Mila Kunis and the Morals Clause

morals clause

What is a morals clause and how does it affect product endorsement agreements? Recently, bourbon brand Jim Beam found itself in the middle of a fight over women’s reproductive rights after its spokeswoman, Mila Kunis, revealed that she’s been sending monthly donations to Planned Parenthood in Vice President Mike Pence’s name. Hilarious, right? Well, maybe not so funny for Mila. Mike Pence supporters and abortion opponents did not appreciate her actions and have started a #BoycottBeam campaign on Twitter. If Jim Beam’s profits start to dip, could this affect Mila’s endorsement contract?
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Should You Incorporate in Delaware?

I have heard some wildly inaccurate things from clients about the state in which they should incorporate. There seems to be a widely held misconception that the only state worth incorporating in is Delaware. I’ve also heard Nevada, but Delaware clearly tops the list. There are undeniable benefits for businesses that incorporate in Delaware. However, for the overwhelming majority of businesses based in states other than Delaware, it makes little logical, legal or financial sense to incorporate in Delaware. Continue reading “Should You Incorporate in Delaware?”

The Benefit Corporation – The Millennial Business Entity

Companies such as Toms Shoes and Warby Parker have shown the marketing value in having a charitable public benefit integrated into a for-profit business. There is now a relatively new, and largely unknown, California corporate entity form that rewards these types of businesses. Essentially, it is a hybrid entity between a for-proft and a nonprofit corporation. In some ways, it is like the C corporation in that it is taxed the same as a traditional corporation. The Corporate Flexibility Act of 2011 created the California Benefit Corporation, specifically designed for social enterprise businesses to pursue both for-profit and nonprofit objectives. This gives new flexibility for corporations to pursue social and environmental goals in conjunction with the traditional objective of maximizing corporate profits. Continue reading “The Benefit Corporation – The Millennial Business Entity”

Safe Harbor Protection – Website Liability

A “safe harbor” is defined as a harbor considered safe for a ship during a storm at sea, or any place or situation that offers refuge or protection. A safe harbor is also a provision of a statute or a regulation that specifies that certain conduct will be deemed not to violate a given rule. Websites that host content are always at risk of someone posting an image they don’t own, or music they haven’t licensed, or content they haven’t created. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA) provides websites with protection from liability for material posted by their users. This protection is legally referred to as a safe harbor. Continue reading “Safe Harbor Protection – Website Liability”

Show Me Your T**s – The Nudity Rider

Sex sells. Always has and likely always will. Especially in film and television. But before a movie trailer is released, or a film opens in theaters, or even before the cameras roll on set, filmmakers and actors are required to enter into a separate contract if there is any nudity or sex acts in the film. That contract is commonly known as the Nudity Rider. Filmmakers and actors both need to know critical information about this Nudity Rider to ensure compliance with law and protect individual rights. Continue reading “Show Me Your T**s – The Nudity Rider”

Brand Name Weed – Cannabis Trademark

Cannabis Trademark

Now that California has legalized recreational cannabis, intellectual property attorneys are being flooded with client requests to file state cannabis trademark applications to protect their brand names. Actually, the law does not expressly permit sale of cannabis until January 1, 2018. Nevertheless, cannabis businesses are wise to move quickly to secure their cannabis trademark rights to protect their brand. Continue reading “Brand Name Weed – Cannabis Trademark”

Should You Trademark Your Business Name?

business name
Start-up business owners don’t always recognize the value of trademarking their business name or logo. A trademark is defined as “generally a word, phrase, symbol, or design, or a combination thereof, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others” by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Trademarks are an important tool to prevent other businesses from using similar marks that are likely to confuse actual and potential customers. There are certain protections granted to a business simply by using the business name or logo in commerce. However, the real protection and remedies are only available to those businesses that have registered the business name and/or logo with the USPTO.

Music Sampling – How Much of a Song Can I Use?

music sampling

I am frequently asked the same question in multiple forms, which essentially is, “How much music can I sample without getting sued?” Unfortunately, too many people believe too many urban myths about music sampling and how much is permitted to be used without a license from the copyright owner. The law is complicated and there is no clear line. So, what is the best course of action to take if you are going to sample music?

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Can You Register a Hashtag Trademark?

hashtag trademark

Is there such a thing as a hashtag trademark? In the US, a hashtag can be registered as a trademark under certain circumstances. Social media hashtags have recently and rapidly become universal marketing tools. Many companies have attempted to trademark their hashtags. Just since 2013, over 600 federal trademark applications have been submitted for hashtag trademarks. It is not uncommon for a company to register it’s slogans or tag lines to protect those trademarks and prevent competitors from using them. A hashtag trademark is the same basic concept. Continue reading “Can You Register a Hashtag Trademark?”