The Legal Tea
By LaConya Murray, Brand Attorney
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Brand Attorney, LaConya Murray discusses pop culture from a legal view. Each week listeners will gain a better understanding of trademarks and copyrights by using real-world examples.
||CleanEpisode 15: Cardi B, Fornite Dance, and Nickelodeon Trademark/Copyright Update||Welcome to episode 15 of the Legal Tea. Today's episode is an update of previous issues we've talked about in the past. Did Cardi B give Fashion Nova written consent to use her name for their trademark? What artist finally sued Fornite for using their likeness? How did Nickelodeon respond to the cease and desist to their use of Double Dare? Our top 3 takeaways 1. Maintain your trademark registrations or risk a finding of abandonment. 2. File for your trademark as soon as you can to avoid delays in your application and spending additional money 3. Recognize the value you bring to others and don’t allow them to benefit from your hard work without your permission That's all I have for you today. Remember if you found this information useful, share it with your friends, subscribe, and leave a review. If you see a story you want to share send it to firstname.lastname@example.org https://anchor.fm||12/10/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 14: LL Cool J and Prince Battle Alleged Cybersquatters||A couple of weeks ago when we’re discussing Prince's estate trademarking the color purple, I mention the estate filing a lawsuit against for Domain Capital for cybersquatting. Long story short. Domain Capital loaned money to the previous owner of prince.com. (The previous owner was not Prince) The previous owner defaulted on their loan payments and Domain Capital took over the domain. It's very interesting to note that the domain has been registered since 1995 and Prince in his lifetime never attempted to purchase the domain. Last week I learned that LL Cool J is bringing legal action against the founders of Rock the Bells music festival. He is suing them for trademark infringement, false designation of origin affiliation or association, cyberpiracy and unfair competition. He is also requesting an injunction. Ladies Love Cool James has a lot of claims in his complaint but today we are going to focus on one. Cybersquatting. Cybersquatting is the practice of registering names, especially well-known company or brand names, as Internet domains, in the hope of reselling them at a profit. Top 3 Takeaways 1. Purchasing domains with the intent to sell to the highest buyer is cybersquatting. 2. Register your trademarks with USPTO to strengthen your cybersquatting claim and overall complaint. 3. Ask before you leap. Contact the domain owner before you pursue litigation. The domain owner could have a legitimate purpose for the domain. https://anchor.fm||12/3/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 13: Black Owned Cosmetic Line Overcomes Trademark Issues With Big Brand To Make 1 Million D||Hey ya'll what's poppin? Thanksgiving has come and gone. Turkey leftovers have been transformed to turkey soup, casseroles, sandwiches, lol. Inboxes have been blowing up with sale notifications left and right for black Friday and Cyber Monday. We even had our on holiday sales going on. But the person that came out on top without any doubt is Supa Cent. Owner of the black owned cosmetic line, The Crayon Case. This sista from Louisiana earned a million dollars in only 90 minutes! 90 minutes! I was seeing this success story all over my timeline but one of our lovely subscribes shared some tea with me. Prior to launching her brand, Supa Cent was sent a cease and desist letter from Crayola for infringing on their trademarks. This made me very curious because I knew that the word crayon is generic and not owned by crayons so what was the issue. Our three top takeaways from today's show are: 1. Look before you leap. Mark sure to complete a trademark clearance search to avoid trademark infringement. 2. It is your responsibility to protect your brand no matter how big you get. Remember the bigger you are the harder you fall. This doesn't mean that you have to punch em in the face when you see someone infringing. They may not even know. 3. If the packaging of your product is unique consider protecting it to avoid replicates and brand confusion. Make sure you check out thecrayoncase.com That's all I have for you today. Remember if you found this information useful, share it with your friends, subscribe, and leave a review. If you see a story you want to share send it to email@example.com https://anchor.fm||11/27/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 12: New Edition Members Battle Over Right To Name||If you follow our Facebook business page for a while you might remember a few months ago I told ya'll that Johnny Gill and Ralph Tresvant of New Edition filed for and received a federal trademark for the group's stage name. For those of you who missed it here's the gist of the conversation. Well in May Ronnie, Ricky, Bobby, and Mike filed to cancel the trademark. Cancellation occurs after the trademark application has been approved for registration. Although trademarks are published to the public prior to final approval, many business owners miss the opportunity to object to the registering of a competing mark because they aren't monitoring their trademarks. Top Three Takeaways 1. If you are a business owner your trademark is an asset that is owned by the business. 2. If you lie on your application it will be void. If your application is void it is like it was never filed. 3. Monitor your mark to stay on top of the registration of conflicting marks. It is easier to defend your mark if the conflicting mark is less than 5yrs https://anchor.fm||11/19/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 11: Stay Out Of My Crayon Box!||Today we're talking about the Purple wonder himself, Prince. As we all know, this legend understood the importance of protecting his intellectual property and was no stranger to defending his rights through legal action when necessary. Remember the time he sued 22 Facebook users for linking to bootleg copies of music. How about the time he changed his name to a symbol as a result of contract dispute with his record label. Causing fans to refer to him as the artist formally known as Prince until the matter was resolved years later. Bottom line, he has had rights and he knew how to enforce them. Which is really important when you are creating your own portfolios. It doesn't matter how many trademarks or copyrights you register if you don't take the extra step to monitor and enforce your rights. You will lose what ever rights that are granted to you through registration if you fail to keep people of your mark or off your work. Prince's propensity to protect his brand did not stop at his death. On October 15 of this year, his estate filed a trademark application for a unique shade of purple that was created specifically for him when he was using the symbol rather than his name. The color is Love Symbol #2 and was created by Pantone in 1993 for him. This story was shared to me on Instagram by the financial rebel. In the comments, some people were outraged by this moved. I'm pretty sure this is because they don't really understand what this registration means for their use of the color purple. So let's talk about it. Today's top three takeaways are: 1. If you don't protect your mark you will lose it 2. obtaining a registered trademark for those aspects that make you standout in the market is good for business 3. Prince's registration of the unique shade of purple that was created specifically for him will not prevent us from using the color purple in our normal personal lives https://anchor.fm||11/12/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 10: Gee's Bend, A Story Of Poverty, Ignorance, Fame And Copyrights||We're talking copyrights and today's story comes from my own backyard. Boykin, AL which is located in Wilcox County only about 2 hours from Montgomery and known to most people as Gee's Bends. Gee's Bend has a population of under 700. The town became known for the unique quilts made by members of its community. These quilts were created out of necessity, not art. Despite this fact, the quilts caught the attention art collector William Arnett after he spotted them in a Civil Rights era photography book. Arnett bought several quilts and began showing them around the country. The quilts became so popular that the patterns began showing up commercially. Leaving a few quilters scratching their heads. Today's top three takeaways 1. Copyrights do not protect useful articles. 2. Derivatives are work that is created from a preexisting work 3. The first sale doctrine is an exception to copyright law which grants the buyer of copyright-protected work the authority to resell, display, or otherwise dispose of that particular work. Remember if this episode made you say, mmm I didn’t know that make sure to subscribe, rate, and invite your business besties and tribe to catch next week’s episode. Have a story you want me to discuss? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. https://anchor.fm||11/5/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 09: Seeking Forgiveness Can Cost You||We know when it comes to using someone’s intellectual property the rule is always seek permission. Well, this week I’ve read two cases of artists who did, in fact, seek permission BUT when their request was met with denial they moved forward anyway. Choosing to ask forgiveness instead. Case 1. Kendrick Lamar and SZA’s All The Stars music video uses visual artist Lina Iris Viktor. Viktor stated in an interview with the New York Times that she was contacted twice by Black Panther representative about using her work in the promotional material for the film however she didn’t like the terms and declined. Fast forward one month. She noticed her signature gold patterned style in a 19-second scene in the All The Stars video. Case 2. Nicki Minaj leaks her track with Nas that uses Tracey Chapman’s Baby Can I Hold You. The song was supposed to be on her new album but was pulled because she couldn’t clear the sample. Fast forward a few months and Nicki allegedly leaked the song to Funkmaster Flex who teased it on his social media before playing on air that night. After that it was a wrap. The song was picked up on another station and soon made its way around the internet. This brings us to the Atlanta rap group Migos is being sued for copyright infringement for their song "Walk it Like I Talk it" by rapper M.O.S. He claims the group stole the hook from a song he wrote and published 10 years ago. It’s important to note that after he heard Migos version of the song he filed his copyright. Then he filed his lawsuit. Remember, you cannot file a copyright infringement lawsuit without a federally registered copyright. Top 3 Takeaways 1. File your copyright before you publish if possible but definitely before the infringement. 2. Moving forward using someone's copyrighted work after they told you no is evidence of willful infringement. 3. Willful infringement can hurt your pockets and get you locked up Remember if this episode made you say, mmm I didn’t know that make sure to subscribe, rate, and invite your business besties and tribe to catch next week’s episode. Have a story you want me to discuss? Email it to email@example.com. https://anchor.fm||10/26/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 08: Rihanna's Trademark Woes||Rihanna is being sued over her use of Fenty University’s FU design. Freedom United claims that Rihanna through her partnership with Puma is knowingly committing trademark infringement and engaging in unfair competition through the use of their similar design. Top 3 Takeaways 1. If you have a clothing brand, make sure to use your logo as a brand identifier, not just a design. 2. Trademark infringement is in essence unfair competition. Most states have laws against unfair competition which means you could be liable for damages on a state level. 3. If you are sued for unfair competition or trademark infringement the trademark owner could sue for the profit you made from the infringing mark. Remember if this episode made you say, mmm I didn’t know that make sure to subscribe, rate, and invite your business besties and tribe to catch next week’s episode. Have a story you want me to discuss? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. https://anchor.fm||10/19/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 07: Soulja Boy Cannot Copyright His "Superman" Dance||Although free to use, Fornite charges users for everything else in the game including popular dance moves. They call the dance by other names however the majority of people know the origin come from. Artist and others are calling out Fornite for not giving the artist compensation or credit. One Twitter user asked the twitter world why Soulja’s boy dance “Superman” hadn’t been jacked. Ask and you shall receive an answer even if the answer isn’t correct. Soulja Boy answered, claimed Fornite couldn’t touch his dance move because it's copyrighted and Fornite would have to cut him a check to use it. His response has people everywhere shooked. Can you copyright dance moves? Let's dive in. Top 3 Takeaways • Copyrights protect choreography • Individual dance steps, health moves such as aerobic dances and yoga poses are not protected • The artist may have a claim under right of publicity Remember if this episode made you say, mmm I didn’t know that make sure to subscribe, rate, and invite your business besties and tribe to catch next week’s episode. Have a story you want me to discuss? Email it to email@example.com. https://anchor.fm||10/12/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 06: Jimmy Choo's problem with Amazon||I recently read an article theFashionlaw.com sharing the American Apparel & Footwear Association believes that the e-commerce retail giant is not consistently doing enough to fight fakes. Members of the AAFA include Calvin Klein, Jimmy Choo, Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren and others. As a result of Amazon’s inconsistent handling of copyright and trademark infringement claims the association is requesting that some of Amazon’s international sites be added to the U.S. Trade Representative’s Black List. The list aka Notorious Markets is an annual list which reviews both offline and online businesses that are known for infringing on the intellectual property rights of American companies on a worldwide basis. Top 3 takeaways 1. The person who creates the work owns the copyright to it unless they are an employee during the work in the scope of their employment 2. If something looks too good to be true, it's probably fake. Check the reviews and carefully look at the product description. 3. As a business owner, you do have resources available to you to enforce your intellectual property rights. Remember if this episode made you say, mmm I didn’t know that make sure to subscribe, rate, and invite your business besties and tribe to catch next week’s episode. Have a story you want me to discuss? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. https://anchor.fm||10/5/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 05: Consent People Consent||In today's episode, Attorney Murray discusses Fashion Nova's 4 attempts to register trademarks on the reality star turn rapper Cardi B's name. Today's top 3 takeaways are: 1. You must have consent if you are the filing a trademark for someone's likeness. Even if that someone is you. 2. It's vital that you protect your mark as soon as possible to avoid possible delay from a similar mark which might beat you to the punch. 3. Monitor your mark to stay on top of unauthorized used. Remember if this episode made you say, ummm I didn’t know that make sure to subscribe, rate, and invite your business besties and tribe to catch next week’s episode. Have a story you want me to discuss? Email it to podcast@offthemarkipsolutions. https://anchor.fm||9/28/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 04: Fitzmagic Trademark Drama. But Why You Mad Though?||Former University of Alabama player and 1st round draft pick Minkah Fitzpatrick filed a trademark application for his nickname, Fitzmagic and some people just aren’t happy about it. There are some people who think that the Rookie Fitzmagic stole the moniker from the veteran player, The trademark application was filed on September 12th and will sit in the USPTO database for three months before it is assigned to an examining attorney for review. Top 3 Takeaways 1. If the trademark references a person you must have their consent. 2. If the examining attorney does not see a problem with the application, it will be approved for publication. During this time third parties who believe that will be harmed in some way by the registration of the mark can object to the registration of the proposed mark. 3. An intent to use application is filed when the applicant is not currently using the mark in commerce. https://anchor.fm||9/21/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 03: WTF Procter and Gamble||Welcome to episode 3 of Off the Mark w/ Attorney. In today’s episode we are discussing Procter and Gamble’s latest trademark filings which include WTF, LOL, NBD and what it does and doesn’t mean for you. Plus Beyoncé scores a big trademark victory for her clothing brand, Ivy Park. Top 3 Take-Aways: 1. Trademarks must be associated with a good or a service. If there is no good or service there is no trademark. 2. Avoid building brands around popular trends. At the end of the day, no one is going to hear/see the trend and think of your product or service. 3. Trademarks are considered in their entirety (sound, meaning, appearance). You will not avoid trademark infringement by making small changes to an already existing mark. Remember if this episode made you say, ummm I didn’t know that make sure to subscribe, rate, and invite your business besties and tribe to catch next week’s episode. Have a story you want me to discuss? Email it to email@example.com https://anchor.fm||9/17/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 02: Just Do It, Infringement or Satire?||Nike dropped a fire campaign last week showcasing Colin Kaepernick as the new face of their Just Do It campaign. People went crazy recreating the ad which leads to the question is the recreating of the ad trademark infringement? The top 3 takeaways from today's episode are: 1. Infringement cases are not a one size fits all, they are judged on a case by case basis. Before you use anyone’s mark for anything please consult an attorney for advice on how to proceed. 2. Satire is not a excuse or exception for defamation or slander. You can’t be spreading lies orally or on paper and think that its okay. 3. Using someone else’s mark or something similar to their mark to promote your business is infringement. So if you are anyone you know are using Nike’s campaign to promote your business, you are definitely Off the Mark. Remember, if you found today’s podcast informative or educational do me a favor subscribe, rate, and invite 3 friends to listen to next week’s episode. Found something you https://anchor.fm||9/13/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 01: Intro to Off The Mark w/ Attorney LaConya Murray||Hello and welcome to the first episode of Off The Mark w/Attorney LaConya Murray. This first episode is a brief introduction to me, what to expect from the Off The Mark podcast and why you should listen and share with your business besties and tribe. I am a licensed attorney who absolutely LOVES helping my clients protect their business's greatest asset, their intellectual property. I take pride in making sure my clients make informed decisions. I take the time to explain the process, educate and inform which empowers all that work with me (and want to work with me in the future). I found that using real-world examples provides that ah-ha moment business owners need to make complex concepts make sense to them. So that's what I'm doing once a week. Discussing pop culture from a legal point of view. If this sounds like something you can get down with, make sure to subscribe and share with your business bestie and tribe. https://anchor.fm||9/13/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
Great Podcast from a legal expert!
The depth of topics covered on this podcast is great. As a business owner I appreciate how real topics are broken down in a manner that anyone can understand. Not only do I feel wiser after listening I also know more to operate the business more effectively. Great podcast! Keep it coming
Great podcast for business owners, writers and marketers in particular. Perfect length!