DuetsBlog Collaborations in Creativity & the Law

Category Archives: Idea Protection

Subscribe to Idea Protection RSS Feed

Protecting Your Bacon: Patent versus Trade Secret

Posted in Almost Advice, Food, Idea Protection, Law Suits, Loss of Rights, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Patents

While, generally speaking, copyright law protects art, and trademark law protects branding, patent and trade secret laws protect information.  In deciding how to best protect proprietary information, innovators and businesses often come to a difficult patent/trade secret crossroads: do we keep this as a trade secret, or apply for a patent application?  However a company… Continue Reading

Squeezing the Most Out of a Product Feature

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Goodwill, Guest Bloggers, Idea Protection, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Patents, Product Packaging, Trademarks

- Draeke Weseman, Weseman Law Office, PLLC Some folks sing in the shower. Others critique the packaging of their face cleanser.  Garnier’s Clean+ Purifying Foam Cleanser is a good cleanser packaged in a plain-looking bottle. The bottle looks like your normal foam dispenser, and, picking it up for the first time, you would expect to… Continue Reading

A Window into the Future for Apple’s Trade Dress?

Posted in Branding, Idea Protection, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Trademarks, USPTO

A few weeks back, Steve discussed Apple’s recent applications to register a trio of non-verbal trademarks, shown below: (Each image links to the corresponding application on file with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office – USPTO). Spoiler alert: This post contains the USPTO’s ultimate decision regarding the registrability of the design and layout of various… Continue Reading

The World Is Not Enough, We Want the Whole Genre

Posted in Copyrights, Fair Use, Idea Protection, Infringement, Law Suits, Television

The James Bond franchise is one of the most well-known and successful movie franchises in history. There are few characters who reappear in 23 full length movies, let alone have the 23rd movie reach the top of the box office charts. The James Bond franchise, however, has obtained a unique status among average viewers and… Continue Reading

“Raging Bull” Copyright Case To Be Heard By Supreme Court

Posted in Copyrights, Idea Protection, Infringement, Law Suits

- Anjali Shankar, Attorney – In 1980, Robert De Niro starred in an Oscar-winning boxing movie, “Raging Bull.” A suit has been brought by Paula Petrella, whose father, Frank P. Petrella, wrote the book and screenplay for the movie. Frank Petrella and his collaborator, boxer Jake LaMotta, assigned the rights to their book and screenplay… Continue Reading

Seagate Technology’s $630 Million Trade Secret Win Reinstated

Posted in Agreements, Contracts, Idea Protection, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Social Media

- Anjali Shankar, Attorney – Protection of a business’s trade secrets may prove more difficult with the rise of social media and the recent debates surrounding the use of non-compete agreements. Social media, while a great tool for expanding networks, carries certain risks for businesses, such as ownership of social media accounts (including any “followers”… Continue Reading

Shinola 2.0

Posted in Branding, Famous Marks, Guest Bloggers, Idea Protection, Marketing, Trademarks, USPTO

- Nancy Friedman, Wordworking For much of the 20th century, the Shinola brand—introduced around 1907; first trademark filing, by the Shinola-Bixby Corporation of New Jersey, in 1929—was synonymous in the United States with shoe polish. Not even a famous World War II–era vulgarity could dim the shine on this stalwart trade name. Corporal punishment in… Continue Reading

Banksy, I Thought We Were Friends

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Idea Protection, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, SoapBox, Squirrelly Thoughts

I have blogged before about one of my favorite graffiti artists, Banksy. Recently there has been some buzz in the ad world about another provocative work attributed to him. It involves a well-known bottle and trademark that Steve has been posting about frequently over the past several weeks. Normally I would post an image of it here, but… Continue Reading

New Challenges for So-Called “Patent Trolls”

Posted in Guest Bloggers, Idea Protection, Infringement, Law Suits, Patents

- Sri Sankaran, Patent Attorney, Winthrop & Weinstine Recent developments in executive, legislative, and judicial branches present new challenges for patent trolls (or less pejoratively “non-practicing entities” or “assertion entities”). The White House recently outlined a series of initiatives to address the impact that patent assertion entities have on the economy.  The administration cited a… Continue Reading


Posted in Advertising, Branding, Copyrights, Dilution, Fair Use, Famous Marks, Idea Protection, Infringement, Marketing, SoapBox, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

Last week I stopped at a local wine and beer store to pick up a bottle of wine to bring to a friend’s dinner party (but also couldn’t resist purchasing a 4-pack of Surly’s Bitter Brewer. I had never seen it before, but highly recommend it). As I walked back to my car I noticed a pile of… Continue Reading

Protecting Non-Functional Product Design Features Through The Entire Life Cycle: From Conception to Grave

Posted in Branding, Contracts, Guest Bloggers, Idea Protection, Patents, USPTO

- Jeffrey Stone, Patent Attorney, Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A. IP protection for product designs is typically found in a combination of one or more of the following protective mechanisms: 1. Contracts which are typically used with employees and 3rd parties to prevent loss of novelty as well as provide notice of ownership. Contractual protections such… Continue Reading

Design Patent Flexes Muscles

Posted in Guest Bloggers, Idea Protection, Infringement, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Patents, Product Configurations, Technology, USPTO

- Jeffrey Stone and Brett Klein, Patent Attorneys, Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A. The design patent is perceived by many designers and patent attorneys as being a relatively weak and impotent patent protection mechanism as compared with the better-respected utility patent. It is typically thought that design patents are only useful in protecting against exact copies…. Continue Reading

Intellectual Property and the Next President

Posted in Articles, Branding, Copyrights, Idea Protection, International, Marketing, Patents, Trademarks

After months of debates, worn out talking points, and a seemingly endless barrage of ads, election day is finally here!  I’m hoping this post serves as a reminder to get out and vote today. Campaigns these days are not without their intellectual property feats and blunders.  There are the buttons; the slogans – purposeful and… Continue Reading

Tebowing Trademark: Passion or Profit?

Posted in Branding, Guest Bloggers, Idea Protection, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Sight, Trademarks

—John Reinan, Senior Director at Fast Horse, a Minneapolis marketing agency Tim Tebow was a great college quarterback. But now that he’s in the NFL, he’s joined the ranks of celebrities who are famous mainly for being famous.  Example A: “Tebowing,” his signature move.  After making a play, the devout Christian often drops to one… Continue Reading

Thinking About Where to Think . . . .

Posted in Idea Protection

Our friend Jorg over at the Idea Peepshow wrote earlier this week about the importance of taking the time to think — how true. It’s good to know that Jorg’s 1949 Ford tractor serves a greater purpose than simply helping him mow the grass at his country orchard; it provides a suitable place/vehicle to Just Think. And,… Continue Reading

Finding Your Place for Making Big Ideas

Posted in Idea Protection

Watching the film Inception this past weekend (for the second time), got me thinking about the origin of big ideas. I’m not talking about the kind of "big ideas" that Michael Scott and Kevin Malone of "The Office" are known for: Michael Scott: That’s what the United States was built on, big ideas, blue jeans, the Grand Canyon…. Continue Reading

Iron-clad Liability Protection for Idea Submissions?

Posted in Copyrights, Guest Bloggers, Idea Protection, Infringement, Television

—Joy Newborg, Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A. Several bloggers and commentators have been critical of the Travel Channel about its website soliciting  people to submit their ideas for what could possibly become a new hit show. As pitching television show ideas has become a complex, involved and costly process, should one really blame them for trying… Continue Reading

Is Universal Regretting Disturbia?

Posted in Contracts, Copyrights, Guest Bloggers, Idea Protection, Infringement, Law Suits

—Joy Newborg, Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A. Is the 2007 film Disturbia a modern remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window? Even if it is, how many times have you seen a movie and said afterwards that it reminded you of being exactly like the film… Disturbia is a film about a teenager who, while under house… Continue Reading

Life-Line to the Lifeblood

Posted in Agreements, Copyrights, Guest Bloggers, Idea Protection, Law Suits

—Joy Newborg, Attorney New ideas are the lifeblood of Hollywood and television, as executives are scrounging to find the next wildly popular Avatar or “Friends.” However, there is a little evil known around the industry as idea theft, where a person believes that their idea has been used but they were not given credit or… Continue Reading

Seth Godin on Trademark?

Posted in Branding, Dilution, Famous Marks, Idea Protection, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Search Engines, Trademarks

      Seth Godin has an amazing knack for creating and spreading ideas that matter, mostly really good ones, by the way. I always look forward to his daily riffs and I have been known to spread some of his important ideas too when they overlap with things I happen to care a lot about. When it comes to Mr…. Continue Reading

A Parody Is Forever?

Posted in Advertising, Idea Protection, Marketing, Television

Recently, a new Verizon commercial caught my eye.  Perhaps you’ve seen it: This immediately reminded me of a circa 1993 (has it really been that long?) De Beers commercial (seen here).  Apparently, this is one of at least two Verizon commercials intended to "spoof" some of the classic, well-known commercials from our past.  My immediate reaction, to these… Continue Reading