Insights

Insights, Uncategorized / 19.01.2017

By Rachel A. Smoot, attorney, Fay Sharpe LLP On the morning of January 18, 2017, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for Lee v. Tam. As a quick recap, this case stems from In re Tam, which began with Simon Shiao Tam’s federal trademark application for THE SLANTS. Mr. Tam is currently the front man for an Asian-American rock band founded in 2006 performing as THE SLANTS. The band draws inspiration for its lyrics from childhood slurs and mockery. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) denied Mr. Tam the registration, citing Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, which prohibits the registration of any mark consisting or comprising of “immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter; or matter which may disparage . . . persons.” Specifically, the USPTO found THE SLANTS is disparaging of Asian persons and persons of Asian descent. After having little success at the USPTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board...

Insights, Uncategorized / 04.11.2016

By: Ryan Jones, attorney, Fay Sharpe LLP On March 16, 2013, the United States became a “first-to-file” patent system, in which the first inventor to file a patent application, such as a provisional application, gets priority rights over others.  The reasoning here is that if you want a patent for your invention, you better act on it quickly. As a result, many patent attorneys and experts anticipated a flood of filed patent applications, resulting in a “race to the Patent Office”.  However, according to a recent article entitled “The AIA’s First-to-File Transition SHOULD Have Resulted in More Provisional Filings (available at http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2016/09/14/the-aias-first-to-file-transition-should-have-resulted-in-more-provisional-filings/id=72617), the authors determined that, based on the filing of applications before and after March 16, 2013, the number of patent applications filed at the Patent Office did not substantially increase. The authors conclude that provisional applications should be “filed first, filed often” in order to gain the highly-desirable priority rights.  This...

Insights, Uncategorized / 20.10.2016

By Matthew Burkett, attorney The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) recently granted a petition for writ of certiorari, submitted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), to decide whether the disparagement provision of the Lanham Act is facially invalid under the First Amendment. The disparagement provision resides in Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act and states that a trademark which “[c]onsists of…matter which may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute...

Insights, Uncategorized / 07.10.2016

By Brad S. Pulfer When a parent captures his or her child doing something funny or remarkable on video, copyright law is probably not the first thing that crosses their mind. One mother found out about the frequent and unpredictable nature of copyright law when her family YouTube video was taken down at the request of music giant Universal Music Group. Stephanie Lenz uploaded the 29 second video which features two of her children rambunctiously roaming the family’s living room.  It settles on a baby bobbing up and down to the tune of a song in the background. That song, the late Prince hit, “Let’s Go Crazy,” is barely audible and clearly not the subject matter Mrs. Lenz sought to capture in her video. Nonetheless, Universal Music found the presence of the song in the video a violation of their copyrights, and served YouTube with a “takedown” notice. Universal Music was able...

Insights, Uncategorized / 07.09.2016

Patrick R. Roche, partner at Fay Sharpe LLP, is featured in an article with Inside Counsel published on September 6, 2016. He discusses the possibilities to secure software patents after the landmark decision was rendered in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International. Please copy the link below to read the full article. http://www.insidecounsel.com/2016/09/06/is-there-still-hope-for-e-commerce-tech-patents ...

Insights, Uncategorized / 24.08.2016

By Matthew R. Burkett Your startup has hit the ground running. The gang of millennials under your employ is trailblazing and innovation is flourishing. It’s time to consider how to protect your advancements from the competitors you didn’t know you were about to have. It is also important to consider how to protect certain innovations internally. Depending on the field of technology in which your company dabbles, protection from competitors could mean choosing between obtaining a patent and publicly disclosing some innovations, and keeping other innovations private -- particularly trade secrets. Patents are granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In exchange for public disclosure of an invention, a patent gives you a limited duration, territorial property right for your claimed invention. Trade secrets generally refer to any...

Insights, Uncategorized / 22.08.2016

Christian R. Drago was recently appointed as a member of the executive board of the Cleveland Intellectual Property Law Association (CIPLA). As the Director, Christian will oversee all committee chairpersons and ensure they have the resources necessary to fulfill their responsibilities. Christian and the CIPLA committee chairpersons prepare and coordinate all continuing education events. They work together diligently to provide new and interesting speakers for CIPLA. His goal throughout 2016-2017 will be to keep CIPLA at the forefront of continuing education with respect to intellectual property....

Insights, Uncategorized / 19.08.2016

Rachel A. Smoot was recently named the District 8 Trustee of the Ohio Women’s Bar Association Board of Trustees. As the District 8 Trustee, Rachel represents OWBA members of Cuyahoga County and is responsible for writing at least one substantive article and holding at least one event. Her goals over the next year include forming a Young Lawyers Committee of the OWBA, increasing OWBA membership and coordinating a joint OWBA/ABA/CMBA professionalism and ethics event. Fay Sharpe is honored to sponsor Rachel’s first event Party At Playhouse, which will be held September 7 from 5PM to 8PM. The event will consist of a behind-the-scenes tour of the playhouses followed by a networking reception with live jazz music at Bin216. For more information or to register for the event, please follow the link below. http://owba.org/events ...

Insights, Uncategorized / 16.08.2016

By Theresa A. Rakocy In today’s business world, with increased competition and businesses facing unpredictability because of non-practicing entities, it is important for a business to minimize risk to itself and address uncertain outcomes by seeking a legal opinion. After investing time and money on new products, businesses seek to potentially leverage the marketability of a new product by pursuing potential protection. On the other hand, being unable to produce or sell the product due to infringement concerns, or worse, being sued over a product is not something any company wants to face. • Do you have a new product and want to know whether you can obtain a patent to protect it? • Are you concerned that the new product might infringe an existing patent? • Do you have questions about the validity of existing patents that could impact your business? These are just a few reasons that you should seek a legal opinion in...

Insights, Uncategorized / 28.06.2016

By Theresa A. Rakocy & Rachel A. Smoot For the past four decades, Led Zeppelin has proven itself a pioneer of rock and roll, cementing its place in history with such hits as “Whole Lotta Love,” “Black Dog,” “Kashmir,” and - arguably rock and roll’s greatest hit – “Stairway to Heaven.” Released in 1971, “Stairway to Heaven” was the most requested song on FM radio stations in the United States during that decade. Over forty years later, “Stairway to Heaven” is still making waves, albeit legal ones, rather than radio waves. In May 2014, Michael Skidmore, the trustee for the Randy Craig Wolfe Trust filed suit against Led Zeppelin and Warner Music Group Corporation, alleging copyright infringement (among other charges) of “Stairway to Heaven.” Randy Craig Wolfe, also known as a Randy California, was a member of the musical group Spirit, which existed and toured on occasion with Led Zeppelin. One of...