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Frank A. Natoli
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Frank Natoli’s Answers

6,138 total


  • If I am shooting a scene in a movie in a comic book store can I show logos and artwork in the background? Nothing focused on.

    Nothing will be featured in the movie its more about the conversations in the location.

    Frank’s Answer

    Yes, if they are merely incidental to the scene then that is not a problem. Sometimes it is easy to cross the line even if unwittingly, so if you have any doubts talk it over with a lawyer first.

    Best regards,
    Frank
    Natoli-Lapin, LLC

    See question 
  • Can I publish a game that I was contracted to do all the work for if I was not payed according to the contract?

    I am a freelance game developer. A company offered me $1400 to create their game idea by doing all the art and programming, with a payment of $500 upfront. After completing the game, they no longer want to pay me for the game. Can I publish the ga...

    Frank’s Answer

    You received some very good advice. This often comes up and many providers intuitively believe that if their client does not pay in full that this means the IP was never transferred and that it defaults back to them. This is not necessarily correct. What you have is a claim for services rendered or quantum meruit in legalese - a contract claim. That is, they do not get to be unjustly enriched by your labor without paying for that. So you can sue them to be made whole.

    For example, let us say that I did similar work for you for a fee of 10K for which you paid me $9, 900.00 but you are disputing that you owe the other $100. Do you think that it would be equitable for me to then take ownership back to all the IP developed after receiving almost all the money we negotiated for? Of course not. Now you are free to negotiate the terms of your engagement and work out well defined milestones that can help mitigate your exposure.

    If you need further clarification, I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your objectives in more detail. You can start by calling around to several for a free phone consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with.

    Best regards,
    Frank
    Natoli-Lapin, LLC

    See question 
  • Can I patent an idea?

    I am looking to create a product. I already know what it is. I am currently researching engineers and designers.

    Frank’s Answer

    You received some great advice. In short, a patent protects the "HOW" not the "what." So no an idea is not protectable, but as some note what defines an idea needs to be fleshed out a bit and we do not have any facts here.

    I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your objectives in more detail. You can start by calling around to several for a free phone consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with.

    Best regards,
    Frank
    Natoli-Lapin, LLC

    See question 
  • I have an idea that can add to cosmetic industry that does not exist now. How to pitch my idea without it being stolen?

    It facilitates a current product. It's all in the delivery.

    Frank’s Answer

    You received good advice. If we are talking about an "idea" then the only way for you to protect it would be to have some kind of legal relationship to the entity you pitch it to and that will usually be in the form of a written contract like an NDA/NNN agreement. The odds that anyone would ever sign and commit to that unsolicited and without any nexus to you is slim to none. Further, even if they did it will NOT protect a bald idea in a vacuum. It will have to be more developed and particularized to be enforceable in court.

    As noted, you should explore whether what you have can be protected under patent but be very wary as this is an extremely predatory space and often not worth the investment especially for small independent inventors. And by all means stay away from non-lawyer "invention help" type outfits as they will leave you in the gutter, with no shoes.

    I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your objectives in more detail. You can start by calling around to several for a free phone consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with.

    Best regards,
    Frank
    Natoli-Lapin, LLC

    See question 
  • Is it copyright infringement or illegal in some way to have a celebrity image on a sidewalk poster for a business?

    I want to create a poster with an image of Christopher Walken's face, pulled from a screen shot of a you tube video of a Saturday Night Live skit. The poster will say "Walkens Welcome. Get your pc fixed today, no appointment needed." A play on wor...

    Frank’s Answer

    As noted, you have the publicity and privacy rights issues and you also have the copyright infringement issue. Doing something like this for say your own personal and private party would not be actionable. Doing it in connection to your commercial enterprise can be a big problem should anyone take note.

    If you need further clarification, I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your objectives in more detail. You can start by calling around to several for a free phone consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with.

    Best regards,
    Frank
    Natoli-Lapin, LLC

    See question 
  • Do I need permission from Disney to use the names of their rides in printed work that I am selling?

    I plan on selling itineraries to visitors of the Disneyland park for profit so that they may optimize their day but I don't want to step on Disney's toes if I'm not authorized to print the names of their rides and locations which all have copyrigh...

    Frank’s Answer

    The others offered some good responses and I agree that you should consult with IP counsel before pulling the trigger to make certain you are not stepping over the line. But as noted, referring to a ride at the park by name descriptively in the text of your material is not an infringement. Where you are likely to run into issues is being perceived as presenting a false association, sponsorship, endorsement or other affiliation with Disney, which can open the door to legal action. So you really need to be careful about how you package and promote this.

    I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your objectives in more detail. You can start by calling around to several for a free phone consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with.

    Best regards,
    Frank
    Natoli-Lapin, LLC

    See question 
  • If a person is a manager of a LLC can he give management rights to someone else without the agreement of the other members of

    LLC? What papers need to be signed for the manager to give management powers to someone else?

    Frank’s Answer

    The manager is ultimately responsible should they delegate any authority. So if John is the manager, but John has Mary tasking for the entity and Mary fumbles big time, John is responsible for that. And if the other members really do not like the fact that John gave Mary any responsibility, then they can remove both John and Mary and find another.

    There are no formal means by which to effectuate that authority outside the operating agreement. It becomes implied in the context of the operation with the caveat of course that LLC members will at some point be needed to approve if the functions are going to be more broad like for example Mary would not be a signatory on the business bank account.

    I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your objectives in more detail. You can start by calling around to several for a free phone consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with.

    Best regards,
    Frank
    Natoli-Lapin, LLC

    See question 
  • Received a email from a collection agency with a arrest warrant number on it. Is this legitimate or a scare tactic?

    Due to non payment of a pay day loan.

    Frank’s Answer

    It is total BS. These companies have a lot nerve. No, the only entities with the power to issue arrest warrants are your government agencies. The only thing these idiots can do is sue you civilly in court for non-payment.

    Man this kind of crap sticks in my craw. These slime bags want to get into the predatory lending business then when people can't pay them (big shock right) they think they can get away with what I think are likely entirely unlawful tactics. I hope a lawyer that works in this area can chime in as well and offer some guidance as to how best to move forward or if you can report that. And if you don't get that here, I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your best course of action in more detail. You can start by calling around to several for a free phone consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with.

    Best regards,
    Frank
    Natoli-Lapin, LLC

    See question 
  • Is it illegal to bid up the price on your own ebay items?

    If yes, what law is being broken. Additionally, if you suspect someone of doing this, how can you prove it?

    Frank’s Answer

    Illegal? As in a violation of the criminal code, likely not. But is it a violation of eBay's terms of use? Most probably. If discovered it would also give whoever was affected by it a cause of action to sue you civilly.

    If this is a serious issue, I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your objectives in more detail. You can start by calling around to several for a free phone consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with.

    Best regards,
    Frank
    Natoli-Lapin, LLC

    See question 
  • How do we register as a legal business entity or "DBA" for a General Partnership?

    My partner and I are planning soon to open up our own on-line startup. Though I have have been researching and reading great numbers of documents and I have a good understanding what normally what one would have to do, Our situation is unique. In ...

    Frank’s Answer

    I completely agree with Attorney Lautin here that operating under a default GP with no liability shield is just taking very unnecessary risks. And apart from the entity formation your web-based start up is going to have a number of threshold legal considerations you are going to have to deal with (e.g., trademark clearance, terms of service/privacy policy/EULA, copyright/DMCA issues, other agreements, etc.). So

    I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your objectives in more detail. You can start by calling around to several for a free phone consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with.

    Best regards,
    Frank
    Natoli-Lapin, LLC

    See question