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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It’s Time to Think About Protecting Your Trademarks in Spanish

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

Even if President Trump gets that wall built, you need to think about protecting your trademarks from infringement in Spanish. Let’s say you own a long-standing real estate business called RIVERSIDE REALTY. You may be able to use trademark law to stop someone else from using the same name for the same type of business. Read the full article…

Be Careful When Doing Tribute Advertising

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

It’s the season to salute star athletes. March Madness heroes. Hall of Fame inductions. Graduating high-school stars. We have some great basketball players to salute here in Virginia. U.Va.’s Malcolm Brogdon won ACC Player of the Year and ACC Defensive Player of the Year, the first time someone has won both awards. He’s one of Read the full article…

What Does the Death of Justice Scalia Mean for Business?

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

I looked at the docket of cases that the Supreme Court accepted for decision during the current term, which began in October and will conclude in late spring. Here are cases that matter to business where Justice Scalia could have been the swing vote, but the case was not decided before his death: • Whether Read the full article…

Thanks to a Recent Decision, Things Are Looking Good for the REDSKINS Trademark Registrations

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

A recent federal court of appeals decision makes it likely that the trademark registrations owned by the Redskins for their team name won’t be cancelled. You probably already knew that a federal trial court in Northern Virginia ruled last summer that these registrations must be cancelled. The federal trademarks act bans the registration of trademarks Read the full article…

Be Careful Sharing Sweet Little Lies Online

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

You find juicy dirt online and want to share it with your cyber friends. But the gossip turns out to be false and defamatory. Can you be held liable for posting or emailing a link to it? Recent court cases make it unlikely that you commit defamation just by passing on a link to the Read the full article…

How to Get that Twitter Handle That Got Away

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

There’s a Twitter username you really want, but someone else got it first. Perhaps it’s a username that matches your business or product name, or your individual name, without extra stuff such as numbers. What can you do? For the uninitiated, in a Twitter account there are both a profile name and a username. The Read the full article…

What’s the Future in the Courts for College Sports, Inc.?

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

By now, you’ve probably heard of the recent ruling in the class action lawsuit against the NCAA headlined by former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon. You may have read about what money college athletes will and won’t be getting. But another part of that decision will lead to years of additional litigation over paying college Read the full article…

It Would be Prudent to Not Use Popular Songs in Your YouTube Videos

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

By now, you’ve probably heard of the recent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling about the mom who posted a video of her toddler grooving to Prince’s hit “Let’s Go Crazy.” It’s the famous “dancing baby” YouTube video. Search for “let’s go crazy #1” on YouTube. It was posted by mom Stephanie Lenz. Just in Read the full article…

Twitter Joke Thieves Brought to Justice, and Everyday Tweeters Should Be Careful

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

You have a better chance of stopping a serial killer than a serial thief in comedy. OK, ironically, I stole that from comedian David Brenner. Thanks to Twitter and copyright law, perhaps those odds have changed. A freelance comedy writer recently sued comedian Conan O’Brien for copyright infringement, claiming O’Brien stole jokes the freelancer posted Read the full article…

What Would the Redskins Lose if the Team’s Trademark Registrations Are Cancelled?

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

As you probably know, a federal trial court recently upheld the decision to revoke the trademark registrations for the REDSKINS team name. The team will appeal. The opinion has weaknesses. The case could make it to the Supreme Court. But let’s assume the Redskins’ registrations ultimately are revoked. What then for the team’s name? Examining Read the full article…