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Keep it Legal Blog

Should I Register My Logo as a Trademark?

In theory, anything that identifies your business as the source of your products or services can be a trademark. But in practice, when we talk about trademarks, we’re usually referring to business names, brand names, slogans, and logos. The last category hasn’t gotten as much attention on this blog as some of the others, so let’s remedy that today. Logos can function as trademarks just like any other brand identifier can. In the world of trademark law, we refer to logos as “Design Marks” as opposed to “Word Marks”. Of course, a logo can be a pure design, or it…

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Top 5 Ways to Protect Your Trade Secrets

Every business, large or small, needs to have procedures in place to protect Trade Secrets. A Trade Secret is a piece of information, not generally known or reasonably ascertainable, that gives a business an economic advantage over its competitors. Some examples of Trade Secrets include: Recipes (Coca-Cola) Formulas (WD-40) Algorithms (Google Search) Common business information, such as customer lists, internal specifications, upcoming products, and best practice guides. Trade Secrets can last forever – but legal rights in a Trade Secret only exist as long as the secret is maintained. And Now: The Top 5 Ways to Protect Your Trade Secrets Maintain an…

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Fair use or not? Parody vs. satire in copyright law

Do you know the difference between parody and satire? While the terms are often confused with one another, U.S. copyright law treats parody and satire very differently. Understanding the difference between parody and satire can be crucial in determining whether something that uses all or part of another copyrighted work is protected under the doctrine of Fair Use. What’s a Parody? We commonly think of parodies in the context of a movie, song, play, etc. that is “poking fun” at something in our culture. Saturday Night Live skits and Spaceballs (Mel Brooks’ take on Star Wars) are a few common examples of…

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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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