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

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

The Necessary Terms for Co-Existence Agreements

Posted in Almost Advice

Parties to a trademark dispute commonly resolve their issues through a co-existence agreement. A co-existence agreement sets up the fence posts around what the parties can do with their respective marks. A trap for the unwary when drafting a co-existence agreement is being lulled into a sense partnership because a co-existence agreement has the feeling that… Continue Reading

To Agree or Not to Agree that is the Question

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts

Masters Services Agreements contain many traps for the unwary.  A common trap is the provision for attorneys’ fees.  At first blush, a fee shifing provision is enticing.  No one wants to have to pay for attorneys’ fees if a breach of a MSA occurs.  This provision is usually lumped into most of the boiler plate… Continue Reading

Intellectual Property Ownership for the Marketing Firm

Posted in Marketing

The phrase “from scratch” has a different meaning depending upon who is saying it.  When a client hears a marketing firm use these words, they are probably equating “from scratch” with “expensive.”  The reality is that the creative process is fluid and generally existing material or tools are used to create something new or unique… Continue Reading

Indemnification for the Marketing Firm

Posted in Marketing

Having worked with a number of marketing firms to negotiate a Master Services Agreement, indemnification is always a discussion point.  Especially when dealing with big companies, the customer will want the marketing firm to indemnify it for all intellectual property claims that may arise out of the work product delivered pursuant to the agreement.  Depending… Continue Reading

Nine Steps to Integrating the Cloud into Your Business

Posted in Technology

Last December, I was interviewed by Finance and Commerce magazine for an article titled “Tech Toolkit:  IT planning for the year ahead.”  Part of the article included cloud computing and what companies can do to include the cloud in their businesses.  Early the same month, I posted on the technology trends for 2012, and the… Continue Reading

Is the OPEN Act the Answer to Online Piracy?

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts

The Stop Online Piracy Act (“SOPA”) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (“PIPA”) have been put on hold.  But the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (“OPEN Act”) is moving its way through the U.S. House of Representatives.  The OPEN Act would allow copyright holders to file complaints about copyright infringement on foreign websites… Continue Reading

Europe Ups the Ante on Data Privacy

Posted in Technology

Last Wednesday, the European Commission unveiled the changes to its data privacy laws. If the changes are adopted, companies will deal with a single, national data-protection authority in the EU country in which they have their main base. Individuals can tender complaints to the data-protection authority in their own country even when their data is… Continue Reading

Enterprise Social Media the Next Frontier

Posted in Almost Advice

Is your company thinking of adopting a social media platform to replace its current website?  If it is, then your company is part of the majority of companies that have either implemented a social media platform, is planning to implement a social media platform, or will implement a social media platform but has no current… Continue Reading