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Hemp Farmers Can Now Seek Intellectual Property Protection

The Trump administration is offering to extend important legal rights for some of the biggest players in the hemp industry. The United States Department of Agriculture recently announced that hemp farmers can now apply for intellectual property protections for their seed varieties. That would prevent other growers from using those unique types of seeds without permission for up to 20 years. “Certificate owners have rights to exclude others from marketing and selling their varieties, manage the use of their varieties by other breeders, and enjoy legal protection of their work,” the USDA said in an April announcement. Applications will be […]

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Senate Intellectual Property Panel Looking at Illegal Sports Streaming

Lawmakers in the nation’s capital are taking a closer look at illegal sports streaming and the impact that pirated versions of games could have on the intellectual property rights of professional sports leagues, live event producers and television companies. The response may eventually include increasing criminal penalties. “Strong IP rights are vital to making these events possible,” Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) said during a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. “One of the reasons that illegal streaming has exploded in recent years is that the federal criminal law has not kept pace with the growth of illegal streaming technology.” Tillis is […]

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Comedian Louis C.K. Turns to Copyright in Comeback Attempt

Louis C.K. is making a stab at a comeback, less than two years after sexual misconduct allegations cost the comedian his television show, a Netflix special and a variety of movie roles. The only catch is that the funny man doesn’t want anyone recording his performances as he tries new material out on the road. Comedy clubs are forcing C.K. fans to put their cell phones away if they want to see the shows, New York Magazine reports. They’re also posting notices making clear that the comedian owns the copyright in all of the jokes that he performs and intends […]

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European Union Copyright Law Raises Internet Censorship Concerns

Are new copyright protections in Europe a long overdue bolstering of intellectual property rights or a heavy handed attempt to stifle the flow of information? It may depend who you ask. A majority of European Union countries in April voted in favor sweeping new online copyright protections. The directive, which member countries will have two years to start enforcing, requires search engines like Google to pay for aggregated content. It will also make YouTube and other sharing content sharing platforms legally responsible for copyright-protected material that users post without permission from the copyright owner. The law is meant to give […]

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Cattle Investment Scam Lands Kansas City Man Behind Bars

Fraud comes in all shapes and sizes, including down home on the range. A Kansas City man is looking at eight years in the slammer for ripping people off in a cattle investment scam. Cameron Hager recently admitted to running a nearly $5 million investment scheme in which he duped investors into helping him buy herds of cattle that he said he would later sell at a substantial profit. The only problem was that he never bought any cattle, despite taking money from nearly 100 investors. Instead, Hager used the cash to pay the mortgage on his home and cover […]

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Instagram Users at Center of New Investment Fraud Scheme

A popular social media application is a new tool for fraudsters trying to rip off would be investors, according to a British watchdog group. Action Fraud says it has seen a spike in get-rich quick schemes on Instagram, the photo sharing app owned by Facebook. Fraudsters regularly use promises of big profits in mere hours and professional looking images to encourage Instagrammers to send more than $600 in initial investments, according to the United Kingdom based group. Action Fraud said it received more than 350 reports of this kind of fraud, totaling more than $3.2 million in losses, in a […]

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Intellectual Property Dispute Looms in U.S.-China Trade Rift

As the United States and China continue to dig their heels into an ongoing trade debate, intellectual property questions remain a key element of the tensions between the two countries. The intellectual property lawyers at our firm are keeping a close watch on these developments. The focus of late has been on U.S. tariffs on Chinese products on one hand, and China’s efforts to devalue its currency on the other. President Donald Trump’s administration recently tagged China as a currency manipulator, a designation that experts fear will only ramp up the bad blood between the countries. Meanwhile, there appears to […]

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Victoria’s Secret Trademarks Play on Competitor’s Name

Lingerie giant Victoria’s Secret has always had a way of getting consumers’ attention. The company’s latest marketing moves, however, are also raising eyebrows in the intellectual property community. Victoria’s Secret recently sought a pair of trademarks for the name “Victoria’s Secret First Love,” one for beauty products and the other for clothing. If approved by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the trademarks would give parent company L Brands the exclusive right to use the name in association with its products. Victoria’s Secret started using the name “First Love” at an annual fashion show last year, according to WWD.com. […]

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California AG Moves Forward With Fraud Case Against Sutter Health

Skyrocketing health care costs continue to draw the attention of patients and their lawyers, as well as politicians in Sacramento and Washington. But little seems to have been done to actually cut down on medical and related bills. A lawsuit recently brought by California’s top attorney against a huge healthcare provider is being hailed by some as a test case. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra recently got an important early win in a lawsuit against Sutter Health. Becerra says the company overpriced patients and used anticompetitive moves to drive out other healthcare operators in the state. A judge in San […]

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Bank of Facebook Already Raising Consumer Concerns

Despite wild swings in the value of many of the most popular cryptocurrencies, it seems like every day a new e-coin is popping up. Now even Facebook is getting into the digital assets game. The social media giant boasting more than two billion users is set to roll out its own cryptocurrency by the end of the year. Mark Zuckerberg & Co. plan to offer the coin to allow users to send and receive payments through WhatsApp, the encrypted messaging service that Facebook also owns. The sheer size of Facebook and its following would make the coin an immediate competitor […]

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