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The process for gaining trademark protection

Once you have created a strong trademark, it’s important to also obtain the legal benefit of trademark protection. While individuals and businesses aren’t required to have trademark protection, you leave yourself vulnerable to copycats and have little recourse for taking legal actions if you don't file for protection. When you register a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, no one else can use your trademark.

In addition to strengthening your ownership claim, if you’re faced with a legal challenge, registering a trademark in the U.S. also paves the way for gaining trademark protection in other countries.

Photographer sues NFL star Deshaun Watson

NFL quarterback Deshaun Watson has been making national news headlines lately, and not just for his plays on the field. Watson is being sued by a photographer who alleges that the football player had no permission to use the photographs he took.

This photographer is currently based out of Houston, Texas, but he has worked all over the country throughout his career. He has made a name for himself as a freelancer, meaning he operates on his own and then sells the photos he takes to various outlets.

Three photos were apparently used by Watson, who took them and proceeded to post them on his personal Instagram page. Many Instagram users utilize this platform to share photos of themselves, they took themselves, however a variety of professionals and celebrities also use it to share content from other sources (what Watson appears to have been doing).

What is a diluted brand?

Branding is an extremely pivotal contributing component of success for any business. Many commercials, for instance, are not even designed to sell products, but instead to create brand awareness. This way, when a consumer decides that they want to buy a certain type of product, the company with the captivating commercial will be the first one they think of.

A diluted brand is a brand that has been stretched too thin, for lack of better words. This occurs when a company is unable to account for all supporting aspects of multiple brands, so overall consumer value in the core brand is lost.

Non-delivery fraud

One type of business fraud identified by the FBI, is non-delivery of merchandise. This often happens to consumers who buy online and simply never receive what they paid for.

Say for example, you find a good deal from a remote supplier, send your payment electronically, and then hear nothing back. The supposed delivery day passes, still nothing. When you try to contact the company, no one responds. Finally, you noticed that they have entirely shut down their website.

Prevalent scamming tactics like this can cost you in several ways. First, you lose the money that you invested in the actual products or materials. Secondly, if not having those specific parts means that you now cannot produce your own products, you are losing potential sales.

What if an employee uses your client list?

In many industries, the client list is one of the most valuable pieces of information to have and protect. If someone were to steal that list, it could result in an abundance of negative repercussions for the company.

Many instances of this theft qualify as intellectual property theft or the theft of trade secrets. Say, for instance, you hire an employee who in order to fulfill their position needs access to the company database (this includes your client list). The employee chooses to work with you for three years, then leaves to start their own business. This is often where individuals will utilize a stolen contact list to acquire clients. With this information, an individual can start their new company by poaching your clients and undercutting your prices; they know what the company charges and what people actually get for it.

Are book titles subject to copyright protection?

In general, book titles are not eligible for copyright protection. The U.S. Copyright Office views book titles as "short slogans," not intellectual property. The underlying theory to this notion is that there may be other instances where the same or a similar title is equally appropriate.

As a result, we are left with books such as Garden of Beasts by Jeffrey Deaver and Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. Both novels take place in 1936 Berlin, however one is fiction and one is not. Read those synopses carefully before purchasing a book.

The main goal of intellectual property rights

Generally speaking, the goal of intellectual property laws is to protect ideas, innovations, and all other types of creations or inventions. It's not enough, however, to protect the item or work itself, but also the meaning behind it.

Many business owners assume the reasoning behind intellectual property rights is so that these business people can take action when someone steals and utilizes their IP. In a manner of speaking, of course, this is true. But, it goes beyond that. You must dig a bit deeper to understand why IP rights exist in the first place.

3 steps to take when seeking a patent for a mobile app

I think it's safe to say most of us utilize numerous mobile applications (apps), every day. Whether it's looking up driving directions, depositing a check, or simply killing some time by playing a game, it's nearly impossible to account for how much these applications affect our lives.

Given the high frequency of new apps, if you do happen to develop something unique, you will likely want to seek patent protection for it as soon as possible. At times, however, the patent process can become somewhat complicated. The following three steps can help guide you along the process to protect your invention:

You can sue your business partner

When you start a business, you can only hope that things will proceed as planned and you and your business partner can successfully cooperate with each other for years to come. Unfortunately, it's not always that simple. As a businessperson it is very possible you may run into some serious conflicts down the road that could potentially land you in court.

You can sue your business partner and likewise, they can sue you. When people think of lawsuits they often believe it is exclusively involving a business and some outside party. While this is true in many circumstances, lawsuits can also begin within a single company and as such, it is important to always be prepared for these potential internal legal encounters.

In these particular cases, they often become complicated relatively quickly, namely because most business partners typically begin their professional endeavors together as good friends. For example, one businesswoman thought of her business partner as a 'great friend', enough so that she trusted this individual to obtain 50% control of her company. Unfortunately, things went south when her partner allegedly stopped sharing financial information, made several baseless accusations, and as this businesswoman phrased it, "betrayed her."

Intellectual property can be licensed without being sold

The protection of intellectual property during the research stage of a project is extremely important. Even after the research is completed, many companies continue to protect that information because it gives them an edge in the market.

In some cases, though, the goal is not to use the IP on their own; researchers may develop intellectual property and then move forth with selling it to a third party. This strategy permits the third party to use and control the IP despite not having developed it themselves.

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