DuetsBlog Collaborations in Creativity & the Law

Brad Walz

View my professional biography

 My law career started on the ice…as a defensive hockey player (we’re not talking professionally…and if I were, I probably wouldn’t have gotten into law). I always knew I’d perpetually be in some sort of faceoff—only I didn’t know it would be in the courtroom. A fierce, natural-born competitor, I am always looking for the advantage...and how I can exploit it. Known as the “Bulldog” around the office, I’m all about holding people accountable for their actions. Just as if we were on the ice, it ain’t over until my team wins. When I’m not metaphorically equating my law practice to hockey (though I can’t stop altogether, I AM captain of the firm’s pond hockey team), I’m advising clients on a broad range of complex and strategic legal and business matters regarding trademarks, copyrights, and domain names. Other than law and hockey (and really, who can separate the two?), I enjoy playing golf and analyzing the stock market.

Posts by Brad Walz

The Office Action Response

Posted in Almost Advice

For the most part, the law regarding the examination of trademark applications is slanted in favor of the examining attorney. However, examining attorneys have evidentiary burdens to meet. Analyzing the evidence offered by the examining attorney is as important as arguing the interpretation of the law. Additionally, understanding the evidentiary rules can make the difference in… Continue Reading

Spring Cleaning in the Winter?

Posted in Almost Advice

Winter is as good a time as any other for some spring cleaning when it comes to data privacy. In this case, the task is dusting off the privacy policies that you probably had drafted a while ago and probably have not looked at since to make sure they are up to date with any changes in the… Continue Reading

Reeejected!

Posted in Almost Advice, Trademark Bullying, TTAB

Think an undefended opposition proceeding is a slam dunk, then you better think again.  In Emminence, LLC v. Lisa Kelly, Opposition No. 91205286 (October 8, 2014), the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board dismissed an opposition proceeding even though the defendant did not offer any evidence or even a trial brief in support of her case…. Continue Reading

To speak or not to speak about a data breach

Posted in Almost Advice

I recently posted about some companies making the decision to not announce when a data security breach has occurred, or at least they would think twice before announcing. According to a couple crisis communication experts, that delay in announcing could harm the business in more ways than just increasing the chance of legal liability. In connection… Continue Reading

Data Breach Notification, Helpful or Harmful?

Posted in Almost Advice

Some IT professionals are debating whether they would issue a data breach notification in the event of a hack. Their rationale is that such a notification makes them a target for other hackers and that most of the incidents that trigger the required notification don’t rise to the level where notificaiton is necessary. Those companies that… Continue Reading

Now you see me, now you don’t

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts

The European Union recently decided that people have a right to be forgotten. The “right to be forgotten” provides Internet users in Europe the advantage to demand the erasure, removal or deletion of sensitive personal information in Google’s online search queries. Is this protection of a person’s privacy or online censorship? Since the ruling, Google… Continue Reading

Has Jurisdiction Been Taken for Granted

Posted in Almost Advice

Will the US Supreme Court’s decision in Daimler A.G. v. Bauman affect where a plaintiff can sue a defendant for trademark infringement? In general, plaintiff’s prefer to sue defendants in their backyard. Specific jurisdiction could be based on a defendant’s “minimum contacts” with a state so long as the claim asserted relates to those activities… Continue Reading

U.S. Government Issues Cybersecurity Standards

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts

The U.S. government released a final version of standards intended to help companies better defend against cyber attacks. The question remains whether the private sector will voluntarily adopt these measures. The standards include broad benchmarks for companies to measure the effectiveness of their cyber defenses. While knowledge of what to shoot for is good, some… Continue Reading

Restarting the Federal Data Privacy Law Engine

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts

The recent data security breaches at Target, Neiman Marcus, and a few other retailers has been a catalyst to Congress restarting talks about a federal data privacy law. Currently, there are pending bills in both the House and Senate. On the civil side, the bills set minimum standards for data security and obligations for reporting data security breaches. … Continue Reading

Updated Data-Security Standards for Credit-Card Transactions

Posted in Almost Advice

New security standards are scheduled to be released by the PCI Security Standards Council on November 7th. The updated standards are expected to require companies to protect credit-card terminals from physical tampering and compile an inventory of system components (e.g., servers) that comply with the standards. Companies will also be required to evaluate evolving malware… Continue Reading

Will the D.C. Circuit Deliver the Final Blow to Net Neutrality

Posted in Almost Advice

In 2008, the FCC determined that Comcast wrongfully slowed down the BitTorrent website to keep other Web traffic flowing. In 2010, the D.C. Circuit ruled in Comcast’s favor and held that the FCC cannot regulate how networks function. Nevertheless, the FCC issued new net-neutrality regulations later that year. Verizon challenged the FCC’s 2010 net-neutrality regulations…. Continue Reading

Is it time to add cyber security insurance?

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts

A recent study found that 31% of companies have cybersecurity insurance policies, while 39% planned to purchase a policy in the future. Ponemon Institute, a data privacy and cybersecurity research firm, found that 70% of companies that have experienced a data breach said that experience increased their interest in cyber insurance. However, some companies are… Continue Reading

Privacy and Mobile Applications

Posted in Almost Advice

If you develop or have a mobile application and think the limited space of mobile devices gives you a pass on privacy disclosures, think again. The Federal Trade Commission – the nation’s Chief Privacy Agency – believes it is incumbent upon you to also be transparent with your app’s data collection. The FTC’s concern stems… Continue Reading

Privacy Compliance = Transparency

Posted in Almost Advice

Do you think that asking for a person’s zip code could ever result in a privacy violation? If your answer is no and you are collecting information from a resident of the District of Columbia, think again. A lawsuit was recently filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia accusing of… Continue Reading

The World Through the Eyes of the Trademark Office

Posted in Almost Advice

Recently, the Eighth Circuit reaffirmed that a District Court is not bound by the decisions made by the Trademark Office. This holding has often lead to comments about the wisdom of addressing trademark disputes at the Trademark Office in the first instance. However, not all decisions from the Trademark Office are appealed to a District… Continue Reading

Budgeting for Litigation

Posted in Almost Advice

Now, more than ever, businesses are confined by their budgets. Long gone are the days of the blank check for many business expenses, and that includes litigation. If businesses need to live by budgets, so to should the law firms live by the budgets they set for, among other things, litigation. It is true that… Continue Reading

You Owe Me One Hundred Million Dollars

Posted in Almost Advice

The threat of monetary damages in trademark infringement cases is something that is often asserted, but not necessarily a well understood concept. Some trademark owners mistake their federal trademark registration as a lottery ticket. Generally, this is not the case. The primary goals of the Lanham Act are to achieve equity between the parties, and… Continue Reading

The Data Breach Lawsuit Powder Keg

Posted in Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Technology

Most data breaches occur because companies fail to implement adequate safeguards to protect personal identifiable information, and data breaches are growing in scope and sophistication. A study by NetDiligence concluded that the average cost per breach is $3.7 million, which includes the litigation defense cost. However, not all data breaches result in identify theft, and… Continue Reading

Blinded by the Light: Privacy in 2013

Posted in Almost Advice

More and more companies are experiencing the affects of a data security incident. Whether that incident involves an unauthorized disclosure of personal identifiable information or merely the collection of information, consumers increasingly are demanding to know what information companies are collecting and how the information is being used. If there was a single term to sum… Continue Reading

FTC’s New Rules for Advertising Mobile Apps

Posted in Advertising, Agreements, Almost Advice, Contracts, False Advertising, International, Technology

The Federal Trade Commission has published guidelines for advertising mobile applications. In general, the guidelines incorporate the FTC’s policies on truthful advertising and data privacy. On the advertising side, if you make objective claims about your app, then you will need proof to support your claims. The proof necessary to support objective clams is competent… Continue Reading

Charge it!

Posted in Almost Advice

Retailers, vending machines, food trucks, parking garages, and taxi’s have one thing in common, they all accept credit cards. Credit cards are a great convenience for consumers, but can be a headache for small businesses. Type in “credit card processing” and you will get a number of results for companies that offer to process your credit… Continue Reading

The Uneven Split

Posted in Almost Advice

Believe it or not, such a phenomenon exists and can be a trap for the unwary. Collaboration is what brings about the best ideas. But who owns those ideas and how does a person gracefully discuss the ownership topic with their collaborator? The answer, very carefully and, hopefully, in the beginning of the relationship. Under… Continue Reading