The High-touch Legal Services® Blog…for Startups!

© 2009-2017 Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law

Design Copyright Explained

Copyright Office logo fo Dana Shultz post about design copyrightMany people are familiar with copyrights for literary and musical works, movies, and the like. This post is about a different type of copyright, the design copyright.

Title 17, Chapter 13 of the United States Code contains the relevant statutes.

Design Copyright Elements

17 USC Section 1301(a)(1) identifies the basic elements of a design copyright (emphasis added): (more…)

How Much Can My Product Look Like Another Company’s Product?

Logo for Quora, where Dana Shultz answered a question about "How much can my product look like another company's product?"This post discusses how much one company’s product can look like another company’s product without creating intellectual property problems. It largely copies a Quora answer that I wrote recently. Please see How much can my product look like another company’s product without infringing the other company’s intellectual property rights in that product? (more…)

Which Types of Intellectual Property Can Protect an Idea?

Logo for Quora, where Dana Shultz answered a question about types of intellectual property protectionThis post explains why the various types of intellectual property (“IP”) cannot protect a mere idea. However, IP may protect items that one creates based on such an idea.

I first wrote about this subject on Quora. Please see Which types of intellectual property protection can I receive for my idea? (more…)

Creativity and Copyright

Copyright Office logo fo Dana Shultz post about creativity and copyrightCreativity is important socially and aesthetically. It also is required for a work to be copyrightable.

The Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices is the administrative manual of the Register of Copyrights. The Compendium concerns Title 17 of the United States Code and Chapter 37 of the Code of Federal Regulations. (more…)

DMCA Designated Agent List Going Online

Logo of US Copyright Office, which announced that its DMCA designated agent paper filings will transition to an online systemThe U.S. Copyright Office maintains designated agent records under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The Office recently announced that will be moving from paper to an online system.

DMCA Background

The DMCA protects online service providers against liability for user-provided content that infringes third parties’ copyrights. (Please see Terms of Use and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) .) However, there are several requirements for that protection to exist. (more…)

What are Novelty and Non-obviousness?

Logo for Quora, where Dana Shultz answered a question about novelty and non-obviousness for utility patentsNovelty and non-obviousness are requirements for a utility patent to be granted in the United States.

This post explains the meaning of novelty and non-obviousness. I have based this on my answer to a Quora question. Please see What exactly defines novelty and non-obvious in regards to patenting?

USPTO on Novelty and Non-obviousness

I have copied, below (emphasis added), portions of what the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office says about these criteria. For more information, please see General information concerning patents. (more…)

Trade Secrets Receive Federal Protection

Photo of volumes of the United States Code, symbolizing DTSA protection of trade secretsThis post discusses the civil and criminal protections for trade secrets available since May 12, 2016 under the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA).

Relevant definitions in the DTSA roughly follow – with numerous modest differences – those in the Uniform Trade Secrets Act , which has been adopted, with various modifications, by almost all states. (more…)

DTSA (Defend Trade Secrets Act) Requires Notice to Employees

Photo of Obama signing a bill, symbolizing enactment of DTSAUntil recently, trade secrets were solely a matter of state law.  However, on May 11, 2016, President Obama signed the DTSA, the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016.

Because of the DTSA, trade secret misappropriation suits with an interstate component now can be filed in federal court. For more information about civil and criminal enforcement, please see Trade Secrets Receive Federal Protection. (more…)

Monthly Missives Compilation Now Available

Picture of a calendar, symbolizing Dana Shultz's monthly missivesFrom late 2004 to early 2016, I published a not-quite-monthly email newsletter on various business-related legal topics – what I called my “monthly missives“.

I recently compiled the nearly 100 emails and have made the collection available on the Downloads page.


What is a DMCA Counter Notification?

Screen shot from YouTube tutorial re filing a DMCA counter notification

Screen shot from YouTube counter notification tutorial

In Terms of Use and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), I discussed DMCA provisions pertaining to takedown notices. This post discusses how an online service provider should respond to a takedown notice and the role of the counter notification.

17 U.S.C. Section 512(c)(1)(C) states that for a provider to be protected by the DMCA, it must respond to a valid takedown notice by “respond[ing] expeditiously to remove, or disable access to, the material that is claimed to be infringing….” (more…)