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Questions Answered by Robert Philip Cogan
2 Answers | Asked in Trademark for California on
Q: Hi, Can I use the words 'Muck boots' in a business name? For example - Women Muck Boots
Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Nov 26, 2019

The general criterion for deciding if a name should be used is whether the use will cause a likelihood of confusion in the marketplace as to the source of the goods. The conflicting mark need not be the same as the new mark. A search would have to be done and an attorney would have to interpret the... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Business Law, Employment Law and Communications Law for California on
Q: Some employees refuse to use company software - instant messaging - how can they be disciplined/forced to use it?

I have an instant messaging system on my office computers. Some users are logging out. We can’t fire them, but how can I set consequences for logging out or ignoring messages? What can I do to make the software so users can’t disconnect? Program is Synology Chat. Server is Windows.

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Nov 20, 2019

There is a middle ground between firing people and letting them sabotage your system. An attorney can provide rules and procedures that can be set up and provided to employees. Rules can be enforced without firing people.

Firing employees who perform their tasks, except for the ones they...
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1 Answer | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Q: Is the patent on the locking system or the way it fixes to the support bar? Or on the actual design of the bag?

I’m confused as to the patent. So anything that locks to a cross member with a combination lock in a portable bag form? Would be patent infringement?

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Nov 19, 2019

It would help to know the number of the patent you are talking about.

If this is important to you, consult an attorney.

Providing detailed legal advice goes far beyond the scope of Ask a Lawyer.

2 Answers | Asked in Intellectual Property for California on
Q: My patent was stolen by another employee. What legal actions can I take against him?

My patent was stolen by another employee who contributed nothing to its conception. I did not even know him when I conceived my idea. He inserted his name onto the application without my knowledge. I have paper trails of my invention including (1) the official company announcement acknowledging... Read more »

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Nov 18, 2019

The answer hasn't changed since the last time you asked this. You still need to know if you had an employee patent agreement. Witnesses can attest that you worked on the product. It is highly unlikely that witnesses know what the invention is. The invention is what the attorney wrote in the claims... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Business Law for California on
Q: Is It possible for a PC with a MD director and P.A., for an esthetician to hold shares through joint venture or other?
Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Nov 17, 2019

If you mean a medical practice PC, probably not. However, the question is unclear. What is it you want to do? Just mentioning "holding shares through a joint venture" does not give much of a hint about what legal solution might be appropriate.

2 Answers | Asked in Consumer Law for California on
Q: I rented a car w/out showing my license, credit card info, or address. Just online w name,email,phone. Do I have to pay?

The cashier was trying to leave early, I barely caught them despite being in 45min before closing time. They just reached over the counter and handed me the keys.

All I did was reserve the car online with my name email and phone number.

They never verified who I was or took any... Read more »

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Nov 14, 2019

That is one way to look at the issue.

The rental company might rephrase the questions as follows:

The customer reserved a car knowing full well that car rentals are not free. The customer undertook to pay for the car rental. A contract was formed. Rental company provided the...
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2 Answers | Asked in Intellectual Property for California on
Q: My patent was stolen by a director at a previous employer. What legal actions can I take against him?

In 2013, I invented an aircraft concept. At the company's recommendation, I filed and received a patent for it (patent issued Aug 2018). In 2015, I modified this patent to include another design feature. During the internal application process, I learned that a director inserted his name onto... Read more »

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Nov 13, 2019

In most cases the company owns any inventions produced by the employee within the course and scope of employment. Did you sign a patent and proprietary agreement when you became an employee? Aerospace companies that get large contracts use these agreements. It is possible you have no rights.... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for California on
Q: Could I publish a book about vocal experts' opinions on a topic, taken from interviews/info online, without permission?

Could a couple of their names be featured in the book title? Could I write each chapter focusing on one public figure scientist, explaining their perspective on the topic as researched through free material found online? Would a disclaimer at the beginning of the book saying these scientists... Read more »

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Nov 12, 2019

In the absence of careful legal planning, this book could run into a number of legal problems. A disclaimer is a good way to avoid presenting a misleading picture. However, disclaimers and attributions in bibliographies do not avoid copyright problems. There are issues of derivative works and fair... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Q: Is the claim for a cooling and heating product under patent??

For example the Icy-hot product..if I make another natural based product that cools and then heats the skin with all organic ingredients is it legal to manufacture and get a patent?

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Nov 3, 2019

See https://www.uspto.gov/patents-getting-started/general-information-concerning-patents

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Trademark for California on
Q: Can we use the term 'Craigslist' in a title for a tv show concept?
Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Oct 31, 2019

No.

Actually, all the facts need to be known to see if a legal justification could be supported. However, you could still face signficant legal expense if Craigslist decided to sue you.

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2 Answers | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Q: Can I get a patent on a liquid soap with a unique composition of chemicals?

The chemicals themselves are not unique, just the combination.

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

To merit a patent, the combination must be non-obious. There should be some synergy in the combination. Sometimes a combination may be considered obvious if each component works in a well-known way. A patent attorney may be able to see synergy where the inventor may not. This is because the legal... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Business Law and Consumer Law for California on
Q: I need to identify a list of dish Network SATV Installers names on a dissolved company location

I need to identify a list of dish Network SATV Installers names on allegro Discount Satellite company located at 20700 avalon blvd ste 310 Carson California 90746 on year 2002 to get their detailed satv purchases like what coax cable companies they use?

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Oct 20, 2019

There does not not appear to be any legal issue raised by this question. There may be other places to seek information.

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Business Law for California on
Q: Instagram contents and merchandising.

I have an Instagram account to show semi celebrities’ caricatures. I am not doing anything with those artworks to make money myself, these are only to show on this SNS.

One day I had a chance to meet with one of the musicians I drew, and gave him a print out of his caricature I did and he... Read more »

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Oct 20, 2019

It looks light he might have copied the drawing improperly. Responses could include anything from a nasty cease and desist letter to making a deal. Consulting an attorney could help you determine what action might have the best chance of making some money for you.

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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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