Intellectual Property Questions & Answers

Q: If I just created a new invention or concept what's the best way I can protect if I have no money

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Patents for Virginia on
Answered on Oct 16, 2017

You've asked about an invention, which is covered by patents, but you posted your question under copyrights. Let me answer your question both ways.


If you are trying to protect something that is copyrightable, then the protection does not cost you anything. If you write an article, or a book, or a movie script, or shoot a movie, and like, then it is copyrighted when you fix in a tangible medium. It used to be that you had to submit it to the Copyright Office, but...
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Q: What are the legal risks for me selling a game system that looks like a nintendo nes but bears no trademark

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Oct 16, 2017

You could potentially be liable for trade dress infringement, which is very similar to what you are describing.
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Q: In Wisconsin me and another guy traded vehicles his is in his mom's name and the bank has the title with a lien on it

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Civil Litigation, Intellectual Property and Lemon Law for Wisconsin on
Answered on Oct 16, 2017

As explained by you, send them a legal notice prior to sue the buyer for specific performance to deliver you title of vehicle failing which they have to pay cost of your vehicle as well as damages that you have borne. For specific advice please consult Attorney of local jurisdiction.
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Q: My business partner and I had a falling out while developing a new technology. He subsequently sold it off to a larger

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property for California on
Answered on Oct 15, 2017

Your case is complex enough that you should see a competent lawyer in your area to confirm technical points such as who owns the intellectual property, in the absence of written agreements whether an oral partnership exists, whether your partner would have a right to use your intellectual property for other work without obligation to you.

Under the Revised Uniform Partnership where two otherwise independent entities team up to pursue a business opportunity for profit, or to jointly...
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Q: How can I protect my ideas if im dead broke?

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Patents for Virginia on
Answered on Oct 11, 2017

For a short period of time, you can keep your idea a secret. This may not work forever as others may eventually come to the same solution for the same problem.

There is a pro bono program for inventors run at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. I have not used this program but can get you started with a link to their web page.

Ideally you find an attorney that can...
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Q: HI, I sent an image to a 'fit finder' group, which has since been taken by various news agencies and used in articles.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property, Internet Law and Trademark on
Answered on Oct 9, 2017

It depends on the agreement you had with them. Was there a standard agreement for anyone sending them images? did you specify when sending the image that only they could use it? More details on this are needed to better answer your question but I would start by looking at their standard agreement and the message you sent.

As always, remember the disclaimers below!
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Q: My eBay listing keeps getting removed because my "listing used their copyrighted image without permission."

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Antitrust, Business Law and Intellectual Property for Ohio on
Answered on Oct 7, 2017

Try the Electronic Frontier Foundation. They sometimes take cases involving DMCA harassment pro bono.
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Q: Copyright questions about a product we sell: In violation or not? Fight false DMCA requests.

1 Answer | Asked in Business Law, Copyright and Intellectual Property for New Mexico on
Answered on Oct 7, 2017

An attorney would need to review the two products to determine determine if one product infringes the other. You may have a defense. Often items that have a useful function are not protected by copyright, and if they are, only a limited aspect of the design is covered. An attorney would have to review the products to make that determination.
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Q: Someone is using my artwork to promote their live show without my permission. Recommendations on course of action?

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Louisiana on
Answered on Oct 7, 2017

The first step would be to approach them yourself to try to work out a deal. If that doesn't work, try having an attorney contact them on your behalf and explain why they are legally obligated to stop using your work and properly compensate you. If that fails, you could sue them for copyright infringement. If you think you may need to sue, you should register your work with the US Copyright Office so that you may recover monetary damages.
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Q: Can I use words like "remix" and "original" on a t-shirts if they are registered here: Serial Number 87317107.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property, Patents and Trademark for California on
Answered on Oct 5, 2017

A look into the registered mark shows that the trademark is for the sentence: "THE ORIGINAL, THE REMIX, AND THE ENCORE".

I don't see this being an issue for having words like "original" or "remix" printed on a t-shirt.

If you have any other questions regarding this trademark, feel free to contact us at:
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Q: I divorce my husband and have 2 properties but these properties have judgements from a business he owned. what can i do

2 Answers | Asked in Divorce and Intellectual Property for New Jersey on
Answered on Oct 3, 2017

Only a mortgage foreclosure defense and matrimonial attorney has the expertise to prevent you from having more problems than you can possibly imagine. To properly answer your questions and address your concerns, the best way to handle this is with an in-person consultation. You need to retain the best mortgage foreclosure defense and matrimonial attorney you can afford. You should not be restricted by geographic factors. Pick the best lawyer you can find and remember one rule: a good lawyer...
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Q: Is it legal to "steal" a concept? Say a company makes a product, and I feel I could redesign it and make it better.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Patents on
Answered on Sep 30, 2017

Thanks for caring enough about doing the right thing to ask a question. The technical term for what you are asking is called freedom to operate (FTO) or sometimes "clearance". You are asking whether there are concrete legal rights that exist that would impinge on your freedom to operate in the manner you wish to do.

One does not copyright an idea. Copyright covers the specific expression of an idea. Various construction toy components (Lego blocks, Lincoln logs, Erector sets) would...
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Q: I'm want to sell a certain product, but apparently it's trademarked here under no 5024494.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark on
Answered on Sep 28, 2017

The first thing that you need to keep in mind is that a trademark serves to protect ONLY a name, logo, phrase, color, shape, etc., as it is used in conjunction with the offering of a product and/or service. Trademarks don't protect ideas or inventions or the actual products, only the marks used in offering them. There are certainly other kinds of intellectual property protection that can protect actual products (patents, most notably), but that's not the function of trademarks. So, unless...
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Q: To become an additional party (defendant) in TTAB Opposition.

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property and Business Law for Illinois on
Answered on Sep 27, 2017

This is not a question that has an easy answer. An attorney would need to review all the facts. Unless you have an ownership interest in the trademark registration, a business partner may not have standing to join the proceeding. If not, you may be able to move to file an amicus brief in support of the defendant. If you think you need to move to join an opposition proceeding or have a strong interest in the outcome of a proceeding, you should have a private consultation with a trademark...
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Q: I was working outside the scope of my employment contract and created fitness curriculum, who owns the rights?

2 Answers | Asked in Intellectual Property for California on
Answered on Sep 27, 2017

A fitness curriculum is probably not protected by intellectual property rights. A recent decision from the Ninth Circuit involving the creator of Bikram yoga addressed this very question. You could have the fitness company pay you to create instructional or educational material for them for a fee; but, you likely cannot own the rights to fitness routine under the current state of copyright law.
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Q: I'm concerned about fraud by a POA I signed when I was in the military. How do I find out if the POA has been abused?

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Intellectual Property for Florida on
Answered on Sep 27, 2017

Start with checking your credit to see if it matches your transactions.

Good luck,
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Q: Can a famous artist post your fan art after cropping out your logo and not giving you credit?

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Internet Law for Florida on
Answered on Sep 25, 2017

It appears you likely do have a case for copyright infringement. If you created the album cover, you are the copyright owner. You have the right to determine whether your work is reproduced. One thing to consider is whether your message to him granted him permission to use the artwork. An attorney would need to review all the facts. It you think you may want to enforce your rights, you should have an attorney register your copyright.
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Q: Laws that protect intellectual material.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Minnesota on
Answered on Sep 25, 2017

Generally, websites contain their own terms of service, determining the rights you grant to the website when you post content. HARO is no different, according to their terms of service (

5.4. You hereby grant HARO a worldwide, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully-paid license to use, copy, perform, or revise any User Content, including but not limited to any press query to be distributed via the Service....
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Q: I've been working with a publisher to publish my first novel for two years now. Just last month, a novel published by a

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property for Florida on
Answered on Sep 21, 2017

Maybe. If you suspect that your manuscript was leaked, or some how obtained by the other author and that formed the basis for their own story, then yes, you may be able to sue under various legal theories.

On the other hand, independent creation is a defense to copyright infringement. It is not uncommon for two or more authors to come up with similar stories or works of art. Mere coincidence that they are similar does not amount to infringement. If there are wholesale verbatim...
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Q: Using a generic word in a stylized form as a trademark

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property and Trademark for Florida on
Answered on Sep 21, 2017

Trademark law is based principally upon consumer confusion. It is a source identifier. So if in your hypothetical COOL (the word alone; not stylized) is so well known that people associate it with one particular t-shirt maker, then potentially that company could prevent others from using the word COOL on other apparel. The same may be true for the compound phrase COOL COUTURE.

Company A, using COOL COUTURE, would likely not be able to stop Company B from using COOL, unless Company A's...
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