Texas Intellectual Property Questions & Answers

Q: Are release agreements needed from the people and institutions of photos I took to be used in a potential movie?

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Texas on
Answered on Mar 18, 2019
Griffin Klema's answer
That's a difficult situation. It really depends on what is shown in the photos as far as brands/products and the context in which the images were created. Most likely, the company seeking to use the images would need to get their own release for showing the brands in the movie. But if the movie is a documentary, it might not be necessary since it could be considered a fair use. You might also face the same dilemma for having the images on your website, depending on the nature of the site. Now,...

Q: How can I prove my own property on the patent after publishing?

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for Texas on
Answered on Mar 8, 2019
Kevin E. Flynn's answer
I am going to assume that your fact pattern is that you invented a new nanomaterial and communicated details about this new material to a person in the US. That person has subsequently filed a patent application which you have seen as it has published.

Step 1 -- take care to preserve all information that can substantiate not only that you were the first to invent but your communications which provided the details of this invention to the party in Texas.

You will need to work...

Q: I am an author. I have recently published 7 books.

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property for Texas on
Answered on Feb 27, 2019
Marcos Garciaacosta's answer
Feel free to schedule a consultation.

You can start contacting them, and asking them to stop, ask for an accounting and payment of royalties, share of profits.

If not, you can try legal channels.

If you filed for a registration of copyright that may be helpful to your case.

Best luck.

Q: I have a competitor that trademarked a keyword that everyone uses. Now he is saying I can't use the term. true?

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property for Texas on
Answered on Sep 4, 2018
Peter D. Mlynek's answer
If you are using some intellectual property (such as the phrase Austin Bounce House Rental), then it is generally not appropriate for someone to trademark it and thus keep you from using it. There are some exceptions, though.

You should seek a trademark attorney in Texas to help you on this.

Q: If somebody steals your intellectual property rights for patents documents can you still pursue the litigation?

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for Texas on
Answered on Aug 6, 2018
Kevin E. Flynn's answer
I am not sure that I have your precise question but let me take a guess.

FACT Pattern

I am guessing that you invented something and had some level of documentation of your development and proof of date of conception of that invention. That material is now largely gone.

RESULTS

You can still file for a patent. No one from the patent office will ask for documentation on the dates that you invented things. You will need to sign an oath under penalty of perjury...

Q: How do you find the value of a patent?

2 Answers | Asked in Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for Texas on
Answered on Aug 4, 2018
Peter D. Mlynek's answer
The COST of getting a single US patent is several tens of thousands of US dollars. It could be as little as $10K, or as much as $50K+. It depends on many factors.

Now, the VALUE of a patent, once the US Patent Office grants it, is determined the same as the value of anything else. The value of a patent depends on the market; the value of a patent is somewhere between whatever the owner of the patent is willing to sell it for and whatever the purchaser is willing to buy it for. It...

Q: Why would the patents show up on google and not on the uspto.gov website?

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for Texas on
Answered on Jul 27, 2018
Peter D. Mlynek's answer
Typically, it is the other way around. It appears to take several months for US patents to show up on Google, whereas patents show up on UPSTO the day that they are issued.

But some foreign patents do not show up on USPTO's site, but Google may have them on their site.

Overall, my experience with Google patents is pretty positive. It still has ways to improve, but I think that most laypeople would much prefer Google to USPTO.gov.

Q: Regarding copyright or trademark infringement, if I were to make a polo shirt to sell online with the words

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property and Trademark for Texas on
Answered on May 17, 2018
Andrew Zulieve Esq's answer
No you would not be O.K. to sell it. "American Express" is likely to be considered a famous mark and probably protected by federal trademark registration. In addition to potential trademark infringement, you might also be at risk for for liability under federal anti-dilution laws.

Q: If I make a polo shirt to sell online with company name, ie Chevy or American Express, is that copyright infringement ?

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Texas on
Answered on May 17, 2018
Andrew Zulieve Esq's answer
Not likely a copyright infringement, but quite possibly an infringement of those companies' trademarks. More importantly, I imagine those trademarks would qualify as famous marks and likely registered with the U.S. Trademark Office. I think your venture carries some significant legal risks.

Q: I want to buy disposable cups from a manufacturer and then sell them on Amazon, however I am worried about patents.

1 Answer | Asked in Business Law, Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for Texas on
Answered on Apr 3, 2018
Kevin E. Flynn's answer
You are correct that this is a legitimate worry. Patent liability attaches to those who make, use, sell, offer to sell, or possess an item that infringes an unexpired US patent.

If your supplier is located outside of the US, the patent owner may sue you and leave it to you to collect from your supplier if you have an indemnity clause with your supplier that the supplier will indemnify you from patent infringement claims. If you provided the specifications to the supplier, then it is...

Q: Writing a famous person tribute.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for Texas on
Answered on Mar 30, 2018
Andrew Zulieve Esq's answer
Assuming that copyright still subsists in the image, legally, you cannot reproduce the photo without the authorization of the person who created that image.

Q: I sell items I purchased from online Chinese marketplaces. Just accused of infringement and theft of intellectual prop?

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property, Copyright and Trademark for Texas on
Answered on Feb 26, 2018
Benton R Patterson III's answer
An attorney would need to review the specific product and the allegations of infringement to determine whether her notice is legitimate.

Q: Doubt I can trademark my descriptive online business name so is it easier to trademark including .com with the name?

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for Texas on
Answered on Feb 8, 2018
Benton R Patterson III's answer
Adding ".com" to an otherwise generic description would not make the trademark viable. The ".com" is generally disregarded by trademark examiners. Neither an LLC nor a domain registration provides trademark rights. Someone else could register the same name as an LLC in a different state or do business under the same name. It may be best to develop another aspect of your branding as a trademark, such as a design, logo, phrase, or product/service name rather than the name of the business...

Q: Removal of a person's image off a webpage

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Communications Law, Intellectual Property and Trademark for Texas on
Answered on Jan 17, 2018
Griffin Klema's answer
Maybe. It depends on the relationship between the photographer and the model. Was the model employed? Was there an employment contract? How well known is the model? The photographer likely owns the copyright, but the model may not have licensed her "likeness" (a right of privacy). Facebook likely has a DMCA takedown request form. I suggest looking there firs.

Q: If a business closes that has a trademark logo can anyone apply for it?

1 Answer | Asked in Business Law, Trademark and Intellectual Property for Texas on
Answered on Nov 24, 2017
Benton R Patterson III's answer
The other party may have some remaining rights to the trademark. To know for sure, an attorney would need to perform a trademark search. Assuming the prior registrant has no rights; yes, someone else could apply for the trademark.

Q: Can I copyright an image that includes lettering/fonts within the design? Also, what if a design includes basic shapes?

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Texas on
Answered on Nov 20, 2017
Benton R Patterson III's answer
Basic design elements are protected by copyright as part of broader designs. Although, you cannot prevent someone else from using basic design elements (fonts, letter, shapes) by using them in your own copyright protected work.

Q: I have a very marketable product idea but I'm reluctant to bring any attention to it.

2 Answers | Asked in Contracts, Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for Texas on
Answered on Nov 16, 2017
Kevin E. Flynn's answer
This is a common fear. Unfortunately, if you never tell anyone about the idea it will be hard to move forward.

If you product has new features not found in other products, then you may be able to protect the idea with a patent application. Once you have a patent application on file, then you can share the idea. Ideally under a non-disclosure agreement drafted by an attorney working for you -- be wary of forms on the internet. Note -- the patent application may not protect further...

Q: Should I sue or should I walk away and let someone take advantage of me?

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Civil Litigation, Employment Law and Intellectual Property for Texas on
Answered on Nov 13, 2017
Peter D. Mlynek's answer
$16,000,000 is a lot of money. Even 5% or 10% is a significant money to walk away from.

If you can prove what you say, then ex-manager may have a serious problem on his hands. A person cannot just patent someone else's invention. It is thus possible that the patent is invalid. I am surprised that your contribution was not turned up during the due diligence analysis by the buyer of the company.

You should talk to a patent litigation attorney.

Good luck!

Q: I want to create a book for children, with unique characters. Is this able to be copyright on my own and how do i do it?

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Texas on
Answered on Oct 20, 2017
Yan Zong's answer
Hi, yes. First, when you create a book or a piece of art on your own idea, technically you have the copyright. However you can also register it with the US Copyright Office in order to enforce your right, i.e. suing other people if they fringe on your right. It is simple and you don't need a lawyer to do that.

Q: I have a question about protecting intellectual property - Novels to be precise.

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property for Texas on
Answered on Sep 6, 2017
Benton R Patterson III's answer
The best practice is to have a contract that specifies who owns what. If left to a verbal agreement, the others may be able to claim rights to their contributions and/or rights to the follow up stories as joint authors of derivative works.

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