This week Wall Street Journal columnist Dennis Berman posed an interesting question: ”Is Peanut Butter Pop-Tart an ‘Innovation’?” In the article, Berman described the skyrocketing use – and likely overuse — of the word “innovation” by many American companies and asks: is this really innovation? When a food company introduces a new product, or a restaurant offers a new burger, is it innovation? Or are these simply the actions that a company needs to do on a day-to-day basis to stay competitive?
The article prompted me to think about how the word “innovation” can sometimes be confused with “invention.” Roget’s Thesaurus lists the two terms as synonyms of each other, and many dictionaries give the words nearly-identical definitions. However, there are subtle differences between the two terms. Continue reading
Intent-to-use (ITU) trademark applications can give companies the opportunity to reserve valuable trademark rights before actually using the mark in commerce. However, ITU applications do have certain limitations – including restrictions on assignment.
In many cases, U.S. trademark law imposes few conditions on assignment of trademark registrations and applications. However, in the case of ITU applications, Section 10(a)(1) of the Lanham Act states that ITU applications may not be assigned before the applicant files a statement of use, unless the assignment is “to a successor to the business of the applicant, or portion thereof, to which the mark pertains.” This means that ITU applications can be assigned only in those situations that also involve a “successor,” and not merely to any buyer.
A recent Trademark Trial and Appeals Board opinion in Central Garden & Pet Co. v. Doskocil Mfg. Co. illustrates the perils of improperly assigning ITU applications. Continue reading
Are you an growing company in the Mid-Atlantic region that is seeking outside investment? If so, IMPACT 2013 may be the perfect opportunity for you.
The IMPACT 2013 Venture Summit is an opportunity for growing technology and health care companies, along with innovative early stage businesses, to pitch their company to prominent investors. IMPACT 2013, also offers networking opportunities with business community leaders and panel sessions that offer relevance, value and expert knowledge.
IMPACT 2013 will take place October 22 and 23, 2013 in Philadelphia. We at Fox Rothschild LLP are proud to be the host sponsor of IMPACT 2013, and we look forward to seeing you there.
Click here to learn more and apply to be a featured company at IMPACT 2013.
There is still time to join more than 600 investors, entrepreneurs, business leaders and service providers at the 2013 3 Rivers Venture Fair. This year’s fair will take place on Wednesday April 10 and Thursday April 11 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, PA.
Since its debut in 2002, the 3 Rivers Venture Fair has become a recognized proving ground for promising technology pioneers, helping featured innovators raise more than $400 million in capital.
This year’s program will feature 40 presenting companies in diverse industry categories, including life sciences, energy, communications, software, manufacturing, media and more.
For more details, visit the 3RVF website http://www.3rvf.com. To register, click here.
On March 13, 2013, the FTC updated its “.com Disclosures” guidance document for online disclosures to address new issues resulting from the expanding use of smartphones and other mobile devices for advertising purposes.
Originally published in 2000, the FTC guide addresses how companies who are engaged in online advertising should provide the various disclosures that are required by the laws that the FTC enforces. These disclosures include those required to prevent a claim that a particular advertisement is misleading or deceptive. Examples include: Continue reading
If a new White House memo directing government agencies to ensure that publications and data resulting from federally funded research seems familiar, that’s because it nearly matches a new bill that was introduced in the House and Senate just a week earlier.
On February 22, 2013, the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a memo directing U.S. government agencies who annually fund over $100 million in research to implement a plan for requiring public access to data and publications resulting from that research.
The memo requires that each plan included elements for: Continue reading
This year’s 3 Rivers Venture Fair is scheduled for April 10-11, 2013 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, PA. The 3RVF connects investors, entrepreneurs, business leaders and service providers who are interested in discovering innovation breakthroughs, ground-floor investment opportunities and trends in industries ranging from life sciences, to energy, to manufacturing, to electronics and software, and more.
The 3RVF is still accepting nominations for presenting companies, but the available slots are filling fast. Companies seeking venture investment should click here to apply to be considered for a presentation as a featured company. Or, if you know a rising company who may benefit from the exposure and potential investment, nominate that company via the attached link.
When the slots are filled, nominations will be closed, so apply now to be considered. See you at the 3RVF!
A recent decision from the United States District Court for the District of California could, if upheld, significantly limit companies’ ability to transfer its proprietary software unless the company has obtained an assignment from each and every developer.
In a decision published November 5, 2012 in Amaretto Ranch Breedables LLC v. Ozimals Inc., Ozimals argued that Amaretto Ranch infringed its copyright in software used in connection with the online virtual reality site Second Life. Amaretto Ranch filed a declaratory judgment action and argued that it could not infringe because Ozimals did not own the software. Three developers created the software, but only two of them had executed assignments in favor of Ozimals.
The court agreed with Amaretto Ranch’s argument and held that in order to transfer a copyright, all authors must agree to the assignment. Otherwise, the attempted assignment is merely a non-exclusive license. Continue reading
Are you thinking about licensing technology from a university or research institution? Are you a research institution licensing professional looking for tips about negotiating with both start-ups and established companies?
If so, you’ll want to sign up for a “Getting to ‘Yes’ in University IP Licensing,” a live webinar sponsored by Technology Transfer Tactics magazine on October 25, 2012. During the session, my colleague Brienne Terril and I will cover topics such as:
- Anatomy of a license agreement
- Common sticking points, and strategies for overcoming them quickly
- How to balance competing interests of the researcher, institution, and the corporate licensee
We will illustrate several of the topics with a mock negotiation session, to help attendees see various negotiation tactics in the tech transfer context.
More information about the webinar is linked here at the Technology Transfer Tactics website.
Are you a new entrepreneur, an early stage company leader, or someone who wants to learn more about starting or leading a business? If so, and if you are located in Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia or Eastern Ohio, then mark your calendar for TiE Pittsburgh‘s annual Entrepreneur’s Base Camp, which is set for Saturday, September 29, 2012 at Carnegie-Mellon University.
This year’s Base Camp will focus on social media and how it drives so many businesses today. Regardless of whether your business will be a full social media company, or you just plan to use social media as a tool to reach your customers, this year’s Base Camp will have something useful for you.
As one of the Base Camp’s faculty, I’ll be participating in a discussion about legal issues that companies need to consider before using social media as a marketing tool, and legal strategies for protecting the value of your brands online.
To register for the event, visit the TiE Pittsburgh website by clicking here.