Are You a Lawyer? No? Then Shut Up.

The law can be strange and counterintuitive, and people can hold remarkably – sometimes catastrophically – wrong ideas about it. Here are some: Myth: Mailing yourself a copy of your work means no one can steal your idea. Sorry. A postmark suggests a tiny bit of proof of genesis, but doesn’t create an exclusionary right…

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Why register a trademark?

Why should I spend all this money on registering a trademark? Isn’t my domain name enough? Short answer: because it’s cool to own stuff. Long answer: Your brand tells your customers where your products (and services) come from. In the minds of your customers, your brand is you. Artful brand selection fortifies market recognition. Pick…

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Startup Legal FAQ 10. – Why Use Independent Contractor Agreements?

I suppose I need an independent contractor agreement too? Yes. Yes you do. Ideally, you need one that uses the magic words “works made for hire.” Ownership of intellectual property is counterintuitive. Mere payment for deliverables does not necessarily secure clean title from independent contractors. Under US copyright law, in order to be deemed to…

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Copyrightability of recipes

Copyright protection attaches to original, creative works of authorship.  If a recipe is copyrighted, the copyright holder can usually sue anyone who copies it without permission. Recipes typically have 2 sections: 1. the list of ingredients, and 2. the mixing & prep instructions. 1. Plain lists of ingredients are not copyrightable, or the protection, if…

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