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Salute To Women in the Legal Profession
Charlotte E. Ray
KistemakerBusinessLawGroupDaytonaBeachEducation was very important to Ray's family. During the 1860s, Ray attended the Institution for the Education of Colored Youth in Washington, D.C. The institution was one of only a handful of places that offered a quality education to young, African-American women. By the end of the 1860s, she had become a teacher at the preparatory school associated with Howard University. Ray then applied to the university's law program as C.E. Ray, using only her initials. Some thought that she used her initials as a way of disguising her gender since the university did not accept women into the program, but her exact intentions remain unknown. In any case, Ray gained admittance to the program.

Intellectual Property Rights

The two most precious resources for any small-business owner are time and money. That's why when the subject of intellectual property comes up, many owners run in the other direction. They see images of expensive lawyers and use that as an excuse to ignore the topic, reasoning that it is a problem for big companies to worry about.

Intellectual property rights are not reserved solely for companies developing sophisticated new technologies or distributing creative works. Virtually every company creates and develops intellectual property and proprietary materials arising out of it products and services, branding, advertising, promotional materials, packaging, customer lists, prospect lists, pricing information, sales figures, financial information and any other thing that allows a company to create and maintain a competitive advantage.

All of these items - not just the technological or creative - are potential subjects of intellectual property rights and protection under patent, copyright, trademark and trade secrets law and related laws. A good business person should always know what all of the company's assets are and should work to secure and maintain them just as you would any other part of their business. Consult us for advice regarding you intellectual property.

Kellogg Co. v. National Biscuit Co.

Speaking of people stealing ideas. In 1893, a man named Henry Perky began making a pillow-shaped cereal he called Shredded Whole Wheat. John Harvey Kellogg said that eating the cereal was like "eating a whisk broom," and critics at the World Fair in Chicago in 1893 called it "shredded doormat." But the product surprisingly took off. After Perky died in 1908 and his two patents, on the biscuits and the machinery that made them, expired in 1912, the Kellogg Company, then whistling a different tune, began selling a similar cereal.

In 1930, the National Biscuit Company, a successor of Perky's company, filed a lawsuit against the Kellogg Company, arguing that the new shredded wheat was a trademark violation and unfair competition. Kellogg, in turn, viewed the suit as an attempt on National Biscuit Company's part to monopolize the shredded wheat market. In 1938, the case was brought to the Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of the Kellogg Company on the grounds that the term "shredded wheat" was not trademarkable, and its pillow shape was functional and therefore able to be copied after the patent had expired.

Who Owns The Rights To Ellen's Oscar Selfie?

During the Oscar ceremony Sunday, host Ellen DeGeneres gathered a pack of Hollywood elite together for a selfie, and the photo quickly became the most retweeted image ever, crashing Twitter and replacing the record previously held by Barack and Michelle Obama. DeGeneres granted rights to the image to the Associated Press, but conversation among savvy IP minds continued: Is DeGeneres really the copyright owner, or could others assert ownership? FIND OUT...

The perils of social media and its effect on settlement agreement's confidentiality provisions was illustrated in last week's decision in Gulliver Schools, Inc. v. Snay, Case No.: 3D13-1952 (Fla. 3rd DCA, February 26, 2014).

The parties' settlement of an employment civil rights act claim included a confidentiality provision including:

13.  Confidentiality...[T]he plaintiff shall not either directly or indirectly, disclose, discuss or communicate to any entity or person, except his attorneys or other professional advisors or spouse any information whatsoever regarding the existence or terms of this Agreement...A breach...will result in disgorgement of the Plaintiffs portion of the settlement Payments.

The Court provided the emphasis.  Of the $150,000.00 settlement, apparently $80,000.00 was the disgorge amount.

Enter 21st Century media.  The Snays' college age daughter posted on Facebook to approximately 1200 persons: Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver. Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT.

The Court did note that Snay claimed he never told his daughter he "won", and the daughter was not planning and did not go to Europe.  On Snay's motion to enforce the agreement and obtain the disgorge amount, the trial court following an evidentiary hearing held that neither Snay's comments to his daughter nor the Facebook comments constituted a breach of the confidentiality agreement. The Appellate Court reversed.

Attorney Advertising. This eNewsletter is designed for general information only. The information presented should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

(c) All Rights Reserved 2014

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When an association enters into a settlement and the release includes a confidentiality provision, is it permissible to discuss the settlement at an open meeting?

Yacht Club Southeastern v. Sunset Harbour North Condominium, 843 So.2d 917, (Fla. 3d DCA 2003) which held that it was not a violation of mediation confidentiality for a developer to write a letter to the members revealing mediation discussions because the members were the real parties in interest:

Individual condominium unit owners were real parties in interest for purposes of condominium association's action against developer involving purported construction defects, and thus, developer was entitled to disclose mutually privileged mediation communications to unit owners. West's F.S.A. §§ 44.102(3), 718.111(3); West's F.S.A. RCP Rule 1.221

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