It’s very common for non-lawyers (as well as lawyers who don’t focus their law practices on intellectual property) to mix up the different types of intellectual property—trademarks, copyrights, patents, and trade secrets. The purpose of this post is to provide the basic differences between trademarks (designed to identify the source of goods or services and avoid consumer confusion), copyrights (designed to protect creative expressive works), patents (designed to grant a limited monopoly for use of inventions and processes in exchange for public disclosure), and trade secrets (aimed to protect business secrets that provide a competitive advantage so long as reasonable measures are taken to maintain the secrets).
This post and related podcast episode covers what is required for a noncompete to be enforceable under Texas law.
This week, I thought about delving into a specific type of contract. But then, I figured it might make more sense to first go over the basics of what a contract actually is.
A statute of limitations establishes a time limit for a plaintiff to file a lawsuit based on a particular cause of action. In this post, Jason outlines the questions that must be analyzed to determine whether a claim might be time-barred.
Another of the equitable defenses is called “unclean hands.” Although I mentioned the word in previous blog posts, it might be helpful to explain what it means in more detail. So, in this blog post, I’ll try to describe the concept of unclean hands in more detail.
This post and related podcast episode are aimed at answering the question of how protected a company’s trade secrets are in the absence of a confidentiality agreement, if at all.
I often hear business owners say that they they would eventually like to register their trademarks, but that they’re already protected because they have a filing entity or assumed name registered with the Texas Secretary of State. This is not true.
Another of the equitable defenses to trademark infringement is called “acquiescence,” and in this brief blog post and podcast episode, I will go over the elements of this defense to a trademark infringement claim.
In Episode 6 of the Keith Law PLLC Podcast, I covered how a business can handle negative online reviews that are false. During that, I discussed the Texas Defamation Mitigation Act (DMA) and it’s requirement that the defamed business or person send a demand for retraction or correction to the accused defamer. In that episode, I mentioned that there was some uncertainty about the effect of failure to send the demand—whether it would prevent the lawsuit from concluding or would only prevent a plaintiff from recovering exemplary (punitive) damages. This month the Texas Supreme Court issued its opinion in Hogan v. Zoanni aiming to answer this question.
In this blog post and podcast episode I explain the unfolding drama pertaining to the notoriously unreliable ice cream machines at McDonald’s restaurants and the lawsuit recently filed by Kytch, a company that developed technology aimed at solving these ice cream problems.
During a recent podcast episode I mentioned the term fiduciary duty and a listener followed up asking what it is. It’s a good question and one that takes some thought for a lawyer to translate from “legalese” because we have been so deeply exposed to the concept that it becomes challenging to clearly describe. But here in this blog post and podcast episode I’ll try.
Congratulations for registering your trademark with the US Patent and Trademark Office! But, your USPTO journey is not over. After you get a trademark registration you have to do a few things to prevent the USPTO from cancelling the registration.
This post and podcast episode covers what trade secret misappropriation is, along with a real world example.
In this post and podcast episode I discuss a lot about what is (and is not) a trade secret and a little about how to protect this important type of intellectual property.
A “filing entity” can be a corporation, LLC (limited liability company), or other corporate form that serves as a liability veil, shield, or forcefield between claims of folks who interact with the business and the individuals who own and run the business.
In this episode, I’ll try to describe the concept of “laches” in more detail.
Once you have your entity set up, you are on the right track toward protecting your personal assets from business claims. Don’t undermine your risk management by improperly signing business contracts.
It’s common for many businesses to live and die by their online reviews. If you do enough business, there’s a chance you will eventually run into someone who wants to damage your business reputation by posting negative online reviews. If the review is true, or merely opinion, freedom of speech will probably override any steps you can take to force the removal of the review unless the person posting has promised, in an enforceable contract, to never publish anything about your business. Otherwise, you have some tools in your toolbox to protect your online reputation by forcing the removal of negative reviews.
It often makes sense to pursue your own claim in JP Court (also referred to as Justice Court and Small Claims Court).
You performed work on a private construction project in Texas and you’re wondering how long until you receive payment. In Texas, chapter 28 of the Property Code governs this situation. It’s called Prompt Payment to Contractors and Subcontractors. It regulates the time limits and interest penalties on all private construction projects within the state.
Your commercial tenant abandoned the building; then you sold the building which was demolished by the buyer. Although you sent the required certified mail to your former tenant advising that the remaining property would be disposed of, you no longer have proof that you sent the certified mail. Now the tenant pops up claiming you wrongfully disposed of their property and that they are going to sue you if you don’t pay.
So, Should You Pay?
Your customer failed to pay so you pursued the arbitration and obtained an arbitration award. Congratulations! Unfortunately, the debtor has refused or failed to pay the award.
If I own a bar, restaurant, or coffee shop what can I do if a former or current employee hosts a “reunion” party at a competitor’s establishment aimed at current and former employees and customers?
This “episode 0” introduces the podcast, the firm, my background, opinions about litigation and settling business disputes, and business focus on creating value, making money, and protecting its intellectual property (trademarks and trade secrets), and how to contact me.
If you hired the firm and the scope of work concluded, you should receive a completion of services letter. Perhaps as important as clarifying when the firm has not yet been hired is clearly communicating when the representation has ended. A completion of services letter thanks you for allowing Keith Law to represent you and …
As a business grows, an occasional dispute becomes more likely. Although disputes present themselves in all shapes and sizes, generally, a prudent approach is to strive to resolve the dispute favorably and quickly so that the business can focus its limited resources (of time, attention, and cash) on providing value, earning money, and identifying opportunities. …
Section 73.055 of the Defamation Mitigation Act requires a “timely and sufficient request for a correction, clarification, or retraction from” the defamer (a “DMA Request”).
Trade secrets provide competitive advantages but must be treated correctly to be protected. To get a sense of what the law may protect as a trade secret, there is no better place to start than a definition (hint – it protects much more than technical drawings like those pictured, above). Then, this post will provide …
This post provides a simple explanation of trademark and some of the related responsibilities. Trademarks distinguish the source of goods and services from competitors in a marketplace. Use in commerce, first-in-time, and likelihood of confusion are trademark law touchstones. Although Texas recognizes trademark rights in the common law, limited geographic protection and burden of proof …
Hiring legal help can be a little different from hiring other professionals. Here is a basic outline of the process of hiring Keith Law. Basic outline of the hiring process Frequently Asked Questions