Arthur R. Lehman, L.L.C.

intellectual property Archives

Helping employers and employees with intellectual property issues

When drawing up employment contracts, employers in New York naturally want to include provisions protecting their intellectual property. This is why many employment contracts limit the rights of employees to accept certain positions with certain other employers soon after leaving the employment of the contracting employer. Employees, on the other hand, may determine that these non-compete clauses are not enforceable or are not applicable to their specific circumstances.

Macy's sues Burlington, former executive over trade secrets

New York-based Macy's Inc. has begun a lawsuit against its competitor, Burlington Stores, Inc., to prevent one of its former vice-presidents from working for Burlington. The complaint alleges that Burlington hired one of Macy's key executives to obtain access to its trade secrets and proprietary and confidential information. The executive has counter-sued Macy's to obtain a declaratory judgment that her employment contract with Macy's does not prevent her from working in her new position with Burlington.

Breweries fight over similar names and trademarks

With the proliferation of craft breweries in New York, and across the country, over the last decade, no one should be surprised by the recent dispute between two such breweries over their product names and trademarks. The case is unusual because the alleged trademark infringement involves several product names and product labels, rather than the usual one-to-one claim of infringement.

Pink "Unicorn" drinks spark trademark lawsuit against Starbucks

Unicorns, especially pink unicorns, are thought to be entirely creatures of mythology, but the marketing ploy of a Brooklyn coffee shop has transformed the one-horned beast into a trademark that is at the heart of an intellectual property lawsuit involving pink drinks, both named "Unicorn." The suit involves the local coffee shop and Starbucks, the giant coffee chain.

Tomato sauce maker abandons product name but learns to prosper

This blog has previously noted the steps that a trademark owner will take to protect the mark. But, what happens to the business that is forced to abandon a successful product name? A tomato sauce maker was recently compelled by a New York restaurant to pick another tradename for its products, but it has found a way to recover from this setback and continue to prosper.

KFC sues New York businessman over famous slogan

Perhaps one of the world's most famous advertising slogans is the three word phrase used by Kentucky Fried Chicken to promote its fast food products: "finger lickin' good." Now, the chain has filed a petition with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to block a New York state businessman from using phrases that are similar to its trademarked phrases but which appear have nothing to do with fried chicken or any other kind of food product.

Restaurant owners settle trademark dispute over names

Few businesses depend upon their names to the same extent as restaurants. A restaurant's name can signify the kind of dining experience the restaurant provides and can become a key element of word-of-mouth marketing. A trademark infringement lawsuit involving similar restaurant names was recently avoided when the owners of two New York City restaurants found a creative solution to their dispute.

What is the Lanham Act in trademark law?

Businesses spend a great deal of money to develop and protect their intellectual property. Consequently, they view any attempt by a competitor to reduce the value of that property with justifiable alarm. One of the most potent legal weapons for protecting a firm's trademarks, patents, trade dress, and copyrights is the little known but very effective Lanham Act.

How does New York define a "trade secret"?

New York City is perhaps the largest financial, entertainment and high tech center in the United States, and businesses engaged in these industries rely heavily of the concept of "trade secret" to protect their intellectual property from expropriation by other firms. Ironically, New York and Massachusetts, are the only two states that have not adopted the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. Instead, New York courts use a common law definition that is the product of many years of trade secret litigation.

Helping business owners protect their copyrights

As previous posts on this blog have discussed, many of the most prominent copyright disputes concern books, music and other works of art. Many people may mistakenly assume that this means businesses need only concern themselves with trademarks, patents and trade secrets, and not with copyright law. However, copyright disputes can concern business materials, as well as art and literatue. In fact, many businesses in New York City need to rely on copyrights to protect their software, marketing material and other important assets.