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Keep it Legal Blog

You Set the Price, I’ll Set the (Contract) Terms: #1 – Jurisdiction & Choice of Law

You can always tell when someone is new to business negotiation because they can’t stop talking about price – how much they got paid for something, or how little they paid for something. Experienced negotiators know that oftentimes the terms of a contract are much more important than the top-level price. That’s the origin of the saying “You set the price, I’ll set the terms.” It’s a phrase that seasoned business people and lawyers often use. OK, so it’s easy to throw that phrase around, but what do the terms actually mean? I’m going to talk about a few common…

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4 Things You Need to Know About Trademark Office Actions

Anyone who files trademark applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) should be familiar with the term “Office Action”. An Office Action is simply the title of an official letter sent by the USPTO – although nowadays, most Office Actions are sent via email rather than in a paper letter. When a trademark application is filed with the USPTO, the first thing that happens is that it’s assigned to an Examining Attorney employed by the USPTO. The Examining Attorney will review the application and if they find any issues, they will send out an Office Action to…

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ASK DAVID: How Does Marriott Show the Value of a Varied Trademark Portfolio?

Recently Josh Barro wrote an article in New York Magazine asking “Why Do Hotel Companies Have So Many Brands?” The article begins: In 2016, Marriott Hotels, which had 19 hotel brands, merged with Starwood, which had 11. They didn’t abolish any brands in the merger, and so the company faced a challenge: How to explain to customers, or even to its own employees, what makes all 30 of these brands different from each other. That’s right – Marriott alone has 30 different hotel brand names (or “flags” as they apparently call them in the hotel industry). These include Marriott, Sheraton,…

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Podcaster Hit With Copyright Lawsuit for Unlicensed Music

I’ve been writing and speaking for several years about the likelihood of lawsuits concerning unlicensed music in podcasts. See, for example, my 2015 blog post “Can I Play Music On My Podcast?” Spoiler Alert: The answer is “no, unless you have the proper licenses.” Recently, a podcaster was sued for copyright infringement for doing exactly that – playing popular music on a podcast without the appropriate license. To my knowledge, this is the first time that this has been the subject of a lawsuit, but I doubt it will be the last. Universal Music Group (“UMG”), one of the world’s…

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