The Traklight Blog

Explore the world of intangible assets and IP with guest blogs, business owner interviews, and more.

Avoid Legal Disputes to Keep Your Business on Track

You value the work created by yourself and your employees. You take great care to make sure that you take the necessary steps to protect it with patents, trademarks and copyrights, and you are diligent in making sure that your employees aren’t divulging sensitive information like trade secrets outside the office.  You understand that the intellectual property your business generates is valuable, and you want to make sure that you are protecting that value by not allowing others to use it. But are you as considered when it comes to the rights of others?

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Can TV Spoilers Violate Copyright?

In this time-shifted age of television viewing, spoilers have become the bugaboo of many people's entertainment existence. It wasn't that long ago that missing an episode of television meant that it was simply gone, with no chance for you to catch up. VCRs changed the way people could watch their favorite programs, and in the age of DVRs and streaming and on-demand, there's no reason you can't watch episodes of your favorite shows anytime and anywhere and hop on social media to discuss what happened. But these online forums for TV fans can also be a minefield of spoilers for fans not caught up or, event more perilously, for episodes yet to be released.

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Make Sure You Own Your Work

You put a lot of work into your business. You’ve undoubtedly spent countless nights and weekends trying to create a minimum viable product so that you can get to market. You toiled long and hard to come up with the perfect name for the product and your company. After all, these things will be your brand to the consuming public. But for all the thought that you put into naming, far too many companies fail to give thought to those who are already out in the marketplace.

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Lucasfilm Looks to Shut Down Lightsaber School

Few cultural properties have both the longevity and influence of Star Wars. You can see the love even beyond the walls of Comic-Con – fans have taken elements from the films and brought them to the real world it what can be seen as either dedication or lunacy. Australia recently had to ask its citizens not to list "Jedi" as their religion in their national census. Countless couples have made Star Wars the theme to their wedding. And while that level of fandom is all that any film franchise can hope to aspire to, the companies behind these tent-pole franchises are vigilant when ti comes to stopping those who they think are trying to profit off the popularity.

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RIAA Takes on Website Over Stream Ripping

In the digital age, piracy is one of the chief concerns of the entertainment industry. With competition for consumer dollars as fierce as it's ever been, movie and music distributors are loathe to lose any of that money to illegally ripped or recorded versions of the work they're putting out. While those on the other side of the issue would argue that the high prices demanded by these industries fuels the piracy that occurs, it is a case of two wrongs still not making a right, as the record industry looks to stop a website that they allege infringes upon their copyrights by providing audio files of YouTube videos.

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IP Mistakes from Small Businesses

Too often businesses fail to recognize the importance of their intangible assets, instead overlooking them in favor of more immediate concerns. But failing to recognize the value in intellectual property can lead to mistakes that put businesses at risk. Here are some of the most common causes of IP mistakes and how to avoid them.

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Patent Infringement Case Between Cisco and Arista Presses Forward

Technology has brought about a new slate of intellectual property issues that see corporations facing off in court. Google and Oracle were engaged in a lengthy court battle over the use of Java APIs in Google's development of Android software, and numerous other companies have taken legal action against their rivals for similarly unseen elements used in the development of software applications. And as more and more companies enter the same space, there is the potential for a proliferation of copyright infringement cases.

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What Issues Do Startups Face?

When you’re starting your business, it’s natural to want to focus on the things that you want to do and accomplish and put some of the more tedious chores to the back-burner. You are the innovator, the dreamer, and what creative wants to be bogged down with the nitty-gritty of paperwork and forms and contracts? But in ignoring these details at the outset of your business, you could be placing your company’s long term future in jeopardy. Frequently, it isn’t the obvious threat that seems to be staring us in the face that does a business in, but a seemingly inconsequential oversight that can spell doom for a company. Here are some areas to pay attention to early, before they grow into larger problems.

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Stephen Colbert in Intellectual Property Dispute with Viacom

For several years, Stephen Colbert occupied a unique and arguably necessary spot in our popular culture. While his fellow Comedy Central late night host Jon Stewart mixed his comedy with earnest, solemn rebukes of perceived shortcomings and failures of our political system, Colbert's critiques came from satire as he played his over-the-top, blowhard newsman character to the hilt. His persona was immediately recognizable to anyone who has seen cable news over the past fifteen years, and the audience was in on the joke; no one truly believed that the real Stephen Colbert bore any resemblance to the "Stephen Colbert" who turned up on our televisions. 

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Intellectual Property and the Challenges of Technology, Part 2

Even when you’ve taken the necessary precautions to try and prevent theft, there are still going to be those who try and use your work, thinking that they won’t get caught given the sheer size of the internet. Having your website’s artwork or copy copied at a computer somewhere in the world isn’t quite as simple as seeing someone on your stolen bike at the local 7-11. That’s why part of intellectual property protection is vigilance. Unfortunately, there isn’t an internet equivalent of police cars roaming to deter theft. It may seem like a chore, but taking time to dome some internet searches can help catch thieves that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.

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Intellectual Property and the Challenges of Technology

Technology has given us more access to available information and an incredible ability to disseminate our own messages. The internet allows us to see stories and pictures and videos from all over the world from the comfort of our devices, and the phone in our pocket can capture our experiences with high quality pictures and videos. And while the ability to find and share content on a global level is definitely a net positive, it can present its own challenges for creators and entrepreneurs.

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Italian Festival In Trouble for Improper Attribution

The internet can seem at times a terrible, negative place, but it can also be a tremendous resource for collaboration and sharing. People the world over are willing to take the time and effort to create fantastic works of art, photography and video, and many are willing to share them with everyone with no desire for compensation. Others ask simply that users attribute the material they use and follow a licensing agreement. While that may not seem a particularly onerous requirement for the free use of others' works, many companies and individuals still manage to get themselves in trouble by not reading those agreements. 

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Citigroup and AT&T Locked in Trademark Battle

The past few month have seen a spate of trademark and copyright filings that some would argue border on the absurd. Several entities have either attempted to trademark or pursued legal action related to trademarks that many would consider to be fairly broad, generic terms or phrases. Perhaps most famously, YouTube personalities tried to trademark the term "react" in relation to their brand of videos. While there are many people sympathetic to those trying to protect their work from theft, it is this type of perceived overreach that can turn support against you and make observers question whether our current system for IP protection works as it should. 

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