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Massachusetts Intellectual Property Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Libel & Slander for Massachusetts on
Q: Can a public domain image of a politician be used for a commercial product, or do personality rights come into play?

I'm curious if all the humorous political paraphernalia that includes an actual photo of a person is legal or not. (For example: Trump or Obama toilet paper)

Glenn B. Manishin
Glenn B. Manishin answered on Jan 7, 2017

Copyright in images typically does not apply to parodies, and it is unlikely you can libel a famous person (a "public figure") with a political humor under the First Amendment and New York Times v. Sullivan unless your statement is presented as a fact and you have "actual... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Business Law, Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for Massachusetts on
Q: Is the actual punctuation mark semicolon trademarked by this company?

I've heard of people having their jewelry on etsy removed due to having a semicolon in their design. It does refer to the project semicolon organization but is just the actual punctuation mark, not their logo or anything like that. Is it still not allowed?

Ali Shahrestani, Esq.
Ali Shahrestani, Esq. answered on Dec 29, 2016

I see no basis for an IP assertion of rights re: simply a semicolon. The best first step is an Initial Consultation with an Attorney. You can read more about me on my law practice website. This answer does not constitute legal advice; make any predictions, guarantees, or warranties; or create any... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property for Massachusetts on
Q: Do I still own my code?

I was on the founding team of a startup and brought some code in that I developed before joining the startup. I made some customization's to the code while on the founding team but signed a contract which states we all sign over all project related IP

Adam Studnicki
Adam Studnicki answered on Jul 14, 2015

The contract could be a problem. Best to have a local lawyer review and advise.

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property for Massachusetts on
Q: I own the registered trademark #78284503 Fairway Franks. Someone is selling a domain with that name. Legal or not?
Mr. Ilya Libenzon
Mr. Ilya Libenzon answered on Feb 26, 2014

it would be illegal if the owner of that domain uses it in connection with products/services similar to those in connection with which you registered your trademark; selling a domain with that name is not illegal per se

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property for Massachusetts on
Q: Is it copyright infringement to publish a website that does almost the same thing as a current site?

I started working on a website 3 weeks ago. Today I found an article online about one that has the same functionality and came out about a month ago. Am i within my rights to publish the website still?

Mr. Ilya Libenzon
Mr. Ilya Libenzon answered on Feb 26, 2014

it is not a copyright infringement as long as you use your own original language/text to describe the functionality; it may, however, constitute a patent infringement if the functionality is patented by the owner of that website

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property for Massachusetts on
Q: I want to get a trademark in the USA. What is involved?
Mr. Ilya Libenzon
Mr. Ilya Libenzon answered on Feb 26, 2014

It would involve conducting a trademark clearance search to make sure your trademark is available for registration. Then you would need to prepare and file a trademark application at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. I would recommend contacting an intellectual property attorney who... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property for Massachusetts on
Q: Are there copyright laws around making video tutorials about how to use Microsoft office? I can't find any info on it
Mr. Ilya Libenzon
Mr. Ilya Libenzon answered on Feb 26, 2014

When you create a video tutorial, you will get a copyright protection immediately upon creation of the work; you can register it with a copyright office.

One thing that you should be careful about is using the Microsoft or Microsoft office trademarks when advertising your services or...
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1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property for Massachusetts on
Q: How can i copyright my stage name?
Mr. Ilya Libenzon
Mr. Ilya Libenzon answered on Feb 26, 2014

You can federally register a trademark for your stage name in connection with services and/or products that you provide/offer. You can contact me for a free consultation with regard to trademarking your stage name.

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property for Massachusetts on
Q: I want to trademark a name. Can I do that online cheaply rather than get a lawyer to do it? I am a small company.
Mr. Ilya Libenzon
Mr. Ilya Libenzon answered on Jul 26, 2011

You can apply on-line, but I would recommend conducting a trademark search/risk assessment by looking for identical marks on USPTO or trademark.com sites, I would search for both federal and state registered marks, and also I would look for those marks that could potentially create a likelihood of... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property for Massachusetts on
Q: The company i work for is in middle of copyright infringement issue. A picture of my place of employ, from 4 + mnths

Ago shows the item in question. However the company suing mine says its from last week. The owner was mad and threaten to fire myself and direct supervisor, however once i saw picture i knew it was older. i can prove this but i fear i will be clollateral damge, to fire me as a form of good faith.... Read more »

Mr. Ilya Libenzon
Mr. Ilya Libenzon answered on Jul 26, 2011

I would recommend consulting with an employment attorney. At the very least, please explain your situation in more detail, because from your question it is not quite clear what the issue is.

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