Intellectual property lawyers are all to familiar with the phone call from a new client ambushed with the news that a business domain name can no longer be used.
This unhappy client has invested thousands, tens of thousands or more on brand development. Included in this is time, energy and money spent on a business name, a domain name, logo and brand design, labelling and packaging.
This is a very common area of intellectual property legal work. It is commonplace for people to seek registration of a domain name unaided, and as a first step for a business start-up or expansion. This deceptively simple DYI task is assumed to provide protection or legal title to a name.
In 1997 I read a paragraph in an Australian business magazine that jumped off the page. As I recall it stated: "At a time when intellectual property is rapidly rising in its value, in business it is remarkable how the greatest value is being derived by those who give it away."
It seemed a paradox. It came about two years after Netscape's August 1995 Initial Public Offering and the rise and rise of Navigator, Netscape's free web browser software.
However those of us who were watching closely noted that the software product development, testing and release pattern for Netscape was an innovation.
Netscape was ahead of its time. It's only really been since about 2006 that the Netscape free way became common for many software companies, most notably for social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.
During lunch with a technology client yesterday I reminded him that a commercialisation lawyer should have knowledge broader than silo legal knowledge. Let me illustrate with a case study about headphones.
Assume that back in 2008 a start-up client wanted to lauch into the headphone business. That client goes to a commercialisation lawyer and shares a vision. The client envisages there will be significant continuing growth of mobile music devices playing music. The client expects people will want to buy headphones not low quality standard earphones.
The plan is to manufacture and sell designer headphones tweaked to be bass heavy, appealing to listeners of contemporary hip hop and related music genres.
Purchase orders can be an excellent and secure way to buy products and services. There are many considerations for drafting them well.
A purchase order is a type of buy-sell contract between a buyer and seller for products or services.
The key words here are “buyer”, “seller”, and “buy-sell”.
Over many years our firm has assisted an increasing number of new online distributors, traders and retailers.
We’ve developed a number of standardised procedures and documents to make legal services economical and efficient.
This article provides lessons learned and a framework for Australian-based entrepreneurs seeking to buy, sell and conduct commerce securely and to build valuable online businesses.
I was interested today to note this article in The Guardian, Seeing double: what China's copycat culture means for architecture. There are photos of remarkable unauthorised copies in China of famous monuments abroad, the copyright or reputations in which are associated with famous names in architecture such as Zaha Hadid and Le Corbusier.
The Guardian's theme is that copies are made of famous non-Chinese buildings and monuments, both old and new.
The one experience I've had with architecture, copyright and China runs opposite to The Guardian story.
A close friend is a distinguished architect. One of his greatest jobs was an inspired yacht club design and associated apartment development some years ago in Australia. Within a year of being finished, via an online search it caught the eye of people in south China who sought to establish a similar coastal facility.
When used on its own, do not expect business law to get you to a sensible or good result. It can happen but it is not a given.
When only purely legal thinking is in operation often business law is a road to nonsense, failure or suboptimal results.Why business law is in this state is a long story. Two recent cases provide short illustrations for discussion of both complexity and incongruity in law.
Human resources managers can do many practical things to protect an organisation's intellectual property. However few do.
One reason is that HR professionals and boards know too little about what IP is and how to benefit from it.
This practical article lists tasks that will increase the value of the HR function within an organisation. They'll also minimise legal costs from disputes or litigation and increase the value of the organisation's IP.
Implement those tasks and you'll be using law and lawyers for fire prevention. (It usually costs much more if you only use lawyers for putting out legal fires.) You'll also make important links in your organisation between intellectual property and the people who create it for the organisation.
Apple Inc. is becoming the registered proprietor and licensor back to The Beatles of the Granny Smith record company logo, so far for sure in Canada.
Mashable reports that "In March 2011, to ensure ownership of the logo, Apple filed for the Apple Corps logo trademark in Europe under 14 International Classifications covering, among other matters, computer hardware, online social networking services, mobile phones, musical instruments, games, clothing/headgear and advertising."
Trade mark registration can be expensive. I have 30 years of evidence in my legal career showing that picking legally weak trade marks is the biggest cause of wasted costs.
Bad brands - in legal terms - waste money on registration and in brand protection with letters of demand.
Here's 17 articles with plenty of tips from our firm on how to select legally strong marks.