OBTAINING EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS IN YOUR FASHION DESIGNS

Fashion designs can be protected through trademark law, copyright law and patent law.

Trademark Law

Trademark law can grant indefinite exclusive rights to a nonfunctional product design. That design cannot be the subject of a utility patent, however. If it was, it would be functional. It also (a) cannot be promoted as improving the function, operation or ease of use of a product, (b) cannot be the result of a simpler or more inexpensive manufacturing process, (c) cannot be essential to the use or purpose of the product or (d) affect the cost or quality of the product.

If a product design meets these conditions, and the product bearing the design is used in interstate or foreign commerce, the design can be registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office on the Supplemental Register. A Supplemental Registration will put subsequent trademark applicants and others on notice that you are claiming trademark rights to your design, and later trademark applicants will be barred from registering confusingly similar designs for related products.

If, additionally, you can prove to the satisfaction of the United States Patent and Trademark Office that your design is distinctive, it may be registered on the Principal Register. A trademark registration on the Principal Register is prima facie evidence of your ownership of and exclusive right to use the registered design and it can be used to get the Customs and Border Protection Agency to stop the importation of competing products featuring your design. It will also place subsequent applicants and others on notice that your design is claimed as a trademark and bar later applicants from registering confusingly similar designs with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

In order to prove to the satisfaction of the Patent Office that your product is distinctive, you will need to submit to that Office sales figures and advertising expenditures for your product  design as well as samples of your product advertising that highlight the design. This advertising should call attention to your design in a manner which will cause customers to recognize it as your trademark. If your sales figures and advertising expenditures prove sufficiently substantial; if you advertise and promote your product in relevant trade and customer publications, online and at trade shows, and if this advertising draws attention to your design, you may be able to obtain recognition and protection of your design as a registered trademark on the Principal Register.

Two examples of how this can be done are set out below. Levi Strauss & Co. registered the combination of the shape of a pocket, the distinctive stitching on that pocket and the placement of a tab on that pocket as U.S Registration No. 2,791,156 for “Pants, jeans, shorts, skirts and jackets.” Tommy Hilfiger registered a striped V-shaped insert facing sewn into the neck and collar portion of its shirts, sweaters, T-shirts, sweat shirts, vests and jackets as U.S. Trademark Registration No. 1,994,451 for those goods.

Copyright Law

It is the policy of the U.S. Copyright Office that “Designs for useful articles such as vehicular bodies, wearing apparel, household appliances and the like are not protected by copyright.”

However, the Supreme Court decided in  Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc., 137 S. Ct. 1002 (2017) that if a design of a useful article “can be perceived as a two- or three-dimensional work of art separate from the useful article”and was sufficiently creative to “qualify as a protectable pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work,” i.e., it could be imagined separately from the useful article into which it is incorporated, then it would be eligible for copyright protection.

The Court held in that decision that the two-dimensional applied art found on the surface of cheerleading uniforms could be protected by copyright. However, that protection was limited to the surface designs on the uniform and did not not extend to garments that were identical in shape, cut, or dimensions to the uniforms at issue in that case. In addition, note that the test for copyright infringement is substantial similarity and registration is a prerequisite to asserting an infringement claim.

Design Patents

See U.S. Patent #D739,995 S registered to Stella McCartney for the design of a dress at https://pdfpiw.uspto.gov/.piw?docid=D0739995&SectionNum=1&IDKey=CA09BA662498&HomeUrl=http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2%2526Sect2=HITOFF%2526p=1%2526u=%25252Fnetahtml%25252FPTO%25252Fsearch-etitive products woubool.html%2526r=7%2526f=G%2526l=50%2526co1=AND%2526d=PTXT%2526s1=Stella.ASNM.%2526s2=McCartney.ASNM.%2526OS=AN/Stella%252BAND%252BAN/McCartney%2526RS=AN/Stella%252BAND%252BAN/McCartney

Design patents protect the ornamental features of a functional design and provide exclusive rights in those features for a period of fifteen years starting from the date of issuance of the patent. You must file your patent application with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office within one year from the date that your design was publicly disclosed. The design must be novel and non-obvious in the relevant industry to qualify for patent protection. Only the appearance of the garment may be protected and not its structural or functional features. The protection obtained is against the making, using, offering for sale or selling of a similar design, one which an ordinary observer familiar with competitive products would be deceived into believing is the same as the patented design. Minor differences between the designs would not prevent a finding of infringement.

My firm can protect your fashion designs through trademark and copyright protection and works with licensed patent attorneys who can protect those design through design patent registration.

Posted in News | Comments Off on OBTAINING EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS IN YOUR FASHION DESIGNS

Registering Your Slogan as a Trademark

Slogans are registrable as trademarks as long as they are not merely informational or a common laudatory phrase or statement that would ordinarily be used in business or in the particular trade or industry. See Section 1209.03(s) of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office’s Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure. Examples of such laudatory phrases or statements that would ordinarily be used in business and which have been refused registration included THE BEST BEER IN AMERICA, PROUDLY MADE IN USA & WHY PAY MORE!

Slogans are never registrable as copyrights because they contain an insufficient amount of authorship.

A copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to the authors of “original works of authorship” that are fixed in a tangible form of expression and protects such works as literary works, computer programs, musical works, pictorial, graphic and sculptural works, motion pictures and sound recordings while a trademark would be any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used or intended to be used to identify and distinguish the goods or services of one seller or provider from those of others, and to indicate the source of the goods or services.

Since this is election season, or in the case of impeachment, “unelection season,” I thought I would give you some examples of campaign slogans. There’s MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN used by our current White House occupant and, according to Wikipedia, Ronald Reagan as well in his 1980 Presidential campaign. See http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:CiteThisPage&page=List_of_U.S._presidential_campaign_slogans&id=925841367 There’s A FRESH START FOR AMERICA used by Pete Buttigieg, OUR FUTURE IS NOW used by Tim Ryan, whose future apparently is past as is his Presidential quest, there was John Kerry’s campaign slogan, LET AMERICA BE AMERICA AGAIN, and Hillary’s many slogans, including HILLARY FOR AMERICA, FORWARD TOGETHER, STRONGER TOGETHER, FIGHTING FOR US, I’M WITH HER & LOVE TRUMPS HATE. Since a trademark or “brand” is used to distinguish the goods of one seller from those of others and to indicate the source of those goods, having six brands to identify a single product would tend to dilute the effectiveness of that brand. Compare YES WE CAN & CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN used by Barack Obama in 2008.

To put politics aside, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN was federally registered by Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. in August of 2016 for bumper stickers, placards, banners, posters, pens, pamphlets, clothing, including baby clothing, campaign buttons, political campaign services, providing online information regarding political views, online and retail stores services, political fundraising, political blogs and a political website and online social networking services in the field of politics.

Not to be outdone Mr. Buttigieg has filed an application to register A FRESH START FOR AMERICA for stationery, stickers, bumper stickers, decals, posters, printed paper rally signs, paper banners, tote bags, blankets, hats, t-shirts, tank tops, sweaters, jackets, campaign buttons, political campaign services, namely, promoting public awareness of Pete Buttigieg as a candidate for public office and online retail store services featuring political campaign goods, namely, bumper stickers, posters, stationery, decals, campaign buttons, tote bags, blankets, throws, hats, t-shirts, tank tops, sweaters, jackets

Apparently, Elizabeth Warren hasn’t included in her plans a plan to register her slogan WIN WITH WARREN with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office nor has Joe Biden filed an application to register his slogan FOR EVERYONE with that Office but Mark Zuckerberg and his wife through their Chan Zuckerberg Initiative have federally registered A FUTURE FOR EVERYONE for their philanthropic services, for financing and capital investment services, for the design and development of software and data analytics tools, and for promoting public awareness in the fields of health, medical and scientific research, computer technology, literacy, immigration reform, child welfare, sustainability, and community building by means of public advocacy; promoting the exchange of information and resources within the scientific and medical research community and the technology industry to achieve advances in the field of health, medical and scientific research, computer technology, literacy, immigration reform, child welfare, sustainability, and community building; business consulting in the field of philanthropy, charities, non-profits, donors, and operations.

Oh, and the President has a federal trademark application pending for KEEP AMERICA GREAT for the same services for which he previously registered MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.

So, from a branding perspective, how is a political campaign different from an advertising campaign? Apparently, from a trademark perspective, it isn’t and picking a good brand identify for your political campaign much like any other product is key to marketing that product, excuse me, candidate, successfully, and, to that end, nothing beats a good protectable slogan.

Posted in News | Comments Off on Registering Your Slogan as a Trademark

IS LITIGATION A VIABLE REMEDY IN TRADEMARK DISPUTES?

Remedies in Trademark Litigation

In trademark litigation, a plaintiff can:

(1) potentially obtain injunctive relief, including a court order that the defendant cease its objectionable conduct, take affirmative steps to distinguish its products or services from that of the plaintiff, place corrective advertising or recall its product,

(2) obtain defendant’s profits, its own lost profits, damages and attorney’s fees. So

Why not litigate?

Most cases settle and the Plaintiff usually loses!

85% of trademark cases are either resolved through settlement negotiations or a default judgment. See http://abovethelaw.com/2017/12/3-lessons-on-data-from-trademark-cases/ In fact, according to one study of lawsuits in general, plaintiffs succeed at trial in less than 5% of filed cases. See http://scholarship.law.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1202&context=facpub

When litigation is necessary

Yet, litigation can sometimes be necessary, e.g., if you’re the Rolling Stones and you become aware on the night before your tour stops in Chicago that a truckload of counterfeit merchandise bearing your trademark or a poor copy of it is about to hit the streets the day of your concert. In order to stop the sale of that merchandise, you will need to go to court and get a temporary restraining order barring those sales. Otherwise, by the time you “lawyer up,” the unauthorized merchandise will be sold, and the Stones will be on to their next stop. Time will not be on their side and they will get no satisfaction if they don’t go to court ahead of time.

Settlement is a cheaper alternative to litigation

Litigation is expensive. In a trademark infringement case involving identical marks where I represented the defendant, I sought to engage a lawyer who had previously represented another defendant against that same plaintiff in a case involving the same mark. He requested a $100,000.00 retainer for his services. In a domain name dispute where my client refused to settle and I turned the matter over to litigation counsel, his legal fees ran over $100K. In the latter case he could have settled for under $20,000. In the former case, we decided to settle. The plaintiff got injunctive relief out of court in that my client had to cease and desist from using the mark, pull the infringing product off of store shelves and have it destroyed and pay monetary damages in an amount significantly less than that retainer amount plus a few thousand dollars in attorneys fees. In a copyright licensing matter that I handled for a defendant the plaintiff asked for close to half a million dollars. In settlement, we obtained an assignment from the plaintiff of the rights at issue in exchange for a payment of less than a tenth of the amount claimed. In a copyright infringement case where I represented a defendant and the plaintiff asked for hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages, while my client had to cease the production, marketing and sale of the alleged infringing products at issue, it got to sell off its inventory of those products before hand and pay a little over a tenth of that amount at settlement.

It works both ways. Where a defendant was using my client’s registered trademark to identify its similar products online, we succeeded in getting the defendant to stop using the mark at issue and actually rename its similar product without going to court. Where another defendant was using another client’s registered trademark to identify the same services that my client performed, that defendant agreed to restrict its use of that mark to use on unrelated products, to drop its federal trademark application for that identical mark and modify its advertising to avoid confusion in the future. In another case involving a major national retailer selling the same products as my client under its registered trademark, it agreed to cease using my client’s mark and rebrand those goods.

You can get the same relief by settling a case as you can by litigating it

So, without entering a courthouse and paying the costs of taking depositions, engaging in electronic discovery or lawyer travel and lodging, it’s possible to get relief in the form of an injunction against further manufacture or sale of the subject product, monetary relief and attorney’s fees, recall of a product and even corrective advertising.

But it’s not just the cost.

The difficulties at getting at the truth

As noted above, there’s also the uncertainty and the difficulty in winning a case at trial to consider.

In trademark cases, establishing an intent to copy is of significant assistance in proving likelihood of confusion. In my first trademark infringement case in private practice a major national consumer products company not only simulated our client’s product’s shape but placed their similar shaped product on store shelves immediately adjected to our client’s product. Between myself and my partner, we journeyed to Springfield, Missouri, Rochester, New York, Northern New Jersey and Palo Alto, California taking depositions in an effort to search for evidence of intent. We came up empty. To quote Robert Mueller, “When a subject of an investigation obstructs that investigation or lies to investigators, it strikes at the core of their government’s effort to find the truth and hold wrongdoers accountable.” See http://www.politico.com/story/2019/05/29/robert-mueller-statement-russia-investigation-text-transcript-1346453 When I was sitting on the other side of the table I was advised to tell deponents, unless they remembered the exact details of some event, not to guess or assume that certain events took place but respond with “I do not recall.” I’m not suggesting that the deponents in my infringement case lied; only that getting at the truth in litigation can be a long, slow, expensive slog that can be avoided by having some case law on your side and making a deal.

It sure beats the 5% odds noted above.

Posted in News | Comments Off on IS LITIGATION A VIABLE REMEDY IN TRADEMARK DISPUTES?

Beverly Hills Police Playing Copyrighted Music While Being Filmed by Citizens to Avoid Footage Being Uploaded to Social Media

Beverly Hills police are playing copyrighted music during interactions with citizens in order to block those citizens’ videos of those interactions from being uploaded to social media. See https://www.vice.com/en/article/bvxb94/is-this-beverly-hills-cop-playing-sublimes-santeria-to-avoid-being-livestreamed

Posted in News | Comments Off on Beverly Hills Police Playing Copyrighted Music While Being Filmed by Citizens to Avoid Footage Being Uploaded to Social Media

Selecting a Trademark and Creating A Brand Identity

When you create a brand identity, you should think of the trademark that you adopt to identify your product or service and distinguish it from your competitors’ products and services as one tool among others in the toolbox that you use to get purchasers to buy your product or service. Those other tools may include your advertising, how you display your product or service in the marketplace, and how you relate to your customers.

For example, if you are selling beer to men in their twenties, that sector of consumers who usually buy beer, you want to get their attention.  If sex is on men’s minds a good part of the time, then sex is probably a good way to get their attention and, therefore, beer ads frequently display very attractive women showing significant amounts of bare skin in close proximity to bottles of that frothy beverage.

If you are selling frozen pizza, television or print advertising stating that that product is as good as pizzeria pizza will likely bring your pizza to the buyer’s attention but it probably won’t close the sale.  Most pizza consumers who eat pizza out likely assume that frozen pizza is a pale imitation of the real thing.  Therefore, you will need something more to close the sale, to get them to buy your product.  Here, placing the product at the end of the aisle in the supermarket, introducing it at a discount, or providing coupons to the buyer will help close the sale.

And if the product you’re offering isn’t pizza but is instead a new automobile brand from a country that isn’t known for manufacturing automobiles that are sold in the U.S., say China?  Buyers will be justifiably concerned whether the Chinese, who have not been manufacturing cars for export to the United States as long as the Japanese, have the same level of expertise in doing so.  So, how do you get over that hurdle?  Your car make, in the beginning, will not have a good reputation.  It won’t have a bad reputation either, rather, it will have no reputation at all.  So what do you do?  You offer the car buyer a long term and comprehensive warranty on the car, promising to fix the car for free.  By doing this you can immediately tag the product with a brand identity, that of a manufacturer that stands behind its product.

Finally, how you relate to your customers is important.  Suppose you sell a commodity; cellular phone service or airline service, for example, where you have several competitors.  You can compete on price but, if you do so, you run the risk that a competitor will undercut your price and grab your customers.  Or you can make the experience of using your product more enjoyable.  In the case of both cell phones and airlines, one way to do that is to make television available to your customers as part of your product, as both Verizon and Jet Blue have.  However, if you leave your customers sitting in a jetliner for numerous hours out on the runway going nowhere, the entertainment offered by television will soon fade to black as may the goodwill that your brand has appreciated over the years.

Whatever you do to sell your product, you need to call it something.  In selecting a trademark, you need to pick a mark that others in your business are not using.  Otherwise your purchasers may buy your competitor’s product when they mean to buy your product or vice versa and more than likely your competitors will sue you.  Then you should pick a mark that will help sell your product.  Here, you can go two ways; you can pick a mark that describes a desirable feature of your product or you can pick an arbitrary or fanciful mark.

If you go with a descriptive mark, that mark will go to work right away, on its own, and help you sell your product.  For example, suppose you offer an allergy medication that doesn’t make you sleepy and you want to extend that brand to an allergy medication that you take at night that does make you sleepy and to distinguish between the two products you add P.M. to the brand name.  P.M. merely describes when you would take that medication, that is, at night, and therefore, that trademark would be a weak one.  From a marketing standpoint your adoption of such a mark would be fast acting and you could get a lot of initial bang for your marketing bucks;  it would not take a lot of advertising other than putting P.M. on your packaging to identify your product to consumers as a nighttime remedy.  However, because it would be a descriptive mark, your competitors could adopt the same or a similar mark and once this occurs, you will need to come up with some other marketing magic to convince customers that your product is better.

On the other hand, you could select an arbitrary or fanciful mark.  A fanciful mark would be a coined word such as Exxon.  An arbitrary mark would be a mark such as Apple which when it is used on computers or personal music players means nothing but has all the meaning in the world when it is applied to fruit.  Initially, when you select such a mark, it would have no immediate significance to consumers.  You would affix it to your product and display it in your advertising and it would, by itself, accomplish nothing in selling your product other than identifying that product as coming from you and not your competitors.  But use the other tools mentioned above to build a strong brand recognition for your product and once consumers recognize your product as working better, looking better or lasting longer than your competitors’ products, that mark will become easily remembered and your rights in it more readily enforced as a fanciful or arbitrary trademark is given greater protection by the courts not only against competitors using the same mark on the same products but against competitors using the same mark on related and, in some cases, if that mark becomes famous, unrelated products.

So what route should you take?  Should you select a descriptive mark for its immediate marketing benefits or a fanciful or arbitrary mark?  You decide, but here are a few examples of fanciful or arbitrary marks; APPLE, STARBUCK’S, GOOGLE, AMAZON, YAHOO, VERIZON, and here are some not so fanciful marks; GENERAL MOTORS, NORTHWEST AIRLINES, UNITED STATES STEEL, TOYS ‘R US.

Posted in News | Comments Off on Selecting a Trademark and Creating A Brand Identity

RUSSIA ATTACKS McDONALD’S

McDonald’s is extremely popular among Russian consumers. Now its American parent has chosen to close its Russian outlets. In retaliation many of these outlets have become Uncle Vanya’s. McDonald’s trademark licenses have been expropriated and it has lost control over both its famous trademark and quality control over its menu and ingredients.

Now several applications have been filed with the government there using McDonald’s name or signature Golden Arches.

See https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/russia-mcdonald-s-logo-1.6389887

Posted in News | Comments Off on RUSSIA ATTACKS McDONALD’S

THE SUPPLY CHAIN FIASCO & TRADEMARK PRACTICE

The current issues involving the supply chain carries consequences for trademark applicants and registrants. 

One of the biggest stories in the news lately has been the problems with the supply chain. See

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/22/business/shortages-supply-chain.html?smid=em-share for a summary of the issues involved. 

For trademark applicants and registrants here are some additional issues to be considered.

You decide to file an application based on Section 1(a) of the Trademark Act based on your use of your mark in commerce. Your mark has been displayed on labels affixed to your goods or on the packaging therefore in a manner in which customers are accustomed to seeing those goods marked with a trademark. See 37 C.F.R. sec. 2.56. To complete your application you must state a date of first use in commerce. The date of first use in commerce is the date when the goods were first sold or transported under the mark in a type of commerce that may be lawfully regulated by the U.S. Congress, See 15 U.S.C. sec. 1127. This could be either interstate commerce or commerce between the United States and a foreign country. 

But what if, because of a single case of Covid-19, your product for which you were seeking to file a U.S. Trademark Application for is sitting in a port in Ningbo, China, the world’s third busiest port. See https://fortune.com/2021/08/13/ningbo-port-closure-covid-china-shipping-backlog/ Of course, you can toss your Section 1(a) application out and apply to register your mark as an intent-to-use application, but as long as your product is sitting in Ningbo, it would be hard to demonstrate that that product and the mark that it bears is in commerce between the U.S. and China.  

In normal times, it would not be unusual to assume that that product would make it to the U.S. in less than two weeks at which time you would have a first date of use in commerce to support a Section 1(a) application, which would expedite your registration process, as within three months after that application is allowed by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office you would have your trademark registration and avoid the additional step of filing a statement of use which you would have to do with an intent-to-use application.

Once you have obtained a trademark registration by the end of both the 6th year subsequent to obtaining that registration and the 10th year subsequent to obtaining that registration, not including the six-month grace period, to retain that registration you must, under Section 8 of the Trademark Act, affirm that that mark is still being use on product sold or transported in commerce, e.g., in interstate commerce or in commerce with a foreign country.  Again, what do you do if your product is stuck in Ningbo or another foreign port near where that product is manufactured due to supply chain issues. 

“The purpose of Section 8 of the Trademark Act is to remove from the register those registrations that have become deadwood.   See Morehouse Mfg. Corp. v. J. Strickland & Co., 407 F.2d 881, 160 USPQ 715 (C.C.P.A. 1969) .  It is not intended, however, to cancel registrations because of a temporary interruption in the use of the mark due to circumstances beyond the control of the owner of the registration.   In re Moorman Mfg. Co.,203 USPQ 712 (Comm’r Pats. 1979).  Thus, if the mark is not in use in commerce but the owner believes the registration should not be cancelled, the owner may file an affidavit or declaration showing that nonuse is due to special circumstances that excuse the nonuse, and is not due to any intention to abandon the mark.  See 15 U.S.C. §1058(b)(2)Ex parte Kelley-How-Thomson Co., 118 USPQ 40 (Comm’r Pats. 1958). Section 1604.11 of the Patent Office’s Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure states, “Trade Embargo or Other Circumstance Beyond Owner’s Control.  Nonuse may be considered excusable where the owner of the registration is willing and able to continue use of the mark in commerce, but is unable to do so due to a trade embargo.”

While the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has stated that any trademark owner that has been impacted by COVID-19 resulting in a disruption in the use of a mark may make a claim for excusable nonuse on that basis, it is not clear that a claim based on a supply chain disruption, although indirectly caused by the pandemic would be accepted as a Covid claim. It may be that the “Trade Embargo” rationale is a better analogy.  “Affidavits or declarations should specify the reason for nonuse, the specific steps being taken to put the mark back in use, and any other relevant facts to support a finding of excusable nonuse.”

However, beware that if there has been a period of nonuse, even if it is beyond the trademark registrant’s control, that registrant will be barred from filing a Section 15 Declaration of Incontestability under the Trademark Act as such a filing requires an assertion that the registered mark was in continuous use in commerce for five consecutive years from the date of registration.

Posted in News | Comments Off on THE SUPPLY CHAIN FIASCO & TRADEMARK PRACTICE

Courtesy of Frank Bruni’s 9/30/21 New York Times Column

Scores of you have sent me emails that flag artful, whimsical and just plain eccentric business names that currently exist or once existed. As promised, I’ll occasionally share some of those.

This week’s winners:

A plumbing company in Ithaca, N.Y., called the Drain Brain (thanks to Christine Sheola of Ithaca for flagging this)

A therapeutic massage business in Aiken, S.C., called — you can see it coming! — My Aiken Body (Mary Azoy, Chapel Hill, N.C.)

A tailoring shop in Toronto called Boulevard of Broken Seams (Janet Sailian, Fort Myers Beach, Fla., and JoAnne Harrop, Toronto)

A tattoo removal service in Denver called What Were You Inking (Athalie White, Milton, Ga.)

A manicurist in Brooklyn, N.Y., called You’ve Got Nail (Will Everett, Queens, N.Y.)

A cafe in Oakland, Calif., called the Edible Complex (Sherri Hallgren, Andover, Mass.)

An Asian fusion restaurant in Rehoboth Beach, Del., called Saketumi (Jerry Graff, Ocean View, Del.)

Dozens of you have also sent in business names that, in a world even more playful and imaginative than ours, would exist. Those include:

An orthopedic shoe store called I Stand Corrected (Leslie Bell, Signal Mountain, Tenn.)

A restaurant showcasing a crab especially prevalent in the Pacific Northwest called Dungeness Liaisons (Dave Fisher, Olympia, Wash.)

Scores of you have sent me emails that flag artful, whimsical and just plain eccentric business names that currently exist or once existed. As promised, I’ll occasionally share some of those.

This week’s winners:

A plumbing company in Ithaca, N.Y., called the Drain Brain (thanks to Christine Sheola of Ithaca for flagging this)

A therapeutic massage business in Aiken, S.C., called — you can see it coming! — My Aiken Body (Mary Azoy, Chapel Hill, N.C.)

A tailoring shop in Toronto called Boulevard of Broken Seams (Janet Sailian, Fort Myers Beach, Fla., and JoAnne Harrop, Toronto)

A tattoo removal service in Denver called What Were You Inking (Athalie White, Milton, Ga.)

A manicurist in Brooklyn, N.Y., called You’ve Got Nail (Will Everett, Queens, N.Y.)

A cafe in Oakland, Calif., called the Edible Complex (Sherri Hallgren, Andover, Mass.)

An Asian fusion restaurant in Rehoboth Beach, Del., called Saketumi (Jerry Graff, Ocean View, Del.)

Dozens of you have also sent in business names that, in a world even more playful and imaginative than ours, would exist. Those include:

An orthopedic shoe store called I Stand Corrected (Leslie Bell, Signal Mountain, Tenn.)

A restaurant showcasing a crab especially prevalent in the Pacific Northwest called Dungeness Liaisons (Dave Fisher, Olympia, Wash.)


Posted in News | Comments Off on Courtesy of Frank Bruni’s 9/30/21 New York Times Column

It’s Not Easy Being Green-Eco-Friendly Issues in Branding & Marketing

Given the notoriety of recent events indicating a changing climate, e.g., heat waves, wildfires and the like, marketers will be tempted to promote the environmental friendliness of their products.

They may do this in how they brand their products, in their advertising material and on their labeling. When they do this, they need to be aware of the legal implications.

BRANDING:

The United States Patent & Trademark Office will refuse the registration of a mark if that mark is deceptive or deceptively misdescriptive. A deceptiveness refusal is an absolute bar to the registration of a trademark and evidence that that mark is distinctive will not overcome that refusal.

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has articulated the following test for whether a mark consists of or comprises deceptive matter:

  1. Is the term misdescriptive of the character, quality, function, composition or use of the goods?
  2. If so, are prospective purchasers likely to believe that the misdescription actually describes the goods?
  3. If so, is the misdescription likely to affect a significant portion of the relevant consumers’ decision to purchase the goods?

A deceptive mark may be comprised of: (1) a single deceptive term; (2) a deceptive term embedded in a composite mark that includes additional non-deceptive wording and/or design elements; (3) a term or a portion of a term that alludes to a deceptive quality, characteristic, function, composition, or use; (4) the phonetic equivalent of a deceptive term; or (5) the foreign equivalent of any of the above.

Deceptive marks may include marks that falsely describe the material content of a product and marks that are geographically deceptive.

However, marks containing a term identifying a material, ingredient, or feature should not be refused registration under if the mark in its entirety would not be perceived as indicating that the goods contained that material or ingredient.

In addition, formatives and other grammatical variations of a term may not necessarily be deceptive in relation to the relevant goods. For example, “silky” is defined, inter alia, as “resembling silk.” See The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Ed. 2000. Thus, a mark containing the term SILKY would not be considered deceptive (but might be unregistrable as a descriptive term. Dictionary definitions of such terms should be carefully reviewed to determine the significance the term would have to prospective purchasers. For example, although the term GOLD would be considered deceptive for jewelry not made of gold, the term GOLDEN would not be deceptive.

If the first two elements of the test set forth by the Federal Circuit above, i.e., whether a mark is misdescriptive of the goods/services and whether prospective purchasers are likely to believe the misdescription, are answered affirmatively, then the mark is deceptively misdescriptive of the goods/services under §2(e)(1) of the Trademark Act. That is, if the misdescription is not a material factor to the purchasing decision, then the basis for refusal would be not that the mark is deceptive but that the mark is deceptively misdescriptive of the goods.

Marks that have been refused registration on the ground of deceptive misdescriptiveness may be registrable upon a showing of acquired distinctiveness, or on the Supplemental Register if appropriate. Similarly, marks that contain registrable matter in addition to deceptively misdescriptive components can be registered with a disclaimer of the deceptively misdescriptive matter, when appropriate. 

LABELING GUIDELINES:

Examples of deceptive or deceptively misdecriptive brands that promote environmental friendliness may be suggested by looking at the Federal Trade Commission’s “Green Guides” which cover product labeling and advertising. See https://www.ftc.gov/sites/default/files/attachments/press-releases/ftc-issues-revised-green-guides/greenguidessummary.pdf

Here is a brief summary of the FTC’s rules:

Marketers should not make broad, unqualified general environmental benefit claims like ‘green’ or ‘Eco-friendly.’ Broad claims are difficult to substantiate, if not impossible.

Marketers should qualify general claims with specific environmental benefits. Qualifications for any claim should be clear, prominent, and specific.

When a marketer qualifies a general claim with a specific benefit, consumers understand the benefit to be significant. As a result, marketers shouldn’t highlight small or unimportant benefits.

Claiming “Green, made with recycled content” may be deceptive if the environmental costs of using recycled content outweigh the environmental benefits of using it, e.g., if the content needs to be shipped halfway around the world to be recycled.

Marketers should disclose whether a carbon offset purchase pays for emission reductions that won’t occur for at least two years. Marketers should not advertise a carbon offset if the law already requires the activity that is the basis of the offset.

Marketers who claim a product is compostable need competent and reliable scientific evidence that all materials in the product or package will break down into — or become part of — usable compost safely and in about the same time as the materials with which it is composted.

Marketers may make an unqualified degradable claim only if they can prove that the “entire product or package will completely break down and return to nature within a reasonably short period of time after customary disposal.” The “reasonably short period of time” for complete decomposition of solid waste products? One year

Marketers who claim that their product is non-toxic need competent and reliable scientific evidence that the product is safe for both people and the environment.

It is deceptive to misrepresent that a product is ozone-friendly or safe for the ozone layer or atmosphere.

If recycling facilities for a product are not available to at least 60 percent of consumers or communities, a marketer can state, “This product may not be recyclable in your area.” If recycling facilities for a product are available to only a few consumers, a marketer should use stronger qualifying language: “This product is recyclable only in the few communities that have appropriate recycling programs.”

Marketers should qualify claims for products or packages made partly from recycled material — for example, “Made from 30% recycled material.”

Marketers should not make an unqualified “made with renewable energy” claim unless all, or virtually all, the significant manufacturing processes involved in making the product or package are powered with renewable energy or non-renewable energy, matched by Renewable Energy Certificates.

Unqualified claims about renewable material may imply that a product is recyclable, made with recycled content, or biodegradable. One way to minimize that risk is to identify the material used clearly and prominently, and explain why it is renewable, e.g., “Our flooring is made from 100% bamboo, which grows at the same rate, or faster, than we use it.”

When it comes to “green” trademarks one way to avoid a deceptive or deceptively misdescriptive objection is to make sure that your mark is merely suggestive, e.g., EARTHWISE, ECOMAX, RECYCLAY.

Posted in News | Comments Off on It’s Not Easy Being Green-Eco-Friendly Issues in Branding & Marketing

REST IN PEACE RON POPEIL

As a trademark lawyer, I help to bring my clients’ ideas for products to market. No one was better at bringing his products to a skeptical marketplace than Ron Popeil. He died last Wednesday at the age of 86 leaving the world such products as the VEG-O-MATIC (See U.S. Trademark Registration #6396328), the POCKET FISHERMAN (See U.S. Trademark Registration #3380017, MR. MICROPHONE (a wireless mike that played through the radio) (See U.S. Trademark Registration #1150877) and “GLH,” a product commonly known as “hair in a can.”

Popeil started in a rough neighborhood; Chicago’s Maxwell Street Market. At sixteen, Ron began to sell the very products his father’s factory produced in the flea markets on Maxwell street in Chicago. Storing his goods and table in the back of a grimy fish store. Ron would start his day there at 5 AM to set up and would gross as much as $500 per day; a huge success for a kid in the 1950’s.

In need of jobs and quick cash, fledgling entrepreneurs came to Maxwell Street to earn their livelihood. Many say it was the largest open-air market in the country. From clothes, to produce, to cars, appliances, tools, and virtually anything anyone might want, Maxwell Street offered discount items to consumers and was an economic hub for poor people looking to get ahead. Merchandise was often considered to have originated from hijacked or pirated railcars/railyards and transport rigs for quick resale and dissemination of articles. Few questions were asked about the origin of a vendor’s items for sale, particularly if the price was “right.”

Maxwell Street Market also represented a fundamental change in American retail and economic history. The market was a response to and rejection of stand-alone retail establishments and their price structures. This microcosm of commerce recognized the availability and influx of Asian and world imports and markets (Taiwan, Japan, China, Mexico) priced dramatically lower than American produced goods. Wholesalers lined Roosevelt Road with goods from all over the world; savvy vendors would buy from them to resell on the market at a profit, usually at a 100% markup. The resulting price(s) fell well below goods available elsewhere, due to low overhead. The market also responded to the spending power of immigrants and minorities; they could take their cash where they were welcome, accepted, and could shop.

See https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Photography_by_Victor_Albert_Grigas_(1919-2017)_PEOPLE_00003_(49323228683).jpg#/media/File:Photography_by_Victor_Albert_Grigas_(1919-2017)_PEOPLE_00003_(49323228683).jpg and https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Maxwell_Street_Camp_Meeting.jpg#/media/File:Maxwell_Street_Camp_Meeting.jpg

Popeil took what he learned on the streets of Chicago and moved on to television selling such products as those identified above to people like Homer Simpson who in numerous episodes would grab his telephone and credit card and purchase a product like the following while watching a television commercial like one of these.

This last one is my favorite:

So, when a client comes into my office, in the tradition of such great American salesmen as Ron Popeil and Steven Jobs, I leave my skepticism at home. Sometimes, a new product with the right pitchman can change the world:

Without the iPhone, there would be no Uber, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, You Tube, and the list goes on. But as Ron Popeil and Steven Jobs has demonstrated, a product doesn’t sell itself. It takes a good presentation and a good presenter.

Posted in News | Comments Off on REST IN PEACE RON POPEIL

Jeff Bezos’ Journey Into I.P. Space or Amazon’s Revised Conditions of Use

A day before Jeff Bezos rode Blue Origin’s New Shepherd spacecraft on his ten minute excursion through the atmosphere to space and back I got an email advising me of Amazon’s updated Conditions of Use. [Note these were effective last May 3rd.]

Here are some of their highlights with an emphasis towards I.P.:

COPYRIGHTS

“All content included in or made available through any Amazon Service, such as text, graphics, logos, button icons, images, audio clips, digital downloads, data compilations, and software is the property of Amazon or its content suppliers and protected by United States and international copyright laws.”

TRADEMARKS

Amazon’s trademarks and trade dress may not be used in connection with any product or service that is not Amazon’s, in any manner that is likely to cause confusion among customers, or in any manner that disparages or discredits Amazon.

Those trademarks include the following (Amazon says this is a non-exhaustive list.):

1-CLICK

1-CLICK COMPARE

1-CLICK WEBSTORE

6PM

7GOALS

10.OR

10.OR COSMOS

10.OR MOVE

10.OR RAVE

28 PALMS

43 PEOPLE

43 PLACES

43 THINGS

+44

47NORTH

47 NORTH Design

206 C Design

206 COLLECTIVE

365

! Design

.MOI Design

“a” Design

“a” MADE FOR KINDLE Design

A TO Z

A VOICE IS ALL YOU NEED

A2Z

A9

A.COM

A9.COM

A9SEARCH

A-ZSHOP

A-LISTCOLLECTION

ABE

ABEBOOKS

ACX AUDIOBOOK CREATION EXCHANGE and Design

ADD-ON ITEM Design

ADMASH

ADVANCED BOOK EXCHANGE

ADZINIA

AIR PATRIOTS

AIRPORT MANIA

AJC COLLECTION

AL DENTE

ALEJANDRA SKY

ALEXA

ALEXA FUND

ALEXA GADGETS

ALEXA ONBOARD

ALEXA PRIZE

ALL CONSUMING

ALLEGRO COFFEE

ALPHA HOUSE

ALWAYS HOME

AMAZON

AMAZON and Design

AMAZON 4-STAR and Design

AMAZON ADCON

AMAZON ADVERTISING

AMAZON AIR

AMAZON ALEXA

AMAZON ANYWHERE

AMAZON ASAP

AMAZONASSIST

AMAZON AURORA

AMAZONBASICS

AMAZON BASICS Design

AMAZON BOOKCLIPS PODCAST Design

AMAZON BUSINESS

AMAZON.CA

AMAZON.CA FIRST NOVEL AWARD WINNER Design

AMAZON CAPITAL

AMAZON CARE Design

AMAZON CART

AMAZON CHAI CART

AMAZON CHIME

AMAZON CLOUD CAM

AMAZON CLOUD DRIVE

AMAZON CLOUDFRONT

AMAZON CLOUD PLAYER

AMAZON CODEGURU

AMAZON COGNITO

AMAZON COIN Design

AMAZON COINS

AMAZON.COM

AMAZON.COM Design

AMAZON.COM.BR

AMAZON.COM.BR Design

AMAZON.COM ANYWHERE

AMAZON.COM OUTLET

AMAZONCONNECT

AMAZON CONNECT

AMAZONCROSSING

AMAZON CURRENCY CONVERTER

AMAZON DASH

AMAZON DASH Design

AMAZON DASH REPLENISHMENT

AMAZONDC

AMAZON DETECTIVE

AMAZON DEVPAY

AMAZON DYNAMODB ACCELERATOR

AMAZON EC2

AMAZON ECHO

AMAZON ECHO DOT

AMAZON ECHO PLUS

AMAZON ECHO SHOW

AMAZON ECHO SPOT

AMAZON ELEMENTS

AMAZON ENGLISH

AMAZON ENGLISH Design

AMAZONENCORE

AMAZON FASHION

AMAZON FIRE

AMAZON FIREFLY

AMAZON FLEX

AMAZON FLOW

AMAZON FREERTOS

AMAZON FREIGHT

AMAZONFRESH

AMAZONFRESH PICKUP

AMAZON FRUSTRATION-FREE

AMAZON FUSE

AMAZON GAME STUDIOS

AMAZON GAMELIFT

AMAZON GAMEON

AMAZON GEAR

AMAZON GLACIER

AMAZON GLOBAL

AMAZON GLOBAL Design

AMAZON GLOBAL LOGISTICS

AMAZON GLOBAL SELLING

AMAZON GO Design

AMAZON GO GROCERY Design

AMAZON GUARDDUTY

AMAZON HANDMADE

AMAZON HOME SERVICES

AMAZON HONOR SYSTEM

AMAZON HUB

AMAZON HUB LOCKER

AMAZON INSTANT VIDEO

AMAZON INSTANT VIDEO Design

AMAZONKINDLE

AMAZON KINESIS

AMAZON KIRANA NOW

AMAZON LAUNCHPAD

AMAZON LEX

AMAZON LIGHTSAIL

AMAZON LINKS (Guitar Design)

AMAZON LOCAL

AMAZON LOCAL REGISTER

AMAZON LOCKER

AMAZON LOGISTICS

AMAZON LUMBERYARD

AMAZON LUNA

AMAZON MACIE

AMAZON MARKETPLACE

AMAZON MECHANICAL TURK

AMAZON MOBILE MASTERS

AMAZON MOBILE SHOPPING CART Design

AMAZON MOMENTS

AMAZONMP3 Design

AMAZON MUSIC

AMAZON NEPTUNE

AMAZON ONE

AMAZON OUTLET

AMAZON PAY

AMAZON PERSONALIZATION NETWORK

AMAZON PHARMACY

AMAZON PHOTOS

AMAZON PINPOINT

AMAZON POLLY

AMAZON PRIME

AMAZON PRIME MUSIC

AMAZON PRIME VIDEO

AMAZON PRIME VIDEO & Design

AMAZON PRODUCT ADS

AMAZON PV

AMAZON QUICKSIGHT

AMAZON REDSHIFT

AMAZON REDSHIFT SPECTRUM

AMAZON REKOGNITION

AMAZON RELAY

AMAZON REMEMBERS

AMAZON RESTAURANTS

AMAZON ROBOTICS

AMAZON ROUTE 53

AMAZON SAGEMAKER

AMAZON SAGEMAKER NEO

AMAZON SCOUT

AMAZON SELLER UNIVERSITY

AMAZON SERVICES JAPAN

AMAZON SILK

AMAZONSILK

AMAZON SIMPLE PAY

AMAZON SOLAR FARM

AMAZON SOMMELIER

AMAZON SPARK

AMAZON SPARK Design

AMAZON STORYTELLER

AMAZON STORYWRITER

AMAZON STUDIOS

AMAZON SUMERIAN

AMAZONSUPPLY

AMAZON SUPPLY Design

AMAZON TAP

AMAZON TEXTRACT

AMAZONTOTE Design

AMAZONUNBOX Design

AMAZON UNDERGROUND

AMAZON VIDEO DIRECT

AMAZON VIDEO ON DEMAND Design

AMAZON VINE

AMAZON VPC

AMAZON WEB SERVICES

AMAZON WEB SERVICES Design

AMAZON WEBSTORE

AMAZON WIND FARM

AMAZONWINDOWSHOP Design

AMAZON WINE

AMAZON WIRE PODCAST Design

AMAZON WIRELESS

AMAZON@WORK

AMAZON WORKLINK

AMAZON WORKSPACES Design

AMAZON’S CHOICE

AMZN, AND YOU’RE DONE

ANNAPURNA LABS Design

ANIME STRIKE and Design

ANNEBOTS

ANNEDROIDS

APPLY & BUY

APPSTREAM

APPY FAMILY

ARABELLA

ARMCHAIR COMMENTARY

ARTHUR HARVEY

ARTIFICIAL

ASAP

ASIN

ASKVILLE

ASSOCIATES CENTRAL

ASTORE Design

AUDIBLE

AUDIBLEKIDS Design

AUDIBLELISTENER

AUDIBLEMANAGER

AUDILBLEORIGINALS

AUDIBLEREADY

AUDIOBOOKSTAND

AURIQUE

AUTORIP

AUTORIP Design

AVAILABLE AT AMAZON Design

AWS

AWS AMPLIFY

AWS CHALICE

AWS CLOUDTRAIL

AWS CODESTAR

AWS CONTROL TOWER

AWS DATASYNC

AWS DEEPLENS

AWS DEEPRACER

AWS DEEPRACER LEAGUE

AWS EDUCATE Design

AWS ELEMENTAL

AWS FARGATE

AWS GOLDBASE

AWS GRAVITON

AWS GREENGRASS

AWS INFERENTIA

AWS IS HOW

AWS NITRO ENCLAVES

AWS NITRO SYSTEM

AWS OUTPOSTS

AWS MARKETPLACE Design

AWS RE-INVENT Design

AWS ROBOMAKER

AWS SERVE

AWS Smile Design

AWS SNOWMOBILE

AWS THINKBOX

BAG O’CRAP

BECAUSE YOU READ

BEFORE YOU BUY

BETAS

BETTER WITH PRIME

BETTERIZER

BIBLIOFIND

BID-CLICK

BIOLABS

BLAZINGTEXT

BLINK

BLOCKVIEW

BLUE RING MOTION

BLUE SHADE

BOOKCASSETTE

BOOK-OLOGY

BOOKSLEUTH

BOP

BOP BASICS

BOP BIJOUX

BOSCH

BOTTLEROCKET

BOTTOM OF THE PAGE

BOUQUETS

BOX OFFICE MOJO

BRAKET

BREAKTHROUGH

BREATHE

BRIGHTVOICE

BRIGITTE BAILEY

BRILLIANCE

BRILLIANCE AUDIO

BRUSHLAND

BUG DIARIES

BUTTONED DOWN Design

BUY ONCE, READ EVERYWHERE

BUYBOX

BUYPHRASE

CABLE STITCH

CAMPERFORCE

CERTIFIED FRUSTRATION-FREE PACKAGING

CHECKOUT BY AMAZON

CHIME

CHIME MEETINGS

CHIME SPACES

CHORDSTRIKE

CLICK.HEAR

CLIMATE PLEDGE ARENA

CLIMATE PLEDGE FRIENDLY

CLOUD9

CLOUD CAM

CLOUDENDURE

CLOUDFRONT

CLOUDTRAIL

C/O Design

COASTAL BLUE Design

COMICSTAAN

COMPACT BY DESIGN

CONTACT LENS

CORE 10

CORRETTO

COSTUME QUEST

CRAFTED COLLAR Design

CREATESPACE

CREATIVE GALAXY

CRITICALMASS TICKETING

CROSSLINKS

CRUCIBLE Design

CUSTOMFLIX

CVCORP

CYBER MOMDAY

DAILY DEAL Design

DAILY RITUAL

DANGER & EGGS

DASH

DASH BUTTON

DASH REPLENISHMENT Design

DAY 1 EDITIONS

DAY ONE

DEADLINE

DEAL OF THE DAY

DEALS ARE EVERYWHERE

DEALS.WOOT!

DEEPCOMPOSER

DEEPLENS

DESIGN (BLUE TALK BUBBLE)

DESIGN (PERSON UNDER TREE)

DIAPERS.COM

DENALI

DON’T JUST WIN THE MATCH – WIN THE CROWD

DON’T RESTRICT ME

DOORBOT

DOUBLE HELIX

DPREVIEW

DROP IN

DYNAMODB

EAMAZON

EARTH’S BIGGEST

EARTH’S BIGGEST BOOKSTORE

EARTH’S BIGGEST MOVIE DATABASE

EARTH’S BIGGEST SELECTION

EAST DANE

EAT THE WORLD

EAT. RACE. WIN.

EC2

ECHO

ECHO CONNECT

ECHO DOT

ECHO ESCAPE

ECHO LOOK

ECHO LOOP

ECHO PLUS

ECHO SHOW

ECHO SPATIAL PERCEPTION

ECHO SPOT

EERO

ELASTIC BEANSTALK

ELASTIC COMPUTE CLOUD

ELASTICACHE

ELEMENTAL

EMERGENCY HOLIDAY PROVISIONS

END USER

EONO

EVERY PACK HAS A STORY

EXACON

FABI FUCHS

FABRIC.COM

FABRIC.COM Design

FAMILY VAULT

FBA

FBA BOOST

FELIX FOX

FILMFINDERS

FIND.

FIRE

FIRE TV

FIRE TV CUBE

FIRE TV RECAST

FIRECRACKER

FIREFLY

FITZWELL

FLEETIQ

FLEX

FLEXMATCH

FOUR MORE SHOTS PLEASE

FREE MEEK

FREEDIVE

FREERTOS

FRENCH DELUXE

FRESH & WILD

FULFILLMENT BY AMAZON

FULL CIRCLE

FUSE

GABCAB

GABRIELLA ROCHA

GAMECIRCLE

GAMEON MASTERS

GAMESPARKS

GET ONLINE, NOT IN LINE

GET STUFF. DONE.

GETPHRASE

GIFT CENTRAL

GIFTPHRASE

GIRL SQUAD

GLAMAZON FASHIONWEEK

GLANCE

Glitch Design

GLOBEX

GOLD BOX

GOOD AT FINDING GOODS

GOODREADS

GOODSTPORT Design

GOODSPORT GS Design

GOODTHREADS

GOODTHREADS GT Design

GORTIMER GIBBON’S LIFE ON NORMAL STREET

GRAND HARBOR

GRAND HARBOR PRESS Design

GRAPH CACHE THRASH

GREEN 3

GROWNUP SCHOOL

HAND OF GOD

HAPPY BELLY

HAWKTRACER

HEERA and Design

HELPBIT

HIGHSTON

HOLITUDE

HOMEBASE

HOP, SKIM AND JUMP

HOUSE & SHIELDS and Design

HUB

HUZZAH

I WANT ONE!

IBERLIBRO

IMDB

IMDB ME

IMDB SHOW

IMDBPRO

IMDBRIEF

IMPROVE YOUR HOLITUDE

INNOVATIONS IN SEARCH TECHNOLOGIES

INTERNET OF USEFUL THINGS

IRIS LILLY and Design

IVONA

J Design

JAM & HONEY

JESSY AND NESSY

JESTINATION UNKNOWN

JET CITY

JET CITY COMICS

JOY. DELIVERED.

JOYO Design

JUST ADD MAGIC

JUSTBOOKS

KEY BY AMAZON

KENDRA

KID NATION

KIDS.WOOT!

KINDLE

KINDLE CERTIFIED EDUCATION SERVICE PROVIDER

KINDLE CERTIFIED SERVICE PROVIDER

KINDLE CLOUD READER Design

KINDLE FIRE

KINDLE FIRST

KINDLE FREETIME

KINDLE FREETIME Design

KINDLE MATCHBOOK

KINDLE OASIS

KINDLE PAPERWHITE

KINDLE POWERFAST

KINDLE READING FUND

KINDLE SINGLES

KINDLE VOYAGE

KINDLE WORLDS

KIVA Design

KIVA SYSTEMS

LAB126

LAB126 Design

LAKE UNION PUBLISHING

LARK & RO

LE COMITE DES MAMANS

LEATHER ARCHITECT

LESS SCHLEP. MORE SHOP.

LEVEL

LIGHTNING DEALS

LISTMANIA

LISTOPIA

LISTS OF BESTS

LITTLE A

LITTLE BIG AWESOME

LIVEBID

LIVE DIRECT

LIVING CLASSICS

LIVING PERSPECTIVE

LOCAL LOVE

LOGIN WITH AMAZON Design

LOL: LAST ONE LAUGHING

LOOK INSIDE

LOOK INSIDE! Design

LOOK LEAGUE OF OUSTANDING KIDS

LOST IN OZ

LOST WITHIN

LOVEFILM

LOVEFILM INSTANT

LOVE YOUR LOOK. EVERY DAY.

LUMBERYARD

MACIE

MAD DOGS

MADE FOR AMAZON Design

MADE FOR KINDLE Design

MADE IN HEAVEN

MADEMARK

MAE Design

MAMA BEAR

MATCHES & MATRIMONY

MAYDAY

MECHANICAL TURK

MERAKI

MERCHANTS@AMAZON.COM.JP

MES Z’ENVIES CADEAUX

MTURK

MOBIPOCKET

MOBILE MASTERS

MONKEY PRIZE

MONTLAKE ROMANCE

MOOFI

Motion Mark (Echo Blue Ring)

MOZART IN THE JUNGLE

MR BEAMS

MUSIC (and Smile Design)

MUSIC YOU SHOULD HEAR

NECTAR

NEO

NETBRIGHT

NEW FOR YOU

NEW WORLD Design

NICE SOFTWARE

NIKO AND THE SWORD OF LIGHT

NOVA AUDIO BOOKS

NOWNOW

NUPRO

NW Design

OASIS

OMAKASE

OMNIVORACIOUS

ON DECK

ONE COMMUNITY, EVERY DEAL

ONE DAY, ONE DEAL

ONE DAY, YOU’LL UNDERSTAND

ONE MIC STAND

OPEN DISTRO

OPENSEARCH

OUTDOOR VENTURES Design

PAATAL LOK

PAPERWHITE

PARIS SUNDAY

PARTNER NETWORK

PASSION FOR BOOKS.

PAY WITH AMAZON

PAY WITH AMAZON Design

PAYFORT

PAYPHRASE

PEAK VELOCITY

PERSPECTIVE

PHARMACYOS

PHOTOSLAM

PIC PACK PAISA

PIKE STREET

PILLPACK

PILLPACK BY AMAZON PHARMACY

PINPOINT

PINZON

PLANET PUZZLES

PLUS 44

POINTING DEVICES

POLYPHEMUS!

POWERED BY SERVICE

PRE-DAWN DELIVERY

PRIME

PRIME AIR

PRIME DAY

PRIME DAY LAUNCHES

PRIME FAMILY

PRIME INSIDER

PRIME INSTANT VIDEO

PRIME MUSIC

PRIME NOW

PRIME NOW Design

PRIME PHOTOS

PRIME READING

PRIME STUDENT

PRIME SURPRISE

PRIME VIDEO

PRIME VIDEO and Design

PV

PURCHASE CIRCLES

Q EXPRESS

QFONE

QLDB

QTAB

QUEST GOLD

QUESTVILLE

QUIDSI

QUIVELA

READERS

READYBRIGHT

REAL NAME

REBEL CANYON Design

RED OAKS

[RE]DISCOVER

REDWAGON

REFLEXIVE

RE:INVENT

REKOGNITION

RELAY

REMOTELOAD

REPLENISH

RICOCHET

RIGHT NOW CLIMATE FUND

RING

SAYHI

SCOUT

SEARCH INSIDE THE BOOK

SEARCH INSIDE!

SEECURITY

SEEING IS KNOWING

SELLER CENTRAL

SELLER DESKTOP

SELL ON AMAZON

SELLOUT.WOOT!

SEQUOIA

SEV ZERO

SHARE THE LOVE

SHELFARI

SHIRT.WOOT!

SHOPBOP

SHOP WITH POINTS

SHOULD DO THIS

SIDETRAIL

SIGMUND AND THE SEA MONSTERS

SILK

Silk Globe Design

SILVA-SE QUEM PUDER

SIMPLZ: ZOO

SING MY SONG

SINGLE COW BURGER

SIT, WATCH, DISCUSS

SKATE CREEK

SKATE CREEK SOUNDS

SKIP THE TRIP

SKYSCAPE

SLAM

SMALLPARTS Design

Smile Design

SNAP TO LISTEN Design

SNAPTELL

SNEAKY PETE

SNOWBALL

SNOWCONE

SNOWMOBILE

SO YOU’D LIKE TO

SOAP.COM

SOLTOS EM FLORIPA

SOULMATE

SOUNDUNWOUND

SOUQ

SOUQ AN AMAZON COMPANY

SOUQ.COM

SPOTLIGHT

SPOTTED ZEBRA

STANZA

STARMETER

START WITH A SMILE

STATE & LAKE

STICK UP CAM

STORYFRONT

STRATHWOOD

SUBSCRIBE & SAVE Design

SUBTEMBER

SUKAR

SUMERIAN

SWITCHSENSE

TAKE-IT PRICE

TED BUNDY: FALLING FOR A KILLER

TENMARKS

TENOR

TEXTBUYME

TEXTPAYME

THE AFTER

THE BOOK DEPOSITORY

THE BOOK LIVES ON

THE FIX

THE FORGOTTEN ARMY – AZAADI KE LIYE

THE FAMILY MAN

THE KICKS

THE LAST WORD ON KINDLE

THE LOVELY TOTE CO

THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE

THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL

THE NEW VIPS

THE NUMBERLYS

THE POCKET

THE SIGNIFICANT SEVEN

THE SOUNDBOARD

THE STINKY & DIRTY SHOW

THING

THINKBOX SOFTWARE

THINKBOX SOFTWARE Design

THIS GIANT BEAST THAT IS THE GLOBAL ECONOMY

THOMAS & MERCER

THOMAS & MERCER Design

TINTE & FEDER

TOO OLD TO DIE YOUNG

TOOL CRIB OF THE NORTH

TOOTHSTEJNN

TRAILSIDE SUPPLY CO Design

TRANSPARENCY

TRANSPARENT

TREASURE TRUCK

TREASURE TRUCK WHAT’S ON THE TRUCK TODAY? Design

TRIACIPEDIS

TRUEMESH

TRUTH & FABLE

TUMBLE LEAF

TWITCH

TWITCH Design

TWITCHCON

TWITCHTV

TWITCHVERSE

TWO LIONS

TWO LIONS Design

ULTIMATELISTENER

UMI

UNIVERSAL WISHLIST Design

UNMADE

VENDOR CENTRAL

Vine Design

VINE VOICE

VOICEVIEW

WAG

WAG.COM

WAG REFLEX

WAREHOUSE DEALS

WAVELENGTH

WE DELIVER EVERYTHING BUT THE BABY

WESTLAND

WFM

WHERE INNOVATION TAKES FLIGHT

WHISPERCAST

WHISPERLINK

WHISPERNET

WHISPERSHARE

WHISPERSYNC

WHITE FRIDAY SALE

WHOLE FOODS MARKET

WICKEDLY PRIME

WING IT YOUR WAY

WINTRY FLEECE

WISHENPOOF

WISHLIST

WISHLIST Design

WITHOUTABOX

WOOT!

WOOT! Design

WOOT CELLARS

WOOT HAPPY HOUR

WOOT-OFF!

WORD RUNNER

WORKS WITH AMAZON ALEXA Design

WRAP YOUR HOLIDAYS IN A SMILE

X-RAY

YOU SIT. WE FETCH.

YOU’RE NOT A MONSTER

YOYO.COM

Z: THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING

Z+

ZAPPOS

ZAPPOS.COM

ZWEIERKETTE

and other Amazon.com graphics, logos, page headers, button icons, scripts, and service names are trademarks, registered trademarks or trade dress of Amazon in the United States and/or other countries.

PATENTS

Here is a non-exhaustive list of Amazon’s patents:

United States Patent Numbers: 5,715,399; 5,727,163; 5,826,258; 5,960,411; 5,963,949; 5,999,924; 6,003,024; 6,006,225; 6,029,141; 6,064,980; 6,144,958; 6,169,986; 6,175,823; 6,185,558; 6,185,556; 6,199,079; 6,233,573; 6,266,649; 6,269,369; 6,317,722; 6,324,535; 6,360,254; 6,366,910; 6,401,084; 6,427,175; 6,442,543; 6,449,601; 6,460,038; 6,466,918; 6,489,968; 6,525,747; 6,539,378; 6,546,393; 6,549,904; 6,564,213; 6,571,243; 6,594,644; 6,606,619; 6,606,608; 6,615,226; 6,625,609; 6,629,079; 6,643,624; 6,675,196; 6,714,926; 6,714,916; 6,760,470; 6,772,150; 6,785,671; 6,851,089; 6,853,993; 6,853,982; 6,865,546; 6,882,981; 6,889,250; 6,907,315; 6,912,505; 6,917,922; 6,941,374; 6,952,715; 6,963,867; 6,963,848; 6,963,850; 6,973,429; 6,999,941; 7,006,989; 7,050,992; 7,058,599; 7,080,124; 7,080,070; 7,082,407; 7,107,227; 7,113,917; 7,117,167; 7,124,129; 7,130,820; 7,139,771; 7,149,353; 7,155,336; 7,174,054; 7,194,419; 7,194,437; 7,210,102; 7,216,103; 7,222,087; 7,246,308; and 7,254,552.

Portions of this Site operate under license of United States Patent Numbers:

5,708,780; 5,715,314; 5,909,492; 6,205,437; 6,195,649; 5,717,860; 5,712,979; 5,819,285; 6,782,370; 5,812,769; 5,528,490; 5,761,649; 6,029,142; and 6,330,592.

RIGHT TO USE AMAZON’S SERVICES


Subject to your compliance with these Conditions of Use and any Service Terms, and your payment of any applicable fees, Amazon or its content providers grant you a limited, non-exclusive, non-transferable, non-sublicensable license to access and make personal and non-commercial use of the Amazon Services.

DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTIES

“Amazon does not warrant that product descriptions or other content of any Amazon Service is accurate, complete, reliable, current, or error-free.” “Further, the Amazon services and all information, content, materials, products (including software) and other services included on or otherwise made available to you through the Amazon services are provided by Amazon on an “as is” and “as available” basis, unless otherwise specified in writig. Amazon makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to the operation of the Amazon services, or the information, content, materials, products (including software) or other services included on or otherwise made available to you through the Amazon services, unless otherwise specified in writing. you expressly agree that your use of the Amazon services is at your sole risk. To the full extent permissible by law, Amazon will not be liable for any damages of any kind arising from the use of any Amazon service, or from any information, content, materials, products (including software) or other services included on or otherwise made available to you through any amazon service, including, but not limited to direct, indirect, incidental, punitive, and consequential damages, unless otherwise specified in writing.”

DISPUTES

And should you have a dispute with Amazon relating in any way to your use of any Amazon services, don’t expect Amazon to come to your door as, “Any dispute or claim relating in any way to your use of any Amazon Service will be adjudicated in the state or Federal courts in King County, Washington, and you consent to exclusive jurisdiction and venue in these courts. We each waive any right to a jury trial.” And you could be dealing with the “Hand of God,” one of Amazon’s trademarks.

Posted in News | Comments Off on Jeff Bezos’ Journey Into I.P. Space or Amazon’s Revised Conditions of Use

SUPREME COURT HOLDS NO VIOLATION OF FEDERAL ANTI-HACKING STATUTE WHERE USER WAS AUTHORIZED TO ACCESS COMPUTER BUT USED IT TO ACCESS INFORMATION FOR IMPROPER REASONS

In Van Buren v. U.S., the Supreme Court in a 6-3 decisions handed down today, held that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) didn’t apply where a Cumming, Georgia police sergeant used the department’s computer system to access federal and state crime databases to provide information about a woman his friend had met at a strip club. While the sergeant had authorization to access the computer he did not have authorization to access those databases for non-police purposes.

He was charged with violation of the CFAA. That statute makes it a crime when a person “intentionally accesses a computer without authorization or exceed authorized access, and thereby obtains…information from any protected computer.” A “protected computer” includes any computer “which is used in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce or communication, including a computer located outside the U.S. that is used in a manner that affects interstate or foreign commerce or communication of the United States.”

The provision referring to “intentionally accessing a computer without authorization” was written to cover outside hackers,

The Court’s majority noted that the Act, if read otherwise would encompass everyday violations of terms of service, such as use of a work computer to order personal goods from Amazon, posting on Facebook, or checking last night’s sports scores. The Court held that such practices did not exceed authorized access related to computer structures., i.e., prohibitions against accessing certain files, folders or databases to which access does not extend.

So, if you’re an employer, your rules guiding computer use better be detailed and made explicit in personnel manuals, signage, and employee handbook if you want to keep your employees from using their time to surf the net.

See https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/20pdf/19-783_k53l.pdf

Posted in News | Comments Off on SUPREME COURT HOLDS NO VIOLATION OF FEDERAL ANTI-HACKING STATUTE WHERE USER WAS AUTHORIZED TO ACCESS COMPUTER BUT USED IT TO ACCESS INFORMATION FOR IMPROPER REASONS

A Court Decision in Shanghai Offers A New Perspective on China’s Protection of I.P.

On December 29, 2020 the Shanghai Higher People’s Court issued a final judgment in a case involving counterfeit Lego toy products in which it sent the defendants to jail with sentences as high as six years and fines of up to 14 million dollars. The defendants sold nearly $50,000,000 worth of counterfeit Lego products. In rendering its decision the court ruled that the infringement caused serious financial, social and cultural damage.

These fines were the highest yet in a case involving copyright infringement involving counterfeit product sales in China. The Shanghai Higher Court found that the Lego sets embody expressions of unique aesthetic appeal and originality. It held that they were independent creations of the Lego company and the complete assembled models fall into the category of artworks, which are protected by Chinese copyright law. 

In addition, the court ordered the confiscation of all illegal income earned from the criminal enterprise and the seizure of all infringing products as well as any personal property used by the defendants in furtherance of the counterfeiting.

The case began when in April 2019 the Shanghai Police seized tools for duplicating Lego’s toys and toy products as well as toy packaging and instruction manuals that were basically identical to similar items sold by Lego.

On December 26, 2020, just three days before the final judgment in this case, the China’s National People’s Congress passed the Eleventh Amendment to the PRC’s criminal law, which, after March 1st, raised the maximum term of imprisonment for criminal infringement of intellectual property rights from seven years to ten years.

Posted in News | Comments Off on A Court Decision in Shanghai Offers A New Perspective on China’s Protection of I.P.

DIGITAL ESTATE PLANNING UPDATED

On January 29, 2013 I wrote a post entitled DIGITAL ESTATE PLANNING. See https://www.chicagotrademarkattorney.net/?s=digital+estate+planning

Call this post DIGITAL ESTATE PLANNING 2.0.

Since that date, effective August 12, 2016, the Illinois  Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act came into being. See https://ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=3728&ChapterID=60

That Act provides that an individual who has an account with a provider that stores or processes his electronic records may use an online tool to direct that provider to disclose to a designated recipient some or all of those records, including the content of electronic communications. If that individual has not used such an online tool, he may allow in a will, trust, power of attorney, or other record or the disclosure to a fiduciary of some or all of his electronic records, including the content of electronic communications sent or received by that individual.

Examples of such online tools include Facebook’s Legacy Contact which allows a third-party to view one’s posts, to share a final message on your behalf or provide information about a memorial service, respond to new friend requests, update your profile picture and cover photo, request the removal of your account and download a copy of what you shared on Facebook if the owner of that account had turned that feature on. However a Legacy Contact cannot log into your account, read your messages or remove any of your friends or make new friend requests. See https://www.facebook.com/help/1568013990080948

Starting June 1 Google will be deleting data from Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Jamboard, Gmail, Photos, Drawings, Forms and Sites if your account has been inactive for two years. See https://tech.hindustantimes.com/tech/news/google-plans-to-delete-your-inactive-accounts-but-there-s-a-simple-solution-71608186815406.html

Note that a  fiduciary’s right to access this digital content may be modified by the provider’s terms of service if the user has not directed the provider to disclose his digital assets or provide for such a disclosure under a will or power of attorney to a fiduciary acting under such a document.

The provider may at its sole discretion: (1) grant a fiduciary or designated recipient full access to the user’s account, (2) grant a fiduciary or designated recipient partial access to the user’s account sufficient to perform the tasks with which the fiduciary or designated recipient is charged or (3) provide a fiduciary or designated recipient a copy in a record of any digital asset that, on the date the provider received the request for disclosure, the user could have accessed if the user were alive and had full capacity and access to the account. In addition, the provider may assess a reasonable charge for the cost of disclosing digital assets under the Act.

To obtain this digital content, the deceased user must have given his or her consent or if a court directs disclosure of the contents of electronic communications of the user, the provider shall disclose to the personal representative of the estate of the user the content of an electronic communication sent or received by the user if the representative gives the provider (1) a written request for disclosure in physical or electronic form, (2) a certified copy of the death certificate of the user, (3) a certified copy of the letter of appointment or a court order, (4) unless the user provided direction using an online tool, a copy of the user’s will, trust, power of attorney, or other record evidencing the user’s consent and, if requested by the provider the user’s user name or password or a finding by the court that the user consented to the disclosure of her electronic communications. 

Finally, a fiduciary acting within the scope of the fiduciary’s duties is considered an authorized user of the property of the decedent for the purpose of applicable computer-fraud and unauthorized-computer-access laws; also a provider shall comply with a request under this Act from a fiduciary or designated recipient to disclose digital assets or terminate an account no later than 60 days after a proper request.

To take advantage of these provisions, the person planning your estate should make reference to these digital assets or provide consent in a power of attorney, will or trust document to access these assets to the person who is to act on your behalf upon your death.

As I wrote previously, you don’t wan’t to put your passwords and user names in these documents as, at least your will becomes a matter of public record. When my Father passed last May he left me a three page list of passwords, most of which I would never use and the ones that I needed didn’t work.

Here, I would recommend a Password Manager, keep it current, and let the person who has your Power of Attorney have access to it.

Alternatively, if you use Google Chrome as your browser, it keeps a record of your user names and passwords. Let that person know how to access that record. Also, people back things up in the cloud; my Father used Carbonite for example. The person who will be responsible for your assets upon your incapacity or death should be able to access whoever your cloud storage provider is, whether it be Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive, Microsoft 365, etc.

Also, note that many of these services auto-renew, as do domain names, and internet service provider contracts, so you need to determine which of these services the decedent is a subscriber to and cancel those services, or they will continue forever and bills for these will continue to show up.

In addition, after you as a fiduciary has accessed those records, the hard drives on any computing devices from which you retrieved this information need to be destroyed. For Windows see https://www.pcmag.com/how-to/how-to-wipe-your-hard-drive For an Intel-based Mac see https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208496Note that new Macs use an Apple chip. 

To be completely safe, you can remove the hard drive and destroy it. See the following article from Family Handyman. https://www.familyhandyman.com/article/how-to-destroy-a-hard-drive/#:~:text=There%20are%20many%20more%20creative,will%20get%20the%20job%20done

A digital trail can be good and bad. As I noted previously, I really don’t want my survivors or anyone else to have access to my Google browser history, my Netflix viewing history, or my attorney-client communications.

When my Father passed, on the good side, he left a detailed record of all of his financial transactions for the past almost 20 years on Quicken files which I was able to access and digitized all of the 8 millimeter family home movies years before his death. On the bad side, he left us with an eight foot tall stack of slide carousels, undigitized.

My wife had the good sense of digitizing all of our photo albums and putting them in the “cloud” a few years ago. On the flip side, we still have 22 or so slide carousels waiting to be digitized. 

When I got my first digital camera, all of those images were automatically digitized and saved. However, that doesn’t include the data on my phones which need to be dealt with as well.

People’s whole lives exist in ones and zeroes and most people are not computer scientists.

The days of finding your family’s archives in a cardboard box in the attic, a safe deposit box or fireproof box are long gone.

They may be accessible at your fingers but your fingertip may not be the key that opens the digital lock that contains those records so unless you plan to cut off your dear old parent’s fingertip, you better find a way of accessing those records. 

Posted in News | Comments Off on DIGITAL ESTATE PLANNING UPDATED

THE LONG MARCH-OUR TRANSFER OF TECHNOLOGY AND I.P. TO CHINA

The “Long March” was the strategic retreat of the Red Army led by Mao Zedong in 1934. It has become glorified by the People’s Republic of China as an example of the Communist Party’s strength and resilience. 

China has come a long way since 1934 becoming the world’s second largest economy and it has gotten that way not just by harnessing the know-how of the Chinese people but the know-how of the American people as well.

While there is talk of decoupling our economies today, for the last several decades, major American companies have introduced their technologies to China, for cash and for the opportunity of getting a share of a market of nearly one and a half billion people. 

This is not an all-inclusive list. For example, it does not include Apple on whose MacBook Air this blog post is being written. See https://nyti.ms/2UcwiKw 

General Instrument

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is the world’s most valuable semiconductor company, with a factory in Shanghai. Its customers include AMD, Apple, Broadcom and Qualcomm. See https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=TSMC&oldid=985082323 On July 13, 1964 the New York Times reported that General Instrument, which was my late Father’s former employer, was rushing to complete a million-dollar (Note that this was 1964 dollars.) semiconductor plant to compete with Japan on the American electronics market. See https://nyti.ms/1RBCBOC   TSMC was founded in Taiwan in 1987 by Morris Chang. From 1958-1983 Chang was at Texas Instruments where he became the Vice President responsible for its semiconductor business.  The next two years he was President and COO of General Instrument. The government of Taiwan then recruited him to become head of its Industrial Technology Research Institute in charge of promoting industrial and technological development in Taiwan. He then became head of TSMC. Morris pioneered the then controversial idea of pricing semiconductors ahead of the cost curve, or sacrificing early profits to gain market share and achieve manufacturing yields that would result in greater long-term profits and was honored for doing this by an American university, Stanford.

Fiat-Chrysler

In 1979, American Motors, which then owned the Jeep brand and was subsequently acquired by Chrysler initiated discussions with the Chinese (not the Taiwan government) about building Jeep branded vehicles in China. The Chinese government agreed, the joint venture was called Beijing Jeep and in 1985 manufacture of the Jeep Cherokee commenced in China. Chrysler was subsequently purchased by Fiat and on November 20, 2014, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and Guangzhou Automobile Industry Group (GAC) announced a preliminary agreement to expand their current joint venture, including a second plant in Guangzhou, that would be responsible for all sales, marketing, product planning and after-sales support of a full line of Jeep, Fiat, and Chrysler vehicles, both locally made and imported. See https://www.allpar.com/world/china.html

General Motors

Fiat Chrysler’s competitor, General Motors, isn’t at all shy about its involvement in China. See https://www.gmchina.com/company/cn/en/gm/company/about-gm-china.html On that website GM writes, “GM and its joint ventures in China have more than 58,000 employees. GM, along with its joint ventures, offers the broadest lineup of vehicles and brands among automakers in China. Products are sold under the Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Baojun and Wuling nameplates.” As for its technology, GM gloats that its “GM China Advanced Technical Center (ATC) is the most comprehensive and advanced automotive development center in China. It includes research and development, advanced design, vehicle engineering, powertrain engineering and OnStar laboratories. As a member of GM’s global engineering and design network, the ATC is developing solutions for GM on a domestic and global basis while supporting the company’s vision. The first phase of the facility opened in September 2011 and the second phase opened in November 2012.”

IBM

Another American corporate stalwart, IBM, sold its ThinkPad line of business-oriented laptop computers as well as its personal computer division to Beijing-based Lenovo in 2005. Lenovo’s founder said about that acquisition, “We benefited in three ways from the IBM acquisition. We got the ThinkPad brand, IBM’s more advanced PC manufacturing technology and the company’s international resources, such as its global sales channels and operation teams. These three elements have shored up our sales revenue in the past several years.” See https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=ThinkPad&oldid=988007023 But that wasn’t the end of IBM’s sales of technology to Beijing-based Lenovo. IBM’s sold its Intel-based server lines, including IBM System x and IBM BladeCenter, to Lenovo in 2014. See https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Lenovo&oldid=987899309

Motorola

Motorola invented the first commercially available cellular phone small enough to be easily carried which was commercially released in 1984. Before the iPhone came out Motorola sold the wildly popular Razr, the best-selling clamshell phone ever made. Motorola’s cell phone business became Motorola Mobility, which was, from 2012-2014 part of Google, when it was sold to Lenovo. Lenovo originally sought to acquire Blackberry but that purchase was blocked by the Canadian government. See https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php? title=Motorola_Mobility&oldid=986872000

Tesla

The U.S. government made no objection to Lenovo’s acquisition of Motorola together with 2000 patents nor to any of the above transactions nor to Tesla’s construction of a car plant in Shanghai. See https://www.bbc.com/news/business-50080806

Blackberry (Note this is a Canadian company.)

Incidentally, Blackberry ended up licensing the manufacture of its phones to TCL Technology, located in Guangdong province in China. That license expired this past Summer.

.

Posted in News | Comments Off on THE LONG MARCH-OUR TRANSFER OF TECHNOLOGY AND I.P. TO CHINA