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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…

A New California Law Attempts to Regulate Consumer Privacy Nationwide. Better Get Ready.

Posted on January 21, 2020. A new California law, the Consumer Privacy Protection Act (“CCPA”), goes beyond requiring businesses to have privacy policies. It forces them to carefully structure how they gather and use consumers’ information. It’s not limited to information gathered by a website. The law addresses all personal information gathered from consumers, even Read the full article…

Trademark Lessons from the Fiasco of Picking TRUIST as a Bank Name

Posted on December 17, 2019. When SunTrust and BB&T chose to merge, they chose TRUIST as the name of the combined bank. They just closed the merger. So far, the naming choice has been a legal mess. I wonder if they will abandon the new name. It’s a textbook example of what happens when business Read the full article…

Tips from the Virginia State Police about Counterfeits

Posted November 20, 2019. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with a special agent of the Virginia State Police about the sale of counterfeit products in Virginia. While the police can’t give legal advice, I picked up a few tips. Just about any goods that can be counterfeited show up in Virginia, such as Read the full article…

When it Comes to Online Privacy, Your Virginia Business May be Governed by California and Europe

Posted on October 11, 2019. Your business may be in Virginia, but when it comes to online privacy laws, it may be governed by California and the European Union. For the uninitiated, a website often will have a privacy policy linked on its website, usually at the bottom. A privacy policy is supposed to educate Read the full article…

Lebron James and TACO TUESDAY – Trademark Lessons from a Celebrity

Posted September 17, 2019. Perhaps you’ve noticed Lebron James has gone viral on Instagram hyping “Taco Tuesday.” He often does it imitating a Spanish or Mexican accent. On some college campuses, doing that would get you in trouble for “cultural appropriation.” But he’s the King, so he can. Anyway, in mid-August, a holding company owned Read the full article…

Do’s and Don’ts for Businesses Using Photos Found Online

Posted July 17, 2019. About a year ago, an Alexandria federal trial court issued a decision that panicked commercial photographers. The decision could be interpreted as holding that it’s OK for a business to use someone else’s photograph in advertising without permission. To the relief of copyright owners, the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Read the full article…

BB&T and SunTrust become Truist and get sued by Truliant Federal Credit Union – What Trademark-Selection Lessons Can Be Learned?

Posted June 28, 2019 A trademark fight just broke out involving the merger of BB&T and SunTrust, two banks with heavy footprints in Central Virginia. Those combining banks recently announced their merged name (meaning their trademark) will be “Truist.” Shortly afterward, Truliant Federal Credit Union sued BB&T and SunTrust for trademark infringement. Truliant contends “Truist” Read the full article…

Liability for False Advertising: Kings, Corn Syrup, Beer, and Half-Truths

Posted May 21, 2019 I love the scene in the movie The Pink Panther Strikes Again where Inspector Clouseau is checking into a small inn. At the front desk, Clouseau notices a dog lying on the floor. He asks the innkeeper, “Does your dog bite?” “No,” responds the innkeeper. Clouseau bends down to pat the Read the full article…