Wednesday, January 25, 2023

United States Patent and Trademark Office Unveils New IP Identifier Tool to Assist Entrepreneurs

Last week, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) unveiled its new Intellectual Property (IP) Identifier Tool to assist inventors, entrepreneurs, and small businesses in identifying inventions, brands, and other business assets that can be protected by intellectual property rights.

The IP Identifier Tool is a user-friendly, virtual resource specifically designed by the USPTO for those who may be less familiar with intellectual property rights—patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. The IP Identifier Tool enables users to first identify whether they have any intellectual property that can be protected, and then helps them to identify specific protections that would help them secure and further develop their business assets. The IP Identifier Tool also provides easily digestible information on intellectual property basics, including guidance to help a user navigate the application process for a patent, trademark or copyright.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Happy Public Domain Day 2023!

January 1, 2023 marked the fifth Public Domain Day in recent memory, and the excitement has continued this year. In past posts, I have discussed the history of this day in the U.S., some common public domain questions , and notable entrants into the public domain. On January 1 of this year, copyright-protected works from 1927 entered the public domain in the United States, joining previous favorites such as the first Winnie the Pooh book by A. A. Milne, hundreds of thousands of sound recordings, and Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.

In 2023, the public domain expands to include works such as the last Sherlock Holmes stories by Conan Doyle, the second Winnie the Pooh book by A. A. Milne, and classics by Agatha Christie, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, Franz Kafka, Thornton Wilder, and Virginia Woolf. In 2023, the first “talkie” film The Jazz Singer enters the public domain, as do film classics such as Metropolis. Fans of early musicals and popular music will be glad to learn that compositions such as Puttin’ on the Ritz, ‘S Wonderful, Ol’ Man River, and (I Scream You Scream, We All Scream for) Ice Cream are now in the public domain. As always, the caveat to this list is that only the original work from 1927 is in the public domain. Later adaptations or uses may still be copyright-protected – for example, a scholarly commentary on Woolf’s writings, a translation of Kafka to English, a sound recording of Ol’ Man River, or a film adaptation of Sherlock Holmes, all may have their own copyright protection that has not yet ended.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

FIFA World Cup

As some of you may know, in a past life, I was lucky enough to play soccer professionally. Some of my fondest memories as a child were waking up super early on Saturday morning to watch Serie A (the Italian league) and the English Premier League with my dad. He would always urge and push me to watch his favorite players so my game would grow into that of his favorite players. To be frank, Dad and I have vastly different views on how the beautiful game should be played and we would bicker about how my favorite players were much better than his favorite players – a topic that is still argued to this day (he is a Messi fan, and I am a Ronaldo fan).

Monday, December 19, 2022

What Do California, Virginia, Colorado, Connecticut and Utah Have in Common? New Data Privacy Laws That Take Effect in 2023

Are you ready for the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA)?

The CPRA, which becomes effective January 1, 2023, is essentially an extension and amendment of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). In my last blog post, I wrote about the first CCPA enforcement action by the California Attorney General, which resulted in a $1.2 million settlement with Sephora Now the CPRA has created a new well-funded California Privacy Protection Agency (CPPA), which will likely to be far more aggressive in bringing actions than the California Attorney General’s Office has been.

Other states have followed California and passed more stringent data privacy laws. Virginia’s Consumer Data Protection Act also goes into effect January 1, 2023. The Colorado Privacy Act becomes effective July 1, 2023, as does the new data privacy law in Connecticut. Utah’s Consumer Privacy Act becomes effective December 31, 2023.

Monday, December 5, 2022

It’s Whamaggedon Season Again…

If you are currently a participant in “Whamageddon,” do NOT click on this link. If you don’t know what Whamageddon is, it is a viral contest that has become popular every holiday season. The basic rules, which can be found here, involve trying to avoid hearing Wham’s “Last Christmas” (the original, not a cover) from December 1st through December 24th each year.

Under the “official” rules, you aren’t supposed to deliberately send your friends to “Whamhalla” (where participants go each year once they have heard the song). However, the Wikipedia page suggests that you could send someone a “Wham-bomb” by setting their smart device to play “Last Christmas” as an alarm on December 1st! Sometimes, people play with other songs, like Mariah Carey’s ubiquitous “All I Want For Christmas is You” or, in New Zealand, "Snoopy's Christmas."

Friday, November 18, 2022

The Allure of a Family Business

I recently attended an event where the former CEO of a well-known company discussed what it is like to run a family business. The first thought that went through my head was “wow, if all the members of my extended family owned a business together it would be an absolute disaster!”

While I still whole-heartly agree with that statement, I also got to thinking about many of the benefits that would come from being part of a family business. Of the people I know who are actively involved in a family business, which is surprisingly a lot when I stop to think about it, almost all of them have commented on the sense of purpose that they get from their work.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Kevin Starr, California: A History (New York: Modern Library, 2005).

Forty years ago, I had just graduated from a law school that is part of a private research university in what is now known as Silicon Valley. At the time, this was a somewhat sleepy area, tucked among the wealthy southern suburbs of San Francisco but devoid of much industry—except for Hewlett-Packard, located just southeast of campus on Page Mill Road, which made hand-held calculators for engineering students.

I now wonder at the personages among whom I lived at the time, and occasionally ponder what might have happened if I had invested my law school tuition with some of the startups occurring all around me. Frequently, after this painful exercise, I consider what it was about the area that was so conducive to entrepreneurial activity in the early 1980s. Here’s where Kevin Starr, in his California: A History, has much to contribute.