AS A FOUNDING MEMBER OF A BUSINESS, ARE YOU THE TRUE OWNER OF ITS TRADE OR SERVICE MARKS?

FOUNDERS BEWARE: Departing from your organization without an agreement as to ownership of intellectual property could mean leaving your property behind. In a decision by U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the court determined that an originator of a service mark may not own the mark upon her departure from the organization she helped found. In Lyons v. Am. College of Veterinary Sports Med. & Rehab., the Federal Circuit heard a dispute over the ownership of a service mark between Lyons, the originator of the mark, and The American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation (the “College”), the organization she helped create. Lyons was an equine veterinarian with plans to form an accredited veterinary specialist organization (“VSO”) for treating athletic animals under the mark “The American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation” (the “mark”). Starting in 1999, Lyons approached 5 other veterinarians (the “Committee”) with the

What’s In A Name? The Protectable Expression Of An Idea vs. The Idea Itself

  A recent Stephen Colbert copyright infringement case brings to light the distinction between ideas and the expression of an idea, and whether either is subject to trademark, copyright, or the fair use doctrine. According to Bloomberg BNA, on a July 18 episode of the Late Show, the “real” Stephen Colbert brought back to life a previous version of a character in Stephen Colbert’s repertoire that is, according to Viacom’s attorneys, the protected intellectual property of the network. Problematically, that character is also named “Stephen Colbert.” In what may have been an effort to inject a bit of humor into the situation—and perhaps poke some fun at one of the more complex distinctions of IP law—Stephen Colbert agreed to never play “Stephen Colbert” again. However, his twin cousin of the same name appeared shortly thereafter to take the lead in a skit entitled “The Word,” strategically renamed “The Werd” in

Criminal Liability of a Pregnant Woman For Acts Committed Against a Fetus

The Court of Appeals recently examined the Criminal Liability of a pregnant woman for acts committed against a fetus that is later born, and subsequently dies, as a result of injuries suffered before death. A Long Island women should not have been convicted of Second Manslaughter for the death of her 6 day old baby from in utero injuries sustained in a car accident she caused, the Court of Appeals Ruled. Jennifer Jorgenson was driving one night when her car crossed the center line of a busy road and smashed heads-on into an oncoming vehicle. The occupants of the other vehicle also died. The Police said Jorgenson was incapacitated by alcohol and/or prescription drugs. She was 34 weeks pregnant at the time. Her baby, who was still a fetus at the time, was injured when she struck the steering column in the crash. They did an emergency cesarean section and