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

To Search or Not to Search

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts

Inditex – the parent company of fashion giant Zara – sued a small New York-based brand over the use of the mark Zara Terez (“ZT”). Zara Terez was launched in 2008 by friends Zara Terez Tisch and Amanda Schabes. The complaint alleged that “ZT’s trademark is likely to create, and has created, confusion in the marketplace… Continue Reading

Service Trade Dress?

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts

When most people of think of trade dress protection they primarily think of a good. Generally, protecting a product’s configuration, which can never be inherently distinctive, or a product’s packaging, which can be inherently distinctive. Rarely, does trade dress for services come to mind, but trade dress protection for services is alive and well. More… Continue Reading

Brand Valuation

Posted in Almost Advice

Regulators in the U.S. are set to change the concept of “materiality,” or the determination of what information is necessary for companies to disclose publicly. While sales and earnings figures are important, Baruch Lev, an accounting professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business who analyzed financial reports and quarterly conference calls at some… Continue Reading

International Trademark Registrations

Posted in Almost Advice

A little known fact is that U.S.-based applicants can file a Madrid application that relies on either a registration on the Principal or Supplemental register.  A Madrid application significantly lowers the costs of foreign trademark filings by centralizing the application process. The ability to support a Madrid application with a Supplemental Registration can change the… Continue Reading

When is enough, enough with trademark applications?

Posted in Almost Advice

How many trademark applications should I file and for what goods and services? These are two critical questions to any filing strategy, and a close second is how often should I file? The answer to how many applications to file is the number of marks that you realistically believe consumers will rely on to identify… Continue Reading

Trademark Bully Or Responsible Trademark Owner?

Posted in Almost Advice

Travelers Cos., a large property-casualty insurer, sent a cease and desist letter to a small consulting firm in Anchorage, AK demanding that it stop using the image of an umbrella in connection with its business. Travelers has sent similar letters to other companies and taken action before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board against similarly situated companies…. Continue Reading

Is the TTAB falling?

Posted in Almost Advice

A commonly used forum to resolve trademark registration issues, which also commonly resulted in negotiated settlements over the use of mark, may no longer be so common. Today, the United States Supreme Court issued its heavily anticipated opinion in the B&B Hardware v. Hargis Industries case, which involved the issue of whether TTAB decisions on… Continue Reading

Claim What’s Yours

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts

How do you claim your trademark? There is no requirement that a company use one of the trademark designations in connection with their trademark, but it is a good practice to get into. Using either the “TM” or “Circle R” puts others on actual notice of your rights. The “TM” should be used before the… Continue Reading

The Office Action Response

Posted in Almost Advice

For the most part, the law regarding the examination of trademark applications is slanted in favor of the examining attorney. However, examining attorneys have evidentiary burdens to meet. Analyzing the evidence offered by the examining attorney is as important as arguing the interpretation of the law. Additionally, understanding the evidentiary rules can make the difference in… Continue Reading

Spring Cleaning in the Winter?

Posted in Almost Advice

Winter is as good a time as any other for some spring cleaning when it comes to data privacy. In this case, the task is dusting off the privacy policies that you probably had drafted a while ago and probably have not looked at since to make sure they are up to date with any changes in the… Continue Reading


Posted in Almost Advice, Trademark Bullying, TTAB

Think an undefended opposition proceeding is a slam dunk, then you better think again.  In Emminence, LLC v. Lisa Kelly, Opposition No. 91205286 (October 8, 2014), the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board dismissed an opposition proceeding even though the defendant did not offer any evidence or even a trial brief in support of her case…. Continue Reading

To speak or not to speak about a data breach

Posted in Almost Advice

I recently posted about some companies making the decision to not announce when a data security breach has occurred, or at least they would think twice before announcing. According to a couple crisis communication experts, that delay in announcing could harm the business in more ways than just increasing the chance of legal liability. In connection… Continue Reading

Data Breach Notification, Helpful or Harmful?

Posted in Almost Advice

Some IT professionals are debating whether they would issue a data breach notification in the event of a hack. Their rationale is that such a notification makes them a target for other hackers and that most of the incidents that trigger the required notification don’t rise to the level where notificaiton is necessary. Those companies that… Continue Reading

Now you see me, now you don’t

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts

The European Union recently decided that people have a right to be forgotten. The “right to be forgotten” provides Internet users in Europe the advantage to demand the erasure, removal or deletion of sensitive personal information in Google’s online search queries. Is this protection of a person’s privacy or online censorship? Since the ruling, Google… Continue Reading

Has Jurisdiction Been Taken for Granted

Posted in Almost Advice

Will the US Supreme Court’s decision in Daimler A.G. v. Bauman affect where a plaintiff can sue a defendant for trademark infringement? In general, plaintiff’s prefer to sue defendants in their backyard. Specific jurisdiction could be based on a defendant’s “minimum contacts” with a state so long as the claim asserted relates to those activities… Continue Reading

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