Category Archives: Business Entities

GOOGLE and Genericide

It was bound to happen that someone would take a swipe at Google, claiming that the registered trademark should be cancelled because people use the word as a verb in a “generic” and “indiscriminate” way, which constitutes “genericide.”  The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the effort. Here is a synopsis of the Ninth Circuit’s reasoning, as posted by Justia:

“U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Opinions
Elliott v. Google, Inc.
Docket: 15-15809
Opinion Date: May 16, 2017
Judge: Richard C. Tallman
Areas of Law: Intellectual Property, Internet Law, Trademark
A claim of genericness or “genericide,” where the public appropriates a trademark and uses it as a generic name for particular types of goods or services irrespective of its source, must be made with regard to a particular type of good or service. Plaintiffs petitioned for cancellation of the GOOGLE trademark under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1064(3), based on the ground that it is generic. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the grant of summary judgment in favor of Google, Inc., holding that plaintiffs failed to recognize that a claim of genericide must always relate to a particular type of good or service, and that plaintiffs erroneously assumed that verb use automatically constitutes generic use; the district court correctly framed its inquiry as whether the primary significance of the word “google” to the relevant public was as a generic name for internet search engines or as a mark identifying the Google search engine in particular; the assumption that a majority of the public uses the verb “google” in a generic and indiscriminate sense, on its own, could not support a jury finding of genericide under the primary significance test; and plaintiffs have failed to present sufficient evidence in this case to support a jury finding that the relevant public primarily understands the word “google” as a generic name for internet search engines and not as a mark identifying the Google search engine in particular.

You can read the entire opinion here: http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/…/opini…/2017/05/16/15-15809.pdf.

Eric Goldman’s analysis can be found here: http://blog.ericgoldman.org/…/google-gets-big-ninth-circuit…

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HIRING: IP & ENTERTAINMENT ATTORNEY

Our Santa Barbara firm is growing, and we are looking to immediately hire a full-time, career oriented attorney with 3 – 14 years’ experience to join the team. We have an eclectic practice, the foci of which are entertainment (filmed entertainment, music, publishing, and licensing), non-patent intellectual property (trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets), Internet, business, and litigation in state and federal courts. We work with entrepreneurs, start-ups, and maturing companies, serving as outside general counsel, and represent a wide variety of businesses, including multi-media companies, music publishing companies, film and music producers, artists, photographers, songwriters, and others. We are looking for someone wanting a high quality, high energy, low key environment, who values relationships, innovation, and technology; is resourceful; and operates (or is willing to operate) on the principle that “THERE IS NO BOX.” Law review, great writing skills, and/or equivalent problem-solving and collaboration skills are highly valued here. We are willing and able to mentor the right person in any areas that may be needed. A book of business (small, medium, or large) is welcomed, although not necessary. This position is open now. Please let us know if you are the right person or know someone who is.  You may send resumes and writing samples to miblawgrp@gmail.com.  Please view our website at mbergerlaw.com and our LinkedIn profile at https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthewberger/ for more information about who we are and what we do.

Salons & Barber Shops Serving Beer & Wine in California (2017)

As of January 1, 2017, California beauty salons and barber shops in good standing with the State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology are permitted to serve their customers no more than 12 ounces of beer or 6 ounces of wine by the glass for no charge, providing that it is consistent with local zoning.  Of course, that permission does not extend to selling wine or beer, unless the salon or barber shop holds an appropriate beer or wine license issued by the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC).

As you might have guessed, barber shops and salons are treated as consumers, and can only purchase beer and wine from persons or companies that are legally licensed to sell to consumers, like licensed retailers and other licensees with retail privileges, such as licensed wineries and breweries.

The licensing process in California is challenging, especially to even understand what type of license or licenses are required.  Please make certain the you obtain qualified and knowledgeable assistance to ensure compliance with applicable rules and law.  One thing is likely: people probably won’t seem to mind the wait next time they visit their salon or barber shop.

Requirement for Designating Agent for Copyright Takedown Notices Under the DMCA

For those who allow users to generate content on your website, please note the following about the Copyright Office requirement for designating a person to receive take-down notices under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act:
Electronic System for Designating Agents under DMCA Launched December 1, 2016
The U.S. Copyright Office launched its new electronic system to designate and search for agents to receive notifications of claimed infringement under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The final rule implementing the new system and governing what is required of service providers to designate an agent also comes into effect on December 1st.
As of December 1, all new designations must now be made through the online registration system. Additionally, any service provider that has previously designated an agent with the Office through the old paper-based system will have until December 31, 2017, to submit a new designation electronically through the new system. Until that time, an accurate designation in the old paper-generated directory will continue to satisfy the service provider’s obligations under section 512(c)(2), and the public will need to continue to search the paper-generated directory if the service provider is not yet listed in the new electronically generated directory.

Fashion and Copyright: Will the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Address the Dress?

Here is a link to the Copyright Blog about the intersection of fashion designs, copyright, protection of useful articles, design patents for the ornamental design of a functional item, and the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS): http://copyrightlitigation.blogspot.com/.  Enjoy.

The Application of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s “Suffer or Permit” Standard in the Identification of Employees Who Are Misclassified as Independent Contractors

For guidance on classifying employees and independent contractors, please check out the U.S. Department of Labor’s Administrative Interpretation Number 2015-1: SUBJECT: The Application of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s “Suffer or Permit” Standard in the Identification of Employees Who Are Misclassified as Independent Contractors, found at http://www.dol.gov/…/workers/Misclassification/AI-2015_1.pdf.

“Documenting The Deal: How Quality Control and Candor Can Improve Boardroom Decision-Making and Reduce The Litigation Target Zone”

Here is a link to an excellent paper that all corporate lawyers (and board members) should download, read, and absorb, by the Honorable Leo E. Strine, Jr., Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2514520.