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John B.
Farmer

 

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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Is Facebook Just a Lie Detector for Lawsuit Participants?

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

The attorney in me wonders whether Facebook is really just a big lie detector – a site where people undermine their lawsuit claims with stupid and embarrassing posts. Consider this whopper: In a recent, federal sexual harassment case in Colorado, the plaintiff claimed she was called a certain bad name – a four-letter, derogatory, slang Read the full article…


How to Contact an Attorney for the First Time

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

What’s the best way to contact an attorney for possible legal representation? Some approaches can cause problems or scare off the lawyer whose services you seek. Thus, a few suggestions: 1. Call rather than sending an email. Don’t start with sending an email describing your situation. Doing so creates two problems. First, an attorney needs Read the full article…


Try the Government’s New, Free IP Assessment Tool

Monday, September 24th, 2012

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently launched a free online tool that enables businesses to identify and learn more about intellectual property (“IP”) issues that may affect them. You should give it a spin. The tool is located at www.USPTO.gov/inventors/assessment. In it, you answer questions about your business’s situation and, afterward, it provides information Read the full article…


Don’t Delay in Attacking Trademark Infringements

Monday, August 20th, 2012

When you spot someone infringing on your trademark, how long can you wait to attack it before you lose your ability to stop it? What’s your trademark? Your business name and the names of your products and services might qualify. While you can strengthen your trademark rights by registering your trademark with the federal or Read the full article…


Business Rebels vs. Consumer-Complaint Death Stars

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

It feels like 1977 all over again. I was 14 years old and a sci-fi geek (part of that hasn’t changed). Star Wars hit the theaters. I saw it with friends seven times within a few weeks, living off buttered popcorn. Thank God for Clearasil. The climactic scene is where the rebels – the good Read the full article…


What Should Businesses Do Now About the Coming New Domain Names?

Monday, June 25th, 2012

On June 13, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) revealed the applications for new generic top-level domain names (“gTLD’s in net-speak). Businesses should plan now for the threats they pose. A gTLD is the part of the domain name after the last dot, like .com or .org. ICANN permitted any organization to Read the full article…


Don’t Get Your Hopes Up Over Fighting Google AdWords Ads

Monday, June 18th, 2012

A recent decision by the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (which covers Virginia and four other states) might have given trademark owners hope that they can stop a certain kind of advertising on Google by their competitors. I write to crush that hope. You have almost no chance of stopping Google here. In this Read the full article…


How to Deal with “Non-Negotiable” Business Contracts

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

If you have a small business and you are presented with a “non-negotiable” contract, what can you do to protect yourself? I got thinking about this because of my own position as a small businessman. I negotiate technology contracts (such as software licenses) for a living, yet, because of our law firm’s small size, the Read the full article…


Patenting 101 – Steps, Costs and Other Tips

Monday, March 19th, 2012

I’ve been getting a heightened level of calls in recent months from first-time independent inventors interesting in patenting, so perhaps the economy is getting better. If you’ve been thinking about patenting, here’s the 101 on cost and process: Searching First Usually you do patent searching first and then apply for a patent if the search Read the full article…


Don’t Open a Musical Pandora’s Box at Your Business

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

I love Pandora, the online build-your-own station music service. Indeed, I wonder if I’m the only guy on the planet who has J. S. Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor,” Marvin Gaye’s “Inner City Blues” and Steely Dan’s “Any World” on the same station. What if I have such confidence in my obviously sublime Read the full article…