HILARY J. SUMNER
Creating Assets from Innovations

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IP In the News

Scientist Admits to Trying to Steal GlaxoSmithKline's Trade Secrets for China

Posted on September 4, 2018 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (0)

A Chinese American Scientist working in Phildelphia admitted to being involved in a plot to steal GlaxoSmithKline trade secrets for China.  The trade secrets involved medical treatments for cancer and other illnesses. CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE

Is it Safe to Use a "Dead" Trademark?

Posted on May 26, 2018 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (0)


Cancellation of a trademark registration does not extinguish common law trademark rights. If the owner continues to use the mark after abandonment or cancellation by the USPTO, that owner will still enjoy common law protections allowing for use within the current "zone of commerce."  While it may possible to register a canceled or abandoned mark, one should think carefully and research any potentially confusingly similar uses.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE

Choose your Trademark Carefully! 7 Unfortunate Branding Mistakes...

Posted on December 14, 2016 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (0)

When creating a trademark it is important to look at the selected name from all angles and potential misunderstandings... 

CLICK HERE FOR ARTICLE ON THE 7 MOST UNFORTUNATE BRAND NAMES EVER TRADEMARKED

Obama Signs Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) into Law

Posted on May 15, 2016 at 2:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Obama has signed the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA) into law.  This law amends the Economic Espionage Act of 1996, creating a federal civil remedy for the misappropriation of trade secrets.  It also provides an additional means of protection for intellectual property. https://www.dlapiper.com/en/us/insights/publications/2016/05/obama-signs-federal-trade-secret-bill-into-law/" target="_blank">CLICK HERE FOR ARTICLE



Freedom of Speech is not Absolute - Negative Yelp Reviewers are Revealed

Posted on February 7, 2014 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (0)

While the 9th Circuit recently held that bloggers are protected by freedom of speech, internet reviewers may not enjoy those same freedoms.  The Virginia Court of Appeals recently acknowledged that anonymous speech is protected by the First Amendment but held that where there is a good-faith belief that commercial speech is defamatory, the identity of anonymous reviewers may be revealed.  In this particular case, seven people posted negative reviews of a carpet cleaning business.  The business filed a defamation suit against the seven individuals and issued a subpoena requsting that Yelp reveal the indentity of the seven anonymous reviewers.  Yelp refused but the VA Court of Appeals held that where a reviewer is not a geniune customer of the business it is reviewing, that review is based on a false statement of fact and the reviewer is not entitled to First Amendment protections.  Click here for full article

New Flash Drive Invention Promises to Protect Against Infection

Posted on October 16, 2013 at 5:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Mobile data devices have always been the targets of attack whether through data theft at fake charging stations or by malicious software imbedded in counterfeit charging devices. A new "digital prophylactic" prevents against these attacks by disabling data transfer pins at unknown charging stations.  Power pins remain free to secure a charge at these sites. 

Click here for full article.

Can a Copyright Be Validly Transferred by Accepting On-Line Terms?

Posted on September 17, 2013 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)

A recent 4th Circuit case considered whether a copyright can be validly transferred by simply clicking "yes" to a website's terms of use.  In this case an online real estate site required users to accept the site's terms of use (TOU) prior to uploading photos.  The TOU noted that all images become the "exclusive property" of the site and that the uploader agrees to "irrevocably assign" the image to the site free of any restrictions. The site owner, Metropolitan Regional, filed for a preliminary injuction to prevent the original copyright owner from posting photos on its own site.  The district court agreed with Metropolitan and the 4th Circuit affirmed. The question of whether the clicking of "yes" to accept the TOU constitutes a valid E-signature that properly transfers copyrights will be decided in the near future.  

See Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, Inc. v. American Home Realty Network, Inc. for the 4th Circuit opinion.

Meme Use in Advertisements

Posted on September 13, 2013 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Memes can be a great way to ad humor to an ad campaign but you should always seek the permission of the copyright owner before using them commercially. 

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Bad Faith Infringement Suits Can Be Costly to Plaintiffs

Posted on August 26, 2013 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (0)

A $1.6 Million dollar award for attorney fees was recently confirmed against a plaintiff held to have pursued a bad faith infringement action. 

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