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Copyright Small Claims?

The Copyright Act protects many works that may not have great commercial value. When a copyrighted work, like a photograph, is used without permission, there is often not a significant amount of economic damage to the copyright owner, and the costs of bringing a lawsuit against the infringer may actually dissuade them from filing a lawsuit. Imagine someone takes one of your Facebook photos and uses it on her personal website without your permission. Your copyright in that photo has been infringed, but what are you going to do about it? In the real world, this type of infringement usually…

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Who Owns Lady Gaga – Names as Trademarks

Lady Gaga is currently one of the biggest selling recording artists in the world, the most followed person on Twitter with almost 15,000,000 million followers, and generates millions in revenue from her recordings, tours, and merchandise. So when Excite Worldwide, a company unaffiliated with Lady Gaga, attempted to register the name LADY GAGA as a trademark for their cosmetics and jewelry line, Lady Gaga responded by filing a lawsuit. What are the rules about names as trademarks, and do they apply equally to famous names and the names of regular people?

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Should I Form an LLC or a Corporation?

Many entrepreneurs looking to start up a business are often curious about the differences between filing as a corporation or as a limited liability company (LLC). The differences between the two vary from state to state. In California, an LLC operates as a sort of hybrid of a corporation and a partnership. It provides its owners – commonly referred to as “members” – with limited liability to identical to that enjoyed by corporate shareholders. There are several differences between corporations and LLCs, including formalities and certain tax variances, but for the most part, the entities are almost identical from the…

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Apple’s MULTI-TOUCH and the Descriptive Trademark Issue

Apple is known, among other things, for its impressive set of trademarks, and its vigorous defense of those marks. But even Apple doesn’t win every time. The company recently attempted to register the term MULTI-TOUCH as a trademark. The United States Patent and Trademark Office rejected the application on the grounds that it was “merely descriptive” of the product and not distinctive enough for people to immediately associate the phrase “multi-touch” with Apple’s products. Descriptiveness is a common issue in trademark law. A descriptive term, a term that is used to describe the functions, characteristics, size, or components of a…

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