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John B.
Farmer

 

Lawrence E. Laubscher, Jr.

 

Ian D. Titley

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When Hashtagging for Your Business, Beware of Others’ Trademarks

Posted on September 19, 2018. Using the wrong hashtag in marketing can backfire on you. In 2014, DiGiorno noticed the hashtag #WhyIStayed trending on Twitter, so it tried to catch the wave by tweeting: “#WhyIStayed You had pizza.” The DiGiorno tweeter should have checked the hashtag’s meaning before posting. It was being used by women Read the full article…

Can Your Business Safely Parody a Famous Trademark in Its Products or Marketing?

Posted August 20, 2018. Let’s take a quiz: Question #1: Which slogan isn’t owned and used by the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC)? (A) “Virginia is for Beach Lovers” (B) “Virginia is for Gun Lovers” (C) “Virginia is for Craft-Beer Lovers” (D) “Virginia is for Oyster Lovers.” Answer: “Virginia is for Gun Lovers” Question #2: If Read the full article…

Be Careful About Graffiti Art and Commissioned Art Painted on Your Buildings

Published July 18, 2018. Do graffiti artists have rights protecting what they paint on buildings? The question made me think of the locally famous mural on the side of Ellwood Thompson’s Market in Carytown. It shows a lady picking oranges. It has a 1920’s worker’s collective vibe, which fits the market. It was painted under Read the full article…

Will the Gutting of WHOIS Hurt Your Business?

Posted on June 20, 2018. A recent change to the WHOIS system, which creates a public record of domain-name ownership, will cause big problems for stopping pfishing and malware attacks and trademark infringements. WHOIS provides contact information for someone who registers a domain name. It includes the individual’s name, company or organization if applicable, address, Read the full article…

Tips for Protecting Your Company’s Intellectual Property When Using Summer Employees and Interns

Posted on May 22, 2018. ‘Tis the season for companies onboarding summer employees and unpaid interns (I’ll call them “employees” for simplicity’s sake). Below are tips for protecting your company’s intellectual property (“IP” in lawyer lingo) during their employment. You Need a Written Agreement. You should have a written agreement with your employees that covers Read the full article…

Embedding Social Media Posts Can Be Copyright Infringement

Tom Brady’s Instagram account is a bizarre rabbit hole. His social-media team posts an odd cartoon after every Patriots victory. It is impossible to describe the fever-dream quality of these cartoons. One features Brady in a scuba suit, a tattooed dolphin selling fidget spinners, and a mustachioed crocodile. Another has Brady and teammate Dont’a Hightower Read the full article…

College-Picking Time: Talk with Your Child About Sex Offenses and Investigate Due Process

Posted March 20, 2018. It’s the time of year when high school seniors make college selections. Before picking, investigate how prospective colleges handle sex-related offenses and talk with your child about this issue. This concerns the quality of due process on college campuses for students accused of sex-related offenses. “Due process” means the fairness to Read the full article…

Lessons for All Businesses Found in Stone Brewing Company’s Trademark Fight

Posted February 20, 2018. Craft brewer Stone Brewing Co. recently sued MillerCoors for trademark infringement. Stone Brewing, which has a brewpub in Richmond, claims its STONE trademark is being infringed because MillerCoors lately has been calling its KEYSTONE LIGHT beer just STONE. MillerCoors recently redesigned the KEYSTONE LIGHT beer can to emphasize the word “STONE.” Read the full article…

Can the Police Force You to Unlock Your Phone?

Posted on January 16, 2018. What can your face do for you? In Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, he muses that Helen of Troy’s face was so beautiful that her abandonment of her husband and elopement triggered the Trojan War and the launching of a thousand ships. A classic Timex watch commercial from the 80’s shows an Read the full article…

Don’t Claim Popular Phrases as Trademarks, and Be Careful Using Them in Advertising

Posted on December 20, 2017. Attempting to cash in on a popular phrase is risky. Think twice before applying to register a popular phrase as a trademark, and do your homework before selling goods or branding services with a popular phrase. Remember the 2015 terrorist attack on the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Read the full article…