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Orange County Legal Blog

Isaac Newton's historic patent lawsuit

When most California business owners think of patent lawsuits they think of legal battles between Apple and Samsung, and they think of mom-and-pop inventors getting their ideas stolen by giant corporations. They don't usually think of Isaac Newton; however, Newton is famous for more than just discovering gravity. He also pursued a well-known patent lawsuit.

In the early 18th century, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz -- a German philosopher and mathematician -- was known to be the creator or calculus. He had been the first mathematician to publish academic papers about calculus in 1684 and another one in 1686. However, Isaac Newton published a book titled Opticks in 1704, in which he named himself to be the "father of calculus" and this spurred a debate.

Is your patent lawyer a jack-of-all-trades?

Practicing patent law, and being a patent attorney, involves wearing a lot of different hats. The average California patent lawyer carries out so many different functions that it would probably make your head spin. In this respect, one of the most important characteristics of any good patent lawyer involves being a generalist.

An Irvine patent lawyer needs to be a "jack-of-all-trades" when it comes to understanding different industries, including science, medical, engineering and other fields. That's because a patent could be related to a highly complicated scientific or technological invention. A patent, however, could just as easily relate to a very simple gadget that no one else has thought of before.

In-N-Out claims that Smashburger is infringing on its trademark

In-N-Out Burger says its rival is violating In-N-Out trademarks. The hamburger chain says that Smashburger -- based out of Denver -- has violated In-N-Out trademarks by using the name Triple-Double in reference to certain hamburgers sold by Smashburger.

According to Smashburger's online marketing, the Triple-Double burger offers triple the cheese and double the meat. However In-N-Out says that the name "Triple-Double" is too close to it's hamburger names of Double-Double, Triple-Triple and Quad-Quad. In-N-Out therefore says that Smashburger is violating its trademarks in an attempt to tap into its customer base.

What are the 3 main kinds of patents?

There are three primary types of patents that people and businesses might apply for: (1) utility patents, (2) design patents and (3) plant patents. This article will describe these three patents briefly so you can decide which kind of patent might be correct for your needs.

Utility patents: These are the most common variety of patents. They cover compositions of matter, processes, manufactured items and machines that are both useful and new in concept. Utility patents may also be awarded for improvements on existing designs that are new and useful.

4 inventors who did not protect their ideas

Society reveres creative individuals who bring new products and technologies into our lives. But inventors themselves often have a hard time profiting from their own ingenuity.

In some cases, inventors come up short because they lacked the necessary legal protections, or failed to assert them. Sometimes it was bad luck. In some instances, they were ripped off.

What damages can I claim in a copyright infringement suit?

Perhaps someone stole a piece of written work that you created. Perhaps someone stole a film, photograph or another work of art from you that you registered with the United States Copyright Office. Regardless how it happened, if you've been the target of copyright infringement, you may be able to pursue financial compensation in court for the harm that was done.

When pursuing a copyright infringement case, first you have to prove that you registered the work that was infringed with the United States Copyright Office. Next, you'll need to show that the infringement happened following the effective copyright registration date. Then, you'll have to show that the infringer is indeed financially liable. Finally, the court will need to determine the amount of financial damages the liable party should pay you.

Trademark wars: Can other cereals use Cheerios yellow?

We all know the characteristic color of yellow featured on Cheerios cereal boxes. General Mills, the owner of Cheerios, has been trying to trademark the yellow, saying that the shade is its intellectual property and that other cereals should not be able to use it. However, after two-years of legal advocacy, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board denied General Mills' trademark request.

As a result of the decision, other brands of "toroidal-shaped, oat-based breakfast cereal" -- to use the language from the trademark request -- will be permitted to use the same yellow color in their packaging. Had the ruling been different, General Mills would have received exclusive rights to use yellow cereal boxes for its oat cereal.

Need to register your trademark? These are the steps

Registering a trademark is an important step business owners can take to protect their sources of income from predatory competitors and would-be copycats who might try to steal their customers by copying elements of a brand. Following the registration of a trademark via the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), business owners benefit from a variety of protections -- most specifically brand and mark protection

Here's how to register a trademark:

  1. Decide whether registration is appropriate: By registering your brand, you can put an "®" symbol after your company's moniker. You can also license and sell your brand to others. Furthermore, no one will be permitted to use your brand without your express permission.
  2. Search to see if your trademark is available: It's vital to determine if someone else is already using your trademark. If it's not already registered, then you can move forward with your own registration of your mark.
  3. File a Federal Trademark Application: Follow the guidelines to file your trademark application. The application may be completed online; however, there are important guidelines -- in addition to fee requirements -- to which you must adhere.
  4. Wait. There will be a waiting period before a clerk assigns a number to your trademark case. If someone tries to state that you're infringing on their trademark in filing your application, you may require legal assistance.
  5. Maintain your registration: If you want to keep your trademark registration after approval, you'll need to follow several steps approximately once every 10 years to keep the registration.

The 4 types of patent infringement

California businesses spend millions of dollars completing the research and development required to create something new and obtain a patent on the intellectual property.

Once a company has incurred the risk of obtaining such a patent, and is now making money from it, to have the intellectual property stolen or infringed upon can represent serious financial losses.

Kim Kardashian's company sued over alleged patent violations

A company owned by Kim Kardashian, Kimsaprincess Inc., is facing a patent infringement lawsuit. According to the complaint, a man filed to patent an "integrated lighting accessory" to be incorporated with a mobile phone case. Later, the man licensed his light-up phone case invention to Snaplight.

The lawsuit alleges that the invention has suffered financially due to Kim Kardashian's promotion of the LuMee light-up phone case on her social media accounts. Also named in the lawsuit as a defendant is Urban Outfitters, which sells the LuMee. The lawsuit, filed by Snaplight, is asking for $100 million in compensation for patent infringement violations.

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