my freight bill above the hard costs I incurred and said I needed to take them to court. I'm trying to figure out what other options I have, and not sure how to find a lawyer, if I have a case, etc. I have submitted a... Read more »

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Oct 15, 2019

You can take them to court. If your claim is up to $10,000 you can go to small claims court. The filing fee is low and lawyers do not take part. You can "Google" California Superior Court. The court website has tutorial information and guidance. It is a more direct to way go after money.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: My name is Koi and I am a photographer who has found Mix Unit, LLC selling merchandise with my photo.
Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Oct 14, 2019

Based on the limited facts provided, there seems to be a case of copyright infringement. There are many different approaches available. It would be helpful to know exactly what they were doing with your photo and how it is being sold. Other facts are also important. A review with an attorney can... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Trademark for California on
Q: I own a towing company named Extreme Performance Towing and transport in Sacramento. Well today I received a letter from

a tow company in diamond springs named extreme towing. They are saying they have a service/trade mark on extreme and towing and they want me to change my company name. If this is the case no one can use extreme for the first name of there towing business. Also I don't think anyone can trade mark... Read more »

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Oct 10, 2019

Sometimes names can coexist and sometimes they can't. The remarks you make about "extreme" and "towing" in trademarks make sense. However, those remarks do not address the legal issues. A good place to start is figuring out what exactly their trademark covers and why they think that their rights... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Trademark for California on
Q: What is the process for making an idea become panted?
Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Oct 5, 2019

All the information you seek will likely be found at www.USPTO.gov.

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2 Answers | Asked in Trademark for California on
Q: I, Edwin see a phrase on a website and I would like to put a Trademark. Can I just Register the Trademark?

Trademark/Phrase not Registered and would like to take over?

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Oct 4, 2019

Filing a trademark registration application requires actual use of the mark on goods or service OR a sincere intent to use the mark in the foreseeable future. It is a good idea to consult an attorney to see if "taking over" the trademark will meet your business objectives.

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1 Answer | Asked in Trademark for California on
Q: if a company trademarks its name in a diff industry, can i still file for like name? Sweet Salt (them) vs Sweet Salt SF

they are in the food and bev industry, i am in canine care services and leash/collar making & sales

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Oct 2, 2019

Maybe, maybe not. That's why trademark law is often a two or three semester-hour course in law school and why trademark lawyers read law journals and pursue continuing legal education.

There are many facts that need to be looked at beyond the broad categories of goods and services. None of...
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2 Answers | Asked in Trademark for California on
Q: Can I still trademark a name that is already live if the goods and services I offer are different?
Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Sep 25, 2019

Maybe. The criterion is likelihood of confusion as to the source of the goods. Whether or not the goods differ is only part of the puzzle. A simple example would be GOOGLE drain cleaner. Difference in the goods would likely not be important.

It would be prudent to consult an attorney.

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1 Answer | Asked in Trademark for California on
Q: I need to file a trademark under 032 and it looks like there is a Non-FInal Action - Mailed status. Is it too late forme

I need to know if i can apply for a trademark if there is already a Non-Final action for the entity that is currently pursuing it.

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Sep 24, 2019

You can file but it is best to evaluate your position first. Sometimes similar trademarks can coexist. Sometimes they can't. Without a review, the fact that there is a non-final action is not informative. Some non-final actions are easily overcome.

2 Answers | Asked in Contracts and Intellectual Property for California on
Q: Do signed agreements giving ownership of a music video allow to use audio (recorded for and during production)?

signed agreement:  singer ".... authorizes others to use my name, voice and likeness in connection with the production [...] Producer..” (me) “...is the sole owner of all rights in and to the picture and all elements thereof, including photography and recordings of my voice and likeness. [...]... Read more »

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Sep 24, 2019

It would be necessary to read the agreement in order to understand the deal between the parties. It may seem "fair" for a producer to have the right to use audio, but the rights are determined by the agreement.

It is difficult for an individual to achieve a desired outcome when dealing with...
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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for California on
Q: Graphic illustration for t-shirt.

Hello,

I'd like to create an illustrated image, print it on t-shirts and sell it online. This image would contain the name "Lambo" (slang for Lamborghini) and car that would look similar to Lamborghini sports car (without logo). So basically it would be a bit different.

So I'd like... Read more »

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Sep 23, 2019

Many people say, "So basically it would be a bit different." Sometimes that is true. Other times it would simply be wishful thinking. Even so, the criterion is whether there is confusion as to whether you might be seen as falsely indicating a relationship with Lamborghini.

I do not know...
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2 Answers | Asked in Contracts, Business Law, Collections and Intellectual Property for California on
Q: I invested in a UK company, then the founder moved to the US and re-formed without notifying me.

I invested in a UK company. The founder claimed that he was shutting down the company. Next thing I know, he goes to the US and restarts the company. Now the company is successful and is operating strongly in the US. Do I have any grounds for a lawsuit? He did not give me any compensation, new... Read more »

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Sep 16, 2019

It might be possible to bring an action against the founder. The facts must be examined by an attorney to see if they support bringing an action in the United States rather than in the UK. The facts must be examined to see if the founder committed any improper activities. The range of possibilities... Read more »

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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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