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What is freebooting and why should I care?

Facebook is in the crosshairs over subscribers' personal data privacy. The issue is that the company, Cambridge Analytica, mined data of millions of Facebook users and allegedly used it to target political ads more than two years ago. Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg acknowledges Facebook mishandled the matter saying, "We made mistakes and I own them."

This is not the first scandal for the social media company. Back in 2015, a YouTube video creator accused Facebook of facilitating the thefts of hundreds of ostensibly copyrighted videos to boost its numbers on the volume of views it had provided. The allegation was that the Facebook users uploaded the videos without permission or credit. The concern was that copyright holders were losing out on potential revenue. The matter led to Facebook creating controls, but it took some 18 months.

Could USPTO leniency be the open door for patent trolls?

Just about anything seems to hold some potential for becoming weaponized these days. Cyber bullying uses social media to inflict shame and pain on others. Flaming arrows over Twitter have seen a resurgence of life lately, especially in politics. In the intellectual property world, many agree that the threat comes from patent trolls.

Unless you live under a rock (or perhaps a bridge), you know that patent trolls are individuals or entities who leverage patents in a legal way. As one recent study describes them, patent trolls obtain rights to patents from others who did the actual work. The attractive patents are those that offer an opportunity for asserting rights against alleged violators, usually in hopes of scoring financial settlements.

How can I protect my intellectual property?

If you have invented a unique item or come up with some distinct ideas in the Sioux Falls area, you should take measures to protect your work and efforts. There are many things that happen that could cause you to lose the rights to your creations. For example, someone you are working closely with could steal your ideas and claim your inventions as his or her own. There is also the possibility of another person producing and selling your creations for personal financial gain. 

There are legal protections available that inventors and entrepreneurs can use to restrict others from using, manufacturing and profiting from their ideas, certain concepts and inventions without their permission. Here is a brief overview of a few options you can use to protect your efforts and intellectual property

How long does patent protection last?

Everything these days seems to come with an expiration date, and patents are no exception. If you have a new invention or new way of producing a product, you have good reason to protect it against theft. You certainly want to secure it if you want to monetize your idea or invention. Alternatively, you might want to obtain a patent to be sure no one else exploits your idea or invention to your detriment.

Either way, a patent serves this kind of purpose, but for how long. So to ensure that you maintain the full measure of protection you desire from a patent, you need to know the answer.

2 mistakes to avoid as a new inventor

Many inventors in Minnesota and South Dakota who became successful did not have a detailed roadmap to follow. Also, they were not experienced entrepreneurs or wealthy investors. What they did have, however, was the determination to succeed. If you believe you are the newest inventor of an idea or app that is going to take the world by storm, you should be willing to do what it takes to overcome any obstacles that may come your way during the invention and patent process

Being an inventor is not easy. It is not necessarily cheap either. To minimize the amount of money you spend trying to get your invention off the ground, consider the following mistakes to avoid. 

Delaying IP protection steps could be financial suicide

Where does pursuit of intellectual property protection fall on the continuum of steps to bring an amazing idea to market? Most inventors and entrepreneurs ponder this question at some point. Everyone probably has his or her own answer.

As experienced patent law practitioners, our view is that many people take a "cart before the horse" approach to this subject. Their thinking tends to follow a logic that protecting the idea is something that should follow full product development, getting a business plan in place and finding funding to get production and marketing started. But if you wait on getting patent, copyright or trademark approval, you risk seeing your hopes and dreams sunk by someone who got to the IP protection line first.

What types of official USPTO letters are there?

The government would not be government without paperwork. The United States Patent and Trademark Office is no exception. When an inventor initiates registering for a patent, the bureaucratic wheels begin turning. What follows can become complicated and time consuming. Specific actions are required at different points, often with deadlines attached, and failure to meet the conditions can be costly. An experienced attorney can help keep things on track.

Types of letters in the USPTO quiver

Patent litigation issues to watch in 2018

A couple of significant cases of the past year and one that is expected to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in the next several months highlight how the patent law legal landscape is ever in transition. The nature of the patent law environment is so dynamic that answers to questions raised at one point in a case could be different later. This is why when patent issues arise, it's important to have skilled counsel working on your behalf.

One case of note we touched on in an earlier post. It involves a matter argued last fall before the high court regarding whether administrative court processes established by the Patent Office are legal or unconstitutional. Specifically, the question is whether patents are private property rights erasable only by a federal court judge, or whether so-called inter partes reviews by an administrative judge are sufficient.

Digital application of analog concept helps protect creative work

Back in the 13th century, someone in Italy got very clever with their paper making processes and developed the watermark. This is a term that might be new to many readers in the digital age. It comes from the analog world, after all.

The watermark is a faint design embedded into some paper stock. It is visible only under certain conditions, such as when the paper is held up to a light. Their purpose from the outset has been to provide users a measure of security against forgery and counterfeiting. Governments commonly use watermarking to secure documents, stamps and currency.

3 intellectual property protections for Youtube videos

Youtube is becoming an increasingly popular way to share creative content. Uploading your video to Youtube can be a great way to gain an instant, large-scale audience and earn recognition. This method of self-promotion is also becoming a lucrative income stream for many. However, there are a few things you should bear in mind when creating your Youtube video to avoid intellectual property infringement.

  1. Take action to prevent freebooting. “Freebooting” occurs when someone takes your Youtube video and then uploads it through a different site as though it’s their own. It is becoming an increasingly pervasive issue that can lead to a huge loss of views and income for you. It can also be a huge hassle to get your stolen content taken down. To help avoid freebooting, consider watermarking your videos. Use a watermark that identifies you and is large enough that it can’t be easily removed.
  2. Make sure any music you include is fair game. Do you want to include a song in your video? Has the copyright holder given you specifically—or Youtubers generally—permission to use the music? Is the music legally protected as “Fair Use”? If none of these is true, using the music would likely be considered stealing.
  3. Verify that screen shots can be borrowed. You might want to reference an interesting tweet or Instagram post in your Youtube video. However, you can’t use a screen shot of someone else’s post if the content is private or if it might hurt the creator’s reputation or endanger them. You also can’t copy someone else’s content for money-making purposes. However, Fair Use protections can allow you to use such content if you’re reporting on an issue or presenting a critique.
Don't risk losing your intellectual property rights by failing to act.

Register for patent, trademark or copyright protection by calling Kaufhold & Dix at 612-216-1161.

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