California Intellectual Property Questions & Answers

Q: I have an idea for a website/app, how do I protect it? —please see the description for the complete question. Thx!!

1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law, Copyright, Products Liability and Intellectual Property for California on
Answered on Feb 11, 2019
Frank Huerta Jr's answer
I suggest you have an attorney draft a non-disclosure agreement for you. However if you are pitching it to an investor, some may balk at the idea of signing it.

Q: Can a trademark name be the same but registered in different classes by another company using the same exact trademark?

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property and Trademark for California on
Answered on Jan 25, 2019
John Martin Hilla's answer
Yes. The issue is whether consumers will be likely to be confused by the same name. If they are totally different products sold in totally different geographic regions in totally different channels of trade, there could be no likelihood of confusion, and the separate trademarks might be so registered.

However, this is a very fact-specific consideration, and, if you are planning on using a brand that has already been trademarked, you should consult a trademark attorney to discuss your...

Q: how to see if a design is patent able?

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Answered on Jan 16, 2019
Griffin Klema's answer
Hire an attorney to conduct a prior art search and provide an opinion about whether your design is patentably distinct over the prior art. I recommend you budget about $2,000 for this work. Good luck!

Q: Hello! I have a question about "The Laundress Signature" trademarks Intellectual Property Rights. Are you their holder?

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property for California on
Answered on Jan 9, 2019
Jason Brooks' answer
This is a legal question and answer forum, not a law firm or any one lawyer in particular.

All Trademark ownership information can be found at the USPTO website by searching for the mark you wish to retrieve info about.

Q: What's the best way to ensure a software app I'm working on is legally protected from copying or theft

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property for California on
Answered on Jan 2, 2019
Ali Shahrestani, Esq.'s answer
A non-disclosure agreement is basic protocol, along with confidentiality agreements and related contracts. More details are necessary to provide a professional analysis of your issue. The best first step is an Initial Consultation with an Attorney such as myself. You can read more about me, my credentials, awards, honors, testimonials, and media appearances/ publications on my law practice website, www.AliEsq.com. I practice law in CA, NY, MA, WA, and DC in the following areas of law: Business...

Q: Will copyright be infringed in this scenario = My son lives in LA, want to open a Movie themed motel

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for California on
Answered on Jan 2, 2019
Ali Shahrestani, Esq.'s answer
Commercial use of copyrighted images qualifies as an IP violation, and thus a license would be needed from the copyright owner for such use. More details are necessary to provide a professional analysis of your issue. The best first step is an Initial Consultation with an Attorney such as myself. You can read more about me, my credentials, awards, honors, testimonials, and media appearances/ publications on my law practice website, www.AliEsq.com. I practice law in CA, NY, MA, WA, and DC in the...

Q: Want to get the rights to use music from an old TV show in a short film I am making. I believe it's owned by CBS.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Entertainment / Sports, Intellectual Property and Trademark for California on
Answered on Jan 2, 2019
Ali Shahrestani, Esq.'s answer
To use copyrighted material, one would need to find out who owns the copyright and contact them for a license. But you'd also need to determine whether your use qualifies as "fair use". More details are necessary to provide a professional analysis of your issue. The best first step is an Initial Consultation with an Attorney such as myself. You can read more about me, my credentials, awards, honors, testimonials, and media appearances/ publications on my law practice website, www.AliEsq.com. I...

Q: I have a design with the word "Fortnite" inside the design but its not the logo of "fortnite". Is this infringement?

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property and Trademark for California on
Answered on Nov 30, 2018
Griffin Klema's answer
Maybe. It depends on whether your goods or services are in the same class as an existing trademark registration, and whether using the mark is or will cause consumer confusion. Even if not registered, common law infringement may also be a problem. I suggest speaking to a trademark lawyer and seek a freedom to operate opinion. Good luck!

Q: I used to use Napster in 2000 to download music. Can I still get sued by any of those copyright holders?

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property and Internet Law for California on
Answered on Nov 17, 2018
Guvenc Acarkan's answer
Copyright Act sets civil statute of limitations to 3 years and criminal proceedings statute of limitations to 5 years. (U.S. Title 17 Section 507). You will not be sued under Copyright Act. Whether there is a state law in California that has an unusual statute of limitations exceeding 18 years, I am not sure, but very very highly unlikely. The real question is are you still violating the Copyright Act with your current use of the downloaded music. If you still make use of the downloaded...

Q: Hi what form do I fill out when I have been evicted and the landlord is selling my property and claiming it as his own?

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property and Landlord - Tenant for California on
Answered on Oct 29, 2018
Andrew Zulieve Esq's answer
Typically, a landlord must make your property available for you to pick up. You should discuss this with an attorney in your locale that handles landlord/tenant matters.

Q: Can I create art with photos I took of horses on a private ranch without a model release?

2 Answers | Asked in Contracts, Copyright and Intellectual Property for California on
Answered on Oct 28, 2018
Thomas A. Grossman's answer
Your first mistake was in relying on a "verbal agreement." Verbal agreements are nearly impossible to prove. I have not seen the agreement proposed by the ranch owner, but you should have a short, professional agreement in your file, containing various releases. I handled many cases for various models and body builders, but in each case the subject of the photo was a human. Don't hold me to this, but I don't think you need a release I order to sell your photos unless you have trespassed on...

Q: What does California's "ARTICLE 3.5. Inventions Made by an Employee" protect?

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Copyright, Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Answered on Oct 23, 2018
Peter D. Mlynek's answer
Well, you are going to have to talk to a California employment attorney to get the best answer. I am not a California attorney, nor an employment attorney, but here are a few points.

(1) You are correct that the trademarks, logos, brand names, sales copies, and like, are likely not considered "inventions". However, the California Law does not limit inventions only to _patentable_ inventions, so I would expect California to interpret the word "invention" a bit more broadly than the US...

Q: How to apply a trademark for AirTrackMats.com?

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property, Trademark and Internet Law for California on
Answered on Sep 1, 2018
Peter D. Mlynek's answer
If you own the domain name, you would apply for it just like any other trademark. You can either do it yourself, or get an intellectual property lawyer to do it for you.

If you do not own the domain name, then it is going to be a bit harder, and you need to talk to a trademark attorney.

Q: Does it violate the copyright if I sell my own solution in an ecommerce platform? The Unofficial title is on the cover

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for California on
Answered on Aug 30, 2018
Peter D. Mlynek's answer
If you see somebody launch an e-commerce service, and you say, hey, that's a great idea, I'll think that I'll launch a competing e-commerce, then you are correct to worry about intellectual property.

If you write a code that solves a technical problem in a different way, and the interface is not similar then there likely won't be problems with copyrights. If it solves it in a sufficiently different way, then there should not be a problem with patents either. And if you won't refer to...

Q: Is probate the proper venue to force return of property? And what are my options?

2 Answers | Asked in Intellectual Property, Probate and Civil Litigation for California on
Answered on Aug 28, 2018
N. Munro Merrick's answer
You should talk to the executor of the estate. If that is you, then you need to talk to a probate lawyer. He might be able to get a court order compelling the caretaker to cough up. If you have access to the property where his belongings were kept, you could go in and gather them up yourself. Three years is a long time to let this slide. How do you know his stuff is still there?

Q: Can I get a patent for a business model?

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Answered on Aug 26, 2018
Peter D. Mlynek's answer
Yes, that sort of a solution to a technical problem should be patentable.

From your question that this might not even be a business method subject matter (which may or may not be patentable), but a technological solution to a scientific or engineering problem (which would be patentable subject matter in any case).

Of course, in order to actually get a patent, your solution must be novel, nonobvious, described, well-claimed, etc.

Good luck!

Q: Clothing brand, class 025: (example name!) if " GREEN APPLE" is trademarked, could I trademark "GreenApple World"?

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property and Trademark for California on
Answered on Aug 18, 2018
Peter D. Mlynek's answer
Yes, you may be able to fight the registration if you were using your name before they did.

You should talk to a trademark attorney on what steps you need to take to preserve your rights, and possibly invalidate the other person's trademark registration.

Q: Is it ok to trademark the name of my greeting card company with the words greeting card in it.

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property and Trademark for California on
Answered on Aug 17, 2018
Benton R Patterson III's answer
An attorney would need to review the trademark and how you use it in commerce to answer this question. Generally speaking, you cannot register words that are descriptive of the goods or services. If descriptive words are paired with other distinctive words, you may be able to register the mark as a whole, but disclaim the descriptive words. Using your example, you could include "greeting card" within a trademark with other distinctive elements, but you could not exclude other greeting card...

Q: When trademarking a brand name, can a colon or hyphen be incorporated within the name?

1 Answer | Asked in Trademark and Intellectual Property for California on
Answered on Aug 2, 2018
Benton R Patterson III's answer
Yes, special characters can be incorporated into a trademark.

Q: Is listening to your own music on spotify from different accounts illegal? I pretty much create my own royalties.

1 Answer | Asked in Business Law, Contracts and Intellectual Property for California on
Answered on Jul 24, 2018
Thomas A. Grossman's answer
Sounds like a scam to me. You will be fortunate to keep this up, as the Royalty company will ultimately find out that your phone accounts are all yours.

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