John B.


Lawrence E. Laubscher, Jr.


Ian D. Titley

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John Farmer's Column  

John wears two hats – columnist and lawyer. He writes a monthly column, Leading-Edge Law, for the Richmond Times-Dispatch on breaking legal issues in the e-commerce, intellectual property and high-tech fields. He’s been writing columns since 1998.
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What Lessons Can Businesses Learn from Zion Williamson’s Contract Troubles?

Wednesday, May 20th, 2020

In the Bible, “Zion” refers to the city of Jerusalem or the dwelling place of God. Zion Williamson is named appropriately because he’s expected to be the next superstar to light the NBA. Williamson is mortal too, because he’s embroiled in a contract dispute, the kind many businesses unfortunately stumble into. Learn from his mistakes. Read the full article…

When Branding, Think of Building a Trademark Fort

Tuesday, April 21st, 2020

Entrepreneurs won’t waste this plague opportunity. Throughout history, great minds have used times of seclusion to create their best work. During the Bubonic Plague of 1665-66, Isaac Newton retreated from Cambridge to a countryside farm. While holed up, he invented calculus and formulated his laws of motion and gravity. The same will be true of Read the full article…

Two Key Contract Provisions to Watch in a Pandemic

Monday, March 16th, 2020

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses worry about whether they can meet their contractual obligations to other businesses. Some worry about spending money for services or things they no longer need, or they just want to cut costs. Some vendors worry about whether they can meet contractual obligations when their workforce is down. While there Read the full article…

The Heavyweight Trademark Battle between Truist and Truliant Rages On

Tuesday, February 18th, 2020

Query: Would you be confused by the two marks above? What if you heard the names on the radio? Posted February 18, 2020. The trademark-infringement fight between Truist Financial Corporation and Truliant Federal Credit Union is going to the mat. Truist is the result of the merger of SunTrust and BB&T. When those merging banks Read the full article…

A New California Law Attempts to Regulate Consumer Privacy Nationwide. Better Get Ready.

Tuesday, January 21st, 2020

A new California law, the Consumer Privacy Protection Act (“CCPA”), goes beyond requiring businesses to have privacy policies. It forces them to carefully structure how they gather and use consumers’ information. It’s not limited to information gathered by a website. The law addresses all personal information gathered from consumers, even offline. It’s no longer good Read the full article…

Trademark Lessons from the Fiasco of Picking TRUIST as a Bank Name

Tuesday, December 17th, 2019

When SunTrust and BB&T chose to merge, they chose TRUIST as the name of the combined bank. They just closed the merger. So far, the naming choice has been a legal mess. I wonder if they will abandon the new name. It’s a textbook example of what happens when business executives fall in love with Read the full article…

Benefits of Mark Registration

Wednesday, November 20th, 2019

There are many potential benefits to federally registering a mark. Below is a nonexclusive list. As you might imagine, there are “in the weeds” details about each benefit, which details are omitted for brevity’s sake. A Couple of Caveats: You should have trademark counsel perform mark-clearance research before adopting a mark. If your mark conflicts Read the full article…

Tips from the Virginia State Police about Counterfeits

Wednesday, November 20th, 2019

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with a special agent of the Virginia State Police about the sale of counterfeit products in Virginia. While the police can’t give legal advice, I picked up a few tips. Just about any goods that can be counterfeited show up in Virginia, such as cigarettes, prescription drugs (including Read the full article…

When it Comes to Online Privacy, Your Virginia Business May be Governed by California and Europe

Friday, October 11th, 2019

Your business may be in Virginia, but when it comes to online privacy laws, it may be governed by California and the European Union. For the uninitiated, a website often will have a privacy policy linked on its website, usually at the bottom. A privacy policy is supposed to educate web surfers as to what Read the full article…

Lebron James and TACO TUESDAY – Trademark Lessons from a Celebrity

Wednesday, September 18th, 2019

Perhaps you’ve noticed Lebron James has gone viral on Instagram hyping “Taco Tuesday.” He often does it imitating a Spanish or Mexican accent. On some college campuses, doing that would get you in trouble for “cultural appropriation.” But he’s the King, so he can. Anyway, in mid-August, a holding company owned by James, LBJ Trademarks, Read the full article…