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North Carolina Intellectual Property Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Employment Law, Civil Litigation and Intellectual Property for North Carolina on
Q: I was promised in writing equity for part of my comp. I was fired for no reason due to owner and outside persons action

Essentially I was promised the same type of equity the owner had as part of my total compensation. This is in writing through emails and recorded conversations. The owner was looking at an outside person for advice on many situations, whereby this outsider told me to take action contrary to the... Read more »

Kirk Angel
Kirk Angel answered on Dec 6, 2020

It depends. The primary issue will be what does the written document say about the "equity" and the effect your termination has on it. You should consult with an employment attorney as soon as possible.

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for North Carolina on
Q: Does the jelly belly have a patent on their product?
Timothy John Billick
Timothy John Billick answered on Oct 22, 2020

Please consult an experienced IP attorney to full assess the particular rights of any company. A "FTO" or "Freedom to Operate" opinion is a very important and detailed analysis that should not be taken lightly. To get you started in the right direction, consult the Patent and... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for North Carolina on
Q: If I signed something with a publisher, agreeing to give them the copyright for my book, but they never registered it...

Could I potentially register the copyright and own it, despite what I signed? No copyright claim was ever filed for this book

Timothy John Billick
Timothy John Billick answered on Oct 22, 2020

This is impossible to answer without seeing the contract. If the other party had an obligation to register the copyrights, then perhaps. But it's more likely you already assigned away your rights to the book. Please have an IP attorney read your contract.

2 Answers | Asked in Intellectual Property for North Carolina on
Q: Can I file a copyright claim??

I have social media page with almost a million followers. I make collages of people to show how they can change. There another page reuploading everything from my page and putting it on his without giving credit. I have the persons permission in each post to use their pictures. Since I created... Read more »

Bernard Samuel Klosowski
Bernard Samuel Klosowski answered on Sep 28, 2020

A copyright attorney would have to assess your specific situation and facts to determine your rights and potential options.

Assuming for the sake of discussion that you own the copyright in the pictures/collages, in order to file a federal copyright infringement lawsuit to seek an...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for North Carolina on
Q: What do I need to do to collect fines from songs that I wrote that was illegally published?
Jason Brooks
Jason Brooks answered on Jul 27, 2020

You have rights but your damages depend on whether you registered the songs with the US Copyright office prior to their unauthorized publication. In any event, a cease and desist letter and demand for damages will Be your First course of action. If you would like assistance with this feel free to... Read more »

Q: Which online database can I use to see if I have infracted on a patent
Marcos Garciaacosta
Marcos Garciaacosta answered on Sep 9, 2019

try USPTO, it may be hard to navigate. Try also google patents.

It may give you a decent idea. You may need to pay an expert who knows how to navigate deeper the patent databases.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for North Carolina on
Q: Back pain from Accident.
Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar answered on May 4, 2019

It isn't clear what the question is, but if you're wondering what you should do as a result of experiencing back pain after an accident, a first step could be to contact an accident attorney in North Carolina. Many give free initial consultations. Based on how the accident took place and... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Business Formation, Trademark and Intellectual Property for North Carolina on
Q: Can I register my new business name as an LLC if it's different from an incorporated company's name by only one letter?

I'm rebranding my graphic design business in Raleigh, NC and I've found the perfect name. However, the name is similar to another company's name; the only difference is my new name has an additional letter in it to distinguish it from this other company. My company would be... Read more »

Will Blackton
Will Blackton answered on Sep 28, 2018

Your question can be answered a few ways:

Will the North Carolina Secretary of State accept your LLC's articles of organization if the name differs by only one letter from another entity also registered in North Carolina? Yes, the NC Secretary of State will permit registration so long...
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1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Copyright and Intellectual Property for North Carolina on
Q: An illustrator is interested in purchasing a license to my photograph for reference purposes, how does this work?

My photograph will only be viewed by the illustrator so they are able to create their own artwork based off the image and then sell their artwork, so I'm not sure if I would charge a licensing fee (and how to go about configuring that) or charge royalty fees. I'm having trouble... Read more »

Mark A. Baker
Mark A. Baker answered on Mar 27, 2018

As the creator of the work, and therefore the owner of the copyright (assuming you have not otherwise transferred the copyright or made the work as a work-for-hire), you have the exclusive right, among other rights, to create derivative works. An illustrator who creates illustrations from your... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for North Carolina on
Q: My patent is expired, Am I entitled to monetary compensation over the years from others who used it?
Kevin E. Flynn
Kevin E. Flynn answered on Feb 22, 2018

Step 1 -- A person can sue for damages for infringement that are within the last six years before the suit was followed (unless some other special rule applies). See

Step 2 -- US Patent No 5,116,098 expired for failure to pay maintenance fees...
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1 Answer | Asked in Business Formation, Business Law, Intellectual Property and Trademark for North Carolina on
Q: I am forming an LLC with a partner. The LLC name is each of our last names. How can I protect the name of the LLC?

We are located in NC.

The name has already been registered and brand developed.

Will a trademark on the name, owned by myself or the LLC protect the LLC name?

Can each member give up the rights to take their name in the operating agreement?

Cameron Lambe
Cameron Lambe answered on Sep 20, 2017

While I'm not exactly sure what the second part of your question is asking, a trademark filed with the USPTO will protect the LLC name if it is distinctive and unique, and that will apply nation-wide. Many local businesses don't opt for this level of protection if they only plan to... Read more »

Q: Are there any stipulations on naming a real estate company in NC? (Planning on flipping and/or renting properties out)
Will Blackton
Will Blackton answered on Sep 4, 2017

I assume you're asking about LLC naming conventions, because that is the most common type of corporate entity formed to hold real estate for investment purposes. Many real estate investors form LLCs for each property and name the LLC after the street address of the property. For example:... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property and Trademark for North Carolina on
Q: Can I use a theme from something that's trademarked if I'm using it in a completely different field/context?

I'm writing software that's named something similar to, but different from, "Jiffy" (the popcorn). I'd like to use an cartoon version of popcorn popping in a tin bubble for a stylistic effect as a logo. The software has nothing to do with food (popcorn or otherwise).... Read more »

Will Blackton
Will Blackton answered on Aug 10, 2017

The key question is: will this cause consumer confusion?

This is a question that can only be answered by a judge, but an attorney can assist you. I am not your attorney, and this incredibly fact-specific question would require careful examination of facts outside of what is contained in...
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1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law, Business Law, Civil Litigation and Intellectual Property for North Carolina on
Q: I have been denied the purchase of fastpitch softball bats by the manufacturer. My question is can they do this?

I was purchasing bats from a authorized retailer and then providing them to kids who may not have been able to afford them. Sometimes for free and sometimes for a reduced cost. Never did I make a profit or was I trying to. Now the manufacturer has denied me from purchasing any products they sell.... Read more »

Griffin Klema
Griffin Klema answered on Jul 5, 2017

Probably, yes, as long as the manufacturer is not doing it on the basis of discrimination (i.e. if you are what is called a protected class). Maybe try using a third party intermediary to purchase the bats for you (such as a lawyer, who may be able to structure the deal to protect your identity as... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for North Carolina on
Q: Who has copyright ownership of written work posted on a blog when it is a site that involved multiple people?

I live in NC, the website is maintained in FL. A falling out led to removal of work. I want to ensure copyright to my own writing and prevent further use of it on the site in the future, but do not know if I have ownership of copyright due to the nature of the "publishing"/posting on the... Read more »

Dr. Jamie Cuticchia
Dr. Jamie Cuticchia answered on Apr 20, 2017

Works are copyrighted to producer of the work. So in this case, the removed work is still under your copyright. However, one has to look for two issues which might have transferred the copyright. If you perform a "work-for-hire" for a company, another person, etc. then although you... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law, Family Law, Products Liability and Intellectual Property for North Carolina on
Q: How long does it take in the court system in North Carolina to get detailed text messages from a cell phone?

My mother is trying to look up all my messages with a co worker

Amanda Bowden Johnson
Amanda Bowden Johnson answered on Feb 14, 2017

You question makes no sense - the Court does not do what you are asking about. Are you saying your mother has subpoenaed your your cell phone records as part of a current court action and you are wondering how long it will take for her to receive them? If so - assuming the cell phone company... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property, Trademark and Entertainment / Sports for North Carolina on
Q: what is the process to trademark a name or logo
Will Blackton
Will Blackton answered on Feb 9, 2017

The process to trademark a name or logo, as well as other informational resources, can be found at:

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property, Business Law, Consumer Law and Internet Law for North Carolina on
Q: Can i be sued for selling MLM items online at Amazon/Ebay?


My question is Products like Mary Kay, Shaklee, Amway, etc.. these products are sold by consultants, but many sell online. I do sell some online, not many, just enough for some extra money since my wife lost her job.

I received an email from one of those companies stating... Read more »

Nathan Hull
Nathan Hull answered on Jul 1, 2016

Whether they can sue you depends some on your agreement with them as a distributor. I would imagine that they limited what you can do with what they have sold you. They have an interest in protecting their brand and may be able to sue you for unauthorized use of their trademarks at the very... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Entertainment / Sports and Intellectual Property for North Carolina on
Q: Is is okay to use "dab on em" decal on a t-shirt? I have been using the phrase since July 2015.

It looks like there is a trademark pending for "DAB ON 'EM".

Changi Wu
Changi Wu answered on Jan 19, 2016

You are right. DAB ON 'EM is a pending application for use in clothing. It has also been used in many other ways. Therefore, it is possible to commit an infringement if you use it on a t-shirt.

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