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When students prove the experts wrong

Cool discoveries and inventions can result from science fair projects

By Kurt Leyendecker

Invention often results from someone doing what the conventional wisdom of those “in the know” understand as being impossible or improbable. Just as knowledge and experience can provide the insight for advancement, it can also hinder advancement, causing avenues of study and experimentation to be overlooked or avoided. Sometimes, genius is demonstrated by those that are just too stupid to realize the folly of examining ideas and questions overlooked by the intellectuals in a particular field or endeavor.

On Feb. 17-18, the Denver Metro Regional Science and Engineering Fair will be held on the University of Colorado Denver campus. For two days, aspiring scientists and engineers from grades 6-12 will present their research and findings in a slew of scientific categories. Those that do well at the regional fair will be invited to the state fair, and those that excel at state will be invited to the national fair.

Interesting discoveries and inventions can result from science fair projects.  Middle and high school students often don’t have the depth of knowledge and experience to realize their hypothesis and suppositions are unlikely to be borne out and will likely result in failure. Sometimes, perhaps more often than one might think, the students prove the experts wrong.

Read more at ColoradoBiz Magazine.

By | February 17th, 2017|BLOGGING|Comments Off on When students prove the experts wrong

Websites, beware: Using third-party content can be illegal

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act offers a safe harbor for service providers

By Peter Lemire

These days most websites and other online service providers accept and host some sort of third-party content. The hosting and display of user-generated content can potentially subject the website or service provider to liability for its users’ online copyright infringement.

Seeing that this potential liability may stifle the development of interactive environments and the restriction of user-generated content by service providers, Congress enacted a safe harbor for service providers with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The safe harbor limits a service provider’s liability if it is in compliance with the act and follows a certain protocol, which has become to be known as Notice and Takedown.

Read more at ColoradoBiz Magazine.

By | January 9th, 2017|BLOGGING|Comments Off on Websites, beware: Using third-party content can be illegal

Should you patent or not?

When it comes to software, it’s as clear as mud

By Kurt Leyendecker

One of the most common questions I get when meeting with new clients is whether their invention is patentable.

To be patentable, an invention must satisfy three basic criteria: it must be the proper subject matter; it must be new; and it must not be obvious. For most of the last 20 years or so, the first criteria was an easy call.

If the invention was a useful process, a machine, an article of manufacture or a composition, it was patentable subject matter. If the invention as described and claimed in a patent application was also found to be new (novel) and not an obvious derivation from that which was already known, then a patent would issue.

Read more at ColoradoBiz Magazine.

By | November 28th, 2016|BLOGGING|Comments Off on Should you patent or not?

A closer look at taco trucks and baskets of deplorables

Politics takes issues around phrases and sound bites to a new level

By Peter Lemire

In our internet and meme-driven world, there always seem to be issues surrounding the ownership and protection of sound bites/short phrases/and or slogans. Election years take these issues to a whole different level.

Political speech makes a nice illustration of the sometimes rocky road to protecting short phrases and slogans. While one would think the law in this area would be pretty cut and dry, it can actually have a profound impact on businesses and their ability to protect their products, in this case apparel, and the slogans/sound bites/catch phrases used in conjunction with them.

Read more at ColoradoBiz Magazine.

By | September 22nd, 2016|BLOGGING|Comments Off on A closer look at taco trucks and baskets of deplorables

To patent or not to patent: That is the question

A patent could offer protection from poachers, but is it worth it?

By Kurt Leyendecker

Prospective clients routinely ask whether getting a patent makes sense given that she would not likely be able to afford the cost of the lawsuit necessary to enforce the patent and stop an infringer. The truth is that patent infringement litigation is expensive; attorneys’ fees alone usually exceed $1 million in a case taken through trial. Moreover, even if the patent holder prevails, there is no guarantee he will be able to recover attorney fees. In fact, under the American Rule, attorney fees awards are the exception rather than the rule. The good news is that the award of attorney fees in patent cases have become more common in recent years; nevertheless, it is still somewhat foolish for a litigant to assume she will be able to recover fees. So why bother filing for a patent on an innovation?

Read more at ColoradoBiz Magazine.

By | August 1st, 2016|BLOGGING|Comments Off on To patent or not to patent: That is the question

Protect your trade secrets or pay the price

Act now to ensure your company’s sensitive information never gets compromised.

By Kurt Leyendecker

In the world of intellectual property law, trade secrets have always been the issue that gets stacked behind patents, copyrights and trademarks. Transactional intellectual property lawyers don’t know quite what to make of trade secrets or, perhaps more precisely, don’t know how to make money off them.

Read more at ColoradoBiz Magazine.

By | June 28th, 2016|BLOGGING|Comments Off on Protect your trade secrets or pay the price

Is corporate America killing hashtags with trademarks?

Consider the case of PepsiCo and #GetNaked

By Peter Lemire

I recently read an article regarding the rise in trademark filings for hashtags. According to the article, 1,398 were filed worldwide last year; the figure for the U.S. was around 500 — a drop in the bucket among millions of trademarks filed worldwide every year.

However, the increase in the number of filings over the previous year is significant. The increase in attempts to trademark hashtags may cause one to ask: Is this a hostile takeover of social media in an attempt to chill free speech? And should my business consider trademarking hashtags?

The answers are: No, not really; and it depends.

Read more at ColoradoBiz Magazine.

By | April 27th, 2016|BLOGGING|Comments Off on Is corporate America killing hashtags with trademarks?

Why a trade secret is the Spanish Inquisition of intellectual property

Nobody expects it — until it’s too late

By Kurt Leyendecker

“Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!” If you’re old enough, this phrase invokes a classic Monty Python skit starring a trio of bumbling 15th century cardinals who burst onto the scene. Perhaps you’re wondering why the Spanish Inquisition is making an appearance in a column about intellectual property.

You didn’t expect this, did you?

People with at least passing familiarity with the term “intellectual property” can associate it with patents, trademarks and copyrights. But “trade secret” doesn’t often come to mind. Simply put, a trade secret is the Spanish Inquisition of intellectual property: Nobody expects it until it is too late.

Read more at ColoradoBiz Magazine.

By | March 9th, 2016|BLOGGING|Comments Off on Why a trade secret is the Spanish Inquisition of intellectual property

Who owns the trademark to “You’re fired!”?

Hint: It’s not who you think

By Peter Lemire

Since it seems Donald Trump is on everyone’s radar screen, I decided that I must write a column on “The Donald.” Before you roll your eyes and prepare to tune out another political rant, let me assure you that my focus is purely related to intellectual property and a typical tension that many celebrities, and sometimes companies, face when trying to protect catchphrases.

Think back to 2004–05, when The Apprentice first aired. Hosted by Trump, the reality TV show featured contestants from various backgrounds who competed to win a job with Trump’s organization. The contestants were split into teams and were assigned tasks designed to assess their business acumen. At the end of each episode, the loosing team would be brought into the boardroom and Trump would let one member of the team go with the catchphrase “You’re fired!”

Read more at ColoradoBiz Magazine.

By | February 8th, 2016|BLOGGING|Comments Off on Who owns the trademark to “You’re fired!”?

DIY intellectual property: Really, how hard can it be?

Well, it’s kinda like removing your own appendix

By Kurt Leyendecker

We often receive inquiries at our firm from people wondering whether they can prepare and file either a trademark application or patent application themselves without an attorney. Of course, for purely selfish reasons as an attorney, I am not thrilled about losing potential revenue, but there isn’t any legal reason or rule that prevents a person from filing their own intellectual property paperwork. I say go for it — what is the worst that can happen?

As an aside, please forgive me if my column seems a bit disjointed and my prose a bit forced. You see, I am in a lot of pain right now. I noticed my abdomen was rather sore and tender a couple of weeks ago. After a little Internet searching, I came to the conclusion that my appendix was inflamed. With my deductible and copays, I figured an appendectomy was going to cost me several thousand out of pocket. Seriously, why is surgery so expensive? I mean all the doc has to do is cut a small hole, reach in and cut the appendix off, and sew everything back together. “How hard can it be?” I thought.

Read more at ColoradoBiz Magazine.

By | November 18th, 2015|BLOGGING|Comments Off on DIY intellectual property: Really, how hard can it be?