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Elliot Michael Zimmerman

Elliot Zimmerman’s Answers

2 total

  • A family member wrote an idea to a fast food restaurant about 35 years ago that restaurant is now using that idea can one sue?

    I have a rejection letter dated and signed by that company may 8th 1985.

    Elliot’s Answer

    Naked ideas are generally not protectable... Copyright law protects original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Trademark law prevents others from trading using your name. Patent law protects inventions and designs that are new, use and non-obvious provided there is a physical prototype of same. In your case, it is unlikely that any of the foregoing apply (but because I am not privy to what's in the letter, I can't be 100% certain). Notwithstanding, naked ideas that have value can sometimes be protected by non-disclosure and non-circumvention agreements that are signed by the party who receives the information. Again, your situation does not involve same. Additionally, because you have done nothing for 35 years, waiver, estoppel, laches, statutes of limitation and repose would more than likely make any claim at this time stale and not actionable. In conclusion, the simple answer is no, and move on with your life. Best wishes.

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  • Would I have to copyright each episode of an animated cartoon or could I consider them to be a collection?

    I've created an animated cartoon series and am looking to start a website to post them on. Currently I have a small collection of episodes (all with the same characters) and would like to copyright them before posting. Would I be able to copyrig...

    Elliot’s Answer

    The only advantage to copyrighting a collection versus each work individually is that it is cheaper to file. With respect to a collection, your statutory damages for infringement are proportioned in relation to the number of works contained in the collection. So, if you submit 10 pictures as a collection, and only 1 is infringed, the maximum statutory damage award would be 1/10th of $30,000 plus costs and attorney's fees.

    Conversely, although cheaper to file only 1 collection for copyright versus each individually, it may not be cost effective (e.g. at $35 for each registration, the hundreds of thousands of frames you would need to copyright each frame isn't cost effective).

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