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Kern County California Intellectual Property Law Blog

Make sure your company's online persona is legal

Licensing agreements play an important role in business. We recently discussed some of the finer points associated with using stock images for your company. You have to ensure that you are always in compliance with the laws and terms of using these images, but your duty doesn't stop with only stock images.

Your business' online presence is likely a big part of your company's brand. Whether you have a simple website, an intricate one or a blog, you need to make sure that you have permission from the appropriate places and people for everything you have on the website.

How to use a stock image legally

If you're building content on a website, you will find numerous images online -- images that might be perfect for your site. However, if the images are not royalty-free, you'll probably need to pay to use them -- if you can even use them at all.

Here are a few classifications of pictures you'll find online, which you should learn about:

Why don't people think of stealing digital content as theft?

People often don't think of stealing digital content and intellectual property as theft. For example, stealing a Blu-Ray disc from a retail store is something everyone knows is wrong. Many people would tell you they'd never do it under any circumstances.

Going online and downloading the same movie, though, strikes them as a gray area. They may admit that it's not the best idea, but they'll do it. They'll also stream those movies illegally.

Halloween, bananas and copyright infringement

Companies who do the work to come up with designs expect that they will be able to be the one to profit off of the design. The Halloween holiday is one that is a major boost for retailers and suppliers. This year, it is expected that Americans will spend upwards of $3.4 billion on costumes for Halloween.

A recent lawsuit by one company, Rasta Imposta, claims that big box retailer Kmart and its parent company Sears Holdings Corp. infringed upon a copyright. The Totally Ghoul banana costume for men is the item in question.

Know your options when trade secrets are leaked

We recently discussed the need for you to keep your company's trade secrets protected. When you find out that your trade secrets have been leaked, you might need to take legal action to recover the losses that you suffer because of this.

There are many actions that you can take when your trade secrets aren't kept a secret. One of these is that you can file a lawsuit. You would need to determine the monetary amount of damages that your company suffered if you plan to file this type of claim. We can review your situation and help you determine these options. From there, you can decide what you are going to do. We can get your case moving in the direction you choose.

Make sure you keep trade secrets protected

The trade secrets of your company are the backbone of the business. Keeping these secrets protected is something that is necessary unless you want to support your competitors.

The first thing that you need to do is to identify exactly what is included in the trade secrets category. As you go through information, remember that your trade secrets are things that can't be public knowledge. Instead, these are bits of information that must be kept confidential. Think of the seasonings recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken. This would be considered a trade secret.

Don't let anyone get away with stealing intellectual property

Your intellectual property is likely a key to your livelihood. Have you ever thought about what you would do if someone infringed on your rights to the property? One of the options that you have if this does occur is to take legal action. While this might be a tough battle, we are here to represent your interests.

There isn't any good reason why you should ever let someone get away with copyright or trademark infringement or any other form of theft of your intellectual property. These are very serious matters that we can help you address.

What is the federal trademark dilution act?

Trademarks, once issued, must be protected. Even if a trademark is copied in an illegal manner, it can lead to long-lasting damage to the strength of the brand. This is exactly why the Federal Trademark Dilution Act (FTDA) has been put in place. It was established in the effort to protect famous brands from the "piggybacking" off third parties when they try to illegally use their trademark.

This act was welcomed by many and largely seen as overdue. However, it is not perfect. It has been criticized largely because it requires that the person taking action must prove that the third party not only used their trademark illegally, but also that through this act, they also caused dilution. This can be very difficult to prove, and dilution can come in the form of damage that can't be measured.

Copyright protection should be done early to avoid problems

Your creative works are the fruits of your mental labor. In some cases, they also involve physical sacrifices. It is imperative that you take steps to protect these so that nobody else can come behind you and take credit for your hard work.

We recently discussed copyrights and how these can help to protect blogs, music, movies, photos and other similar items. This is important because you don't want others to capitalize off of your hard work.

Understand copyrights and licenses for your creative works

Your intellectual property isn't something that you will want to give away for free in most cases. You probably don't want other people to be able to capitalize off of your hard work. This is where a copyright comes into the picture.

Any intellectual property you create, including novels, performances, music and other tangible works, can be covered under a copyright. This copyright marks the property as yours and gives you specific rights to decide how you want to distribute the works.

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