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Work-for-hire and the startup:  are startups treated differently from mature companies when they try to protect their IP? Does it depend on the form of entity…???

The Ninth Circuit in JustMed v. Byce found that a startup founder's former brother-in-law and part-time code developer was indeed an employee when he wrote the code -- and the code was therefore indeed a work for hire. This meant the company owned the code and the disgruntled former brother-in-law did not have any independent ownership rights in it.  This [...]

By |2019-06-18T23:05:49+00:00March 1st, 2011|0 Comments

So zip codes are protectible personally identifiable information? 

The California Supreme Court surprised a lot of us when it just recently found that retailers who ask customers for their zip codes are violating California's Song-Beverly Credit Card Act of 1971, which prohibits a merchant from requiring a consumer to provide "personal identification information" as a condition of accepting payment by credit card.  The [...]

By |2019-06-18T23:05:49+00:00March 1st, 2011|0 Comments

Cyberterrorism, online trademark fights, biogenetics and the law, IGF reports, smart meters and unanticipated legal issues, and more…

With the ABA cyberspace law commitee, I organized a conference in Austin, focusing on new and developing cyberlaw issues.  Highlights included new lessons in cyberterrorism prevention, recent cases dealing with the copyright work-for-hire doctrine and start-up tech companies, new strategies in dealing with domain name conflicts and anonymous online infringers, and new ways of thinking about privacy rights [...]

By |2016-02-03T17:07:15+00:00March 1st, 2011|0 Comments

New Delaware decision: Do  LLCs give management greater protection against creditors than they would have in a corporation? 

More LLCs are formed in the US each year than corporations and partnerships combined. The reason:  maximum flexibility in profit sharing (LLCs allow corporate-type liquidation preferences or partnership-type profits interests), pass-through taxation (as in partnerships and S corporations), and the potential to reduce fiduciary duties or even to eliminate them (as has been suggested for [...]

By |2019-06-18T23:05:49+00:00December 1st, 2010|0 Comments

TechCrunch Disrupt – Day 3 tidbits:  Diller on Net Neutrality, Mobile Payments, Mobile Ads, and Disconcerting Social Networking Apps

The SF economy was humming at the Concourse Exhibition Center on Brannan Street last week, during the 3 days ofTechCrunch Disrupt.  The cavernous, stretched-out room was full, plenty of milling around was going on around the exhibition space where a dozen or so startups had set up shop, and the action on the main stage, [...]

By |2016-02-03T16:59:56+00:00December 1st, 2010|0 Comments

Work-for-hire and the startup redux:  are startups treated differently from mature companies when they try to protect their IP? 

The Ninth Circuit decision in JustMed v. Byce presents a new take on the perennial issue of confirming an early-stage company's ownership of its technology inventions. The creator of an original creative work is the owner of that work and all rights pertaining to it under copyright law.  The main exception is a "work-for-hire", a "work prepared by [...]

By |2019-06-18T23:05:49+00:00November 15th, 2010|0 Comments

California’s new “e-personation” law against online fake identities:  Penal Code Section 528.5

 Last month, Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 1411, enacting new Penal Code Section 528.5, California's new anti-online impersonation law.   This statute prohibits knowingly and without consent credibly impersonating another person "through or on an Internet web site or by other electronic means for purposes of harming, intimidating, threatening, or defrauding another person."  For purposes of the [...]

By |2019-06-18T23:05:49+00:00October 20th, 2010|0 Comments

Website owners can’t rely on web terms and conditions without prominent display and clear manifestation of user asset: Cvent v. Eventbrite and website scraping

Event-planning website Cvent claimed that competitor Eventbrite stole its intellectual property by using "scraping" technology to duplicate information found on the Cvent site about hotels, restaurants, bars, and meeting venues in various cities and use that information on the Eventbrite site.  Most of the information was publicly available elsewhere, but by scraping the data from [...]

By |2016-02-03T16:59:35+00:00October 3rd, 2010|0 Comments

Even a large provider’s aggressive termination fees can be upheld in consumer contracts – Hutchinson v. Yahoo – AT&T early termination fees

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently gave business some more breathing room on the enforceability of aggressively-applied termination fees in Hutchinson v. Yahoo, where a couple challenged AT&T's $200 early termination fee on their telephone and high speed internet account, when they tried to stop their plan two weeks before it was up so [...]

By |2016-02-03T16:59:23+00:00October 1st, 2010|0 Comments