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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…

Could your business be banned from public contracting because of your views on controversial issues?

Posted on November 26, 2017. Could your business get banned from public contracting because of something controversial posted by someone associated with your business on social media? For example, what if a member of your senior management posts a strong view on Facebook either for or against illegal immigration? Could someone in the government ban Read the full article…

Should Your Business Seek a Trademark Registration on a Hashtag?

Posted on October 16, 2017. In 2012, McDonald’s launched a Twitter marketing campaign based on the hashtag “#McDStories.” It wanted customers to tweet about good times at McDonald’s. Unfortunately for McDonald’s, negative tweets such as these stole the show: “Dude, I used to work at McDonald’s. The #McDStories I could tell would raise your hair.” Read the full article…

Can Politicians and Businesses Legally Block People on Social Media?

Posted on September 19, 2017. The Tweeter in Chief, President Trump, was sued in July by a group trying to force him to stop blocking critics on Twitter. For that reason, a pair of recent decisions addressing politicians and social media by a federal trial judge in Virginia are getting attention. Those decisions were made Read the full article…

Tales of Woe from Companies That Reposted Pictures on Instagram Without Permission

Posted on July 27, 2017. Does your business use Instagram to promote itself? If so, beware that posting on Instagram photos taken by others could be copyright infringement. First, some technology: Instagram does not provide a way for users to “repost” pictures posted by others on Instagram. There is a workaround. You can screenshot on Read the full article…

Website Owners: The Rules for Protecting Yourself from Copyright Infringement Liability Just Changed

Posted July 18, 2017. In business, your company faces many risks. If you try to manage every risk, you won’t have time or money left to make your product or provide your service. You have to decide which ones to address and how much to pursue them. With that in mind, consider a new legal Read the full article…

The Slants Channel The Producers, and Win One for the Redskins

Posted June 20, 2017. An ethnic-minority rock band just saved the REDSKINS federal trademark registrations from cancellation. Ironic, no? Whenever people hear about the recent Supreme Court case concerning the Asian rock band The Slants, they think about the Washington Redskins, because that case saved the trademark registrations for the REDSKINS name. Not me. I Read the full article…

Things You’ll Wish You Had Done When Your Star Employee Defects

Posted on May 17, 2017. When a key employee defects to a competitor company, it’s Judgment Day for how well you have prepared for such a possibility. If you prepared well, you might be able to crush the defection. You might even prevent it from happening. But if you haven’t, there may be little you Read the full article…

Do Your Legal Research Before Your Kid Picks a College

Posted on April 18, 2017 Yes, this is a law-and-business column. But one of the biggest financial expenditures you’ll ever make is paying to send your kid to college. Because it’s the season for high-school seniors to accept college admission offers, and because high-school juniors are forming their college-application lists, take a moment to research Read the full article…