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Copyright Office Modernizes Registration Under DMCA

Any company operating a website that is unsure whether all the content on it is its own copyrighted material should have an Agent registered under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”). At long last, registering an Agent no longer involves a process out of the 1950s with a filing fee well out line with its benefit. Filing is now done online and the fee is minimal. The DMCA provides safe harbors from copyright infringement liability for online service providers and websites that allow users to post or store material on their systems, or, perhaps, have material on their sites of questionable copyright origin. If a DMCA Agent is registered, then the agent must be the one to receive notifications of claimed copyright infringement. After notice, the website has a short time to determine if the objected to material is infringing another's copyright, but no law suit can be brought during [...]

By |2018-01-18T09:49:33-05:00January 18th, 2017|Categories: |Tags: , |Comments Off on Copyright Office Modernizes Registration Under DMCA

Understanding the Scope of Your Trademark

By Chuck Knull Many laymen, and too many lawyers, confuse trademark rights with copyright (and patent rights). Trademark law, which at its roots is a law intended to protect consumers from making purchases of products which are not what they intended to buy, provides a right for a trademark's user to keep others away from its mark for similar goods or services. But in no sense is a trademark's user the "owner" of the term, slogan, or logo which embodies the trademark. On the other hand, a copyright or patent give its owner a bundle of rights that only the owner can exercise. From time to time, law suits are brought for trademark infringement that are a source of puzzlement and curiosity to trademark lawyers.   There are two recent examples of such relating Upstate New York businesses. One of the law suits was brought by Dov Seidman, an author and [...]

By |2018-01-18T09:49:34-05:00October 28th, 2014|Categories: |Tags: , , |Comments Off on Understanding the Scope of Your Trademark

Protecting Beer Brands: A Trademark Strategy for Brewers

By Chuck Knull I have spent a great deal of time as a lawyer helping brewers keep their brands from encroachers.  There are numerous ways that the brand names and trade dress of one beer can cross over into the territory of another beer brand.  As a result, a bartender in a dimly lit bar may pick the wrong bottle out of the cooler for a patron, or a soused patron might slur out an order one brand when intending another. Things like this have plagued the larger brewers for ages. Hence, specially colored and shaped bottles, and distinctive cans are often used by them. Add to this the confusion of restaurants and pubs, which may have names close to the names of beers,  serving their own mini-brews and the problem gets bigger.  Now, with a multitude of local breweries growing and expanding in the U.S., the possibility is growing [...]

By |2018-01-18T09:49:34-05:00December 17th, 2013|Categories: |Tags: , , , , , |Comments Off on Protecting Beer Brands: A Trademark Strategy for Brewers

A COLA is Not a Trademark

By Chuck Knull Before a brewer, winemaker or a distiller can put its product into kegs, cask, bottles, cans or boxes, the labels that it will stick on the packaging (including labels on imported product)  must be approved by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). The approval is called a Certificate of Label Approval (COLA).   Many brewers, winemakers, distillers, and importers mistakenly believe that the COLA has the same or similar importance to a U.S. trademark registration in terms of securing brand protection and/or clearing them from infringing other people's trademark rights.  They couldn't be more wrong. When the TTB looks at COLA applications, one of the things it reviews is the brand name, i.e., the trademark.  If there is an exact match for the brand name for already approved product by another then the COLA may be denied. That is, if the TTB, which examines [...]

By |2017-10-06T17:00:27-05:00November 19th, 2013|Categories: |Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on A COLA is Not a Trademark