Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Zussman Law PLLC

I have officially launched my law firm website, and therefore I no longer update this blog.

Please visit my law firm's official website at www.zussmanlaw.com.

Please also follow us on Twitter and Facebook!  Thanks!

Friday, October 7, 2011

SF Giants Ace Tim Lincecum Sued by Ex-Landlord

While Tim Lincecum may be one of the best pitchers baseball has seen since the turn of the millennium, he can't seem pitch his way out of court.

First, The Freak faced charges for pot possession in 2009.  Now, Timmy's ex-landlord is suing him for entering his former apartment after his lease expired and stealing and destroying property.

Good thing Timmy has avoided felony charges thus far and seems to be content with misdemeanors and civil actions, because after three strikes in California, you're outta here for good.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Spelling Mistakes Can Be Expensive

An article by the BBC reports that spelling mistakes can cost businesses "millions" in lost online sales.  In this day and age of short attention spans and over-stimulation on the internet, companies have only a few seconds to catch a potential customer's eye and close a sale.  The article reports that companies have "about six seconds" to catch someone's attention on a website.

Whether you are creating a website, preparing documents, writing letters and even emails, be sure to proofread.  Even on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn you should be aware of the content of your posts and the nature of your audience.  Spelling and grammar mistakes reflect upon your credibility and others' perception of you or your business.

This is especially important in business because, as the article suggests, simple spelling mistakes can actually lead to a significant loss of business and missed opportunities.

u may relax these rules when u txt, except 4 when u txt a client or other biz-related recipient

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"Fear the Beard?" No... Fear the Feds.

After somewhat of a hiatus, I return to the blog with two of my favorite subjects in one story:  Trademark infringement and the San Francisco Giants (defending World Series Champions, of course).

It appears that federal agents seized over 2,400 t-shirts and baseball caps destined for Port au Prince, Haiti, bearing the registered trademarks of the SF Giants and famous slogans from the 2010 season, such as "Fear the Beard," a reference to the Giants' feared closer Brian Wilson's (in)famous mane, which generated huge amounts of publicity, and imitation, during the 2010 season.

Best part of the article:

"Look at this," said assistant special agent Anthony Ho as he held up a shirt that referred to the city as 'Frisco,' "There's no way anyone from San Francisco would tolerate this. This is what we call, in investigative terms, 'a clue.'"

Click here for the full article.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sarah Palin vs. the USPTO

Last Friday the "mainstream media", blogs and intellectual property attorneys were all a-twitter over Sarah Palin's latest move: applying for trademark registrations for the names "Sarah Palin" and "Bristol Palin."  No, really.

The CNN article may be found HERE:

Upon review of the information on the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office website, it appears that our favorite Governor-turned-reality-TV-star applied for registrations under International Classes 035 and 041, for "information about political elections; Providing a website featuring information about political issues" and "Educational and entertainment services, namely, providing motivational speaking services in the field of politics, culture, business and values," respectively.  (Bristol's trademark application only covers motivational speaking services in the field of life choices.)

From a practical standpoint, this means that, if the application is approved and the trademark registered, the name "Sarah Palin" would become even more of a brand, and Sarah Palin would have the exclusive right to use the name "Sarah Palin" in connection with the above activities and take legal action against anyone else doing so without permission.  No one else could provide motivational speaking services under the name Sarah Palin, or any other name that may cause a "likelihood of confusion."

Such a registration seems completely unnecessary for the following reasons:
1. Palin would probably never be able to prove "likelihood of confusion", the standard for trademark infringement;
2. Celebrities already enjoy a "right of publicity" a right under some states' laws which gives public figures the exclusive right to exploit their names, likeness and image for commercial purposes; and
3.  FAIR USE AND PARODY.  I need not tediously describe the legal requirements for fair use and parody to confidently say that most use of the Sarah Palin trademark would fall under this category.  To be perfectly clear, Tina Fey and SNL have nothing to worry about.


The Palins' trademark applications were REJECTED...for failing to sign their applications.  (Click here for more details.)  As an intellectual property attorney who has filed numerous trademark applications, I can tell you that the USPTO makes it extraordinarily difficult to submit a trademark application with no signature, if not impossible.

But, even with an initially failed trademark application, the Palins have clearly succeeded. After all, we are all still talking about them, and the Palin brand lives on.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Art, Law & Beer

The Younger Lawyers Division
of the Federal Bar Association
Southern District of New York Chapter

a Free Event

January 26th
6:30 - 8:30 PM
555 W. 25th Street

DAVID KASSANFigurative Artist
LILLIAN LASERSONCopyright and Entertainment
Lawyer and Former General Counsel of DC Comics
DANIEL FISHERBeer Blogger and Craft Beer Advocate

RSVP to Michael Zussman
{space is limited}

Sponsored by:
Wollmuth Maher & Deutsch
Gell & Gell
Fragomen, Del Ray, Bernsen & Loewy

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Copyright Protection for Fashion Designers Closer to Reality

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Protection Act ("IDPPPA"), which (if passed by Congress and signed by President Obama) would expand Article 13 of the Copyright Act to include and protect "apparel" items such as clothing, luggage, handbags, wallets and eyeglass frames.  The IDPPA protects fashion designers from having their work stolen and reproduced.

Article 13 is somewhat of a hybrid of copyright and patent law, allowing a "designer" to secure copyright protection for "an original design of a useful article which makes the article attractive or distinctive in appearance to the purchasing or using public."  At the present, Article 13 only applies to vessel hulls, but, if passed, will also protect apparel.  Copyright protection for apparel will last for 3 years, and infringers who produce apparel "substantially identical" to the protected originals will be subject to statutory damages.

The text of the proposed bill may be found here:  IDPPPA (pdf)

Whether the IDPPPA will go any further remains to be seen, Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans having vowed to block "any legislative item until the Senate has acted to fund the government and we have prevented the tax increase that is currently awaiting all American taxpayers."