Intellectual Property Questions & Answers

Q: Protect personal creative IP from potential employer's IP agreement.

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law and Intellectual Property on
Answered on Feb 16, 2019
Peter D. Mlynek's answer
Congratulations on getting a job offer. You are to be commended that you are concerned about your IP rights while facing this agreement and a threat from the state.

Unfortunately for artists, writers, and other creative people, over the past 10 or 20 years, the laws and court holdings have been more favorable to the employers over the employees, when it comes to intellectual property. This makes things easier for me as an attorney representing companies, but may not be the optimal...

Q: What is the best source for finding which patents a company has applied for before it has publisised it themselves?

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property on
Answered on Feb 13, 2019
Griffin Klema's answer
Generally, you can't. In the U.S., patent applications remain secret for 18 months after they are filed. So unless the applicant voluntarily discloses it, requests early publication, and you are not an inventor or other person who has a special relationship with the applicant or inventors, then you're most likely out of luck.

Q: Person wants me to sign a trade secret document before getting out of our informal partnership with no assets, only idea

1 Answer | Asked in Business Law, Contracts, Copyright and Intellectual Property for Georgia on
Answered on Feb 13, 2019
Griffin Klema's answer
That's a complex situation. Without any formal company, you may both be operating under what is called a general partnership (but this should be addressed more conclusively by a Georgia lawyer). Even aside from the trade secret contract, to avoid incurring liability by your partner, I strongly recommend clarifying the relationship between you through some formal written instrument. As far as being "forced" to sign a document, generally no, you never have to sign anything, but you may have some...

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: How can I get a patent history: who both it. I need to know who is the actual owner of the patent: US D740,361 S

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) on
Answered on Feb 7, 2019
Kevin E. Flynn's answer
The patent history would be available from USPTO Public PAIR. This would be the activity during the application for the patent and any responses from the patent examiner for this design patent application.

If all you want is the recorded assignment history, you can go to a separate database maintained by the USPTO

https://assignment.uspto.gov/patent/index.html#/patent/search/resultAbstract?id=D740361&type=patNum

If you found this answer helpful, you may want to look...

Q: I have an idea for a website and need to hire developers to create it, how do I protect my idea from them stealing it?

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property on
Answered on Feb 6, 2019
Griffin Klema's answer
You need to have them sign a contract that includes several provisions: non-disclosure, non-circumvention, non-compete. This is often referred to as an NDA. However, be VERY careful about using documents you find online--they often have poorly drafted, incomplete, or outdated language that won't provide the protection you need. Once they sign a proper NDA, then you have to identify what information is confidential by stamping the word CONFIDENTIAL on the documents/emails/etc., and also orally...

Q: Patent which is claiming the variables of particular gene has expired. Can a company use those sequence in the product

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property on
Answered on Feb 6, 2019
Griffin Klema's answer
I believe this is the same or similar to the other question about the sequence. Same recommendations apply here as well.

Q: If a sequence patent is expired. Can we use that sequence in product development

2 Answers | Asked in Intellectual Property on
Answered on Feb 6, 2019
Griffin Klema's answer
Rarely is one patent the problem. The odds are fair that there are other live patents, or follow-on patents from the expired one that may cause a problem with your product development. What you need is a freedom to operate opinion from a patent lawyer. That will involve doing a prior art search for live patents, and then the lawyer reviews those patents and compares them against your product to determine if the product would infringe on any of the claims. If there is possible infringement, the...

Q: I am writing a recipe book and call it "Instant Pot Best Recipes." Should I get permission to use "Instant Pot"?

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property and Trademark for New York on
Answered on Feb 5, 2019
Marcos Garciaacosta's answer
You should definitely ask for permission.

It is possible that they will come after you and stop you from using that name.

You can consider other alternative names.

If you contact them, it may be possible they grant you the right to use the name, and you should consider negotiate some benefits

Best luck

Q: How do I terminate my parental rights in the state of GA? I have 2 children from Ex wife!

3 Answers | Asked in Family Law, Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for Georgia on
Answered on Feb 5, 2019
Ellaretha Coleman's answer
You are not likely to be able to terminate your parental rights under these circumstances. Termination of parental rights is only permitted in limited circumstances. Generally, only voluntarily when there is another parent willing to step into the biological parent's place in a step-parent adoption.

Q: Can an artist draw a picture from said photograph as in for a coloring book ? Is that still copywriter infringement?

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for New York on
Answered on Feb 4, 2019
Ali Shahrestani, Esq.'s answer
If your drawing is a near or exact copy of another's art work, that sounds like copyright infringement. There are a few defenses: https://www.lib.purdue.edu/uco/CopyrightBasics/exceptions.html

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,...

Q: 1.- Is this trade mark based on the name of the singer BOY GEORGE? 2.- Is being BOY GEORGE used to make comercial 4 it?

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property on
Answered on Jan 30, 2019
Griffin Klema's answer
Your questions are unclear. Names can be registered as trademarks, but require the consent of the person whose name is being registered.

Q: On my patent. It is only a patent number? Is there a patent number and id?

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property for New York on
Answered on Jan 30, 2019
Griffin Klema's answer
There are a few different numbers associated with an issued patent. Besides the patent number, there is the document ID (US 20140200123 A1) and an application number (61753222) for patent no. 9,138,609. You can look up all the information on your patent through the USPTO's database, called Public PAIR (https://portal.uspto.gov/pair/PublicPair). I hope that helps!

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: Can I register “Pikapool” word for conpany trademark?

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for Florida on
Answered on Jan 25, 2019
John Martin Hilla's answer
You should discuss with a trademark attorney. A trademark attorney will, as the first step of the service provided, conduct a thorough search of the Federal trademark register, state registers, domain names in use, and other common law usages of the term to find out if anyone is already using that term in commerce. The attorney will then inform you of the risk (or lack thereof, if you're lucky) involved in filing a trademark application for that term and discuss with you the optimal timing of...

Q: Will you get jail time for a second degree misdemeanor? Charge was for taking $100 from work after a customer left it.

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law, Federal Crimes and Intellectual Property for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Jan 25, 2019
Andrea E. Mertz's answer
Assuming you have no prior record of convictions, you will get probation. The maximum sentence you face is 1 to 2 years incarceration. However, that maximum usually is ordered for repeat convicts who have multiple convictions. Hire an attorney and inquire as to whether your county has a first time offender program or ARD. Good Luck!

Q: Imagineering is trademarked by Disney, but Imagineer is not. Can we use Imagineer for an online business?

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property for Illinois on
Answered on Jan 24, 2019
Griffin Klema's answer
That probably is going to run into an objection from Disney since its very related to an existing mark. Even if there is no registration for "IMAGINEER" if Disney uses that term in commerce, then it probably has trademark rights to it. That's because trademark rights don't depend on a registration, but rather are based on use. The other issue is whether your business is very different from that of Disney. Trademark rights are generally confined to the products/services/industries in which they...

Q: I would like to do a skit that makes fun of some Star Wars tropes. How does that work now that Disney owns it?

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Entertainment / Sports and Intellectual Property for Florida on
Answered on Jan 24, 2019
Griffin Klema's answer
It depends on just how much of your skit would be considered parody. Parody may be considered fair use under U.S. law (17 USC 107), but whether a particular performance/video/etc. actually provides a fair use defense depends on the specific facts, and then how those facts compare to the factors under Section 107. Besides copyright, you may have to contend with trademark infringement which, again, depends on the specific facts of what you're doing or planning on doing. If you really need an...

Q: Can I acquire any remedy from suing a competitor who I suspect had used my secret recipe by obtaining it illegally?

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property on
Answered on Jan 24, 2019
Griffin Klema's answer
You may have a claim to unlawful disclosure of a trade secret. Much of your rights depend on in what state your business is located, and in what state the competitor is located because of what law may apply in deciding the issue (e.g. statutory trade secret law, contract law, etc.). Further factors include what efforts you made to keep the recipe secret. Did you have employees sign any contract that includes non-disclosure / confidentiality provisions or non-competition? The value (and...

Q: As a 3rd-party representative, do I have any legal right to enforce copyright of the company's IP which I represent?

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Gaming, Intellectual Property and Internet Law for Indiana on
Answered on Jan 24, 2019
Griffin Klema's answer
Probably not, unless your license agreement expressly allows you the right to enforce, or you are the exclusive licensee. Oftentimes the intellectual property owner retains the right to enforce or license the IP to others (non-exclusive license), though sometimes there is contractual language that allows a non-exclusive licensee to take certain enforcement action or give the licensee certain benefits for the owner's lack of enforcement. For example, sometimes a license agreement may allow the...

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