New Jersey residents can take a lesson from Major League Soccer when it comes to staying out of trouble when it comes to starting a business. Specifically, aspiring businesspersons may overlook intellectual property issues and can end up in legal hot water. The same exact thing happened to soccer legend David Beckham which may now force him to have to rebrand his new soccer team.
Copyright issues can be deeply concerning to many New Jersey businesses, especially if they produce goods that could have some interaction with others' intellectual property. Infringement cases can result in massively differing penalties, and people may not know what to expect if a dispute develops between different rights owners. When a copyright holder accuses another person or business of infringement, they can seek statutory damages in court through litigation. The sums assessed can vary greatly, with penalties ranging from $200 to $150,000 per infringed copyright. These penalties are not necessarily linked to the damages suffered by the original copyright owner or profits accumulated by the alleged infringer.
Businesses in New Jersey may suffer harm when their trade secrets are misappropriated. Companies may file lawsuits against people who steal their trade secrets in most cases. However, people who reveal trade secrets as a whistleblower have legal immunity under the Defend Trade Secrets Act. Companies can take steps to protect their trade secrets by implementing strategies to prevent them from being revealed.
Some Etsy shoppers in New Jersey may have noticed Baby Yoda merchandise on the site and wondered whether the sellers were within legal bounds. In fact, Disney would probably be within its rights to pursue the creators for intellectual property infringement, but the company has chosen to take a different approach.
Major automakers with a substantial New Jersey footprint are facing a lawsuit accusing them of patent infringement. One company has filed 15 suits in the past four years, accusing General Motors, Fiat Chrysler and Maserati, among others, of infringing its patents to integrate mobile devices with auto entertainment systems. The Texas company, Blitzsafe, sells devices to connect smartphones and tablets to car stereo systems. It registered patents in 2009 and 2012 for the technology involved in its devices, which allow users to make hands-free calls and play music stored on their phones.
New Jersey music lovers might be interested in a recent lawsuit filed by Chuck D against Reach Global Music, the Public Enemy founder's publisher. The lawsuit was filed in California on Oct. 15.
Many people in New Jersey are fans of Stan Lee's work; the comic book characters the artist created, like Spider-Man and the Avengers, are loved by millions. However, at the end of his life, a battle began to arise over the rights to his vast swath of intellectual property. In September 2019, Lee's daughter, through the Lee Family Survivors' Trust, filed a lawsuit alleging that his creations had been "looted" by POW! Entertainment since 2001. The claim follows the death of the famed comic creator at 95 in November 2018.
New Jersey residents who follow developments in the entertainment industry may know that Ariana Grande has taken legal action against the fashion retailer Forever 21 and its beauty products spinoff brand Riley Rose. In her lawsuit, the popular singer claims that the California-based company used images of her without consent and even went so far as to hire a look-alike model in order to fool the public. Grande is seeking damages of $10 million for alleged copyright and trademark infringement.
When a person or company in New Jersey or anywhere else in the United States comes up with a new idea, it may be possible to protect it. According to the University of California, five major companies have infringed on patents related to LED light bulb technology. Amazon, Walmart and Ikea are among the companies that were named in the lawsuit. The lawsuit is asking that the retailers enter into licensing agreements to use the filament LED bulb technology.
New Jersey readers have likely noticed Amazon trucks with "Prime" written on the side of them while traveling area roadways. However, Prime Inc., a Missouri-based trucking company, claims the retail giant's use of the word on its vehicles amounts to trademark infringement.