Marketability of Hashtags

As hashtags are increasingly filed for registry as trademarks, courts are balancing the nominative use of hashtags and the descriptive use of the marketability of hashtags.  So far over 50 hashtags have been granted federally registered trademark status. The difficulty is that the descriptive use may be heightened by the courts amid the value of…

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Review Websites Being Questioned

Review websites being questioned for claiming to be a “passive conduit” of comments about service providers.  The matter of consumer trust in reviews provided by these sites run the risk of being manipulated by subscriber agreements. What stands in the fulcrum is the ability for these sites to bolster the transparency of their policies in…

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Defamation and the Element of Falsity

Considering defamation and the element of falsity, can a search engine be liable for defamation for taking too long to update its data base and remove content from its database? Well a suit from Maryland suggested the intent to test the waters. The plaintiff in Ferrell v. Yahoo (D. Md. 7.31.15) sought for the court…

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Copyright Preemption

Issues with copyright preemption from state court to federal court become germane under the Copyright Act.  A recent decision in federal court dealt with the issue where what was being claimed was about ideas expressed in a tangible form in a software program, i.e., Spear Marketing, Inc. v. Bancorp South Bank. The Fifth Circuit determined…

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Copyright Filings and the Library of Congress

Copyright law – Intellectual property law There is a unique requirement with copyright filings and the Library of Congress. Seldom does one wonder how the Library of Congress is the world’s largest library with over 140 million materials that include maps, films, sounding recordings, software programs, photographs, and books. The Registry processes nearly half of…

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Personal Data Privacy and Consumer Privacy Bill

Personal data privacy and Consumer Privacy Bill may meet to give people more control over their personal information is in the horizon. Concern however remains with companies and data brokers having discretion. The proposed Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights Act, sets some requirements on companies that process personal information. The idea is to establish some…

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Data Protection Harm

Data Protection Law – Consumer Protection Law Data protection harm has become key in courts determining standing in data breach cases.  Data protection harm was analyzed in a case involving breaches and hacking of personal information.  The 7th Circuit’s attention was drawn where it reversed a district court ruling holding that where future harm suffices…

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eCommerce and Medicine results in Telemedicine

eCommerce Law Imagine receiving medical diagnosis via web as eCommerce and medicine results in telemedicine.  Would the FCC approve it?  Not so fast.   FCC is concerned that these services would require prioritization for data and real time performance, i.e., reliability of service.  The FCC is concerned with equality and at the same time, it is…

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Domain Names and Trademark Suffixes

Domain Names and trademark suffixes being used brings a question to the forefront.  Can a generic top-level domain (gTLD) just be considered as part of a web address or should it be considered a source of the domain name registry? Top-level domains (TLDs) are administered by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) for the domain…

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Trademark Free Riding

Many brands in a strong competitive industry have the challenge of trademark free riding posed by not necessarily their own competitors.  Company brands struggle against other entities that are not necessarily in their industry, benefiting by their use of a similar if not identical mark from the reputation they have tried to build. This “free-riding”…

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Trade Secrets and Source Code

Intellectual property lawyers are scratching their heads as state courts are struggling with archaic laws on trade secrets and source code misappropriation cases.. For instance, the New York Supreme Court determined in a trade secret case ruled, resulting in overturning a conviction as it defined ‘tangible’ as not the same as when source code is electronically transferred.…

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