About

After relocating across a continent with our research group to U.S.C’s Center for Neurogerontology, I met a group of happy patent attorneys.  They seemed to like their work. A lot.  Three years of law school, a bar exam and a patent bar later, I became an  honored member of the official “nerds” of the legal profession, patent attorneys.  During the past twelve years, my practice has included patent, trademark and trade secret litigation, client intellectual property counseling and patent and trademark prosecution.

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5 thoughts on “About”

  1. I am having some difficulty finding TRUE data on a couple of copy right issues… There seems to be a variety of prevailing theories on the ability to copy right patterns because you are making a utilitarian item. Others claim that the copy right on patterns limits not only your ability to copy the pattern and sell it.. but also extends to the ability of a person to sell anything that they made with that pattern.

    My next question has to do with tracking down the copy right or renewal of books in print… specifically books printed prior to 1963.. I have several books in hand, I cant find the copyright for the year it was published… but obviously it is under copyright… But when i cant find the original copy right it makes it hard for me to trust that just because i have not tracked down the renewal (28? years) doesnt mean it doesnt exist.

    Thank you for your assistance.

    Angel

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    • Hi Angel, Thanks for your comment! Your confusion is understandable. Copyright law is very nuanced, and, online, it seems everyone has their own interpretation. While I cannot offer you any legal advice, there are a few basic concepts that come into play. First, our courts/law note that, as “‘useful article[s]’ … having an intrinsic utilitarian function that is not merely to portray the appearance of the article or to convey information, clothes are not copyrightable. In contrast, fabric designs, such as artwork, are considered “writings” for purposes of copyright law and are accordingly protectable.” Also, the Copyright Office considers patterns for sewing, needlework etc. eligible for copyright protection (see e.g., Copyright Office Circular #40). So, while a pattern or an original design on fabric may be eligible for copyright protection, I would question a claim to the garment, other than any embroidery or other non-functional additions. Keep in mind that a pattern for something like a doll (i.e. not a garment) may have a different outcome since it could be argued that a doll is not ‘functional’.

      You’re correct, pre-Jan. 1964 copyrighted works generally need to have been renewed. So, for works through 1963, they may still be covered if the copyright was renewed during the 28th year after the work was published. You most likely can check this on the U.S. Copyright Office’s database- you can pull up many of the actual registrations. If the work was renewed, the copyright was extended for another 47 years after the 28 initial years. In 1998, the law changed and the 47 years was extended to 67 years- but, works that were in the public domain by then (e.g. works published in 1932 or earlier with a renewal) generally would remain in the public domain.
      Hope that helps!

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  2. Hi. Do you know if there is any way to get minutes or records from the Mannheim court after a hearing has occurred? There was a hearing on 1/30 that I’m very interested in, but I haven’t been able to find any way to determine the outcome of the hearing.

    Thanks,
    Mark

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    • Hi Mark:
      I don’t read German, but the Court in Mannheim may have a website with instructions as to how to obtain rulings/decisions (sometimes Google can do a rough website translation in the event you don’t read German). You can try and contract the Court directly too- my experience is that they are very helpful. I don’t know if this is the actual website link, but give it a try… http://www.landgericht-mannheim.de/pb/,Lde/Startseite. Also, you can contact Georgetown U, which has a a German law collection. At the very least, they should have some info as to how to obtain copies of Mannheim Regional Court rulings. Here’s some info on the center at Georgetown: Wolff Library reference desk at 202-662-4195 or by email: intlref@law.georgetown.edu.
      Hope that helps! Let us know about the case & hearing outcome- sounds interesting!

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