Intellectual Property (IP) is an umbrella term for trademarks, copyrights, and patents. Sometimes the protections offered by this trinity can overlap, but their differences are mostly clear:
Trademark law protects brand names, slogans, and logos. Walmart and McDonald’s are not just the bastions of American hegemony–they are, in name and style, the “intellectual properties” of corporate America. If you too boldly dream of one day owning your very own business that you have driven to success on the backs of minimum wage workers whose living incomes are subsidized by the Federal Government, it is crucial that you do not follow in the infringing footsteps of Mr. McDowell. Thankfully, Robert has experience conducting trademark searches and registrations.
Copyright protects literature and audio/visuals, including your favorite films, photos, songs, and musical works. This area of the law may come into play when people illegally download pornography. There are criminal laws in place that make it illegal for children under 18 to be exposed to pornography, but there are also copyright laws in place that prohibit the viewing of pornography if it is obtained by illegal means irrespective of age, i.e. pirated rather than paid for. It is of course more common to hear about porn lawsuits involving copyright infringement than ones involving illegal distribution of pornography to minors. From a financial standpoint, it is easy to understand these unbalanced priorities. For the better or worse, society’s consensus seems to be that justice is more fashionable when it is lucrative. Robert can help you register your copyright by filing a simple form and depositing one or two samples of the work (depending on what it is) with the U.S. Copyright Office.
Finally, patent law protects inventions like Viagra and designs like the Thong Diaper. However, if you are like Colonel Sanders or Robert Woodruff, you may wish to withhold your “herbs and spices” recipe as a trade secret by guarding it in a vault. As long as your trade secret is not revealed to the general public, and as long as it isn’t subject to inevitable, independent discovery by equally-creative competition, you can forego revealing it publicly in an application for the limited 20-year duration of patent protection. Thus, with patent law, one must consider the trade-off between maintaining a trade secret versus coming out of the closet with a patent application. Robert can assist with the decision-making process to the extent that he has experience conducting patent searches and registrations.
Contrary to the implications of the phrase, one need not exercise much intellect to get the protections of “intellectual” property law. Indeed, the Supreme Court once said originality in the copyright context requires merely a “modicum of creativity.” Now get out there and make your Uncle Sam proud!
Robert has experience drafting and reviewing contracts in many areas, including but not limited to licensing, tenancy/leasing, real estate purchases, and employment. In 2015, Robert obtained a $47,668 award for a business client pursuant to a contractual breach judgment.
All business is done by contract or by implication thereof. A contract is a promise or a set of promises for the breach of which the law gives a remedy, or the performance of which the law in some way recognizes as a duty. Contracts are often ridden with problematic verbiage, especially when left unreviewed by counsel. Here are three examples of fashion failure:
Client will pay Robert a suitable amount to review Client’s contract.
Client will pay Assassin $9000 to murder Client’s abomination of a spouse.
Spouse One promises Spouse Two never to ask Spouse Two for child support after divorce.
A contract is a testament to the personal or corporate integrity of an entity. A poorly-written contract is not only a legal nightmare, but also an embarrassment. It is the equivalent of wearing pajamas to a Presidential dinner. If you don’t like the President, it is wiser to wear a suit to his party and disgrace him by consuming all his expensive food. Similarly, if you’re at odds with the person on the other side of your contract, it is crucial not to be lackadaisical with the drafting and review of the agreement document. Rather than expressing your dislike through apathetic contractual drafting, focus instead on how you can best take advantage of your arch nemesis to the full extent afforded by the suit of contract law. Hire a lawyer to draft your contract or to perform document review, and you’ll sleep better at night.
You may not be planning to die, but it is imperative that you be dying to plan. To exit this world fashionably means to continue controlling the realm of the living by calling the shots from your grave. Robert’s proudest moment was a pro bono opportunity to successfully draft a will and trust combo for an honorable 93-year-old Holocaust survivor back in December 2014.
A trust is a relationship whereby property is held by one party for the benefit of another. A trust is created by a “settlor,” who transfers some or all of his or her property to a trustee. The trustee holds that property for the trust’s beneficiaries. The trustee is given legal title to the trust property, but is obligated to act for the good of the beneficiaries. For a cool example, check out the Getty Trust–the world’s wealthiest art institution!
Trusts are frequently created in wills, defining how money and property will be handled for children or other beneficiaries. A will is created when the declarant of the will, the testator, names one or more persons to manage his or her estate and provides for the distribution of his property at death. For instance, if you are like William Shakespeare, you may opt to leave only your second best bed for your beloved wife.
A will may also contain funeral and burial instructions. It could come useful in avoiding situations such as this:
I’ve had so much plastic surgery, when I die they will donate my body to Tupperware.