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Charles E. Colman

Charles Colman’s Legal Guides

26 total

  • How can I keep other people from stealing my idea?

    "How can Ikeep other people from stealing my idea?" This seemingly simple question has bedeviled many an attorney practicing so-called "soft IP" law (shorthand for copyright, trademark, and basically all other intellectual property besides patents.) If you're interviewing a pot...

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  • When do trademark rights exist in a single artistic work?

    About two weeks ago, singer Ke$ha was all over the legal rags for her threats against Wimo Labs regarding its sale of an iPod Nano wristband marketed under the name "Tik Tok," which (unsurprisingly) looks a lot like a watch. Why is Ke$ha up in arms over this seemingly harmless ac...

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  • The thin line between "tributes" and trademark infringement

    As Women's Wear Daily reported last month, design firm Tony Duquette, Inc. has sued J. Crew over the "J. Crew Duquette Factory Leopard Print" sweater: The plaintiff's ubiquitous press release about the suit claims that "J. Crew knowingly and willfully used the Duquette tradem...

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  • How to acquire a copyright from an employee or independent contractor

    This guide addresses the ownership of non-jointly authored copyrightable material created by an individual or entity in the service of a hiring party or other "rights consolidator." Under U.S. copyright law, there are various means of getting one's ducks in a row when it comes t...

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  • Men's Wearhouse and the thorny issue of trademark protection for slogans

    Regular readers of Women's Wear Daily know that Thursday is menswear day; accordingly, WWDhas dedicated a weirdly large portion of today's issue to the retailer Men's Wearhouse. Or maybe not so weird, if there's any truth to WWD's declaration that "[o]ne out of every five suits ...

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  • Trade dress protection, expanded: can you steal a feel?

    As some readers might already know, "trademarks" and "logos" are often one in the same. Think of the iconic red-and-white "Coca-Cola" script, a mark/logo that contains text, or the McDonald's golden arches, a mark/logo without any words at all. Logos, however, are just the "in...

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  • Beware the "territorial" nature of trademark rights

    One of the most common misconceptions about trademark rights is the notion that one automatically accrues rights abroad, when in fact intellectual property rights -- trademarks, copyrights, and patents alike -- are "territorial" in nature. "Territorial" rights apply, rath...

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  • An introduction to "morals"/"reverse morals" clauses (or "The downfall of John Galliano's career")

    If you have the slightest interest in fashion, you probably saw this story in the New York Times earlier this year, about John Galliano's anti-Semitic outburst, and the subsequent fallout. What the article does not explain, however, is the legal mechanism by which companies get r...

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  • When it comes to trademarks, slow and steady loses the race

    As I often remind my clients, in the world of trademarks, timing is (almost) everything. Slow and steady rarely wins the race here, whether the contestants are tortoises, hares, or horses: A recent opinion authored by Judge Sweet of the Southern District of New York vividly ill...

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  • An introduction to secondary liability for copyright infringement (or "The RIAA goes to war")

    If you have the slightest interest in intellectual property, or, for that matter, have been awake over the past 15 years, you are probably already familiar with The Tale of the Music Industry Against The World. If not, here's the story in a nutshell: 1) Internet connections grew ...

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