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San Diego Business Law - Important Considerations in Selecting a Business Entity

Welcome back to our San Diego Business Law blog series! In this week’s blog we are going to address some things you should consider when selecting the appropriate form for your new San Diego business.

Patent Expirations Creating Opportunities for Biotech M&A

With patent expirations large pharmaceuticals are facing, there has been a tremendous opportunity for growing biotech companies.

Why Plea Bargaining?

A plea bargain is a negotiated agreement between a prosecutor and a criminal defendant whereby the defendant pleads guilty in return for a concession by the prosecutor. The defendant is presented with the maximum charge or punishment that the defendant would be held to if he or she goes to trial. Subsequently, the prosecutor presents the defendant with an opportunity to plead guilty to a lesser charge or to the original charge with less than the maximum sentence.

DOJ Monitoring Antitrust Implications of Patent Transfers

The U.S. Department of Justice continues to monitor the potential antitrust implications of patent portfolio transfers, particularly in high-tech industries like wireless. In recent remarks at the Fordham Competition Law Institute’s 39th annual conference on International Antitrust Law and Policy, Acting Assistant Attorney General Joseph Wayland discussed how the DOJ is working to “balance patent rights, competition and innovation in the information age.”

A Better Method: Collaborative Divorce

What is collaborative divorce and how does it work? It is an alternative dispute resolution process which resolves divorce issues outside the courtroom.

Tips for Protecting Your Intellectual Property in a Social Media World

Many companies and organizations are changing their business strategies to address the growing importance of social media. Protecting your intellectual property should be part of this process.

Expert Thrown Out after Claiming Major Report “Typos” on Cross

A recently affirmed decision to grant judgment for the defendant as a matter of law highlights the importance of expert testimony that is consistent with previously-disclosed opinions presented in a Rule 26 report. In Rembrandt Vision Technologies, Inc. v. Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc., the expert’s testimony was struck because of critical discrepancies, leaving the plaintiff with no basis for claimed patent infringement.

The Temptations Latest to File Suit over Royalties for Digital Downloads

The number of copyright lawsuits over royalties for digital downloads continues to grow. Motown giants The Temptations are the latest artists to file a lawsuit claiming that they are being cheated out of revenue from sales of their songs on platforms like iTunes.

Online Video-Sharing Site Not Liable for Copyright Infringement

California’s Ninth Circuit recently ruled that Veoh, an online video-sharing site, is not liable for any copyright infringing content posted by its users. Specifically, the Court found that the company's efforts to combat infringement warrant protection under the "safe harbor" provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Copyright FAQ: Can a Copyright Owner Transfer His Rights?

As with any other property right, any or all of a copyright owner’s exclusive rights may be transferred. In fact, it is quite common when a copyright owner wants to commercially exploit the work covered by the copyright. Of course, there are certain rules and requirements that must be followed to ensure that a transfer is legally enforceable and protects the rights of the parties involved.

Multilateral Treaty Will Address Audiovisual Performances

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office are praising a new multilateral treaty that will bolster the international intellectual property protections for audiovisual performances.

Copyright FAQ: What Is a Work for Hire?

If a copyrighted work is considered a work made for hire, the employer or other person for whom the work was made is deemed the owner of the copyright unless there has been a written agreement to the contrary signed by both parties. Therefore, it is important for employees and consultants to understand the meaning of a “work for hire.”

Want to Test Your Intellectual Property Knowledge?

If you want to see how your intellectual property (IP) knowledge stacks up, you can check out a new web-based IP Awareness Assessment Tool recently unveiled by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). It is designed to help manufacturers, small businesses, entrepreneurs, and independent inventors easily assess their IP knowledge.

Can You Patent Happy Hour?

Yes, you can patent happy hour, but it is not what you think. A patent was recently granted for a “virtual happy hour” that offers discounted products on gaming and social networking sites at designated times.

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?

Protecting Your Intellectual Property

There are four main areas of intellectual property that any company or individual must protect because it is so easy to do so and can save you a great deal of money and time on litigation.

Patent FAQ: Is My Invention Patentable?

A patent is a valuable property right because it excludes others from “making, using, offering for sale, or selling your invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States” for a certain period of time. However, before embarking on the patent process, the first step is to determine if your invention can indeed be patented.

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).

Copyright FAQ: Is a Copyright Notice Required?

U.S. law no longer requires the use of a copyright notice. However, prior law did contain such a requirement, and the use
of a notice is still relevant to the copyright status of older works.

Does a California Copyright Case Spell Doom for Karaoke Lovers?

If you feel strongly about karaoke (most either love it or hate it), you should keep a close eye on a recently filed California copyright infringement case.

The Types of Business Entities Available in California

Building a business is both an exciting and extremely stressful time and selecting the appropriate legal form for your business can be a difficult choice. In California you have five different types of business entities to choose from and forming the correct business entity at the beginning will save you both time and money.

Transformers at Center of Trademark Infringement Lawsuit

The latest Transformer battle doesn’t involve Autobots and Decepticons. Instead, it involves two powerful companies and one famous trademark.

Income Loss from a Motorcycle Accident

A person who is injured in a motorcycle accident may lose a small amount of income; on the other hand, his or her ability to earn a living may be seriously impaired for life

What’s the Difference Between a Franchise and Seller Assisted Marketing Plans, Business Opportunities...

In this article I quickly explain the difference between franchises and seller assisted marketing plans, business opportunities, multilevel marketing plans, salespersons, licenses and distributorships.

Buy-in and Buy-out of Accountants to an Accounting Group

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

Buy-in and Buy-out of Veterinarians to a Veterinary Group

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

Trench Coat Worn By Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca Subject of Trademark Infringement Lawsuit

Social media posts featuring an image of Humphrey Bogart wearing a Burberry trench coat in the final scene of Casablanca were not “the beginning of a beautiful friendship” between the fashion retailer and the award-winning actor. Burberry Group Plc. and representatives of the late Humphrey Bogart have filed dueling intellectual property lawsuits over the rights to the image.

Domestic Violence: California Penal Code 273.5

California domestic violence law has changed a lot over the years. The author explains how things have changed as well as the influences that spurred changes.

Tips to Help Your Car Accident Lawyer Obtain the Best Possible Settlement

Clients probably don’t think about how they can help their car accident attorney achieve the best settlement on their case. But they should. The attorney can’t do it all alone. The attorney and client work as a team on the case, and the client’s case is only as strong as the documentation contained in the attorney’s file. A client can help by making sure the attorney has all of the information.

Copyright FAQ: Can a Copyright Be Protected Internationally?

In general, intellectual property rights are territorial in nature, meaning that the protection afforded under U.S. laws does not expend beyond the boundaries of our country. Copyrights are no exception.

Trademark Battle of the Boy Bands

British boy band One Direction has been taking America by storm in recent weeks, with a response that is reminiscent of the U.K.’s most famous musical export. However, it now appears that a trademark lawsuit may put a damper on the band’s growing success. The problem—another band in the U.S. already calls itself One Direction.

Coca Cola Unveils New Vault—How Do You Protect Your Trade Secrets?

As you may have heard, one of the country’s most closely guarded trade secrets has changed locations. Coca-Cola has created a high security vault in Atlanta to house its “secret formula” for the popular soft drink.

Los Angeles Shoplifting: Felony or Misdemanor, It's Still a Crime

When thinking of shoplifting, you may think of Jean Valjean in Les Misérables who stole bread for his starving sister and was imprisoned for five years. But not everybody who shoplifts steals food because they're hungry. It doesn't matter what was shoplifted, or who did the shoplifting, it is still a crime, and is the most common type of theft happening today in the United States.

Los Angeles DUI Defense Process

Regardless of where you live, driving under the influence is a serious offense with serious consequences, but California drunk driving laws can be especially confusing and difficult to maneuver. The best way to approach them is to work with a lawyer that is well versed in what the laws are and what they mean for you.

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.

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