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Wisconsin Intellectual Property Questions & Answers
2 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Wisconsin on
Q: Can independent media, with permission from a promoter of an event, film and post videos on YouTube/Facebook?

There is an association that "signed" a contract to a third party that allows for them to have full media rights for any event that the association has. The association has contracts with promoters of an event to bring a show to the event. Does the promoter have to agree in the contract... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Mar 29, 2024

When an association grants exclusive media rights for its events to a third party, it typically means that this third party holds the authority over how any event-related content is distributed, used, or published across various media platforms, including YouTube and Facebook. This arrangement... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law, Intellectual Property and Trademark for Wisconsin on
Q: internet law, trademark law and intellectual property law. Can you help for me?

I registered a domain. Facebook sent me a letter not to do anything with the domain. This domain now belongs to Facebook

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Feb 27, 2024

If you've registered a domain and received a letter from Facebook claiming the domain now belongs to them, it’s likely because they believe your domain infringes on their trademark rights. Trademark law protects brands and trademarks from use that could cause confusion among consumers about... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for Wisconsin on
Q: Can I make and sell something that says Dirty Hands Clean Money, or is that illegal?
James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Feb 5, 2024

Under California law, the phrase "Dirty Hands Clean Money" is not inherently illegal. However, whether you can make and sell products with this phrase depends on the specific context and use. If the phrase is used in a way that implies illegal or unethical activities, it could potentially... View More

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright, Trademark and Intellectual Property for Wisconsin on
Q: I would like to develop a product for Spirit airline only using their logo/trademark. Do I need written permission?
James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Jan 21, 2024

Using Spirit Airlines' logo or trademark to develop a product would generally require written permission from Spirit Airlines, as their logo and trademark are protected intellectual property. Using these without proper authorization could potentially lead to trademark infringement issues.... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Trademark and Intellectual Property for Wisconsin on
Q: If a character name is trademarked for books, film and TV, but the game trademark has been abandoned, can I register it?

Here's the exact scenario, but with the character name changed. For example, the character name Matlock is currently trademarked for usage in books, films, and TV by a major media company (plus a number of other trademarks around clothes, notebooks, etc).

They also had the computer... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Dec 20, 2023

When considering registering a trademark for a character name that's already in use in other mediums, it's important to recognize the complexities involved. Even if the trademark for the game version of the character name is abandoned, the character itself might still be protected under... View More

4 Answers | Asked in Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for Wisconsin on
Q: I would like to patent an energy drink certain ingredient how do I know if it has already been patented?

I would like to patent an energy drink recipe but in a broad sense to protect or mitigate against companies with more capital just running me over and imitating it. How do I find patent but ensure I'm not overlapping someone else's already?

T. Augustus Claus
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answered on Oct 19, 2023

To determine if your energy drink ingredient is already patented, you can start by searching the USPTO database and other relevant sources. This will help you understand whether your invention overlaps with existing patents. For personalized legal advice tailored to your unique circumstances,... View More

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3 Answers | Asked in Intellectual Property and Trademark for Wisconsin on
Q: Can you claim you were formerly an entity if you don’t own the name?

My question is in regards to advertising. The opposite entity has retained the legal copyright to the former business name. I as the new company want to advertise myself as “Formerly the other company” but the opposing party is claiming I can’t use their name in any way. Would I be liable if... View More

Fritz-Howard Raymond Clapp
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answered on Oct 5, 2023

This is a trademark question, not copyright. It is certainly permissible to state that you were formerly known by another name (trademark) if it is factually true. It is not objectionable that you distinguish the prior use, because that avoids the likelihood of confusion. Promoting confusion is the... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Products Liability, Small Claims, Intellectual Property and Trademark for Wisconsin on
Q: Can a distributor ship products of another brand who has permission to use a 3rd companies logo on the product w theirs

I as a distributor of tea products place a brand customer's custom logo on the product and ship to their customer when they have orders. If one of these brands also has us place another 3rd parties logo (a 501c charity they raise money for) on the product am I at risk of any legal liability... View More

Eugene Vamos
Eugene Vamos
answered on Jun 21, 2023

Those third party logos are someone's intellectual property, and I would advise you to obtain some kind of proof from your customer that these third party logos are allowed/licensed to be used in the particular product.

4 Answers | Asked in Copyright, Education Law and Intellectual Property for Wisconsin on
Q: Can curriculum created by school staff through grants/federal funding be copyrighted?

Indigenous Immersion Schools receiving grant funding and federal funding to operate must create a complete curriculum in target language that is unavailable elsewhere for purchase. These schools would like to copyright their work and are trying to decipher who has legal rights to copyright.

Matthew Nuzum
Matthew Nuzum
answered on Mar 15, 2023

Yes, it can, however you need to review the terms of the grant. When the Federal Government produces creative material it usually is copyright free (search Google for "U.S. Government Works" to learn more). Works prepared for the Federal Government by contractors may be owned (and... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Trademark and Intellectual Property for Wisconsin on
Q: I am wondering if I can sell art that incorporates the name "Peep" and a very small fraction of a peep's shape.

The art says "Peep-a-Boo" and shows just the ears at the bottom of the image indicating it's about to come up or is hiding. I have another one that shows just the middle of a peep's face (two eyes but no ears or body) hiding in a cracked egg. Finally, I have one that shows a... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Mar 29, 2023

It is difficult to determine whether the use of "Peep" and a small fraction of a Peep's shape in your artwork would be considered a parody without more information about the context and purpose of your artwork. However, even if your artwork is intended as a parody, it is possible... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property for Wisconsin on
Q: If someone was to program a piece of software for an organization, hosted on their server, can they use it if they leave

Let's say you make a piece of software for an organization, and it is hosted upon their server, and also hosted on their github, but later moved it to your own personal private github.

There was no contract signed.

If you leave said organization, is the organization allowed to... View More

Peter D. Mlynek
Peter D. Mlynek
answered on Jun 19, 2022

That depends on factors, including whether the programmer was an employee or a contractor, whether the programmer owned it prior to the installation onto the server or it was done specifically for the company, and whether the person was paid for the work of writing the program, etc.

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for Wisconsin on
Q: How to know I'm not infringing selling NMN anti-aging supplement? Very complicated patents about mfg, use etc.

At amazon dozens of companies are selling NMN so it appears to be unpatented as a molecule, unlike the competitor NR (nicotinamide riboside) where patent holder ChromaDex claims a monopoly sues others distributing it. Yet google patent pulls up many US and foreign patents - some mfg process and... View More

Marcos Garciaacosta
Marcos Garciaacosta
answered on May 14, 2021

Your question is pretty convoluted, impossible to answer here.

You have to consult an attorney.

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property for Wisconsin on
Q: Looking for information on intellectual property.

I've done educational consulting for years and am considering an independent consulting contract as a trainer with a national company. The contract has a clause about intellectual property that I am looking for clarification or help with. I plan to continue work outside of this new contract... View More

Bernard Samuel Klosowski
Bernard Samuel Klosowski
answered on Jan 14, 2021

Usually, unless an employee (of an employer) or a contractor (of a client) invents something or creates a copyrightable work FOR the employer/client as an express part or condition of the person's employment or as a "work for hire," the invention/work would belong to the... View More

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Wisconsin on
Q: Is it illegal to mark a photo containing a restaurant logo with a CC0 license?

I'm working on some open-source exercises for Russian language students, and for an alphabet-related exercise it would be very helpful to display pictures of Russian signs with English cognates that beginner students can read easily. However, I'm unsure of the legal implications of using,... View More

Kathryn Perales
Kathryn Perales
answered on Dec 2, 2020

Here, you are describing the intersection of copyright and trademark law. While it would be trademark infringement to open your own restaurant called Burger King, or to sell a hamburger wrapped up in a wrapper that says Burger King, you certainly can take a picture of a Burger King restaurant and... View More

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2 Answers | Asked in Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for Wisconsin on
Q: good day.referring to the patent at this link:https://patents.justia.com/patent/8381623this is my patent from 2008

I offered to sell the patent to Fiskars in early 2009, after a long distance call they went quiet on me.

I just discovered that they went ahead and claimed the patent for themselves. My patent was published in a journal in South Africa shortly after South africa joined the international... View More

Bernard Samuel Klosowski
Bernard Samuel Klosowski
answered on Oct 12, 2020

You will need to retain a U.S. patent attorney to sit down with all pertinent documents to fully assess the situation, including but not limited to reviewing the "prosecution history" of the Fiskars patent (does it cite your SA patent?). The claims of the patent are key - if the claims... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Wisconsin on
Q: Assuming that a story itself is protected by copyright, does that also apply character names, quotes, etc. in the story?

Are you allowed to re-use a small percentage of a protected work?

Kathryn Perales
Kathryn Perales
answered on Jun 16, 2020

A tough question to answer, even when you know all of the specific details! Copyright protection certainly applies to quotations. It can apply to aspects of the characters, depending on how recognizable they are. As an example, writers of "fan fiction" encounter this dilemma all the... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property and Trademark for Wisconsin on
Q: If I were to use the words snoop dogg on a tshirt in reference to a plain dog theme, is that a violation of a IP?

can i send the example of the t shirt for reference? dog theme is purely general, no negative/positive undertones,

Tania Maria Williams
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answered on Mar 23, 2020

The issue here may not be one of trademark but rather the right of publicity. Snoop is a celebrity whose name, image and likeness have monetary value. If someone else uses that for monetary gain they could be liable. Feel free to email me at tania.williams@williamsfirmpa.com for a consult so... View More

Q: What are the first steps in protecting a concept for/of a new business? Does it involve patents or copyright?
Kevin E. Flynn
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Kevin E. Flynn
answered on Jan 23, 2019

Might not be a patent. The Supreme Court has recently made it fairly difficult to patent a method of organizing human activity. See the documents used to train patent examiners -- https://www.uspto.gov/patent/laws-and-regulations/examination-policy/subject-matter-eligibility On the other hand,... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Intellectual Property for Wisconsin on
Q: I purchased a lecture on a CD set and made a transcript. Is this legal? May I gift CD sets and transcripts I've made?

I use the CD set and transcript as part of my psychological therapy. I would like to purchase additional CD sets for my therapists and also give them a copy of the transcript that I made. Is this legal?

May I purchase CD sets and present them along with a copy of the transcript to... View More

Griffin Klema
Griffin Klema
answered on Nov 30, 2018

Preparing the transcript might be considered fair use or a derivative work. So long as you purchase as many copies as you are giving to others and using within your practice, the likelihood of a possible copyright infringement claim falls significantly. But without further information about... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Wisconsin on
Q: When can the "name" of a character be protected under copyright law, even though it typically wouldn't?

Copyright itself doesn't protect only just a name, you can't copyright just a name at all. But, "characters" should be protected under a copyright if they are unique, but isn't a name an intrinsic part of a character and its accompanying story?

Bryan Thomas Kroes
Bryan Thomas Kroes
answered on Aug 9, 2018

A full answer to your question will require a more fact-intensive analysis. Generally, copyright law will afford protection of the fictional character itself when it has appeared in a copyrightable work and has a life of its own within that work, however, achieving a level of distinctiveness such... View More

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