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The Basic Differences Between Trademarks, Copyrights, Patents, & Trade Secrets

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).

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Update: Effect of Noncompliant Defamation Mitigation Act Request for Correction or Retraction

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.

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Dealing With Negative Online Reviews

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.

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Commercial Landlord’s Disposal of Former Tenant’s Property

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?

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Completion of Services Letter

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

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What is a Trademark?

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

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