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Trademark infringement defense lawyers
Defenses to a trademark infringement lawsuit may prevent the plaintiff from recovering any damages or receiving an injunction that prohibits a competing use.

The most common defenses to trademark infringement require the defendant to prove that:

  1. Invalid Mark. The registration for the trademark is invalid or that the mark is not distinctive or recognized by the public.

Trademark Infringement Attorney
A trademark is any work, image, sound, device or other identifying feature that tells the world the source of a product or service.  It may be a word like “Hagen Daz,” a logo such as the interlocking “C”s that identify Chanel products, or even the shape of Coca-Cola bottle.

Trademark litigation encompasses a broad range of “infringing” behaviors from the peddling of knockoff goods to diluting the value of a mark by using a similar name.  There are marks registered in the federal trademark office, marks registered in state trademark offices and common law marks that aren’t registered anywhere.  Trademarks are subject to both state and federal laws, and trademark lawsuits can be brought in both the state and federal courts.

Damages for Trademark Infringement are Calculated in Different Ways

Copyright Infringement Damages
The digital world that we live in requires a business owner to have some grasp of the damages available for copyright infringement.  There are a few reasons why this is so:

  • Copyright infringement is widespread, even though it is often unintentional or done without the knowledge or authorization of the business owner.  No matter, the business is still liable along with any individual who participated in the infringement.
  • Copyright infringement is misunderstood.  There is a general failure of people to understand what a copyrighted work is and what it means to copy.  Particularly damaging to a business owner may be the belief that crediting the author permits copying.  It doesn’t.

copyright infringement defense lawyer
The fair use doctrine is intended to limit the exclusive rights that copyright holders own.  It permits copying for a limited purpose and is a defense against copyright infringement.  Some examples of the uses that are considered fair use are criticism and parody.  The essential inquiry in a case involving fair use is whether the copying created a different “transformative” work.

The internet and digital media has made it very easy to copy copyright-protected content.  When you or someone in your company is making an unauthorized use of a picture or content in your marketing or advertising via online content, or making copies of video, letters or a competitor’s brochures, your business may be sued for copyright infringement and liable for the damages, including attorney fees.

Fair Use Doctrine is a Defense to Copyright Infringement

alternative dispute resolution attorneys
Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagain in Reykjavik neogitations

Ronald Reagan’s success in negotiating with Soviet Premier may have come from his clear vision of what he hoped to achieve in the process, and his understanding of what exactly was his best alternative to a negotiated settlement, the BATNA of the negotiation.

It is this vision of the results, inside and outside the negotiation, that results in successful outcomes.  We need to have a clear objective and vision of what we seek to achieve, while being guided by a clear understanding of both our own BATNA and and that of our counterpart.

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The parties to a transaction, including a transaction that concludes a business divorce, will often include a provision that states that neither side is relying on verbal representations of the other.  Most often, this provision refers to the due diligence that precedes a transaction, but it can also refer to other circumstances including the discovery in an ongoing litigation.

We were recently involved in a case in which one of the parties claimed that it had been fraudulently induced into a transaction, notwithstanding the substantial discovery that had occurred.  It wasn’t a successful argument, but it added to the complexity of the case.

More often, however, there is a claim either that there were facts or circumstances that were hidden or that that there were oral representations made that were material to the decision to enter into the transactions.  A recent decision of the Delaware Chancery Court in  IAC Search, LLC v. Conversant LLC , C.A. No. 11774-CB (Del. Ch. Nov. 30, 2016) demonstrates that an anti-reliance provision in a contract can avoid such a fraud in the inducement claim.

copyright infringement settlement

Holders of copyrights in pre-1972 songs will receive close to $100 million in a settlement with Sirius XM Holdings Inc.  The lawsuit was brought by founding members of the 1960s band The Turtles over the satellite radio company’s broadcast of songs made before 1972.

The terms of the proposed class-action settlement were incliuded in a filing on Monday filing in United Stated District Court in Los Angeles federal court, two weeks after Sirius resolved its differences with The Turtles’ Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman on the eve of a damages trial.

The settlement provides for Siriusto pay between $25 million and $40 million for past royalties, depending on the outcomes of related litigation, and also to enter a 10-year license agreement that could be worth between $45.5 million and $59.2 million.

Attorney for Buy-Sell Agreement
A business divorce case came into the office a couple of years ago, one of the second-generation owners was looking to force one of the first generation owners — who never came to work anymore — into retiring and selling his interests.

We reviewed the shareholder ledger and the by-laws and the second generation had a clear majority of shares.  So at least the majority could terminate the employment of the minority if that was the way they wanted to go, and he would then have the ability to bring a suit to be bought out.  Or more likely, once he was fired, he would want to be bought out.  So far, so good.

But then the buy-sell agreement.  It provided a formula for valuation that was pegged to the equity accounts of the shareholders some 25 years earlier.  The books and records for that time period had long since disappeared.  In the end, we were able to piece together a guess about the equity accounts and to negotiate a package.

copyright infringement award | McDaniel Law
Atista Networks, Inc. won a no cause verdict against Cisco Systems, Inc., which alleged copyright infringement against its newer rival in the networking equipment market.

A jury in San Jose found that Arista was not liable of infringement in the alleged copying of Cisco intellectual property and that it had infinged a Cisco patent. No damages were awarded

The principal dispute in the case was whether Cisco’s copyrights were infringed when Aritra adopted of the same commands for configuring its hardware that Cisco developed for managing its own equipment. Cisco contended that its competitor should have developed ints own commands, the command-line interface, or CLI, but rather copied more that 500  — Cisco copyrighted commands.

Copyright Infringement Lawyers

A copyright infringement lawsuit is the latest weapon used by CoStar Group, which markets information and images about commercial real estate, against competitor that allegedly mine and copy its information.  CoStar brought suit against rival Xceligent for copyright infringement, in what some commentators say is a repeat of previous lawsuits against data startups RealMassive and LoopNet, as well as CompStak users.

The lawsuit illustrates the nexus between information that is clearly subject to copyright protection (photographs, for example) and compilations of factual information.  Much of the lawsuit is focused on the later, and the alleged schemes of its competitor to mine CoStar’s web properties for valuable data.

The complaint filed by CoStar filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, alleges that Xceligent is engaged in widespread “piracy” of its intellectual property and copyright protected photographs.  It alleges claims for copyright infringement, breach of contract — for violation of its web site terms of service — computer fraud and abuse and violations of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) for removal of copyright management informtion.

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