August 15, 2017

crocsWhether you love them or hate them, the foam clogs made by the Colorado-based Crocs are certainly distinctive. They can’t be called “unique,” however, at least according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. A recent ruling from the government agency rejected the patent that Crocs has held on its signature shoes since 2006. Apparently another party had registered a similar design a year before, thus invalidating the original trademark.  

The Patent Office’s decision may finally bring an end Continue reading

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July 20, 2017

rego-korosiAs sales from CDs and digital downloads continue to decline, streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music have become vital to the $7.7 billion music industry. Still, there’s one major streaming service that both executives and musicians alike have long despised. While it’s mostly known for video, YouTube accounts for 25 percent of all music streamed across the globe. This makes it by far the most popular streaming site among fans, a fact that industry insiders find increasingly troubling.

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June 13, 2017

slgckgc-kitkatKitKats first landed in U.K. candy stores in 1935 and the four-fingered bars quickly became a hit. By the 1970s the crunchy chocolate candy had grown from a popular British treat into a worldwide hit. Nestle purchased KitKat in 1988 and solidified the candy bar’s position as a global brand. KitKat has changed little over the course of this long history, retaining its signature four-fingers of chocolate that “break off” with a satisfying snap.

But according to a recent ruling Continue reading

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December 29, 2016

As 2016 comes to a close, many people across the country have likely spent the last few weeks immersed in Christmas music and movies. This brief video takes a look at how much money some of these old entertainment properties earn during the festive season, from Frank Capra’s classic It’s a Wonderful Life to Mariah Carey’s perennial hit “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”

Questions:

  1. How did the public domain copyright of It’s a Wonderful Life transform the film Continue reading
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August 5, 2016

In today’s digital world it can be difficult for photographers and trademark holders to control the use of their pictures. To combat copyright infringement, licensing companies like Getty Images keep a close eye on where their photos are posted. For instance, using a Getty-owned image on your blog without permission will likely result in a cease-and-desist letter from company representatives. That’s what happened to photographer Carol M. Highsmith when she received an email informing her that an image on her Continue reading

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July 12, 2016

One of the first phrases children are taught to say is “thank you.” This simple expression of gratitude then sticks with us throughout life, acting as the appropriate response to a range of situations both simple and serious. In the eyes of Citigroup, however, “thank you” is more than just a common reply. Since 2004 the banking giant has operated a rewards program called “ThankYou” that allows customers to earn points from their purchases. As a result, the company trademarked Continue reading

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Two years ago Led Zeppelin made headlines after the band got hit with a lawsuit concerning their most iconic song. According to the complaint, songwriters Robert Plant and Jimmy Page stole the opening guitar riff to “Stairway to Heaven” from a short instrumental called “Taurus” by the American psychedelic band Spirit. While Led Zeppelin’s members denied any wrongdoing, cultural commenters pointed to the band’s history of plagiarism and previous legal battles. What’s more, the lawsuit appeared just months before another Continue reading

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December 6, 2014

The sheer size of today’s corporations virtually ensures that companies will have to wrangle with lots of legal red tape. Most top executives spend as little time as possible dealing with law, choosing either to avoid it or grudgingly comply with the restrictions they face. In the former case, a company may try to move some operations into another country to dodge certain taxes, while in the latter executives simply do the bare minimum necessary to make it through the Continue reading

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August 11, 2014

In 2014 a judge granted Northwestern University’s football players collective bargaining rights. Although it was later overturned, this landmark decision heightened the debate about compensation for college athletes to a whole new level, and it didn’t take long for another major legal ruling to follow it. In early August a U.S. district judged found in favor of former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon and 19 others regarding the image rights of athletes. According to the ruling, the NCAA violates anti-trust Continue reading

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July 31, 2014

Led Zeppelin’s 1971 epic “Stairway to Heaven” is widely regarded by music critics as one of the greatest rock songs of all time. It’s also been one of the most profitable. Clocking in at nearly eight minutes long, the band refused to release the song as a single, which forced fans to shell out more cash to buy the album it appeared on. When coupled with the song’s substantial royalties from radio play, “Stairway to Heaven” has earned at least Continue reading

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