If the basis is trademark, first I would want to see evidence of some registration;
second for what service or product, because trademarks are by type of service or product;
third, how did she get a trademark except by using her name to brand her service?;
fourth, a trade name may be mentioned legally if your purpose is to point to product or service and comment on it, even if you are a competitor (“nominative fair use”), rather than to imply falsely that the product or service is...
The IP laws do not protect ideas, they protect work. At the very least write a detailed treatment and register that written treatment at copyright.gov. And would do well to speak with a copyright or entertainmen lawyer to get the overall picture.
Titles cannot be protected by copyright, so hers is not. (There are probably 100 songs registered with the C.O. all with the title Yesterday(s).) Just do not copy her weblog post itself.
Nor can one register a trademark on the title of a book, only on a series of books (such as XXX for Dummies).
Find something else to worry about in the hour of the wolf at 2 or 3 am.
Yes, you have the option to ignore the email and wait for the suit, and TGHEN get a lawyer. I assume they can show they at one time used the mark in commerce or somehow got registered in the USPTO. The rule is NOT that as soon as you stop using a mark it is a free for all for others to use it. Under federal law there is a presumption of abandonment after three years of non-use, but even then the registrant can say “but I am planning to use it again once the economy gets stronger” or whatever....
I would not recommend relying on your own research or certainly on your own knowledge of trademark law to respond. In short, you can either revert to your old company name or hire a lawyer to protect your investment in your new branding. That should be a trademark expert. This is no more do it yourself territory than a persistent toothache.
I am sorry to say this, but this forum is not a substitute for engaing a lawyer. It is like attending a lecture with Q and A afetrward. So, we do not "verify" things like this.
The two songs from the 19th c. are almost ceratinly PD--I cannot think of how not.
La Bamba strikes me as 1950s first publication, but that is just when I first heard it. And that decade is troublesome, because of changes Congress has made in copr. duration. I am attaching a link to a lengthy table of durations....
It is not possible to answer, since it is not clear what ownership is meant. A trademark? Registered? Something unique to Texas? What made it ten years? Generally a brand as seems to be described cannot be used at all after usage stops--it is viewed as abandoned.
Perhaps the best would be for the asker to chat with a trademark attorney, many of whom will chat for 30 or 45 minutes without charge.
The short answer is do not tell anyone about it. If you must, for financing or joint development, first get the person to assign an NDA, a non-disclosure agreement. Of course once it is live it is exposed. The laws of copyright and trademark do not protect ideas. Copyright can protect the look and feel of a website to an extent.
The best protection is to get to market first and with a well-thought and well developed product whcih you then sell to the public with good marketing.
Using the circle-R symbol, while it may not be acted on directly by the PTO, may count against its unregistered perpetrator when someone else applies to use the same trade name. But this is all very fact and history intensive. The trademark law does not act like a tax code, so have a chat with a trademark attorney confidentially about all that is going on.
If you simply mail someone a check you will probably not get a release that protects you. It is possible this is a scam; there are some. And it would take some back and forth with the supposed Copr. owner to verify they own something you downloaded.
The short of it is you need a lawyer with some experience in the “download” area to negotiate for you, after interviewing you to get all the facts. I have experience, as do other lawyers on this forum. It will end up costing a good deal...