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Pennsylvania Intellectual Property Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for Pennsylvania on
Q: Book Title

Hi. I have a question about intellectual property and copyright. If I’ve written a book, how do I know if my book title is taken or if it’s too similar to other book titles? For example could I title it “The Adventures of Ozzy, the Big Blue Dog” or would that be in violation of the... Read more »

Timothy John Billick
Timothy John Billick answered on Sep 26, 2020

The short answer is that it depends on how litigious the rights holders would be. Based solely on the information in this this hypothetical, your risk of infringement would be low. That said, characters are subject to copyright protection so an A-to-B comparison of the character(s) would need to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property, Patents (Intellectual Property) and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Disposition of valuable patents following death of inventor no probate filed-how to proceed-discover commercial uses?

Need advice re Highly valuable international energy saving patents authored by recently deceased inventor and assigned to small Pa. company in which I hold shares and from which I am owed $.

No will or probate action I can find. Death in early 2020. Processes now being used by Morton... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Sep 14, 2020

There are a lot of unknown facts in your question/scenario which require review of existing documents ( the Company documents -Bylaws or Operating Agreement / Buy-sell / your loans to Company) (the Assignment of patent rights) and possibly some research regarding registration of the patents and the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property for Pennsylvania on
Q: Business name intellectual property question

I want to start an HVAC repair business. I have a common last name in my area of the country (US), and I want to name the business using my last name. For the purposes of this post I'll use the pseudonym "Smith" - so I want to name my HVAC business "Smith Air Conditioning &... Read more »

Kathryn Perales
Kathryn Perales answered on Jul 3, 2020

Since your name is common, and you're naming your business a generic/descriptive name which describes exactly what you'll be doing, you probably won't have a trademark problem. Usually other people can't stop you from using your own name for your business. Best to search the... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Contracts, Copyright and Intellectual Property for Pennsylvania on
Q: NDA for consultation?

I am paying a physics professor a consulting fee for help with a private entrepreneurial project. I haven't set anything up on my part as a business entity yet. But I want to protect the ideas I share while speaking with the professor during our consulting sessions. Can an NDA do the job, or... Read more »

Nancy L Lanard
Nancy L Lanard answered on Jun 24, 2020

The NDA (which includes a non-compete provision) can be entered between two individuals - it does not need to be between business entities. Make sure the NDA is strong and thoroughly defines confidential information to include all forms that the information could be - in other words, the... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Gaming and Intellectual Property for Pennsylvania on
Q: I am making a video game, and everything in it was made by our team. How would I purchase a copyright to protect it?

This video game contains art, music, code, and scenarios that were made between five different people. We want to put this video game on an online store and sell it to make a profit, but we also want to purchase a copyright to protect it from being pirated/tampered with and reproduced. Everyone in... Read more »

William Scott Goldman
William Scott Goldman answered on Jun 15, 2020

Great question! Copyright registration can be applied for at or any of the copyright lawyers on this site will gladly assist. Based on what you've described, you'll likely need a TX copyright for the source code, VA for the original artistic components, and... Read more »

Q: The brief summary of my issue and the related question is contained herein.

I am in the process of establishing a partnership with another company. A new company was to be formed in which the two services (software) would be combined to create one company/service. The other party signed an NDA, I then sent a proposal suggesting the merger or creation of a new company. I... Read more »

Peter D. Mlynek
Peter D. Mlynek answered on May 1, 2020

The question of obviating disintermediation is a common one. The answer is yes, you are able to protect yourself.

It looks like you (Company "A") are paying them (Company "B") to work on your product for which you are paying them. I assume that B is providing A some...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Education Law, Intellectual Property and Securities Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: If I left my stuff at a boarding school, and they threw my stuff away. Am I allowed to sue them for it? Usa. PA
Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing answered on Apr 17, 2020

If they had a stated policy that things left would be disposed of they can do that. A bit tacky, but they could.

Contact the Education Law Center about your rights.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for Pennsylvania on
Q: Is the Philly LOVE statue trademarked? Could we have a different word in the same arrangement?
Tania Maria Williams
Tania Maria Williams answered on Feb 5, 2020

The Philly LOVE statute has been the source of contentious litigation numerous times. Even though the artist died in recent years, there are others who claim to own the copyright in the sculpture. There is also a claimed trademark registration for various goods for the LOVE sculpture. Artists... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for Pennsylvania on
Q: What is the likelihood of a patent holder being granted a second patent for a variation of his first patent?

If someone else filed for that second patent, I would argue that given my patent, that the second patent is obvious but it really isn't that obvious and I want to be the one to file before someone else does. An analogous example: Think of the old power line communications technology where... Read more »

Peter D. Mlynek
Peter D. Mlynek answered on Jul 18, 2019

This happens all the time.

Patent 1 is for an invention, patent 2 is an improvement to that invention. You can file an application to patent 2 as a CIP of the first application, or you can add a TD in the second filing, etc. Talk to your patent attorney more about this.

Good luck!

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1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property, Trademark and Business Formation for Pennsylvania on
Q: Hi! I am starting an app called align. It will be in the fitness space. Can I trademark the name even tho there r others

I see many align trademarks, so wondering if it is industry that sets them apart or if it's the font? I assume there must be a defining feature to allow them to trademark so many versions of "align".

Also wondering with a tech app, will I need intellectual property or any... Read more »

Jason Brooks
Jason Brooks answered on Jun 18, 2019

Trademarks are differentiated by "Class" -- When you submit an application for a trademark registration, you must specifically identify which stream of commerce you are using your mark, and if the USPTO finds that there is no likelihood of confusion with another existing mark, you will be... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for Pennsylvania on
Q: Can I use the name nex and trademark it for use in the e-cigarette/ dietary supplement classes?
Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing answered on Apr 19, 2019

You need to find out if someone else is using it. The Navy PX is called NEX and would have at least a service mark if not a trademark. There would be a problem if a Court found there was confusion. So I think unless you get their permission that isn't likely but I would suggest you contact a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Pennsylvania on
Q: I create decals on Etsy. One decal I created is a combing of all the Pittsburgh teams in one. Is this infringement?

Many vendors in Pittsburgh sell merchandise with this logo. My listing was removed by Etsy after notice of intellectual property infringement from NFL Properties, LLC. This logo can be looked up on Google as "Pittsburgh Combined Team Logo". The only portion of the Pittsburgh Steelers logo... Read more »

Marcos Garciaacosta
Marcos Garciaacosta answered on Mar 5, 2019

Nope. Most leagues have enforcement teams and will depend on how strongly they enforce their rights.

You want logos or brands that are as far away from those registered products as possible.

NFL owns the names, logos, art of all teams, so you run into problems the closer you get to...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law, Federal Crimes and Intellectual Property for Pennsylvania on
Q: Will you get jail time for a second degree misdemeanor? Charge was for taking $100 from work after a customer left it.
Andrea E. Mertz
Andrea E. Mertz answered on Jan 25, 2019

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... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Car Accidents and Intellectual Property for Pennsylvania on
Q: who pays?

well the whole story is my friend hit my car in a parking lot and my parents decided to not get insurance involved so i got estimates for it and they agreed to pay. after a weak and a half i slid of the road and damaged the parts my friend damaged


but i rapaired the car so it... Read more »

Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing answered on Mar 20, 2018

At this point it will be difficult to prove their damage as opposed to yours. Technically, if you can show what parts they damaged, that are not repaired by you, let them pay for those.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Pennsylvania on
Q: I have received a copyright infringement notification on my eBay account about a product I am selling.

The product is a dumbbell fitness bracelet that has the words "Live","Lift" on the bracelet. The notice is coming a company that sell similar bracelets that h that has the words "Fit", "Life" on it. The bracelets are very similar but clearly different based... Read more »

Benton R Patterson III
Benton R Patterson III answered on Feb 13, 2018

An attorney would need to review the two products to answer this question. From what you have described, it seems unlikely that your bracelet would infringe a copyright for the other bracelet. While jewelry is protected by copyright, the rights are not so broad as to cover entire design concepts.... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Pennsylvania on
Q: I'm creating a campaign video using clips from popular music and tv videos. Can this be considered Fair Use?

The video can be seen here:

Andrew Zulieve Esq
Andrew Zulieve Esq answered on Jan 31, 2018

Doubtful. Go online and read the section of the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976 which defines what is a fair use.

2 Answers | Asked in Intellectual Property and Trademark for Pennsylvania on
Q: With a trademark application, is it possible to list colloquial variations of your trademark name?

When you trademark a name, I know that variations are covered under the idea that they create conflict but is it possible to list known variations that are used colloquially under the same application or do they all need to be done separately? For example if the official name is Product-X Service... Read more »

Andrew Zulieve Esq
Andrew Zulieve Esq answered on Jan 10, 2018

Your issues are a bit unclear, but these principles might be helpful:

1. The underlying right to use a particular trademark is acquired by actual use in commerce.

2. For a mark used in commerce but not registered with the U.S. Trademark Office, the geographical scope of protection...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for Pennsylvania on
Q: What are the legal risks for me selling a game system that looks like a nintendo nes but bears no trademark

what could I potentially face if caught

Benton R Patterson III
Benton R Patterson III answered on Oct 16, 2017

You could potentially be liable for trade dress infringement, which is very similar to what you are describing.

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Intellectual Property, Probate and Small Claims for Pennsylvania on
Q: son's father Steve died Steve's sister has the guitar belonged to Steve. Can i take her to court..
Charles Rick
Charles Rick answered on Jun 29, 2017

Yes, you can take her to court.....not really small claims court..but orphans court.

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property for Pennsylvania on
Q: Am I infringing on a word mark using THIS name?

My brother and I own a vineyard / winery in PA (Jackson Winery -- name has been changed to protect the innocent / guilty). We received a warning from 'Jackson Winery' in Washington State that we must stop using their trademarked name (we checked with the USPTO; they do own the word mark).... Read more »

Evan Charles Pappas
Evan Charles Pappas answered on Nov 1, 2016

The answer to this question may depend on how long you have been using the mark in commerce. Although this other winery may have a registered trademark (you refer to the "word" mark), this fact alone does not completely answer the question. If your use of the name predates their use... Read more »

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