Intellectual Property Questions & Answers

Q: Is it allowed to use logos of automotive companies in the commercial video? The video shows the progress of the industry

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Business Law, Intellectual Property and Trademark for District of Columbia on
Answered on Dec 17, 2018
Andrew Zulieve Esq's answer
Although such use may not amount to a trademark (or perhaps copyright) infringement, my suggestion is to contact each company and obtain their written authorizations to use their respective logos.

Q: I designed an education program while working for a company who uses it to train clients. No terms in place, is it mine?

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property for Indiana on
Answered on Dec 17, 2018
Andrew Zulieve Esq's answer
Under the facts that you describe, and absent any written provisions to the contrary, I would say that your work is a "work made fore hire" within the scope of your employment. If so, your employer owns the copyright to this work.

Q: Is there a way to get a patent issued if I failed to file within the year of getting a provisional patent?

2 Answers | Asked in Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for Massachusetts on
Answered on Dec 15, 2018
Peter D. Mlynek's answer
That is a very common question. Many times inventors get side-tracked, or funding dries up, or they simply forget.

The good news is that provisional patent applications are not published, so once the provisional patent application expires and is not used as a priority document, it is as if it never existed in the first place. So yes, you can file another patent application, identical, or similar to the provisional patent application.

The bad news is that you are going to reset...

Q: I bought a property in Reading PA and I just found out that the neighbor next to my property have turned down a wall.

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property, Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Dec 13, 2018
Cary B. Hall's answer
Well, initially, have you talked to your neighbors about it? I always suggest trying the "neighborly" way before doing anything else.

If you can't resolve things informally with your neighbors, then I'd suggest you get a survey done of your property -- and don't trust any past one. Make sure you have the correct survey before you go off half-cocked. Armed with the survey, you could have an attorney send a formal letter to your neighbor with whatever request you have to make things...

Q: Left personal property behind in nevada hotel room. Staff say nothing has been found since april 2018

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property and Personal Injury for Utah on
Answered on Dec 12, 2018
Wesley Winsor's answer
I am not sure that you posited a question. I will try to answer what you might be asking and that is whether a hotel is liable to disclose or facilitate the return of property left at their hotel by tenants if the tenant reports that it was left there.

The hotel's position is that there was nothing found. This would be extremely difficult to prove that the hotel is responsible especially if they had rented the same room again after you had left. If you wanted to sue them, you would...

Q: How do I know if my new business name will infringe on someone else's trademark?

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property for Florida on
Answered on Dec 7, 2018
Griffin Klema's answer
You can try to search for similar names yourself. The state trademark database (for Florida, that's, or the federal principal register (USPTO TESS). But without someone trained in legal analysis of trademark issues, you're probably not going to be 100% sure. And there's always the risk that a business/brand is out there that's not well advertised (e.g. not online). If you really want to have some assurance that your new brand/name...

Q: Does it infringe copyright to refer to a particular brand of pen (uni-ball) in a fiction novel?

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property on
Answered on Dec 7, 2018
Griffin Klema's answer
Regarding copyright, probably not, no. Mere passing reference to a product in a fiction novel probably does not implicate any copyright issues. But based on the information you provided, it may raise trademark concerns, depending on how prominent the brand is in the written work. Without knowing more about how extensive the reference is to the brand within the text, reference to the bran din the title or depiction of the brand within artwork, and other facts relating to possible disparagement...

Q: i saw "Using Hash Function Patents (Class 707/698)" on your website. Is this a formal patent with legal power? how much?

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property on
Answered on Dec 5, 2018
Griffin Klema's answer
Unfortunately, your question is somewhat unclear. Who is the "your website" referring to? Generally speaking issued patents are a property right and the owners or assignees have the power to enforce them.

Q: Is recycling damaged books, comic books and manga into household items copyright infringement if they're sold?

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property for Massachusetts on
Answered on Dec 5, 2018
Griffin Klema's answer
It sounds like you have done some homework on this issue, which is great! It could be a transformative use. However, it really depends on how much you change the original copyrighted work into a new work. As for your second question about marketing your products, that is a separate issue that gets into trademark more than copyright. Specifically referencing certain superhero character names, publishers, or utilizing logos may lead to potential trademark infringement or dilution concerns. What...

Q: I have an idea for a new business. How do I know if I should file for a patent or just keep it a trade secret?

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property for Colorado on
Answered on Dec 5, 2018
Griffin Klema's answer
That can be a tough call, but generally depends on a few things: 1. Whether what you have is protectable by a patent, 2. Whether the information can truly be maintained confidentially.

The first question can be answered by a patent lawyer by performing a patentability assessment. The answer to the second question depends on what the information is. Sometimes, it cannot be kept secret simply by its nature. Other times, government regulations require disclosure. If you are evaluating how...

Q: Can I get a patent on that?

2 Answers | Asked in Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) on
Answered on Dec 2, 2018
Peter D. Mlynek's answer
Yes, you can get a patent on your invention if the invention is a new business method. It may not be easy though.

As far as your second question goes, the answer is no. You will need to find money to pay for the patent application fees and for the patent attorney fees. You can take a mortgage against your house, have family or friends or other investors loan you money, etc. Here is the problem: even though I would not mind deferring the payments until after your business starts...

Q: Can I get sued for re-tweeting a post with a copyrighted image in it without permission?

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property for Florida on
Answered on Nov 30, 2018
Griffin Klema's answer
Yes, possibly. It depends on a few additional facts, including the context of the original tweet, the context of your re-tweet, the economic benefit you're deriving from the use (if any), and others. It's a novel question that might be a good hypothetical for a law school exam. If you really want to get a concrete answer, speak to a copyright lawyer. If you're in doubt about your liability, delete the tweet to mitigate any possible damages. Good luck!

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?

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Intellectual Property for Wisconsin on
Answered on Nov 30, 2018
Griffin Klema's answer
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 precisely what you are doing, it is not possible to answer your questions with any certainty. I suggest speaking to a copyright attorney and getting a legal opinion on (1) your preparation and use of the...

Q: Do I have any recourse if the design team I am working with excludes me from a patent?

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property for Minnesota on
Answered on Nov 30, 2018
Griffin Klema's answer
If you made an inventive contribution to a patent, then you cannot be excluded from it. However, improper inventorship on an issued patent can cause the patent to be unenforceable. For that reason, patent attorneys and companies generally try to make sure all inventors are included on an application. If you have been excluded, and you truly believe you contributed to an INVENTIVE element of the patent/application (i.e. not just working on some aspect of it, but actually discovered something), 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 Copyright and Intellectual Property 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: Can I defend an Intellectual Property for selling an item on Amazon and receiving a Violation?

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property and Trademark for Missouri on
Answered on Nov 30, 2018
Griffin Klema's answer
It might still be trademark infringement. Just because you purchased the item on eBay doesn't mean it's a genuine product, or that your listing isn't causing consumer confusion. The eBay seller may be selling fakes or knockoffs. If so, then re-selling them on Amazon may be trademark infringement. If the eBay product was genuine, then the first sale doctrine may apply. However, Amazon sellers face a difficult battle with a trademark owner through the site, and you may have to file a counterclaim...

Q: Can I sue my step father for pain and suffering, for him throwing away/selling my deceased mothers belongings?

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Family Law, Intellectual Property and Probate for Georgia on
Answered on Nov 29, 2018
Robert W. Hughes Jr.'s answer
You cannot sue for pain and suffering. You can sue for value of the property as well as suing him for interfering with the administration of an estate as an Executor de son Tort.

Q: Please help me with following patent for a foam water squirting toy: US7571837B2 by Prime Time Toys Ltd.

3 Answers | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) on
Answered on Nov 29, 2018
Kevin E. Flynn's answer
A product does not infringe the title of a patent, or the abstract, or the drawings and the specification. To be within the scope of the patent owner's ability to exclude, the product needs to infringe at least one claim in a patent that is still in force.

So the first step is to ensure that the patent has not lapsed. You can see my answers to other questions so see how to determine whether a patent is still in force.

Getting back to the claims, to understand what is in a...

Q: Can I patent a mouthwash made w/ over-the-counter ingredients offering no health claims other than fresh breath?

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Health Care Law, Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for New York on
Answered on Nov 27, 2018
Peter D. Mlynek's answer
Yes, this is done all the time. Your patent would be a formulation patent. The majority of patents that I write are formulation patents.

A couple of notes:

(1) The biggest problem that you need to overcome is the obviousness rejection. You can't just take known ingredients, mix them up to make a new mouthwash, and get a patent on it. There must be some sort of unexpected results, such as synergistic effects.

(2) You are going to have to come up with some hard-core...

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