1. Alexa, Play Some Music

    Posted on 30.10.18 Frederick Spaeth, on News and Events, Recent News & Articles

    President Trump has now signed into law the much-anticipated Music Modernization Act (MMA). This law updates the terms and mechanism under which music publishers can distribute sound recordings and, by paying into a statutory licensing program, be shielded from lawsuits by songwriters, recording artists and record companies for infringing their copyrights.  Commercial music licensing is enormously complex, but to illustrate one reason why an update to current laws was needed, consider this excerpt from the House of Representatives Report for the House version of the bill (H.R. 5447):

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  2. Royal Trademark Battles over Beverages

    Posted on 18.09.18 Frederick Spaeth, on Articles, Recent News & Articles, Trademarks

    The story is about diet drinks named “zero”: SPRITE ZERO, the various flavors of COCA-COLA ZERO, FANTA ZERO, POWERADE ZERO, and VAULT ZERO. What these particular names share in common is that they are all products of The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC). Moreover, TCCC applied to register these ZERO-inclusive names, and others, in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) as trademarks, so that they could claim the right to exclusive use of these names and similar names for such products.

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  3. Asserting a Trade Secrets Case Under Seal

    Posted on 31.07.18 Frederick Spaeth, on Articles, News and Events

    Dur-A-Flex, Inc., based in East Hartford, is preparing for trial on a trade secret misappropriation case in May 2018, in Hartford Superior Court (HHD-CV14-6049281-S).  In January, Dur-A-Flex filed a Motion to Seal, asking the court to close the courtroom and seal the record to the named defendant for a key portion of the trial – the part where Dur-A-Flex discloses the trade secrets it accuses the defendant of having taken.

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  4. Local Company Brings National Distributor to Court On Trademark Infringement Claim

    Posted on 11.04.18 Frederick Spaeth, on Articles, Trademarks

    The U.S. District Court of Connecticut has ruled that a small Connecticut manufacturing company can sue an Indiana- based national manufacturer and wholesaler for trademark infringement in Connecticut, based on the defendant’s modest sales to distributors in Connecticut.  This illustrates how Connecticut courts provide an important forum for Connecticut business to protect their brands against out-of-state competitors that sell into Connecticut.

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  5. High Court’s SLANT Play Hands REDSKINS and Other Offensive Marks a Victory

    Posted on 26.06.17 Frederick Spaeth, on Articles, News and Events, Trademarks

    Washington Redskins fans have been doing touchdown dances for Tam, because while Tam was pursuing his cause, the Redskins team was trying to move the ball forward on their own appeal from the cancellation of a number of the teams REDSKINS registrations based on the same disparagement clause, on the basis that the mark is disparaging toward Native Americans.

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  6. New USPTO Policy To Clear Dead Wood from the U.S. Trademark Register

    Posted on 14.02.17 Frederick Spaeth, on Articles, News and Events, Trademarks

    The USPTO has expanded its practice of testing the veracity of post-registration Declarations of Use under a program intended to improve accuracy and integrity of the trademark register, under a new rule which goes into effect Feb. 17, 2017. The rule formalizes a small-scale trial program in effect since 2012.

    Under the new rule, the USPTO may respond to the filing of a Declaration of Use by requiring additional proof of use of the mark in connection with the goods/services identified in the registration. The additional proof may be provided in the form of information, exhibits, affidavits or declarations, and specimens of use. A registrant who cannot produce the additional proof of use for particular goods/services, or an acceptable claim of excusable nonuse, will be advised to cancel those goods/services from the registration as well as any others no longer being offered under the mark.

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  7. Judiciary Split on Interpretation of “Authorization” in Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

    Posted on 07.09.16 Frederick Spaeth, on Recent News & Articles

    A split of opinions on the scope of authorization for accessing a computer that is needed to avoid violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA” or “Act”), 18 U.S.C. § 1030 was examined in Phillips Medical v. GIS (U.S. Dist. Of Puerto Rico) Aug. 2016, in which Magistrate Judge Bruce McGiverin adopted an inclusive view of the entities whose authorization is needed under 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(2).

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  8. New Federal Remedies for Theft of Trade Secrets Comparable to Connecticut UTSA – Part I

    Posted on 07.07.16 Frederick Spaeth, on Articles, News and Events, Recent News & Articles

    This year Congress gave business owners a new tool to combat theft of their trade secrets: the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016, Public Law No: 114-153 (18 U.S.C. 1836(b)) (“DTSA”). Even prior to DTSA, theft of trade secrets was a federal offense under 18 U.S.C.1832 (“Theft of Trade Secrets”)(“ToTS”), exposing offenders to penalties up to $5 million. However, only the U.S. Attorney General was authorized to take action against wrongdoers under this statute, so victims of trade secret theft hoping for compensation or enforcement when the AG would not act had to rely on state law. DTSA now gives victims of trade secret misappropriation a right of private action, with a remedy not available under state l

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  9. Data Protection at the Heart of New Connecticut Law

    Posted on 25.09.15 Frederick Spaeth, on Articles, News and Events

    This summer, Governor Malloy enhanced data protection for Connecticut residents by signing into law AN ACT IMPROVING DATA SECURITY AND AGENCY EFFECTIVENESS, Public Act No. 15-142, which addresses data security on a variety of fronts.

    Existing laws generally require that anyone who conducts business in the state and who stores personal information must disclose a security breach without unreasonable delay to affected state residents and to the Attorney General. Failing to do so constitutes an unfair trade practice under CUTPA (the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act). (CGS 36a-701b). Public Act No. 15-142 clarifies that the notice of a breach must be given within 90 days after the breach is discovered, and that identity theft protection and, if applicable, identity theft mitigation services, must be offered to victims.

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  10. Kimble v. Marvel Entertainment: Patent Licensors, Beware Getting Caught In Brulotte’s Web

    Posted on 09.07.15 Frederick Spaeth, on Articles, Patent Related Court Rulings

    On June 22, 2015 in Kimble v. Marvel Entertainment, 576 U.S. ___ (2015), the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a rule it established in 1964 in Brulotte v. Thys Co., 379 U.S. 29, which said that a patent holder cannot charge royalties for the use of a patented invention after the patent has expired. As a result of this ruling, Marvel does not owe royalties to Stephen Kimble based on sales of Spider Man “Web Blaster” accessory toys that fell under Kimble’s expired patent. (The Web Blaster lets would-be spidermen shoot foam web strands from their wrists, just like Peter Parker. Shazam!)

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