Intellectual Property News - Law and Daily Life
Law & Daily Life - The FindLaw Life, Family and Workplace Law Blog

Recently in Intellectual Property Category

Yosemite Park Trademark Dispute Prompts Name Change

Nature enthusiasts were disappointed to learn that last week Yosemite National Park announced the change of some building names on its land due to a trademark dispute with Delaware North, the former park concessioner. Called "a fairly pedestrian contract dispute" by Mother Jones, the case has grown important to many because a beloved national park is at the heart of this matter.

It feels to many like an attack by business on a sacred space. And that is how the National Parks Service (NPS) wants us to feel. But what is really at stake?

Appropriation or Art? Instagram Print Sale Sparks Copyright Suit

If you print and enlarge a photo that someone posts on social media and display it in a gallery, is it art? Perhaps more importantly, is it your art?

Photographer David Graham does not think so and is suing Richard Prince and his gallerist Lawrence Gagosian for copyright infringement. The suit raises questions about fair use in the age of social media. But the notion of fair use is not new to Prince who made his name in the seventies "rephotographing" other artists' works. He is, according to Photo District News, an "appropriation artist."

Genetic manipulation has been a dream to some and a nightmare to others. But the days of inserting, cutting, and swapping out DNA always seemed a bit farther off. Until now. CRISPR-Cas9 is a technology that allows users to quickly and cheaply edit, delete or replace any gene, and is already being used in hundreds of labs.

This has many people wondering if designer babies are right around the corner, and whether manipulating human genes is legal.

Kanye West is afraid that 3D printing will kill the shoe industry. Why is Kanye afraid? Maybe because adidas, who makes his Yeezy Boost 350 (which you can get on the second-hand market for a cool $1,000), said it's making a running show with 3D-printed materials. Now enterprising bootleggers might start printing their own Yeezys.

Kanye might be right to worry -- the laws against 3D printing are pretty lax. But there are a few things that are illegal to 3D print.

We've all come to learn (I hope) that nothing we post on the Internet is private. But it's a far cry from "not private" to "available for an artist to enlarge, display, and sell for $90k."

That's what artist Richard Prince for a collection he calls "New Portraits," which consist of blown up photos from other people's Instagram accounts, reports StyleCaster. Prince made small alterations, displayed them at the Frieze Art Fair in New York, and sold them for $90,000 each. If you're wondering, like everyone else, how this is legal, let us explain.

Why pay for HBO when you can pirate Game of Thrones? Why buy Taylor Swift's "1989" when someone on BitTorrent is offering it for free? Why pay to go to a theater for "Avengers" when you'll probably be able to download it the day after it comes out, if not sooner?

We're all trying to pinch pennies these days, but illegally downloading copyright material may hit your wallet a little harder than just paying the purchase price. Here's what could happen if you get caught torrenting or pirating copyrighted music, movies, or shows.

The U.S. Supreme Court has a busy March to look forward to, with 12 cases scheduled for oral arguments.

With Confederate license plates, environmental regulations, criminal procedure questions, and patent cases on the docket, there's something here for everyone:

One in three Americans are sitting on a patentable idea, but very few of them have actually applied for a patent.

According to a recent FindLaw.com survey, 32 percent of Americans have an idea that they would deem patent-worthy, but only 10 percent of home inventors have even taken the first step toward obtaining a patent for an invention.

What else does this survey reveal about American desire to innovate and invent, and how can patents help?

"Cease and desist" has a commanding and alarming ring to it, one that makes recipients of cease-and-desist letters quake in their figurative boots.

But there's really nothing magical or legally damning about a cease-and-desist letter. Often they are just a cheap way for one party's lawyers to shock or bully another party into "ceasing" or "desisting" without actually filing suit.

Don't be fooled by angry words in legalese. Here's how to decipher a cease-and-desist letter:

Is It Legal to Photocopy Textbooks?

College and grad students subsisting solely on Top Ramen may be trying to save money by photocopying textbooks. But is it legal to do so?

While the best approach is to lawfully purchase or rent a textbook, you may be able photocopy a small section of the book for a single assignment without violating copyright laws, as Lifehacker explains.

However, photocopying too much of a textbook could potentially lead to costly copyright infringement claims.