DuetsBlog Collaborations in Creativity & the Law

Brent Lorentz

View my professional biography

Sitting here, composing a profile for a blog on creativity and the law, I can’t help but recognize the irony of my overwhelming writer’s block. But, here we go…Although I wish I could say my path to the law was the result of a lifelong dream or calling, it was more the result mere curiosity and an affinity for leather-bound books. My gravitation towards intellectual property law, specifically, was probably less accidental, given the immeasurable impact of being a college student during the Napster® era. I’m the product of a modest, small-town Minnesota upbringing combined with some polish from a diverse educational background. I received my engineering degree from the University of North Dakota and then, on a whim, moved to North Carolina to attend law school at Duke University. The drastic temperature swing was certainly not the only difference between the two locales, and come to think about it, the only real similarity is probably the word “North.”

An engineer by training, I appreciate both quantitative and qualitative valuation. These two concepts collide head-on in IP law, creating what is, in my humble opinion, the most entertaining and exciting area of law. As we move towards an information-based economy, the laws which govern the incentivization, protection and distribution of information will only become more important.  I see IP law as the front line.

When I’m not focusing on the law, I can typically be found (WARNING: stereotype coming) on the golf course. I also enjoy skiing (downhill and water). Unfortunately, as is the case with most hobbies, my skill level has not yet caught up to my enthusiasm. Perhaps when I retire...

Posts by Brent Lorentz

Pay Attention! Symbols Matter!

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts

A couple different events occurred this past week which ought to serve as reminders of the importance of symbols and the need to protect brand perception when dealing with symbols. First, the State of South Carolina underwent a tremendous rebranding recently when South Carolina’s government eventually (and, in my view, somewhat surprisingly) agreed to remove the Confederate battle flag from… Continue Reading

Protect and Serve Your Image

Posted in Advertising, Branding

The few of you that read my posts probably know that I often use this as an opportunity to meander into observations that I find interesting from a branding perspective.  After all, as a litigator, I spend the vast majority of my day composing correspondence and briefs that dive into the finer points of law.  So when I get the… Continue Reading

Is the Skype Falling?

Posted in International, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

  An interesting battle ground may be brewing in light of the United States Supreme Court’s recent ruling in the B&B Hardware case which Duetsblog authors have previously commented on extensively.  Now that the Court has essentially expanded the scope of collateral estoppel applicable to trademark registration decisions made by the United States Patent and… Continue Reading

Slanted Perspective?

Posted in First Amendment

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when I refer you to “the Slants?”  Is it a non-perpendicular or horizontal line?  Is it the news coverage of MSNBC or Fox News?  Is it a derogatory term for Asians?  Or, perhaps its “the first all-Asian American dance rock band in the world” whose efforts to… Continue Reading

The Lazarus Award

Posted in Branding

It’s the end of March which can mean only one thing:  March Madness!  For many sports fans, this is easily the “most wonderful time of the year” –Christmas, Halloween, New Year’s, Thanksgiving, Fourth of July–all rolled into one.  There’s drama that doesn’t involve an intoxicated relative, excitement superior to detonating small, legal explosives, and gratefulness… Continue Reading

Don’t Forget About Domain Names

Posted in Domain Names, Law Suits

One aspect of intellectual property law that doesn’t get as much attention as it maybe should is domain names.  For those of you internet-savvy readers out there (who I assume is most of you), you already know that domain names provide the virtual address where customers and others can hopefully find your goods and services. … Continue Reading

Brave New World

Posted in Advertising, Famous Marks

Tiffany & Co. made some waves over the past several weeks when it featured a same sex couple in its “Will You?” engagement campaign.  Tiffany is the first “famous” brands to take this path, and they are undoubtedly hoping this campaign will pay high dividends after disappointing holiday sales. Personally, I applaud Tiffany for taking… Continue Reading

Did Sony Let the Terrorists Win?

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts

Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, you’ve probably heard about the hoopla caused by the new Seth Rogen and James Franco movie called the interview.  The movie follows a plot to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.  According to recent reports, North Korea was behind a cyberattack against Sony which included theft of… Continue Reading

Rockin’ Around The ©hristmas Tree

Posted in Copyrights

This past weekend, my wife and I were fortunate enough to take in the sights and sounds of NYC.  Included on our stops was the world famous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.  The tree was lit on December 3.  Despite the cold, the rain, the wind, and the protests over the recent Eric Garner case, we… Continue Reading

It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Posted in Branding

Unless you’ve been living under rock this past week, you’ve likely heard the story of new viral sensation “Alex from Target.”  Apparently, some teenage girl took a picture of him bagging items at Target, tweeted it, and watched the entire world fall head over heels for no apparent reason.  According to TMZ (which is actually… Continue Reading

Switcheroo

Posted in Branding

  Long suffering Vikings fans–a population of which I am a proud/depressed member–received emotionally confusing news earlier this week.  Adrian Peterson, scourge of the NFL, pled out of his felony child abuse case for a lesser charge, thereby concluding his case and avoiding jail time.  This news was emotionally confusing because, while Peterson is a… Continue Reading

Executing Noriega?

Posted in Law Suits

As some of you may recall, I posted about a lawsuit Manuel Noriega brought against purveyors of the Call of Duty video game franchise arising from his depiction in the game.  In essence, I suggested that Noriega’s lawsuit was unlikely to succeed because his fame and notoriety that he accused the game of misappropriating arose… Continue Reading

Don’t Litter, Eh?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Fair Use, Famous Marks, Trademarks

The Toronto Globe and Mail recently reported on a clever anti-littering campaign that was launched and quickly aborted in Toronto due to trademark concerns.  The premise for the campaign was to take wrappers and packaging from some well-known brands and position it to create words describing litterers–words like dipstick, dumb, lazy, lowlife, pig, etc.  While… Continue Reading

Judge Posner, I Presume

Posted in Law Suits

Over the past several months, Judge Posner and the Seventh Circuit has handed a couple of rare, but well-deserved wins to the public domain.  On June 16, 2014, the Court issued an opinion holding that the primary characters of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories–the first of which was published in 1887–had fallen out… Continue Reading

Flash in the Panama

Posted in Law Suits

Many of you may have heard recently that (in)famous dictator and all-around terrible (misunderstood?) person Manuel Noriega has sued Activision.  According to the LA Times: In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Noriega alleges that “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” portrays him as “a kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state.”… Continue Reading

Alice In Wonderland

Posted in Patents

For those of you interested in the patent component of “the useful Arts,” the Supreme Court recently issued its decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l.  The decision was much anticipated because of the impact it was expected to have on so-called “business method” patents.  Business method patents have, since their inception, walked a fine… Continue Reading

Can We Sue The Dew?

Posted in Advertising, False Advertising, Marketing, SoapBox

Be forewarned.  What you are about to read could very easily be characterized as a rant. Earlier this week, I was driving home from work when I heard a radio commercial for Mountain Dew Kickstart.  Similar to the above visual advertisement, the radio spot touted the perfect combination of “dew, juice, and electrolytes.”  And, with a substantially… Continue Reading

Sterling, Silver

Posted in Branding, First Amendment, Marketing

Unless you’ve been living under a rock this past week, you likely heard the story of Donald Sterling–vile racist billionaire NBA franchise owner–versus Adam Silver–white knight commish of the NBA working to free the world from the clutches of tyranny and racial oppression.  As usual, the full story is somewhat more complicated.  Sterling was a known quantity in… Continue Reading

Induction Ceremony

Posted in Patents

On April 30, 2014, the Supreme Court will be hearing oral argument in the case of Limelight Networks, Inc. v. Akamai Technologies.  The question presented and to be decided is incredibly significant for future patent infringement cases: Whether the Federal Circuit erred in holding that a defendant may be held liable for inducing patent infringement… Continue Reading

Dick’s Matters

Posted in Advertising

Every now and then I see an advertising campaign that really takes me by surprise and compels me to gush over it publicly.  While I suppose there is no particular recipe for the campaigns that really draw me in, I have noticed a strong emotional component and a conscious effort to sell the company, rather than the… Continue Reading

Err Jordan?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Law Suits

As some of you may know, I commonly write posts on “personal branding” involving sports figures and other celebrities.  (See here, here, here, here, and here).  Well, last week, a Seventh Circuit decision came down involving perhaps the most significant personal brand owner of all–Michael Jordan.  The Court’s summary was as follows: This trademark and right of publicity dispute… Continue Reading

Raspberry Berate

Posted in Infringement, Law Suits

About two weeks ago, the artist (known as, then formerly known as, and now again known as) Prince filed a copyright infringement suit against 22 “accused bootleggers” (most likely fans) that had been posting links to unauthorized concert recordings.  (See story here.)  Apparently, due to the backlash from fans and, more importantly, due to the fact that… Continue Reading

Gold Digger

Posted in Branding, Infringement, Law Suits, Technology

Since I’m a massive contemporary hip-hop fan (okay, not really), I felt compelled to comment on the entertaining “Coinye” controversy that recently bubbled over.  For those of you not in the know, “Coinye” was apparently intended to be a virtual currency in the same vein as BitCoin. The lawsuit was brought in Federal Court in… Continue Reading

From the Land Down Under

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Non-Traditional Trademarks

I come bearing breaking legal news from the Land Down Under, specifically, New Zealand.  It appears that Coca-Cola recently suffered a small setback in its quest for world domination.  Those of you familiar with non-traditional trademarks likely know that Coca-Cola has enjoyed a relatively long history of protection regarding its “contour bottle” shape.  But New Zealand’s high… Continue Reading