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

Does (Real) Life Imitate (Video Game) Art?

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts

The cause and effect relationship between art and culture has been a long-debated topic.  Does art depict what actually exists in our culture, or does the art dictate what exists.  It’s a classic chicken/egg debate.   And this ongoing debate occasionally rears its head in the video game space in the form of criticisms, and even lawsuits,… Continue Reading

Video Game Patents Are In “Deathmatch” Mode

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts

In 2014, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank, Inc.  While the decision is long and convoluted, the Alice decision effectively narrowed the scope of patentable subject matter by holding that algorithms, computational methods, and other mathematical principles are not eligible for patent protection where the purported invention essentially equates… Continue Reading

Pokemon GO or Pokemon No?

Posted in Contracts, Technology

Unless you’ve been living under a Geodude this past month, you’ve no doubt been exposed (either willingly or unwillingly) to some part of the current social media/mobile gaming sensation, Pokemon GO.  Niantic’s new “catch ’em all” treasure hunting mobile game is lighting up Charmander tails across the globe with approximately 75 million downloads and roughly 25 million… Continue Reading

Rise of the Game

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts

Video games have been an existing and growing component of popular culture for my entire life.  I literally cut my teeth on the Atari 2600 while I was still a toddler.  From there I spread into bowling alley arcades, Nintendo, PC Games, Playstation, Nintendo 64, Playstation 2, Playstation 3, and Playstation 4.  Over that time, the… Continue Reading

What do you mean(s) we lost?!?

Posted in Law Suits, Patents

Tomita Technologies USA, LLC was handed a devastating loss earlier this week in its long-enduring battle with Nintendo over stereoscopic (i.e. 3D) image technology.  Back in 2013, Nintendo lost a patent infringement jury trial in the Southern District of New York and was ordered to pay $30.2 million in damages to Seijiro Tomita, the inventor… Continue Reading

Mine?

Posted in Branding, Copyrights, Fair Use, Law Suits, Technology

Recent developments have brought to the forefront the ongoing debate about what rights, if any, gamers should have or own in their online personas or in the contributions that they make to games through their gameplay contributions (i.e. is the participation by the player an act of “authorship”)? On April 7, 2016, Mike Futter at Game Informer reported that Blizzard… Continue Reading

Solid Snake on Ice

Posted in Copyrights, Fair Use, First Amendment, SoapBox

Fans of the Metal Gear Solid franchise received disappointing news earlier this week when Project “Shadow Moses”–an ambitious fan reboot of the original game using Unreal Engine 4–was canceled.  A trailer showing the progress of the project prior to its termination is below: This would have represented a significant improvement from the 1998 original Metal Gear Solid. While… Continue Reading

Insert Coin

Posted in Copyrights, First Amendment, Patents, Trademarks

Those of you who occasionally read my posts may have noticed that video games are a hobby and interest of mine.  I have posted on issues involving video games several times. See Executing Noriega, Flash in the Panama, Calling All Gamers.  And as I look back on it now, it appears that I, for a… Continue Reading

Fair Use’s Jedi Knight

Posted in Copyrights, Mixed Bag of Nuts

This isn’t necessarily new news, but I thought it deserved a post regardless.  Back in late November, Google announced a new policy of pushing back against copyright holders issuing DMCA takedown notices regarding videos which Google believes make “fair use” of copyrighted material.  In Google’s words: We are offering legal support to a handful of… Continue Reading

The Other Border Patrol

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts

With all the flaming rhetoric going on these days relating to immigration, refugees, and border fences, I thought now might be a good time to introduce (or reintroduce) the world to a heavy hitter in the intellectual property border patrol:  the International Trade Commission.  I suspect few people know specifically what the ITC can do, or  the broad implications… Continue Reading

Unhappy Birthday

Posted in Copyrights

About a month ago, the United States District Court for the Central District of California issued a summary judgment ruling putting a nail in the coffin of one of the most tragically comical copyright claims of all time.  After years of litigation and undoubtedly hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees (perhaps more), the… Continue Reading

Is Tiffany’s Major Victory Short-Lived?

Posted in Law Suits

On September 8, Judge Laura Taylor Swain ruled on summary judgment that Costco Wholesale Corp. had willfully infringed Tiffany & Co.’s trademark by selling engagement rings using the Tiffany name.  (Opinion here)  Frankly, the infringement ruling was not especially surprising, but the willfulness holding may raise an eyebrow or two. Costco attempted to justify its… Continue Reading

It’s DangeRuss, So DangeRuss

Posted in Advertising

Russell Wilson (whose twitter handle is @DangeRussWilson) recently courted controversy with some comments made in an August 26 Rolling Stone article: Another venture is slightly less altruistic. Wilson is an investor in Reliant Recovery Water, a $3-per-bottle concoction with nanobubbles and electrolytes that purportedly helps people recover quickly from workouts and, according to Wilson, injury…. Continue Reading

Justice Delayed or Justice Denied?

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts

Many college sports aficionados are likely aware of the long-raging debate about whether college athletes in high revenue sports, like football and basketball, ought to be paid for their services. After all, college sports have become big business where top schools are routinely able to generate revenues exceeding $100 million dollars.  (See Business Insider Article here).  Those of us with… Continue Reading

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