Myers Berstein
Toll Free Communication

Legal News

Doubling down in the fast food world

There is a trademark battle sizzling between two hamburger restaurants.

On the one side is In-N-Out, which claims it has been using the trademark phrase DoubleDouble to describe its sandwiches going back to the year 1963. In-N-Out upped the ante in 1966 by trademarking the phrase TripleTriple.

HBO series brings patent trolls into the limelight

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For those who thought trolls only exist in children's books, think again. In the intellectual property world, patent trolls are a reality.

In the HBO series, Silicon Valley, the viewing audience (and the show's characters) are introduced to Stuart "Stu" Burke, a man who makes his money working as a patent troll. Unfortunately for main character Richard Hendricks, Stu reveals how patent laws can be twisted and abused by threatening Richard with patent infringement.

Monkey's selfie case is a lesson in copyright law

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The story sounds a bit like the beginning of a joke: A photographer goes into the jungle. A monkey grabs his camera and takes a selfie. Who owns the rights to the photo?

The funny -- not funny -- thing is that this is no joke. In 2011, freelance photographer David Slater traveled to Indonesia to photograph macaque monkeys. After coaxing some of the monkeys into taking photos of themselves, Slater copyrighted his favorite photo and published it in a book.

OH COSTCO, INFRINGEMENT AGAIN?

On August 14, 2017, District Judge Laura Swain, Southern District of New York, issued her Memorandum Opinion and Order ("Order") in the case of Tiffany and Company v. Costco Wholesale Corporation. In her Order, Judge Swain found that Tiffany is "entitled to recover trebled profits of $11.1 million" and "punitive damages of $8.25 million" against Defendant Costco. Judge Swain's Order follows her granting of summary judgment in favor of Tiffany "holding Costco liable for trademark infringement and trademark counterfeiting . . . with respect to engagement rings sold under [Costco] signage the referenced the mark "Tiffany" as a standalone term" in the absence of modifiers such as "setting," "set," or style." The latter modifiers being standard in the industry and for which Tiffany did not initiate claims against Costco if such modifiers were present.

Small time café sues Starbucks for trademark infringement

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This is not a story about unicorns and rainbows, at least not the kind your children want. This is much more sinister than that.

Did you try a limited edition Unicorn Frappuccino from Starbucks in April? If you did, you took a sip of an allegedly illegal drink.

Can you copyright a joke?

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Are jokes intellectual property? Can you protect them from being used without your permission? 

This is a topic of intense interest to joke writers and stand-up comedians -- as well as authors of other types of entertainment fodder. The issue is making its way to the forefront because of a lawsuit regarding late-night monologues that is heading into court later this summer.

Who Owns 'Who's On First?'

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Copyrights created in times past are sometimes challenged using today's laws. This year, the rights to a classic piece of vaudeville will take center stage before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello's "Who's On First" skit was first performed on radio in 1938. The routine's true origins are a bit fuzzy as they are based on an old verbal misunderstandings style that dates back to the early 1900s.

Who's the biggest loser now?

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Jillian Michaels is well known for her role as a fitness trainer for the TV show The Biggest Loser. Since her first appearance on the show in 2004, she went on to become a celebrity fitness guru.

She is known for her tough but caring style as a trainer on television, but also for the numerous physical fitness DVDs, online videos, books and workout routines she has created.

Music copyright battle over Prince's unpublished songs

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When Prince died suddenly last year, he left behind a number of unpublished songs. Just days before the one-year anniversary of the famous musician's death, his former sound engineer and mixer, George Ian Boxill, released six songs.

Within days, a court in Prince's home state of Minnesota ordered Boxill to unpublish the songs at the request of Prince's estate. A temporary injunction stopped the release of the songs with the exception of the 'Deliverance' single, which is still available for downloading. Boxill claims that he and Prince jointly owned the songs while the estate claims that Prince had sole and exclusive rights to them.

Don't be afraid to pursue your business ideas, no matter your age

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Whether you are just out of college or have many years, jobs or careers behind you, it is never too early or too late to do what you love. Sure, there will be hurdles to jump, challenges to face and bridges to cross, but that is all part of it. As the famous author, Jack Canfield (best known for his Chicken Soup for the Soul books) once said, "Most everything you want is just outside your comfort zone".

The good news is that even though something is out of your comfort zone, it doesn't mean it is out of reach. Let's take a look at some young entrepreneurs who didn't let age or experience get in the way of their dreams.