Articles

Can A Website Address Constitute A Trademark?

A domain name can qualify as a trademark when it is used in connection with a website that offers services to the public. However, only some types of commercial domain names qualify for trademark protection. For instance, while domain names that use common or descriptive terms, such as pets.com or stamps.com, may work very well to bring users to a website, they usually do not qualify for much trademark protection. This means that owners of such domain names generally won’t have much luck stopping the use of these words and phrases in other domain names based on trademark laws. In other words, by using common terms that are the generic name for the service (for example, “dictionary.com”) or by using words that merely describe the service or some aspect of it (for example, “returnbuy.com”), the owner of the name will have less trademark rights against the users of similar domain names than she would if her domain name was distinctive.

What is a Motion Against Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Particiaption (“SLAPP”)?

The term SLAPP is an acronym for Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation. A SLAPP motion refers to a “special motion to strike” under the anti-SLAPP statute that seeks to dismiss a civil lawsuit at an early stage in the litigation so that the sacred rights of petition and free speech are not chilled by costly litigation. Special motions to strike under the anti-SLAPP statute apply to any civil cause of action that arises out of the defendant’s petition or free-speech activity in connection with a public issue. SLAPP motions challenge both the legal and evidentiary sufficiency of the complaint at an early stage in the litigation without discovery.

How Does One Establish Secondary Meaning in A Trademark Infringement Case?

In order to serve as a trademark, a trademark must be distinctive. In other words, a trademark must be capable of identifying the source of a particular good or service. In making this determination, trademark lawyers group marks into four categories: (1) arbitrary or fanciful; (2) suggestive, (3) descriptive, or (4) generic. The degree of legal protection will depend on the category in which marks fall.

Can My Employer Withhold Payments From Me For My Debt or My Commissions Chargebacks?

As a matter of California employment law, an employer has very limited rights to take any money out of its employee’s pay check.

Are Non-Compete Clauses Enforceable in California?

Pursuant to section 16600 of the California Business and Professions Code (“Section 16600”), with limited exceptions, “every contract by which anyone is restrained from engaging in a lawful profession, trade, or business of any kind is to that extent void.”

Is There A Difference Between An Employee And An Independent Contractors?

In an effort to save money and the headaches ordinarily associated with employing someone, some employers treat their employees as independent contractors. Such business practices could expose a business to penalties, damages, and other liabilities.

What Are The Implications of An Anti-Fraternization Policy As Applied To Non-Supervising Coworkers?

Some have suggested that anti-fraternization relating to co-workers should merely require a reporting obligation and not prohibit such relationships. That reporting policy, however, likely runs afoul of California privacy laws.

What Is Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment?

To prevail on a claim of hostile work environment sexual harassment, an employee must demonstrate that he or she was subjected to sexual advances, conduct, or comments that were (1) unwelcome, (2) because of sex, and (3) sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of his or her employment and create an abusive work environment.