There is no better day to post this than on April 1st.
Thank you Pollux Chung for making this ad a reality.
UPDATE: The video was removed at the request of the Law Society of British Columbia.
Today I am extremely excited to announce the arrival of a new service, IP Strategy Review.
Most business owners with great ideas that need to be protected try to control their legal bills by not going to see a lawyer until they need to be saved. Some try to proactively limit the scope of lawyers’ involvement by googling something and coming to see the lawyer with a very specific (and often unhelpful) request.
No business can make strategic decisions about protection of its most valuable assets, unless it understands what these assets are and how they can be protected. With IP Strategy Review, I provide to you, at a fully predictable flat rate, a customized strategic solution outlining which areas of IP can help protect your ideas and intellectual property and which legal steps can be taken to achieve that protection.
IP Strategy Review provides a true benefit at a predictable cost, without forcing the client to pay for unnecessary services. It is a consultation during which we will discuss your business and determine which strategies would make sense from the legal, business, PR and economic points of view.
This service develops upon my two policies: I never sell my clients unnecessary services and I always prefer to sell value to my clients, not my time.
It comes in three packages. Please visit the IP Strategy Review Page for more details.
I have been running with this idea for several months.
Today I am proudly announcing Mincov Law Corporation’s “Shining Star” contest, a competition for children from 4 to 14 years old.
To participate, they should make and upload to YouTube a video of them doing something that will demonstrate their talent. They can sing, play musical instruments, dance, read, act, do sports, or whatever else that they (or you as their parents) consider their important achievements.
This is not an “everybody-gets-a-trophy” exercise. This is about talent, abilities, hard work or determination.
One of the reasons I am so passionate about intellectual property is my deep admiration for amazing creative talents of other people. People who can write music that millions of people want to listen to; people who write books that millions want to read; people who create movies, software; clothes that millions want to wear. Don't get me started about people who can invent electricity, dishwashing machines and the Internet. These people make our lives what they are today. The least we can do is to acknowledge their achievements.
I find it extremely important to reward talent in children. This is what this competition is all about.
Please read more about the contest.
If you are in the business of teaching or training talented kids, please click here.
Just got back from Networking With Purpose event tonight.
Many great speakers. A lot of great guests. I had a brief presentation, too.
This time, I had more than just business cards with me...
Again Lego finds itself under an attack from Mega Brands, a Montreal-based competitor and maker of Mega Bloks. This time – in U.S. District Court in the Central District of California.
Lego owns a U.S trademark for the design of its world-famous blocks. Mega Brands claims that the trademark registration should be invalidated, which would allow Mega Brands to freely export its products to the United States.
The foundation of the claim is that what Lego has is not really a trademark. Rather, it is an attempt to obtain patent-like protection under the guise of a 3D trademark.
In simple terms, patents protect underlying ideas of inventions, while trademarks protect distinctive elements that allow the public to distinguish products and services of one business from products and services of another business. Trademark rights do not expire (as long as the trademark owner renews the registration on time), while patent rights only last for 20 years.
Common law courts have developed the so-called doctrine of functionality which prevents registration as trademarks of 3D objects, if such a registration would amount to protecting the functional side of these objects.
In Canada, the Trade-Marks Act makes it clear that “No registration of a distinguishing guise interferes with the use of any utilitarian feature embodied in the distinguishing guise.”
Interestingly enough, one of the leading cases in Canada dealing with the doctrine of functionality was the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in Kirkbi AG v. Ritvik Holdings Inc., which happened to involve the same LEGO blocks.
Mega Brands’ representative stated: “Lego’s patents expired more than 20 years ago and courts around the world, including the United States, have ruled against its attempts to use trademark law for functional elements. Its claims have been dismissed by lower courts in numerous countries.”
In fact, it’s a tough call. Are the LEGO blocks nothing more than a “clever locking system” in the words of Mr. Justice LeBel? If the answer is no, what is it in the shape of the LEGO blocks that distinguishes them from any other blocks that would employ the same locking system? Can Lego protect anything but its own name and the higher-level designs?
Leaving the law aside for a minute, do you think it’s fair that Lego should lose its exclusive right to manufacture and sell its blocks? Please leave your comments.
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Tags:CollectivismPhilosophySmall BusinessNew Copyright ActFair Dealing