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

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

We’re Evolving, But What Are We Becoming?

Posted in Advertising

The below video has actually been out for over a year now, but it recently experienced a resurgence through social media–particularly Facebook.  As you will see from watching the video, it documents through time lapse photography the “evolution” that a relatively average looking person goes through–hair, makeup, and finally Photoshop–to go from humdrum to white hot.  The video concludes… Continue Reading

Owned

Posted in Branding

Some of you may be familiar with my various blog posts relating to personal branding.  (See here, here, here, and here.)  This past month, I became aware of what I believe to be a very first in the realm of personal branding:  selling stock ownership in it.  A company called Fantex Holdings is going to sell stock… Continue Reading

I May Be Old, But I Got To See All The Cool Brands.

Posted in Branding

As I was perusing Facebook the other day, I stumbled upon the following picture posted by a friend: For reasons unknown to me, I inserted the letter “r” into “bands” while reading this shirt, and I thought to myself, “What a cool shirt!”  Then I read it again, realized my mistake, and thought immediately that… Continue Reading

With Great Power Comes Great Responsbility

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts, Patents

Recently, a Seventh Circuit Judge penned an article over at Law360 setting forth her belief that the Federal Circuit should no longer have exclusive jurisdiction over patent appeals.  For those of you unfamiliar with our Federal court system, the way it works is that appeals for your federal district court are typically heard by an… Continue Reading

It’s All About Image

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts

Recently, I received my new American Bar Association card in the mail.  This is what the envelope looked like: Notice anything?  To me, the first thing that stuck out was the transparent effort to show the “right” mix of people on this envelope.  There are 7 women and 6 men; 4 of the women appear… Continue Reading

iPurge

Posted in Copyrights, Infringement, Patents, Trademarks

Earlier this summer, a movie called “The Purge” came out.  The premise of this relatively disturbing thriller is that for one night a year – a 12 hour period-all crime is legal.  As you can tell from the trailer below, the “legal crime” that first comes to our depraved minds is murder, assault, rape, robbery,… Continue Reading

It’s Not Easy Being Green…Or Is It.

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts

Anyone that watches TV or reads magazine or listens to the radio or otherwise participates in the day-to-day interactions with society know that “green” marketing is a hot item right now.  Normally, I suffer silently through the endless barrage of “green” this and “eco-friendly” that, content with the knowledge that this too, shall pass. When… Continue Reading

Electronic Arts Takes One In The Kisser

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts

For some time now, Electronic Arts–purveyor of sports video games–has been embroiled in disputes relating to using the likenesses of former college athletes without providing them appropriate remuneration.  There has been the Bill Russell / Ed O’Bannon antitrust suit.  (Names that would never be uttered in the same sentence but for this lawsuit.)  There has… Continue Reading

Ethically Challenged?

Posted in Advertising

As some of you might have noticed last week, a billboard advertisement in North Carolina appeared to show a scorned woman calling out her spouse for infidelity: This billboard was followed sometime later by a different message: Despite what should have been relatively clear evidence that this was intended to be a publicity stunt for… Continue Reading

Kardashians Caught Without Makeup, But Not The Way You’d Expect

Posted in Advertising, Law Suits, Trademarks

For those of you that came looking for pictures of Kim without face paste, this isn’t your post.  (Try this one.  Yikes.)  But if you’re interested in trademarks and the cult of personality, read on. Some of you might recall my Keeping Up With The Kardashian’s post from mid-January where I summarized a brouhaha developing over… Continue Reading