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John E. Whitaker

John Whitaker’s Answers

1,019 total


  • Ensuring I am not infringing a patent

    I am about to open a shop to make frozen custard. The way I am making custard is close to a method that is already patented with few differences that might bypass the patent. I want to make sure with the way I am making the custard it is won't be ...

    John’s Answer

    You haven't asked a question, so I'm not sure exactly what you would like to know. But if what you want to know is how to ensure you aren't infringing the patent, then the best answer is to involve qualified patent counsel to compare your product to the patent and give you an opinion of non-infringement. You should understand that being fairly certain you do not infringe a patent is different than a guarantee that you won't be sued. There is no way to guarantee that you won't be sued even if it is highly unlikely that you do, in fact, infringe.

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  • Can you post images from a google or bing search to a business Facebook page without copyright infringement? What are the rules?

    If the name of the website the image comes from is on the image, can you post the image to a business Facebook page without copyright infringement? Do you need permission? If there are no identifying markings to indicate where the image comes from...

    John’s Answer

    That's a whole lot of questions, but the bottom line is that you just can't use any image that you come across with an Internet search for business purposes. Just don't do it. Sure, there are exceptions, but I wouldn't count on it. The idea that just because the image was easy to find means it must be public domain is a myth. It just ain't true.
    The reason is because if you are discovered to have done it, the penalties can be severe. Very. A whole lot more severe than just "take it down." Damages for one picture can reach as high as $150,000 for one violation. So the wise advice is just don't do it. If you want to advertise for a business, your best bet is to use licensed images.

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  • Do lawyers ever take copyright infringement cases on a percentage basis?

    I have found that a book I wrote is being sold as a text book with out my permission.

    John’s Answer

    Yes, some lawyers (like my firm) represent copyright owners on a contingency basis. I have personally represented a number of authors who have had their work taken.

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  • Does patent infringement directly offends the law and does it directly means I will get sued?

    Hi, I have a few rough questions regarding patents in general, is true that: 1) Patents are not part of the criminal law and by infringing a patent I am not offending the law 2) Patent owner has the right to decide if to sue me or if not t...

    John’s Answer

    (1) Patents are not part of the criminal law and there is no such thing as criminal patent infringement.
    (2) Yes, the patent owner can decide whether to sue your or not.
    (3) Yes, very few patents are asserted offensively.
    (4) True, that infringement must be proved and it is often very difficult to prove. Of course, invalidity is also a defense, which is very popular right now.
    (5) I don't understand this question. I don't know what you mean by "a treat for me".

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  • What can an USA company owing a patent which it claims I am infringing do to sue me if I live in Bulgaria?

    Can I be sued in USA and how can this happen or the USA company must come to Bulgaria and sue me in Bulgaria in Bulgarian court and thus needing to get along with Bulgarian language?

    John’s Answer

    If you are doing business in the USA or delivering goods to the US, it is likely that you are subject to jurisdiction in the US for those acts if they infringe a US patent. The US company definitely will NOT come to Bulgaria to enforce a US patent as the US patent is not enforceable outside of the US.

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  • I have a patent since 2000 - i made a mistake when filing and did an ad 13 months prior to filling my non provisiona - the

    patent was issued but a person knew about the add back then but just now came out and sued me --can a person with knowledge wait 10-15 years and bring it out

    John’s Answer

    Your question is a little unclear. What did this person sue you for? You have the patent. Are you saying he sued you to invalidate the patent? Or is he making some sort of "fraud" type allegation. With a little more information, we might be able to help. But the way you describe things, I don't see any valid basis for this person suing you.

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  • Can I file suit for breach of contract and/or DMCA violations?

    Worked as a webcam model for 2 years with geographic restrictions. My contract stated that as a model my materials were subject to resale, rebroadcast and advertising. My contract also stated that if model has geographic restrictions, no videos wi...

    John’s Answer

    You very likely have some claims against that site, although it likely isn't copyright infringement. We would have to see the contract to know for sure, but it is very likely that your employer owns the copyright to your performances. You would just own your own right of publicity, which is not a copyright right. That said, the use of your image outside the terms of your contract would still constitute copyright infringement.
    In short, there are lots of things an experienced litigator can do. You should give one of us a call to discuss your options. But please do it quickly as the longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to win your case.
    Good luck.

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  • Can I sue for my idea

    I sent my idea to a company called Inventhelp in 2014. In 2012 I came up with the idea for a product and the same year I did a poor mans patent. Does a poor mans patent hold up in court? And do I have grounds to sue now that my same exact product ...

    John’s Answer

    If by "poor mans patent" you mean mailing yourself a letter describing the invention, then no. Those do not hold up in court, at least not as a patent. It might possibly enable you to prevent the other party from getting their own patent, but it will do nothing toward protecting the invention or enabling you to sue the company selling the product or Inventhelp.

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  • Can I seek monetary damages for intellectual property theft?

    In 2007 I submitted a design for a product to a company and was offered royalties in return for the rights to manufacture and distribute the product, so long as I applied for the patent. I never agreed to their terms and few years later the prod...

    John’s Answer

    Based on the facts as you describe them, it appears that you don't have any recourse. For instance, they indicated they would pay you a royalty IF you obtained patent protection. That is what is called a "condition precedent." If you didn't comply with it and obtain a patent, then they are not obligated to pay you a royalty.

    But you really should speak directly with an actual attorney to go over whatever facts you are leaving out that an experience attorney might pick out.

    Good luck.

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  • Am I at risk of committing trade name infringement?

    I have started my own business and am about to register a trade name with WA state. The trade name involves a place name and a service. Let's say that the trade name I want to register is "Olympia Management Consulting," but a company, which was c...

    John’s Answer

    All I can add is that the name "Olympia Consulting" to identify a consulting company in Olympia is likely unprotecable under trademark law. Certainly if the name hasn't acquired so-called "secondary meaning" it wouldn't be. If a mark does nothing except describe the goods or services being provided, then it is not operating as a trademark and wouldn't receive trademark protection. That is, unless it has acquired secondary meaning. If the name hasn't even been in use, then that is unlikely.
    However, the trade name registry does a simple job of trying to prevent exact duplicate names. So you would not have any problem registering your name over Olympia Consulting.
    I know a good lawyer down in Olympia if you need a referral.
    Good luck.

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