LES meeting

April 23rd, 2012

Please join us on May 8th at 11:30 AM at the University Hotel 615 Washington Ave. SE Mpls, on the University of Minnesota campus for a meeting of the Licensing Executives Society. Mark Lopes will present on what all companies should be thinking about to protect their intellectual property from internet attacks and other bad actors.

LES April 10th

March 26th, 2012

Please join us on April 10th for a meeting of the Licensing Executives Society at the offices of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi at 800 LaSalle Ave, Minneapolis in the 7th floor court room.  William Manning and Sam Walling are presenting on patent licensing and valuation.  This is a unique opportunity to hear from attorneys who have litigated patent cases with billions of dollars on the line.   The program runs from 11:30 AM- 1 PM and lunch is included.  Registration is open to all, please contact Alex Farrell for more information.  Alexander@fsfarrell.com

What do I do when someone used my art or design without my permission?

September 1st, 2011

Minnesota, and the Twin Cities in particular have a thriving art scene with many talented artists, musicians, and designers. Often web designers or artists find their art is being used by other artists or companies without their permission.

The proper form of legal protection for art, music, and web design work is copyright law. Copyright protects artwork, written words, music, and designs as soon they have been written, created, or designed on a computer. Unlike other forms of intellectual property copyright does not protect the idea or concept behind the writing or art, only the words and designs as they exist when created.

An artist or designer can protect their work where it is copied exactly, or where it is “substantially similar” to the protected work. However, before any action for copyright infringement can begin, the owner has to register the copyright with the United States Copyright Office. This step is inexpensive and relatively fast and easy.
The most difficult element in a copyright matter is deciphering fair use. Anyone can use certain parts of copyrighted works in limited ways without infringing on the copyright holder’s rights. The most common example of this theme is sampling brief pieces of music within other songs. When examining questions of fair use 4 items must be considered:

  1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

For many business, ideas are the mainstay of their trade. It is absolutely essential to do everything possible to protect your ideas and work from being used without your permission or compensation. We would be happy to answer any questions you have about copyright law and assist you in any way possible.

What do I do when I have been served with a third party Subpoena?

July 28th, 2011

In patent litigation, it is increasingly common for third parties to be served with subpoenas in lawsuits between competitors. These types of subpoenas often ask for sensitive information far beyond the scope of what the requesting party is eligible to receive. Parties which receive subpoenas are under a strict time limit to respond and the choice on how to answer is very important.

There are two choices on how to proceed without giving up valuable information. A party can file a motion to quash the subpoena or serve a response on the other party and refuse to provide any sensitive information. If a company chooses to file a motion to quash a subpoena it will face the uphill burden of having to show the requested information is not relevant or unduly burdensome to accumulate. For a motion to quash, the court will assume that the subpoena is proper and the moving party must prove to the court that the information requested is inappropriate. This approach is advantageous in that one is able to force the issue in a shorter time frame and potentially be protected from future requests for information.

If a party chooses to serve a response to the subpoena on the requesting party it is important not rely on blanket objections. Each question must be answered carefully and reasons given for withholding information. If your company and the requesting party are not able to come to an agreement on what information will be exchanged then the requesting party must file a motion to compel with the court. In this action the moving party faces the burden of showing that their requests are relevant and not unduly burdensome. This approach is beneficial in that it forces the other side to show why their requests are relevant, however, it will take more time and more control over the discovery process is given to the other side.

We would be happy to answer any questions you may have about this process and assist you in any way possible.

June 2nd, 2011

F.S. Farrell is pleased to announce the launch of its new website. This blog will update viewers on current events in intellectual property law and other useful information for businesses.