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Questions Answered by Robert Philip Cogan
1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: I need to know if I can use my mother's first husband's name in my screenplay without his permission.

I am writing a biographical screenplay about my mother. She was a famous romance novelist. She passed away in November, 2019. She divorced her first husband for cheating on her. Afterward she met my father. I have two half sisters and a full brother. My sister doesn’t want me to use her... Read more »

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Mar 3, 2021

Writing about a living person can raise issues of defamation, right of publicity, and false light, among others. There are many ways to do it wrong and a few ways to do it right. Some details may just have to be left out. A more complete statement of facts and a careful analysis by an attorney... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for California on
Q: My former employer purchased my shares under the fake pretense that the shares were valued lower than they really were.

Can I sue them?

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Mar 2, 2021

This is America. You can always sue someone. The actual question is whether suing will get you a good result for a price that does not exceed the amount you are seeking. Proving low valuation and fake pretense can be difficult. A detailed set of facts must be reviewed.

4 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy, Contracts, Copyright and Criminal Law for California on
Q: Can I use word "Minnie" in my brand title, brand logo. I only use "Minnie", not "Minnie Mouse", is it ok?

For example, my brand is: Pinky Minnie Couture or Destiny Minnie Arts ...

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Feb 25, 2021

There is not enough information to answer this. However, you should think about whether your use will evoke thoughts of Minnie Mouse when viewed by consumers.

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: Can a book published in the 1850s in England (copyright expired in 1900s) be copyrighted by a US publisher in 1970s?
Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Feb 22, 2021

New material is subject to copyright protection. A new book including the old book plus a new introduction may be published and the new introduction may be subject to copyright protection. The old book will not be subject to copyright protection. Depending on what you want to copy, what you want to... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Consumer Law for California on
Q: In a credit card suit, the filing states plaintiff has met conditions precedent, including exhaustion of administrative

remedies. does this mean prior to filing plaintiff must attempt or offer to settle? If so, can you site the rule or case law?

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Feb 19, 2021

No.

Are you asking for free assistance in writing your own answer or are you a law student asking us to do your homework? In any event, it is "cite" and not "site."

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3 Answers | Asked in Banking, Business Formation, Business Law and Gov & Administrative Law for California on
Q: Regarding EIDL loan

I receive an email today from SBA.gov and they asked me for the following information.

Why would they ask me for this information now when I already got approved?

They are also asking me "A statement that the LLC held a meeting and specify the date" I don't hold... Read more »

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Feb 19, 2021

Different parts of the loan process include:

1. Deciding if the lender thinks that the borrower will be able to make the payments, and

2. Making sure that the corporate law formalities are followed.

There is no point in taking care of item 2 if item 1 does not result in an...
Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Intellectual Property for California on
Q: What sort of IP protection is the best for biologic based surgical devices?
Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Feb 8, 2021

There is no one-size-fits-all answer unless you do not care about maximizing your chances for success in establishing a market position or in making a profit. It helps to know what the product is and what the market looks like. Patent, trademark, copyright, and trade secrets each provide different... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Copyright, Patents (Intellectual Property) and Trademark for California on
Q: If I start a devotional blogger aimed at upholding Jedi conduct for better habits, do I need to ask Disney's permission?

This would be on the google Blogger server and would eventually carry a chain of willing authors as well as a great many Starwars links in support of the franchise.

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Jan 25, 2021

The question raises copyright and trademark questions. In all likelihood Disney would not care if you supported the franchise. The facts do not indicate how you would make references to Disney properties or possibly use them. There may be ways to do it right. There are very many ways to do it... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Business Law and Trademark for California on
Q: Through Trademark Terminal Your Brand Performs More Trading Over Internet?

Since this is an era of effective businesses though the ecommerce channels and Trademark Terminal is providing the elevation in the quality to do the same. Almost all of the customers and clients are using the medium of internet as their basis communication and collaboration route. Trademark... Read more »

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Jan 18, 2021

Website rankings and trademarks are different things. It might be a good idea to read the Trademark Terminal website and see if they actually say that they make your brand more appealing. They might not. You might want to call an intellectual property attorney. Many give free initial consultations.

1 Answer | Asked in Business Formation for California on
Q: How can I get My Trade Mark up to date what do I need to do ? I didn't follow up on an office action letter

I paid in full for my trade mark for my company We Handle It Handyman Services LLC

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Jan 18, 2021

It is possible that your best course of action is to consult an intellectual property attorney. Your question appears to indicate that you are not familiar with trademark procedures. Most people are not. There are many ways to go wrong. You want to be sure it is done right.

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Trademark for California on
Q: I am planning to start self-publishing books under a pen name. What legal steps do I need to take in order to this?

I'm a little confused about the process. I'm forming a LLC, but beyond that, do I need to create a DBA in the pen name? Do I need to trademark it? Do I need register for a copyright?

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Jan 12, 2021

It is important to sort out what your business needs are. Trademarks are for brand names. Copyrights are for works in a fixed form and not generally for names. If you plan on making significant investments of time or money, it would most likely cost-justified to consult an attorney and build a... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Business Law for California on
Q: Hi, Can I still operate my business while my Rhode Island entity is revoked?

RI gives up to 10 years to bring the revoked entity back into active status. Can I still operate my California branch LLC company until it's back active? And can I win a lawsuit?

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Jan 7, 2021

"Revoked" can mean many different things. Also, is not clear that the entity is a corporation or an LLC. The question does not state if the Rhode Island business has any connection to California.

As a generality, which may or may not apply here, a company that is not active can...
Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Q: Connector assembly for portable hanger Patent number: 9066616 In regards to this patent how do I get a license to sell
Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Dec 28, 2020

There are may forms of licenses each to suit a particular business scenario and provide a win-win situation. In one scenario, for example, Luxe Link might feel that they do not need a licensee because the licensee would just take sales away from them and not improve their profits. However, one... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Contracts, Copyright and Entertainment / Sports for California on
Q: How much ownership of music do I have when a producer does a different version of the music I originally created?

I wrote a song and did the music arrangement in Logic Pro X using many royalty free loops to create my song. If I work with a producer who does his own interpretation of my original song via new music production how much ownership do I have regarding the music content?

I copyrighted my... Read more »

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Dec 23, 2020

"Influenced by your original song" may or may not be a derivative work. His audio needs to be compared to your work.

A split sheet is useful. You might want to use a collaboration agreement along with the split sheet.

Please also see my answer on Avvo.

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3 Answers | Asked in Trademark for California on
Q: If someone has a Trademark in the same market (Fitness) but for different goods & services can I still use the name?

Example- If someone was a Trademark with the name "GLO" for a fitness website. And their goods and services solely cover the creation of any fitness sites or blogs that provide non-downloadable articles for advice on fitness, Could I trade mark the name "GLO" for a fitness clothing brand?

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Dec 22, 2020

Many more facts are required for an answer. One factor, among many, is the number of marks including "glo."

This might affect how close another party can get to GLO.

Also, this question asks for a yes-no answer. The answer depends on many things. Many attorneys give...
Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for California on
Q: Employment contract with "Outside Activities" Clause - Can I start my own Company?

I signed my Employment contract, with an Outside Activities Clause and now I would like to start my own company. The new company will not compete with or use any ideas/inventions from my current employer. Is this a breach of contract and if so, how likely is it that my Employer would follow through... Read more »

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Dec 22, 2020

Not using ideas or inventions from your current employer is not the only issue that determines whether or not you will have an issue with your employer. Many specifics need to be taken into account. It is possible that your employer doesn't even know if they would follow through with... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Business Formation and Business Law for Washington on
Q: So with these patents, it would be illegal to sell a glow-in-the-dark leash?
Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Dec 20, 2020

Determining whether a product infringes a patent is not a do-it-yourself project. It is governed by federal law and not the law of any particular state. Many times the analysis is complicated. If you have any investment at stake, it should be cost-justified to consult a patent attorney.

2 Answers | Asked in Trademark for California on
Q: Someone with knowledge of my work applied for a California trademark.

Knowing I was in the process of applying for a Federal trademark, they one upped me and claimed my product as their own and began dealing with my production companies. Would the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1051 et. seq. be of any use to me years after the fact?

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Dec 20, 2020

Claiming someone else's product as one's own may or may not be a trademark issue. There are relevant acts that are not included in your question. Your production companies presumably know who you are. There could be contract issues. The entire picture needs to be presented to an attorney... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Trademark for California on
Q: It looks like this Trademark was abandoned, does that mean I can buy it?
Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Dec 14, 2020

There are many different factors which go into whether or not you need to obtain rights in the particular mark. "Abandoned" does not necessarily mean the owner is not still using it.

Consulting an attorney would probably cost less than what you might lose in buying a trademark or...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Entertainment / Sports for California on
Q: Entertainment law: need advice for True story

I am writing a book about a true crime story. Some details were published and newspapers and I have details that come specifically from the people who experienced it, including notes of actual conversations and emails. What changes do I need to make to protect myself legally from slander or related... Read more »

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Dec 13, 2020

It is not really possible to catalog all the types of things that can be said and how to change the things that cannot be said. Each one needs to be reviewed in context. Changes involve legal judgments. The one true crime writer I am personally acquainted with is an attorney.

One way to...
Read more »

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