January 8, 2020
One of the benefits of owning a trademark is enjoying the ability to license the mark – meaning, you can agree to let someone else use the trademark in exchange for a fee or some other type of compensation. In theory, trademark licensing should be straightforward. However, the “franchise trap” or the “accidental franchise” makes it more complicated than it may initially seem. Franchises are highly regulated at both the state and federal level. For example, franchisors are required to make substantial disclosures of financial information, which must be audited. In California, as in many other states, the franchise must…
September 25, 2019
There are a lot of circumstances when a well-crafted waiver document will be an asset for your business. A waiver is simply an agreement whereby someone agrees not to bring a legal claim in the case of a loss or injury. You agree to waivers all the time, often without even knowing it. When you go to a concert or a game, your ticket almost always includes language stating that you are assuming certain risks and agreeing not to sue. The same thing happens when you enter a parking lot, go in for a medical procedure, or attend a conference….
September 11, 2019
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently issued a new rule that affects all trademark filings owned by parties based outside of the U.S. The rule is that, essentially, everyone who’s doing business with the Trademark Office must be represented by an attorney licensed to practice law in the United States. The new rule went into effect on August 3, 2019. The previous status quo didn’t include any such requirement. Foreign trademark owners could be represented by a foreign attorney or could simply handle their own U.S. trademark filings without legal counsel. The USPTO’s press release regarding the…
January 23, 2019
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,…