Intellectual Property Law
Intellectual Property Law Questions? Ask a Lawyer
Hello: thank you for your questions. My name is ***** ***** I look forward to assisting you. Answer to your questions are as follows:
1- since I own a company by the same name as hers in my state (NY) that I registered first, can I prevent her from operating under or using that same name or force a name change? A: If you are operating the company you will be able to make her stop using the name. This will operate like a trademark. To legally protect a mark it must be used in the location you wish to protect it and if it is not you can not keep another party from using it. In this instance, setting up a company and getting the name alone will not work to allow you to keep her from using it. You will need to be operating the company in the same general business area as her and if so you may send her a cease and desist letter and proceed with protecting your trademark in court if she doesn't. I would also suggest registering the name with the USPTO to get a federal registration which provides you more protection if you are using the company.2-Part of the judgment sum was to pay for the logo and work that was never paid. But will that give her automatically the right to use my designs in any of her advertising? or should I send her a cease and desist letter? A: The judgement does not automatically give her the right to the logo and work in the future. I would suggest reading the judgment closely and make sure it doesn't grant her partial ownership of the logo and work which is possible since you were partners. If so, both of you have ownership interest and you could not seek royalties or make her stop. However, if that is not the case or it is not clear from the judgement I would suggest sending a cease and desist and make her stop. If she won't you could then go enforce the logo and design work you provided.3- if I'd like to publish a press release (internationally) with a photo of the court judgment and a photo of the defendant since it is all now public information, will I be able to do so and use with it the photo of the defendant? or will I be liable for doing so? A: It is fine to publish a press release with a photo of the court judgement and a photo of the defendant. However, be cautious which photo you use for the press release. If you did not take the photo someone else owns the copyright on it and could enforce it against you. However, if you have a photo that you took you will not have an issue with publishing a press release.4 - three people were named as defendants, (a woman, her husband, and her company) only the woman showed up in court as pro se claiming she had power of attorney to represent her husband. the judge did not accept that, saying she only can represent herself. Moreover, he admonished my (seemingly rookie) lawyer for not asking for default judgment against the two others parties, but would not grant it either, ruling in my favor against the woman only. I got only 40% of the amount I was asking for. My question is, can I still ask for a default judgment against the other 2 parties even though the judge has ruled in the case? A: You may not go after the other two parties again. The judge has ruled in the case and this has what is called res judicata effect meaning you can't sue them again. The judge was telling you that since you did not seek default judgment against them you did not give him the ability to rule in your favor against them in the final judgement that closed the case.
Feel free to follow up with any questions you may have on this matter, and if I do not hear from you I wish you the best of luck. David