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Bruce E. Burdick

Bruce Burdick’s Answers

8,258 total

  • Legal to use a computer program to create a list of songs downloaded illegally (to remember what songs they had)?

    Let's say someone has music on their computer they got illegally online. They changed their mind about this practice and were about to delete the illegal music. Before they did, they used a computer program (iTunes) to create a PDF of list of the ...

    Bruce’s Answer

    Making a list of songs is not illegal. Just don't label your list with some incriminating title.

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  • I just received a letter from a License Compliance Service for unauthorized use of a photo. What can I do?

    I put up a website to make some additional income. I searched for free photos and found one for my header. Now I received this letter asking me to remit $820.00. I answered the letter via email and explained the situation. I took the photo down a...

    Bruce’s Answer

    Attorney Reddinger has given you a good answer. There was probably no need to take your entire website down provided you remove that image and use only public domain images or purchased images in the future. You most likely have the six hundred, but just have other priorities. If you have no money, and you promptly deleted the image, and have a thick skin, you can normally ignore the letter. If you get sued, then you need an attorney.

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  • Overcoming on-sale bar to patentability

    I would like to know if I can patent a feature of my software product which has been on the market for more than three years. I have made significant improvements/changes to the feature in the last few months. Do improvements have to be transforma...

    Bruce’s Answer

    "Transformative" is related to copyright issues involving derivative works, not to patentability, unless you are referring to the issue of subject matter patentability after Alice v CLS Bank. You need to hire a patent attorney that knows "experimental use" is what you need to get around an on sale situation, and that argument is rather "thin".

    Non-obviousness is likely the relevant test for patentability of your "improvement", and almost every invention is an improvement on what has come before.

    Avvo will not substitute for Ann actual in depth review by a software patent attorney. Silicon valley is home to a plethora of software patent attorneys. A patent may not be what you need most.

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  • Patent - USPTO

    I just received a notice of patent abandonment from USPTO! The non provisional patent was filed last year as a micro entity so had a differed fee. I have received confirmation, then communication about publication, then actual publication...

    Bruce’s Answer

    Review the confirmation of filing and you will likely find the missing party's notice. You or your attorney can also find the document via PAIR. Go to and you will find the link to PAIR in the middle of the page.

    It's not an appeal, but a petition to revive, you will likely need.

    And it sounds like you paid the basic filing fee and failed to pay and thus need both search fee and examination fee if the amount due is about $400.

    This is the type of horror story that results from pro se patent filings.

    You will need to come up with the fee for revival of an unintentionally abandoned application, plus the petition fee, plus the search fee, plus the examination fee. And, you will likely need to hire an IP attorney and pay a couple thousand dollars for the legal work involved do that this time it is done properly.

    "I don't have the money." Is not an acceptable substitute for payment. Come up with the money or you will lose your claim to your invention.

    Patents are a rich man's game. If you have no money, the sad fact is You cannot play the patent game.

    Before giving up in frustration, you should spend a couple hundred dollars

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  • Do religious lectures given orally are subject to copyright? What about such lectures given about 100 years ago?

    Some of these lectures were published by those present to hear the lectures, and I wish to publish these for the benefit of current members of the religious order

    Bruce’s Answer

    Likely a law school question. You need to know what is required for copyright too apply, fixation in a tangible medium. You said these were published, even though given orally. When? Google "copyright term" and review the chart that will list the relevant term which depends on when first published or recorded. If this is a real situation, you need to hire IP counsel.

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  • Content license agreement. Standard?

    Hello - I have a tech startup in the online video space (similar to youtube) and I'm working with studios to license their video content. I found a few standard templates on the internet, I was wondering if I adjust the contracts to the ...

    Bruce’s Answer

    You could, and that will almost certainly be a terrible mistake that will get you in all sorts of legal trouble unless you are an experienced IP attorney. If you have to ask whether you can use a particular form, you don't know enough to use it. We know how to customize and adapt an existing form. You obviously don't. When you don't know the relevant law, you need to hire Ann attorney who does.A form is no substitute for a skilled attorney. You are probably here asking because you know that.

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  • I received an email through my school from paramount subsidiary about copyright infringement. Should I contact them?

    My school has told me that the company only has an IP address and no personal information. I was contacted through my school. The company that contacted my school is called Irdeto. The email they sent to my school does not mention anything about a...

    Bruce’s Answer

    This sounds like the notice is actually to your school as host, and is what its called a "DMCA take down notice". You should take down the material in order to protect your school and you. If you think the request is in error, there is a counter-notice procedure, but that is risking litigation that the school would not like and that would be a huge hassle. I am confident the material is not worth that. Remove it and the matter should be over.

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  • Can I create an audio track using creative commons material and still maintain the copyright?

    I am creating audio tracks that I would like to sell I would like to use music released with creative commons ( and am more than happy to attribute back to the original artist for their part of the pro...

    Bruce’s Answer

    The Creative Commons licenses are not something you just automatically get or use at your discretion and choice. They must be offered by the rights holder. And, there are six typical forms of CC licenses, two of which do not authorize derivatives or and two of which do not allow commercial uses. All 6 require attribution, so you are giving nothing by offering to attribute. If you are operating under a CC-BY-SA license then you would need to release you derivative under a similar.

    Avvo it's not going to give you your answer or allow you to avoid hiring a lawyer. Avvo answers are for the purpose of helping you decide what attorney to hire. Choose wisely so you get good advice.

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  • Is there a way to protect invention if you don't have money for a patent?

    I have tried soliciting help from companies offering help but it seems, to me, it just seems, like once they discover I'm "African American" our correspondence stops.

    Bruce’s Answer

    If you refer to a large invention promoter, the Help you will get mostly is help transferring your money to them for services of dubious value. More likely than race is actual or perceived lack of money as invention promoters tend to know money is green and not black or white and they cannot get what you do not have or cannot repay if you sign one of their loans.. If you are looking for free help on a patent, a patent is likely NOT a viable option for you under the US patent system, since you will not get a decent patent without hiring a patent attorney and spending a minimum of several thousand dollars.

    I agree with my colleague that in patents (to use a Yogiism) "when you have no money that's when you money is most important to have." You see, when you have no money, it's the most difficult to get something as expensive as a patent, yet that's when you need a patent the most to even the playing field so you might stop fat cats from stealing that invention. If you have money, there are a host of other legal means to assist you in protecting your invention and enable you to steal inventions and other things from the poor, including the ability to hire lawyers and pay for lawsuits. Sorry, but patents are currently a rich man's sport. Not fair or right or wise for or country, but it is what it is and you need to play the cards you are dealt as best you can so you stay in the game until you get better cards. It's easier to win at poker if you have 6000 chips than if you have one chip. Patents are like chips in the poker game known as business.

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  • I'm thinking of buying a look-a-like mickey mouse character costume to wear for charity events in the Uk.

    Would I be going against any copyright infringements by "advertising" it as Mickey Mouse to attend?

    Bruce’s Answer

    One costume party, not a problem. A series of events where you portray Disney's most cherished character is much riskier. The problem is that MICKEY MOUSE is so closely tied to Disney as to be almost an alter ego. Disney understandably wants MICKEY to be uniformly happy and largely silent when portrayed. Disney wants to control the quality of it's characters and perhaps none more so than MICKEY.

    I would guess Disney would not be concerned enough to bother you in this, but that depends on several things, particularly whether you generate complaints or confusion that bother Disney.

    Also, this is a USA legal website, not a UK site, so you should also ask your local Solicitor, Barrister, or QC.

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