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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The Hokie Trademark Cattle Are Already Out of the Barn

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Earlier this month, Virginia Tech lost a crucial opening battle in its suit to stop a Blacksburg real estate company from using “Hokie Real Estate” as its name. The case demonstrates limitations on a university’s ability to force every business to pay a license fee to use the school’s nicknames or colors. Virginia Tech essentially Read the full article…

The Domain Name That Got Away, Part II

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Last month, I wrote about how you can backorder a domain name that someone else has registered so that, if its registration expires, you would have a good chance of getting it. But what if you don’t think the current owner will let the domain name registration lapse? What can you do to get that Read the full article…

The Domain Name that Got Away – Getting in on the Domain Name Drop

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Here are two phrases for tech-savvy businesses to add to their lexicon: domain name “drop catching” and “getting in on the drop.” Have you ever wanted to acquire a domain name someone else has registered? You do not own domain names perpetually. You register them for a period of years. If you don’t renew the Read the full article…

Beware Domain-Name Cyber-Slamming

Monday, December 23rd, 2002

Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch December 23, 2002 Watch out for a relatively new Internet deception – switching domain name registration, or “cyber-slamming” in Web-speak. Many people are complaining about efforts to trick them into changing the registration of their Web domain names. Even savvy consumers are being fooled. To understand cyber-slamming, a little background Read the full article…

Trademark Plan is Boon for Small Firms

Monday, November 25th, 2002

Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch November 25, 2002 Perhaps the key achievement of the Industrial Revolution was the invention of the factory assembly line, which enabled manufacturers to make goods at a price affordable by average consumers. Henry Ford brought mass production to the automobile industry. Ford wanted to produce the first car “for the Read the full article…

Will New Regulations Mean Real Privacy?

Monday, November 4th, 2002

Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch November 4, 2002 Next April, massive regulations on the privacy of health information take effect. Will they really give you more privacy and, if so, at what cost? The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act will require health-care providers and health insurers to follow rules governing the use and Read the full article…

Instant Messaging Saves Time for Many Companies

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2002

Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch September 23, 2002 What do the allied navy ships in Operation Enduring Freedom, e-Bay, and Merrill Lynch have in common? They all use enterprise instant messaging to stay in touch. Instant messaging (known as “IM”) is the Internet equivalent of passing notes in class. IM differs from e-mail because IM Read the full article…

38 Amendments May Be Recipe For Success

Monday, August 26th, 2002

Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch August 26, 2002 Success rarely happens overnight, but with a little work, innovators can reap great rewards. Colonel Harland Sanders, for example, first served his chicken at a gas station he owned in Corbin, Ky. After 13 years of tweaking his chicken recipe numerous times, Colonel Sanders finally sold his Read the full article…

List of Safeguards Can Help Prevent You From Losing Web Domain Name

Monday, July 22nd, 2002

Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch July 22, 2002 It’s easy to lose control of your Web domain name. Consider the Web portal Excite. In 1999, someone used an e-mail trick to change the administrative record for the domain name, which was maintained by a domain name registrar, Network Solutions (now part of VeriSign). They Read the full article…

Federal Law Lets ‘Vicarious Avenger’ Right the Wrongs of Misleading Ads

Monday, June 17th, 2002

Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch June 17, 2002 Canadian humorist and political commentator Steven Leacock once observed that “Advertising may be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it.” Consider these examples: Tropicana once aired a commercial showing Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner squeezing juice from an orange Read the full article…