Online terms of use can be enforceable, but be careful!

Forming contracts through online terms and conditions has become commonplace. If the truth were known, however, we would probably discover that most people don’t read online terms and conditions or license agreements before clicking on “I accept,” or some other form of acceptance of the contract terms. But, in many cases, notwithstanding that a user did not read the contract terms, these online terms are enforceable. For vendors and other online service providers, there is some additional guidance to help move the needle for online contract terms towards the enforceable end of the spectrum. (more…)

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A new tool for employers in the trade secret toolkit—Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016

Employers are appropriately concerned about the potential damage that can result from the theft or misappropriation of their trade secrets. Sometimes it’s hard to put the genie back in the bottle after secret information has been disclosed, and by the time the misappropriation of trade secrets has been discovered, it’s too late. The trick is to find a way to prevent the disclosure and misappropriation before the damage is done. Remedies now available under new federal legislation may help temper, or at least provide remedies for, any such illegal disclosure. (more…)

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You may not be prison-bound, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t breaking the law

Under federal copyright law, anyone who willfully infringes a copyright in certain ways will be subject to criminal penalties, including prison for several years. That’s a remedy to be taken seriously. It’s probably not likely that the average consumer or employee will be criminally prosecuted, but there are criminal remedies available. Since copyright infringement may be a crime, if I read a Dilbert® cartoon, really like it, and forward it by email to a friend, is there a chance I will be sent to prison? (more…)

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Early trademark registration is significant for protecting trademarks in domain names according to a UDRP decision denying transfer of

Music, Violin, Classical Music.

Early trademark registration is significant for protecting trademarks in domain names according to a UDRP decision denying transfer of The respondent in the UDRP (Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy) proceeding, The Music Connection, located in Reston, VA, offers custom music CDs and digital downloads. The company registered the domain name on November 11, 1996. (more…)

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Watch for employee registration of domain names using employer trademarks

Group of employee people. Business team isolated on white background.

According to one source (, the annual amount of employee theft from US businesses is $50 billion, and seventy five percent of employees have stolen at least once from their employer. It’s no surprise that employers have security cameras in stores, and policies in place to reduce the amount of employee theft. What is surprising is that employers are not more careful with other assets. (more…)

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New domain names: strategies for brand owners to protect their trademarks

Internet and domain names concept


In the online business world, trademarks and domain names have become irrevocably interconnected.  Having a web presence is a natural extension of business branding efforts in a bricks and mortar environment.  Although not all businesses benefit significantly from a web presence, it is pretty clear that not having a web presence is damaging to a business.  Having a web presence means having a domain name, and domain names become part of the business’ brand.  Domain names by themselves can carry a message, and they control the ability to direct a consumer, or millions of consumers, to websites that will have a message, for better or for worse.  No business should be started, and no existing business should move to the internet without  first adopting one or more domain names that incorporate the applicable brand of the business. (more…)

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