Domain Names and Disputes – Dr. Adli Interviews with Lawyer Monthly Magazine

15 January 2013
Dr. Adli was interviewed by Lawyer Monthly Magazine for the February 2013 issue. This feature focuses on Amazon.com’s recent application for the top level domain ending that shares its name with South America’s tropical rain forest. Click on the image below to read the full article on Domain Names and Disputes.

Lawyer-Monthly-300×201

Vocabulary for Entrepreneurs: Patents, Trademarks & Copyrights

11 December 2012
Briefly, the term intellectual property is an umbrella of rights that include patents (utility and design), trademarks (trade name, logo or trade dress), and copyrights.

Patents afford protection for ideas that are useful, novel and non-obvious. There are typically three types of patents that concern most businesses; utility patents, which protect the use, function and structure of products; design patents protect the aesthetic or ornamental features and aspects of products; and business method patents that concern ways of doing business. Design patents are often treated as the often overlooked and unattended-to cousin of their much better known utility patents…. The protection period of utility and business method patents is 20 years from their filing date, while that of a design patent is 14 years from its issue date.

Trademark is a generic term that refers to any feature or characteristic (usually a name or logo but can also be other features such as color, sound, smell, visual appeal or a combination of these) that identify a business’s goods or services to the consumer and help distinguish such goods and services from those offered by its competitors.

Copyright protection covers original works of authorship (typically literary or artistic in nature) that are recorded in a reproducible medium. Examples include sound, film, photography, sculpture, dramatic works, music and software. Copyright protection is very long, typically 70 years plus the author’s life.

Dr. Dariush Adli
PRESIDENT/FOUNDER
ADLI Law Group P.C

Strengthening Protection for Your Ideas Through Overlapping IP

10 December 2012
Most business owners are generally aware of intellectual property and the legal protections it affords to different aspects of their business. However, in my encounters with the business community I am often surprised that most businesses, especially small and startups, are unaware of the power of overlapping IP to strengthen and enhance protection for their products and provide added value to their business.

Briefly, the term intellectual property is an umbrella of rights that include patents (utility and design), trademarks (trade name, logo or trade dress), and copyrights.

Patents afford protection for ideas that are useful, novel and non-obvious. There are typically three types of patents that concern most businesses; utility patents, which protect the use, function and structure of products; design patents protect the aesthetic or ornamental features and aspects of products; and business method patents that concern ways of doing business. Design patents are often treated as the often overlooked and unattended-to cousin of their much better known utility patents. Only 5% of the roughly 0.5 million patent applications filed in the U.S. each year are of the design type. However, as the recent Apple vs. Samsung case demonstrates, design patents can be an extremely useful tool in a business’s intellectual property arsenal. The protection period of utility and business method patents is 20 years from their filing date, while that of a design patent is 14 years from its issue date.

Trademark is a generic term that refers to any feature or characteristic (usually a name or logo but can also be other features such as color, sound, smell, visual appeal or a combination of these) that identify a business’s goods or services to the consumer and help distinguish such goods and services from those offered by its competitors. In addition, the shape of a product itself or that of its outer packaging, can sometimes be protected by a trade dress, which is a form of trademark. In general, trade dress, “involves the total image of a product and may include features such as size, shape, color or color combinations, texture, graphics, or even particular sales techniques.” As an example, Apple claims trade dress rights in the packaging and boxes of its iPhone. Unlike patent or copyright protection, trademark protection does not expire as long as the mark is used in commerce.

Copyright protection covers original works of authorship (typically literary or artistic in nature) that are recorded in a reproducible medium. Examples include sound, film, photography, sculpture, dramatic works, music and software. Copyright protection is very long, typically 70 years plus the author’s life.

There are often great benefits to combining the protection afforded by these various intellectual property categories to maximize their protective effects. For example, the protection of a design patent, which, as I stated above, is only fourteen years from the issue date of the patent, can sometimes be extended indefinitely, by a trade dress since trade dress protection does not expire as long as it is used in commerce. A good example of a successful application of this combination is the classic Coca Cola bottle. Coca Cola obtained a patent for this design in 1915. Then in 1960, after the patent had expired, Coca Cola applied for and obtained a trade dress for this design, which continued the protection up to today.

Another example of a successful application of intellectual property is often found in the case of software which is protectable both under patent and copyright laws. For example, Oracle and Google are still fighting over whether Google improperly used Java OS code, owned by Oracle, to develop its Android operating system. A jury recently decided that Google had indeed copied and used the Java code. In addition to being protected by copyright, the same Java code is also protected by patents. Thus, Oracle has argued that Google’s actions constituted patent as well as copyright infringement.

A business can greatly benefit from utilizing these and other combinations of intellectual property to extend the protection of its goods and services and thus enhance its value.

Dr. Dariush Adli
PRESIDENT/FOUNDER
Adli Law Group P.C

Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Against Angelina Jolie to Be Represented by Adli Law Group, P.C.

15 November 2012
LOS ANGELES, CA–(Marketwire – Aug 13, 2012) – On July 10, 2012, the copyright infringement lawsuit filed by Author Josef P. Knezevic, professionally known as James J. Braddock, against Angelina Jolie, GK Films, FilmDistrict Distribution, Scout Films and Edin Sarkic, was transferred to U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles and the ADLI Law Group, P.C. was subsequently engaged to defend Braddock’s intellectual property rights. The case which was originally filed on December 2, 2011, alleges that the film “In the Land of Blood and Honey,” written, directed and co-produced by Jolie, infringes on Braddock’s book “The Soul Shattering.”

“We carefully compared the contents of the book to the movie and concluded that Mr. Braddock’s intellectual property rights have been violated,” says President of ADLI Law Group Dr. Dariush Adli. “The Soul Shattering” was first published in Croatia in 2007 and later republished in the U.S. in December 2011. Jolie’s film “In the Land of Blood and Honey” was released on December 23, 2011. “Braddock poured his life and experience into writing an original piece of work that accurately describes the atrocities of the Bosnian war. Only to have his intellectual property stolen and made into a film without his permission by an A-list actress,” says ADLI Law Group Partner Rasheed M. McWilliams. Jolie’s film tells the story of a romance between a Serbian soldier and a Bosnian woman held captive in a Serbian camp during the Bosnian war. Braddock alleges that Jolie copied the essential elements of his book, including the characters, plot lines and scenes, when she was doing research for her film in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Braddock also alleges that Jolie had access to his book through one of the film’s Co-Producers, Edin Sarkic, who met with Braddock in 2008 to discuss his book, including the plot, characters, cultural significance and historical accuracy.

“The angle that has been placed on this dispute is that this is common to Hollywood productions; however we will show through this lawsuit that Mr. Braddock’s allegations have merit,” says McWilliams.

Adli Law Group, P.C. litigation trial attorneys aggressively advocate for the interests of their clients and are at the forefront of intellectual property and commercial litigation.

For more information on ADLI Law Group, P.C., visit www.adlilaw.com.

Adli Law Group, P.C. Defends Max Sound in Trademark Infringement Lawsuit Filed by KOSS Corporation

15 November 2012
LOS ANGELES, CA–(Marketwire – Aug 28, 2012) – ADLI Law Group, P.C. is representing Max Sound Corporation in the trademark infringement suit filed by KOSS on August 23, 2012. Max Sound, a company that develops computer software applications for mobile phones, is being accused by KOSS of using the trademark “Hearing is Believing,” to promote its products. KOSS uses that mark in connection with its stereo-phones and other electronic equipment.

“The basis for a trademark infringement claim is whether or not consumers will be confused as to the source of the goods and services a company is offering,” says President of ADLI Law Group Dr. Dariush Adli, who specializes in litigation in the areas of patent, trademark and copyright. “For us it is clear; Max Sound’s trademark is for an application for mobile phones and software, whereas KOSS has uses the slogan in connection with stereo-phones.”

KOSS is arguing that the trademark Max Sound is using for promotional use is “identical in terms of appearance and sound.” The company believes that the products that both KOSS and Max Sound offer would often be sold together and purchased by the same consumers, causing consumers to believe that the products are from the same source.

Max Sound strongly denies these allegations and refers to precedent from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals which has clearly stated that the sophistication of consumers is an important factor in its likelihood of confusion analysis, besides (1) the similarity of the marks, (2) the similarities of the goods, and (3) the similarity of the trade channels of the goods.

“It’s unlikely that KOSS, which has been in this particular business for decades, will offer goods in Max Sound’s line of business. Consumers of these products will likely be computer savvy individuals, who are highly likely to be familiar with the products that KOSS offers for sale,” says Dr. Adli.

ADLI Law Group, P.C. litigation trial attorneys aggressively advocate for the interests of their clients and are at the forefront of intellectual property and commercial litigation. Currently, they are also representing Author Josip J. Knezevic, professionally known as James J. Braddock, in the copyright infringement case against Angelina Jolie and parties associated with her film “In The Land of Blood and Honey.”

For more information on ADLI Law Group, P.C., visit www.adlilaw.com.

When a Small Employer Gets Sued by a Former Worker

23 October 2012
bloom

bloom-300×200

bloom2

By Karen E. Klein on October 22, 2012

Jeff Herold got a “horrible feeling” in the pit of his stomach when he read an unexpected e-mail in mid-2009: “I am going to give you one opportunity to settle this case before we allow the lawyers to have their way. It will cost you an excessive dollar amount to defend this case.” The message came from a former sales manager of Herold’s Huntington Beach (Calif.) luggage and golf accessory business, West Coast Trends, who had been laid off along with about one-third of the staff a year earlier.

“For anybody who goes through the blood, sweat, and tears of starting a business, when someone comes along with an attorney whose No. 1 goal is to extract money, it produces stress and lack of sleep,” says Herold, whose 22-year-old company has 50 employees and more than $10 million in annual revenue.

In the past couple of years, as thousands of companies have gone through recession-induced layoffs, work-related legal claims have risen along with employment discrimination charges. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported that nearly 100,000 workplace discrimination complaints were filed in both fiscal year 2010 and 2011, record-high numbers. A Peer Monitor survey (pdf) of 135 of the nation’s largest law firms reported that labor and employment work jumped 4.7 percent in the second quarter 2012 over the same period in 2011.

A legal notice should not spark panic: There are steps business owners can take—beyond the obvious advice to call an attorney, says Dariush Adli, president of Los Angeles-based ADLI Law Group, which has many entrepreneurs and inventors as clients. “Getting a letter from the court can turn things upside down overnight” for a small business owner, he says. “The first instinct of many recipients of such letters is to do nothing. However, it is rarely the best option, as it usually makes the problem worse.” For one thing, just being named in a lawsuit does not mean your company will be ruined, or even taken to court. Your business may be named regarding a product or service it does not sell, or sells only minimally. “Investigators go around town and round up a bunch of defendants because the plaintiff wants to put in as many names as possible,” Adli says. Your business may be included if it is in a related industry or only tangentially involved. In that case, it usually takes just a declaration from your attorney to get your company dismissed from the suit.

Other times, basic research can help. For instance, an intellectual property suit may be based on a patent that has expired or is invalid. “Searching for resolution of the problem on the Internet is a good start to determine a course of action or direction to be taken,” says Rubin Ferziger, a New York business lawyer.

Another search should be for your business insurance policy, which may include a clause covering legal costs. “Call your insurance broker and quiz him,” says Matt Kinley, a partner in Southern California law firm Tredway Lumsdaine & Doyle. “Most general liability policies do not cover some special areas, like intellectual property cases or employment cases. [But] before you face an adverse legal issue, it is important to have a conversation about special riders to your policies that may be available for any risks that your business may face.” In Herold’s case, he did have employment liability insurance, which paid all but $10,000 of the eventual $80,000 it took to fight his former employee’s wrongful termination claim over two years. Examine your contracts with suppliers and manufacturers as well, particularly in a legal action that involves a product you have licensed or distributed. You may find an indemnification clause in that contract that says the manufacturer is liable for costs in a legal dispute over that product, Adli says.

Assess your options calmly and make a rough estimate of what the possible damages could be if your company is found to be at fault. Do not contact the person or company who is threatening legal action, either to try to settle the case or to give them a piece of your mind, Kinley says. If the person threatening litigation is an employee, do not speak to him about his claim. Do make sure that you preserve all records and other evidence that may relate to the litigation. “In some states, you face additional liability for destroying such evidence before a trial. Ask your computer professional to maintain all electronic records; you should start to isolate this information and have it ready to fight the legal inquiry,” Kinley says.

Every business should have anti-discrimination, anti-sexual harassment, and anti-retaliation policies in place and make sure that employees are educated about them. Jeff Nowak, partner and co-chairman of the labor and employment practice group at Franczek Radelet law firm in Chicago, writes in an e-mail: “Where a retaliation claim or lawsuit has been filed, it is critical that the employee not be treated as a traitor, as difficult as that may be. All good faith complaints must be taken seriously.”

The lawsuit against Herold was settled last spring for $12,500 and required letters of apology from the former employee and his attorney, stating that the lawsuit should not have been filed. It was a satisfying conclusion, and one that taught Herold several lessons: “Make sure all of your ducks are in a row with human resources. And, if you’re sure you have done no wrong and can prove it, let the opposition know they’re in for the fight of their lives. If you pay off quickly, you’ve now made it known that you’re a company that just pays.” Klein is a Los Angeles-based writer who covers entrepreneurship and small-business issues.

Clash of the Titans: The $1.05 Billion Verdict That Shook The World

02 September 2012
Rasheed McWilliams, Partner at ADLI Law Group P.C.

The Decision

On August 24, 2012, in one of the most closely followed patent infringement cases of the last decade, Apple Inc. was victorious in its patent infringement lawsuit against its chief competitor in the smartphone market, Samsung Electronics Co. The nine member jury awarded what will become, if it stands on appeal, the largest patent infringement verdict in history finding that Samsung infringed each of the asserted utility patents and three of the four asserted design patents. This verdict also has to potential to be enlarged because the jury also found that Samsung’s infringement was willful, which allows the Court to potentially triple the damages awarded.

Samsung has indicated that it will fight the jury verdict, which leaves it with two options at this point. Samsung will likely file for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV), which allows the Court to reverse or amend the jury’s verdict. Although often requested, JNOV motions are rarely granted by the courts because the jury is the bedrock of the American legal system. JNOV motions are only granted where the Court finds that no reasonable jury could have reached the given verdict based on the evidence presented in the case. If Samsung fails to overturn the verdict on its JNOV motion, it will have to file an appeal with the Federal Circuit, the federal appellate court that handles patent matters, or ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court. The complexity of the case, numerous objections made at trial, and the decision making process of the jury make this case ripe for appeal and potentially review by the Supreme Court.

The Coming Clash of the Titans

Although the case and trial was drawn out for a number of years, this case is just the first major battle in the war between Apple and Google for operating system supremacy. Apple founder Steve Jobs memorably stated that he would declare thermonuclear war on the competing Android operating system, created by Google, which he felt was a complete rip-off of Apple’s technology found in its iOS operating systems. To date, this war has consisted of Apple filing patent infringement lawsuits all over the world against Google’s partners who manufacture the actual hardware, such as Samsung and HTC. The previous skirmishes have seen mixed results for Apple, which include a win against HTC at the U.S. International Trade Commission and a loss against HTC in the UK.

With the return of a jury verdict in Apple’s favor in the Samsung case, it is likely that the next front in this war will be a direct attack on Google. Many have speculated that one of the main motivations behind Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility was its formidable war chest of defensive patents that could be asserted to counter any direct attack by Apple. Antitrust authorities will be paying close attention to Google’s use of the Motorola Mobility patents in countersuits because many are what is known as FRAND patents or patents covering technology essential to the smooth operation of an entire industry. FRAND is an acronym for “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory,” which is the way in which such industry essential patents must be licensed. Microsoft and Apple have already raised issues with the Federal Trade Commission regarding Motorola Mobility’s use of its FRAND patents.

The Impact

This decision has resulted in Samsung’s share price falling precipitously, however, there should not be too much business disruption created by the decision. The next fight Samsung faces is convincing the Court that Apple is not entitled to a preliminary injunction banning the sale of eight of its smartphones. If this injunction is granted, it will take some of Samsung’s popular models off of the market. It is likely that Samsung has been working on design around phones that should start appearing on the market in short order.

The other potential winner in this fight is Microsoft, who are the makers of the rival Windows Phone operating system. Historically, Microsoft has held very little market share with Windows Phone smartphones, however with the increased risk of using the Android operating system due to the Samsung verdict, it is likely that Microsoft’s share of the smartphone market will increase as more hardware manufacturers diversify their offerings. On a side note, Microsoft and Apple have a patent licensing deal granting Microsoft the license to use, but not to clone the technology claimed in the patents asserted in the Samsung case.

Conclusion

As the idiom goes, “Crime doesn’t pay.” Theft, whether of cash or intellectual property, does not pay in that it costs society and deprives the owner of what is rightfully their property. If you have been a victim of intellectual property theft give us a call and your company can be the star in its own clash of the titans.

http://www.ipfrontline.com/depts/article.aspx?id=27505&deptid=7

Clash of the Titans: The $1.05 Billion Verdict That Shook The World

The Price of Fame: Mariah Carey and Kanye West Face Copyright Infringement Lawsuits

27 August 2012
By Almuhtada Smith

San Francisco musician Preston Marshall’s copyright infringement lawsuit over the Mariah Carey song “My Love” will live to see another day. Mr. Marshall filed his infringement lawsuit in April 2010, naming John Huffman; Mariah Carey; Terius Youngdell Nash, also known as The-Dream; UMG Recording Inc.; musician Carlos McKinney; and Huffman’s company Real Content Group LLC as defendants. Mr. Marshall alleges that music executive John Huffman stole his song “Are You The One” and provided it to the musicians who then turned it into the 2009 hit record.

On August 20, 2012, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston refused to dismiss Mr. Marshall’s claims holding that Mr. Marshall had sufficiently pled his allegations of unauthorized distribution of his copyrighted work.

What is copyright infringement?

Generally, copyright infringement occurs when a copyrighted work is reproduced, distributed, performed, displayed, or made into a derivative work without the permission of the copyright owner.

In order to prove copyright infringement, a plaintiff must demonstrate that a defendant not only had access to the plaintiff’s song, but also that the two songs are substantially similar.

While Mr. Marshall’s suit lives on, songwriter Vincent Peters wasn’t as fortunate on the same day. On June 25, 2010 Vincent “Vince P.” Peters filed a lawsuit against Kanye West in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Mr. Peters’ copyright infringement suit alleged that Kanye West stole his 2007 hit “Stronger” after he sent a copy of his own song called “Stronger” to West’s business manager. On August 20, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that although Kanye West did have an opportunity to copy Peters’ song, Peters did not prove that the songs were substantially similar.

West cited the use of German philosopher Nietzsche’s maxim, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”, by other artists such as Kelly Clarkson in support of his contention that the language was so widely quoted it could not be copyright infringement.

Judge Diane Woods’ opinion states “Although the fact that both songs quote from a 19th century German philosopher might, at first blush, seem to be an unusual coincidence, West correctly notes that the aphorism has been repeatedly invoked in song lyrics over the past century” and “[n]otably, an even more recent popular song—one that held the top spot in the Billboard Hot 100 chart at about the same time as oral argument in this case—also shares this key feature with both West’s and Vince P’s songs.”

What does a music copyright owner stand to gain from a copyright infringement lawsuit?

The largest award in history for plagiarism in the music industry is 5.4 million dollars, awarded to the Isley Brothers. In 1991, Michael Bolton released a song under the name “Love is a Wonderful Thing”. However, the Isley Brothers’ song was released in 1966 under the exact same name. The Isley Brothers brought suit against Michael Bolton for allegedly plagiarizing parts from their original song “Love is a Wonderful Thing” and a jury awarded 5.4 million dollars in damages. The calculation was based on sixty-six percent of past and future royalties, and twenty-eight percent of past and future royalties of the Michael Bolton album ‘Time, Love and Tenderness’ as “Love is a Wonderful Thing” is a song from that album.

Marshall alleges that Carlos McKinney, The-Dream and Mariah Carey made “My Love” by lifting significant parts of his song “Are You the One”. The song has sold more than 100,000 downloads and is contained within The-Dream’s album ‘Love vs. Money’, which reached No. 2 on the Billboard charts, the suit said.

If successful, Marshall will be entitled to past and future royalties from the song “My Love” and past and future royalties from The-Dream’s album ‘Love vs. Money’.

About Almuhtada Smith

Mr. Smith is an attorney in downtown Los Angeles with ADLI Law Group P.C. His practice is focused on intellectual property and entertainment litigation and transactions. Prior to joining ADLI Law Group, Mr. Smith began his legal career at The Cochran Firm, founded over 40 years ago by famed attorney, Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr.

Contact: almuhtada.smith@adlilaw.com
Web: www.adlilaw.com

http://legal-articles.deysot.com/intellectual-property/the-price-of-fame-mariah-carey-and-kanye-west-face-copyright-infringement-lawsuits.html

http://www.ipfrontline.com/depts/article.aspx?id=27523&deptid=4