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Michael S. Melfi

Michael Melfi’s Answers

145 total


  • Should I get a trademark before I register my business?

    Michael’s Answer

    Of course a trademark clearance opinion is your starting point from a U.S. and international standpoint (though this sounds like a challenging concept) given that IP is also international you must make sure in this day and age that your free to use the proposed name from a national and international standpoint. Once this is done, you will need to proceed to file the necessary paperwork with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Your best bet is to consult with an intellectual property attorney who could advise to the best course of action.

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  • Can I sue a national newspaper for plagiarizing my article?

    Michael’s Answer

    Of course you could bring an action for copyright infringement, but it must go through a process before a determination can be made with regards to copyright infringement. Your best bet is to consult with an intellectual property attorney who could advise to the best course of action.

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  • Must I trademark my business name to claim rights to a web site registered by a cybersquatter?

    Michael’s Answer

    Congress was well aware of the issue relating to domain names and thus enacted the cyber-squatting statute, and courts have caught onto the notion of taking sites hostage and demanding a ransom for them. So, I would not be too concerned about that matter, if one can prove the elements of the statute you could have them surrender the name over to you. You best bet is to consult with an intellectual property attorney who can best advise you as to your rights.

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  • I'm writing a script where I have several scenes that look like scenes from actual movies. Is that copyright infringement?

    Michael’s Answer

    You probably need to change a lot as substantial similarity is part of the process for determining copyright infringement. Just because you change the characters, in and of itself is not a defense. You could be touching the borderline of infringement, unless an appropriate defense applies. Your best bet is to consult with an intellectual property attorney who can best advise you as to your rights.

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  • How do I avoid trademark / copy write infringement, using a film theme on an exhibit, at a conference?

    Michael’s Answer

    Your best bet of course is to get permission and under U.S. Copyright law there may be something in the form of fair use, depending on the type and purpose of the use. And as long as you are not doing it for commercial purposes and profiting from it. You best bet is to consult with an intellectual property attorney who can best advise you as to your rights.

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  • Copyright question. Can a logo be cut under the assumption the buyer has licensed right?

    Michael’s Answer

    Well, if the buyer has the license rights to use it, then there is no trouble, assuming that they legally have a license to use it. If however that is not the case, you must consider both copyright and trademark protection both under common law and federal law. Your best bet is consult with an intellectual property on this.

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  • If I were to use a quote/phrase or an image outlined by nails and filled in using string, Would this fall under copyright?

    Michael’s Answer

    You probably could, and of course this depends largely on the type of use, you must bear in mind that infringement does require a fair amount of engagement to result in infringement, since one kind of use may or may not amount to infringement. Your best bet is consult with an intellectual property on this.

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  • Can I copyright a foreign or fictitious company name that I have been using to promote products for over the past 5 years?

    Michael’s Answer

    It depends, and this largely depends on international IP policies. In some instances it may be possible, but if they are signatories to some treaty is may be difficult. Your best bet is consult with an intellectual property on this.

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  • If I sue someone for Trademark infringement and they settle and stop using, is it possible to reap damages to pay my legal fees?

    Michael’s Answer

    In some instances you could get damages if they are willful infringes and can under IP law claim double damages in different IP arenas. Your best bet is consult with an intellectual property on this and perhaps get a fairly well drafted C&D letter, including such points.

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  • After a married person dies, does copyright in the person's copyrighted work pass to their spouse in the absence of a will?

    Michael’s Answer

    It depends whether the 1909 Act or 1976 Act applies, it may be the case that it does pass to the spouse in the absence of a will. Your best bet is to consult with an intellectual property attorney.

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