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Showing 11 posts in Intellectual Property.

Grow Your Business with Foster Swift's SEED Group

The decisions an entrepreneur makes at the earliest stages of a business startup are critically important to the business's success.  From entity formation to fundraising to intellectual property strategies, the legal foundation that is laid from the outset can accelerate growth and increase options down the road. Read More ›

Categories: Entity Planning, Financing, Intellectual Property

First Steps in Protecting a Trademark

You are using a trademark; what do you need to do to protect it? You need to file for protection at the state or federal level. But there are several first steps that should be done before you proceed with filing for state or federal protection. Learn more about these first steps in this short video clip.

Categories: Intellectual Property, Trademarks

Getting Your Design House in Order

designOn Tuesday, February 16, 2016, The Runway, Lansing’s fashion incubator, kicked off its 2016 Fashion 411 speaker series with the highly energetic duo, Claire and Shawn Buitencorp of Shock & Awww. Foster Swift was proud to be a sponsor of the event, but I did not prompt them to advise attendees to take care of legal matters. I was, of course, pleased to hear that advice coming from this successful duo, along with their advice to know when to rely on others to advance your business and the importance of research. Read More ›

Categories: Entity Planning, Intellectual Property, Trademarks

Year End Checklist for Businesses and Individuals

1. MEET WITH YOUR TAX ADVISOR

  • There may be last minute planning possibilities for 2015. Consult with your tax advisor while you still have time to act in 2015. Don't assume your CPA, lawyer or financial advisor is going to automatically suggest ways to minimize your tax liability. Be proactive!

2. HAVE YOUR ANNUAL MEETING AND CREATE YOUR ANNUAL MEETING MINUTES

  • It is important to document the activities and decisions at your annual meeting and accompanying meeting minutes. Make sure this happens in 2015.
Read More ›

Categories: Entity Planning, Intellectual Property, Tax

How to Improve Product Design Using Trade Dress

WHAT IS TRADE DRESS?

Trade dress consists of the unique, non-functional, elements used to promote a product or service. It may also include features such as size, shape, color, color combinations, textures, graphics, or even particular sales techniques. 

Trade dress is within the family of trademark. It is, however, not as well-known as a trademark because of the changing legal standards to acquire and maintain such beneficial federal protection. A trademark is any word, name, symbol, or device or any combination used to identify and distinguish goods or services from those manufactured or sold by others and to indicate the source of the goods.  

Federal law is violated when someone uses a trademark (or trade dress) of another that creates confusion among customers.  Read More ›

Categories: Fashion, Intellectual Property

Make Your Mark - Defining and defending your brand with a trademark

brandingFor those of you that attended the first event in The Runway’s 411 Speaker Series, you've surely been thinking about Jen Guarino’s branding advice. We have the perfect follow up. Once you've worked hard to perfect your brand identity and you are ready to launch your business, how do you draw attention to and protect your brand? You need a trademark. 

I’ll be leading a panel of attorneys from Foster Swift’s Fashion and Design team, Fosterfashion, Sam Fredrick, Zack Behler and John Mashni, as we talk trademark. What is a trademark, when is DIY a good idea, when do you need an attorney, when should you invest in registering a trademark, and how do you benefit from enforcing your trademark? We will answer these questions and explain what you need to do before you commit to the name and logo that will represent your brand.

If you want to avoid costly mistakes and benefit from all of the effort that you’ve put into perfecting your brand identity, we look forward to seeing you today, on June 16! Register here. And thanks - your registration fees support The Runway!

Categories: Intellectual Property, Trademarks

High End Imitation – High Praise or Harmful Piracy?

If you read my post on trade dress, you are familiar with my lament on the absence of statutory protection from design piracy. United States fashion designers must face the reality that the overall appearance of their garments and accessories can and will be copied.

My post touched on one form of self-help – the creation of a garment or accessory that is impossible to copy at a price point enticing to a design pirate. However, this form of self-help is of no use when you get the attention of a design pirate that is wearing very expensive shoes.   Read More ›

Categories: Intellectual Property

The Small World That Lives in New York City

I had the very good fortune of spending a few days in New York. I am sure that my small town, Midwestern roots are showing when I share my fascination with The Big City. I love the energy and the endless options of things to see and do. This recent trip was, however, completely focused on the fashion industry. I was in New York to attend the 5th Annual Fashion Law Symposium at Fordham’s Fashion Law Institute, and while in town I attended a “Fashion at FIAF Talk” by Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler, had lunch with designer Daniel Vosovic, discussed re-branding with a young designer on a walk through Central Park, shopped at MOOD, met with the founders of The Trim Lab, and checked out the Halston exhibit at The Museum at FIT. I will be sharing some specifics regarding these recent New York happenings in future posts, but I would like to first share a general observation and how it will, I hope, translate into things to come in Michigan. Read More ›

Categories: Entity Planning, Fashion, Intellectual Property, Manufacturing

House Bill 4198, what is it good for? Nothing, absolutely nothing.

If you employ anyone or hope to employ someone, be aware of a very bad idea. House Bill 4198, introduced by State Rep. Peter Lucido would, if it became law, effectively ban non-compete agreements between employers and employees in the State of Michigan. Particularly for fashion designers, who lack statutory protection for the overall design of their garments and accessories, a covenant not to compete is a very important provision in the designers’ agreements with their employees.

According to Crain’s Detroit Business (March 23, 2015, p. 25), House Bill 4198 was a reaction to a publicized debate over the use of covenants not to compete by Jimmy John’s Franchise LLC to prohibit their sandwich makers from working for a competitive sandwich shop. I have to wonder whether anyone involved in such a debate, or involved in authoring House Bill 4198, has a working knowledge of current Michigan statute on the topic and the role of our courts in enforcing covenants not to compete. Read More ›

Categories: Contracts, Employment, Intellectual Property, Manufacturing

Trade Dress – A Good Fit for Fashion?

United States fashion designers must face the reality that the overall appearance of their garments and accessories can and will be copied. The absence of statutory protection from design piracy is particularly problematic where advancements in digital technology facilitate copying. Are you prepared to move quickly to your next vision, anticipating the last will be copied? Will you instead create a garment or accessory that is impossible to copy at a price point enticing to a design pirate? An alternative to such “self-help” is to find a way to protect your design work, to the greatest extent possible, by adopting existing intellectual property laws.

Fosterfashion will explore the use of existing trademark law by fledging designers in a post later this spring. The IP Section of the State Bar of Michigan recently invited me to comment on the use of trade dress claims to protect fashion design. As I concluded in the recent edition of IPLS Proceedings, trade dress claims can be a very good fit for an established designer.

Categories: Intellectual Property, Trademarks