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Law related articles writen by lawyers
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U.S. Copyright Office Takes on Mass Digitization

The U.S. Copyright Office recently published a report that addresses one of the most controversial areas of copyright law right now—the mass digitization of books. According to the agency, the report is intended to facilitate further discussions among the affected parties and the public regarding possible approaches to the issue, including voluntary initiatives, legislative options, or both.

Can Rabbit Ears Prevent a Copyright Lawsuit?

A new subscription service that would allow users to watch broadcast television over the Internet on devices like smartphones and laptops is facing legal trouble before it even officially launches. Facing allegations of copyright infringement by Fox Television, PBS, ABC, and other leading networks, the start-up’s defense hinges on tiny rabbit ears.

Stark and Anti-Kickback Laws Regarding Physician Employment and Contractor Agreements

In this article, the author briefly outlines the legal requirements for paying compensation to a physician-employee and to a physician-independent contractor. This article explains how you pay compensation to a physician employee or contractor in compliance with the referral laws for California and the fed (Stark and Anti-Kickback).

Buy-in and Buy-out of Dentists to a Dental Group

Dentists come and go from dental groups. When a dentist enters a practice as a shareholder or partner, the practice should prepare for the dentist's exit. The exit is inevitable. In this article, I give one simple rule for structuring the dentist’s buy-in to a practice and the later buy-out of the dentist's shares from the practice.

Buy-in and Buy-out of Physicians to a Medical Group

Physicians come and go from medical groups. When a physician enters a practice as a shareholder or partner, the practice should prepare for the physician's exit. The exit is inevitable. In this article, I give one simple rule for structuring the doctor’s buy-in to a practice and the later buy-out of the doctor's shares from the practice.

Breathalyzers: Defects Then/Failures Still

Breathalyzers have had a long history of controversy over their effectiveness and validity when used as evidence in a court of law. The author details their history of failure and malfunction as well as their current problems.

Can You Trademark a Highway Sign?

Highway signs for famous roadways are increasingly popping up on a variety of consumer merchandise from home décor to t-shirts. But can companies who use these logos obtain trademark protection?

SCOTUS Rulings On Same-Sex Marriages Create Tax Refund Opportunities

The decision in United States vs. Windsor (No. 12-301, June 26, 2013) by the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) to strike down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) creates important tax issues and opportunities. These include potential refunds for same-sex married couples and their employers for years not closed by the statute of limitations.

Adoption in California

Many types of adoption may be completed in the state of California, including private adoptions, agency adoptions, stepparent or foster parent adoptions, single parent adoptions, and grandparent adoptions.

Special Purpose Entity

How can you protect your assets against creditors as a film maker?

Supreme Court: Government Can Copyright Foreign Works Once in Public Domain

The Supreme Court issued an important copyright decision, ruling that Congress acted constitutionally when it restored copyright protection to foreign works that had once been in the public domain. The 1994 law was part of an effort to implement the Berne Convention, a treaty that gives U.S. works reciprocal protection overseas.

California Copyright Litigation: Software Reseller Can’t Rely on First Sale Doctrine

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California recently ruled that an eBay reseller of copyrighted software could not rely on the first sale doctrine. The decision centered on the distinction between a sale and a license, as the Ninth Circuit previously held that the first sale defense is unavailable to licensees.

Apple v. Samsung Highlights Importance of Legal Hold

The blockbuster jury award issued in the ongoing and high-profile patent litigation between Apple and Samsung has certainly caught everyone’s attention. The jury concluded that Samsung infringed on several Apple patents and awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages.

Is Crowdsourcing Becoming Part of the Patent Examination Process?

Crowdsourcing, which involves outsourcing tasks to a distributed group of people largely via the Internet, could become a key part of the patent examination process, particularly given the increasing role of third parties.

Could Popular New Social Media Website Pinterest Get “Pegged” for Copyright Infringement?

Pinterest, a social networking website that allows users to create a virtual bulletin board of their favorite online content, is rapidly gaining popularity. Unique visits to the website reportedly topped 11.7 million. However, questions have surfaced about whether Pinterest could be held liable for copyright infringement by encouraging the unauthorized sharing of protected images and videos.

Did Groupon’s Former Sales Managers Take Trade Secrets to Google?

Groupon Inc. has filed a trade secret lawsuit against two former sales managers, accusing them of taking confidential trade secrets with them when they left to join a competing venture run by Google Inc. Lawsuits like these are extremely common in the technology industry, where the competition to roll out innovative products is intense.

Extension of an Employee's Probationary Period

An employer’s extension of a recently-retained employee is not an action employers summarily or frequently take. Oftentimes the employer is afraid to modify its probationary period policy for fear of repercussions if it/he/she does so. Other times, the employer simply does not have sufficient information to form a viable decision.

What Type of Injury Claim Should I File?

The success of filing an injury claim depends on several factors: what type of accident you have experienced, who was at fault in the accident and the extent and type of damages sustained. An injury claim can take several forms, and each will be handled slightly differently.

Virtual Patent Marking Goes High Tech with New Software

The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act modernizes the ways in which patent holders may mark their products. It specifically allows patent owners to mark their products with an Internet address, which then lists the patent numbers associated with the product.

Are Patent Lawsuits “Cruel and Unusual Punishment” for Jurors?

Judge Lucy Koh of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has again ordered Apple and Samsung Electronics to pare down the number of claims at issue in their upcoming intellectual property lawsuit. If they cannot do so, the trial will likely be delayed.

How Much Are Patent Trolls Costing Tech Companies?

Patent trolls cost the country’s top tech companies an estimated $29 billion last year, according to a new report. The Boston University School of Law study contends that the rise in opportunistic patent litigation is stifling innovation and harming inventors.

Can You Copyright a Yoga Routine?

A sequence of yoga poses is not eligible for copyright protection, according to new guidance provided by the U.S. Copyright Office. The agency said the policy statement was required following a series of legal decisions and erroneously awarded copyrights. It also acknowledged that the question of whether a sequence of “preexisting exercises, such as yoga poses” can be copyrighted has “occupied the attention of the Copyright Office for some time.”

Stay Cool & Safe in the Pool: Safety Tips for Swimming Pool Owners and Guests

Every year, thousands of people are injured or die in swimming pool accidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 3,500 people per year drown in accidents unrelated to boating.

Patent Litigation: Should the U.S. Let Experts Go “Hot Tubbing?”

The ongoing patent litigation between Apple and Samsung is not confined to the United States. Similar legal battles are simultaneously taking place all over the world in Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Australia, just to name a few.

IP Litigation: Are Oracle and Google Paying for Good Press?

U.S. District Judge William Alsup continues to be a trailblazer when it comes to intellectual property litigation. He has asked Google and Oracle to supply a list of all of the journalists and bloggers on their payrolls.

Merging Dental Practices

In this article I discuss the merger of dental practices, from a legal perspective. Without further adieu:

Preparing to sell a Solo Veterinary Practice

In this article, I give some thoughts on preparing to sell your solo veterinary practice.

Classifying a Veterinarian as an Employee or a Contractor

Most veterinary practices want to classify their hired veterinarians as contractors not employees. Contractors are cheaper and easier than employees. You don’t withhold taxes for contractors, nor do you pay benefits, workers compensation or unemployment insurance, nor must you comply with the wage & hour laws (including overtime) for contractors.

Lessons from Hermès: Companies Continue to Face IP Challenges in China

U.S. and multinational companies continue to face intellectual property challenges in China, particularly when it comes to trademarking their brands. Following Apple’s highly publicized trademark troubles, luxury design house Hermès is the latest company to face a legal setback after losing a trademark appeal in China.

Intellectual Property FAQ: How Long Does Copyright Protection Last?

Because copyright laws have changed over the years, the duration of copyright protection is largely determined by when the work was originally copyrighted. This post offers a brief overview of the laws that apply to works copyrighted before and after the 1976 Copyright Act came into effect.

What Happens to a Married Couple's House During Divorce?

Interest rates are at historic lows and divorcing couples and people in general are buying and selling homes in increasing numbers. This exasperates the already common question - "What happens to a couple's home during their divorce?"

Another Successful I-601 Waiver of Grounds Of Inadmissibility Under My Belt

Under section 212(i)(1) of the INA, the Attorney General may waive the misrepresentation committed by Edgar provided he can establish to the satisfaction of the Attorney General that Amanda, his U.S. citizen mother, will suffer extreme hardship if Edgar is not allowed to immigrate to the United States. The application for waiver is filed through Form I-601.

Neither Expert Nor Inventor Allowed to Opine On Reasonable Royalty Damages

A Delaware federal court recently closed the door on each of two possible paths to damages for Plaintiff in the matter of AVM Technologies, LLC v. Intel, Inc. (Civil Action No. 10-610-RGA).

Could Siri Be Stealing Your Trade Secrets?

Monitoring employee use of third-party technologies may be the next frontier of trade secret protection. Apple Siri technology recently made news when IBM revealed that it prohibits employees from using Apple's voice dictation features on their iPhones.

Assembly Bill 10: Hope for Low-Wage Workers

California’s minimum wage was set at $8.00 per hour in 2008 and has since not been changed for the last six years. However, Assembly Bill 10 could change all of that.

Do IP Protections Extend to Meat?

Intellectual property law generally does not protect recipes. But what about a cut of steak?

Classifying a Dentist as an Employee or a Contractor

Most dental practices want to classify their hired dentists as contractors not employees. Contractors are cheaper and easier than employees. You don’t withhold taxes for contractors, nor do you pay benefits, workers compensation or unemployment insurance, nor must you comply with the wage & hour laws (including overtime) for contractors.

Business Joint Ventures

In this article, I explain business joint ventures. A joint venture exists when two or more businesses team up to engage in a limited activity, for example, one business has customer relationships in a particular market while the other has back-end personnel, so they team up to offer a vertically integrated service in that market.

Professional Service Agreements for Hospital-Based Physicians

In this article, I outline Professional Service Agreements for hospital-based physicians. I cover the fundamental terms of the contract, namely, (1) defining the medical services to be provided as against the payment of compensation, (2) exclusivity, and (3) term & termination.

Copyright FAQ: What Can’t Be Protected?

Under U.S. copyright law, protection is only given to “original works of authorship.” As we have previously discussed, this means ideas and concepts cannot be protected by copyright. But what else can’t be copyrighted?

How Much Does IP Theft Cost the U.S. Economy?

A new government report sheds light on the impact of intellectual property theft on the U.S. economy. Counterfeiting and piracy erode the returns on innovation and slow economic growth because of the negative impacts on companies, consumers and governments, according to the Congressional Joint Economic Committee.

Bipartisan Bill Looks to Crack Down on Rogue Websites

A bipartisan group in the U.S. House of Representatives recently introduced legislation intended to combat the illegal distribution of counterfeit goods via rogue websites hosted overseas. The proposed bill greatly expands protections for intellectual property (IP) and, if passed, would bring sweeping changes to copyright law.

Update: Twitter Finally Lands Coveted “Tweet” Trademark

James Eliason, CEO of Twittad, indicated that Twitter’s battle for ownership of the “tweet” trademark may finally have come to an end. According to Eliason, Twitter would drop a trademark lawsuit it filed against his company that sought to nullify Twittad’s registered trademark of the word “tweet.” In return, Twittad would transfer its registered trademark of “tweet” to Twitter, he said.

Trademark FAQ: Does a Trademark Last Indefinitely?

A trademark can last indefinitely, but it will require some action of the part of its holder. In general, you must file the appropriate maintenance filings with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and adopt certain business practices in order to keep your trademark alive.

Should China Overhaul Its Patent System?

A European business group is calling on China to make big changes to its patent system. The European Chamber of Commerce in China argues that the current Chinese patent system hinders the country's ability to innovate and may be detrimental to foreign companies. The group released a report recommending a total of 52 changes.

The Obama Administration Wants Your Input on IP Policy

The Obama Administration is working to develop a new strategy for intellectual property enforcement and is asking for the public’s help.

5 Tips for Bicycle Accident Victims

As a cyclist and bicycle accident victim advocate, the author has learned several lessons over the 20 plus years he has been riding and practicing personal injury law. On this article, you will find some of the tips he would like to offer to victims of bike accidents.

Is the USPTO Trying to Phase Out Paper Trademark Applications?

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office allow trademark applicants to conduct much of their business electronically through the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). Trademark applicants can file an initial application form online, as well as submit other documents including a response to an examining attorney's Office action, a change of address, an allegation of use, and post registration maintenance documents.

Too Drunk to Fly? Federal Blood-Alcohol Limits for Pilots

In January 2013, a pilot was arrested after failing a breathalyzer test in the cockpit. The pilot was about to take off with more than 50 passengers aboard the plane.

Motorcycle Hit-and-Run Accidents: The Devastating Impacts on Victims and Their Families

Hit-and-run has become epidemic in our country and especially in California. According to a recent article, California has the highest hit-and-run accident rate of any state in the Union, and many of those are motorcycle accidents. Motorcycle crash attorneys represent the victims of these accidents and help them recover damages for their injuries, pain and suffering.

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