Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Google Can't Hide Identity of Defamers

As an internet defamation lawyer, I was happy to see this report on Good Morning America. Those who are defamed online often need to unmask their anonymous defamers. I have been successfully unmasking anonymous internet defamers and bloggers for years.

To me, the shocking part of this story was that Google apparently fought Liskula Cohen's efforts to unmask her defamer. In my experience, internet service providers such as Google understand that it is usually pointless to oppose subpoena requests for server logs and identifying information.

In any event, citizens have no need to sit by idly while their reputation is shredded by anonymous attackers and this case simply reinforces this point.

Twitter Fails Miserably in Effort to Trademark "Tweet"

As I discussed a few weeks ago, Twitter's efforts to trademark the term "tweet" seemed doomed to fail for a number of reasons. It appears the United States Patent and Trademark Office agrees and has denied Twitter's application filed by the firm of Fenwick & West - kudos to Sam Johnston's blog for reporting on this. "Tweet" will not become the intellectual property of the latest social media darling.

There is a lesson to be learned here. If you own a website and want to build out your brand, consult an experienced intellectual property lawyer from the get go. Finally, use the damn terms you want to trademark on your own site. I know this seems obvious but Twitter didn't even use the term "tweet" on its own site, instead referring to tweets as "updates". That fact just blows my mind.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Data Breaches Threaten Viability of E-Commerce

Today, federal prosecutors out of the Newark office filed an indictment relating to the largest data breach case in U.S. history. Read here for more data theft details.

Hacking is serious stuff and companies maintaining private, consumer information on their servers need to fully understand the regulatory landscape. To this end, it is wise to hire an experienced internet lawyer in order to put into place the appropriate data breach guidelines and consumer notification programs for private businesses.

Monday, August 10, 2009

In-n-Out of Trademark Litigation

Those of us in Southern California know and love In-n-Out burger - the go to burger joint around these parts. But In-n-Out has decided to stay relatively small and local. You can't really find the burger joint outside of California. This regional approach may encourage rivals in other parts of the country to negligently or knowingly take a run at using In-n-Out's signature trademarks in commerce.

Trademark rights are based primarily upon the principle of use in commerce, of which, geographic location is a subset and critical concern. The key element for proving up a trademark infringement case is simply likelihood of confusion. Thus, even if no consumer is actually confused by a burger joint in New York using some form of In-n-Out's marks, an infringement action may lie.

Perhaps because of its low regional left coast profile, In-n-Out finds itself in many trademark actions. There is a lesson to be learned by In-n-Out's vigilance. Trademark lawyers and intellectual property attorneys know that, when it comes to trademarks, the phrase "use it or lose it" often applies. Intellectual property must be vigorously defended or else the rights holder may lose exclusive rights to the asset.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Digital Rights Management and Ebooks

I stumbled across a nice, concise explanation regarding DRM with respect to Kindle and Sony's competing device. Check the comments section of this Consumerist post. Intellectual property lawyers understand the motivation for DRM (and content producers desire for DRM), but, as a practical matter, it is usually not a winner in the marketplace.

Can Tweeting Make You Rich?? Maybe.

Gawker has a post internet law firms may be interested in reading. The post refers to Internet marketing company Izea and efforts to monetize Twitter by paying people for tweets. This could create all sorts of problems - let alone whether or not it will actually drive meaningful sales pursuant to sponsored tweets. I think it would completely ruin Twitter, who wants to receive a bunch of phony tweets shilling for some corporation? Also, what sort of intellectual property issues might this create? To be continued.

Monday, August 3, 2009