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College Athletes Can Soon Earn NIL Money, So They Need to Work on Their Trademarks

The battle over whether college athletes should earn money from their names, images, and likeness (“NIL”) is over. While the NCAA will set final rules in January, it’s a done deal. College athletes will be able to harvest NIL revenue beginning in the fall of 2022. NIL monetization will occur mainly via social media. Athletes Read the full article…

Is Your Smartphone Your Enemy? Beware of Google Geofence Warrants and Subpoenas

A precedent-setting legal fight is taking place in federal court in Richmond regarding the government subpoenaing smartphone geolocation information from Google to look for cold hits in criminal cases. This case sheds light on Google’s ability to give “geofence” location information about smartphone users to government prosecutors and civil litigants. Be aware Google could disclose Read the full article…

Virginia’s Covidwise Contact-Tracing App Passes the Privacy Test

In August, the Virginia Department of Health (“VDH”) launched a smartphone app called “Covidwise” for self-reporting Covid-19 infections and receiving notification of prolonged, recent exposure to someone with Covid-19. Being a lawyer, I wondered whether that app could turn into your legal enemy. Might it set you up to be identified and then sued or Read the full article…

Inside the War Room: Navigating Around Landmines When Replacing a Famous Trademark

The Washington Redskins are picking a new name. Rebranding any business is hard. Under trademark law, you can’t pick a name that’s confusingly similar to an existing name used for the same or similar type of business. Because of various obstacles and threats, rebranding is much tougher when replacing a famous name. Let’s take an Read the full article…

False Advertising Law and the Bud Light King: Using Your Competitor’s Words Against It in Ads

On TV, your words can be used against you. That’s true of cop shows and, now, beer ads. People of a certain age fondly remember the old Dragnet police show. Regular watchers can recite by heart the warning always given by Sergeant Joe Friday to the arrested suspect: “You have the right to remain silent, Read the full article…

What Lessons Can Businesses Learn from Zion Williamson’s Contract Troubles?

In the Bible, “Zion” refers to the city of Jerusalem or the dwelling place of God. Zion Williamson is named appropriately because he’s expected to be the next superstar to light the NBA. Williamson is mortal too, because he’s embroiled in a contract dispute, the kind many businesses unfortunately stumble into. Learn from his mistakes. Read the full article…

Nature Boy Ric Flair Gets Taken Down by Failure to do Trademark Monitoring and Policing

Yet another sad tale of a trademark owner failing to monitor for infringements of its mark and paying the price later. Professional wrestler Ric Flair, known by the nickname “Nature Boy,” applied in 2018 to federally register his nickname NATURE BOY for various consumer items, including T-shirts, tank tops, and sweatshirts. His application was rejected Read the full article…

When Branding, Think of Building a Trademark Fort

Entrepreneurs won’t waste this plague opportunity. Throughout history, great minds have used times of seclusion to create their best work. During the Bubonic Plague of 1665-66, Isaac Newton retreated from Cambridge to a countryside farm. While holed up, he invented calculus and formulated his laws of motion and gravity. The same will be true of Read the full article…

Two Key Contract Provisions to Watch in a Pandemic

Posted March 16, 2020. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses worry about whether they can meet their contractual obligations to other businesses. Some worry about spending money for services or things they no longer need, or they just want to cut costs. Some vendors worry about whether they can meet contractual obligations when their workforce Read the full article…

The Heavyweight Trademark Battle between Truist and Truliant Rages On

Posted February 18, 2020. The trademark-infringement fight between Truist Financial Corporation and Truliant Federal Credit Union is going to the mat. Truist is the result of the merger of SunTrust and BB&T. When those merging banks announced the Truist name last year, Truliant sued them for trademark infringement, contending consumers would be confused by the Read the full article…