CLIENT SPOTLIGHT: Grillo's Pickles

If you haven't been to the Grillo's Pickles website, you should. There, you'll find the fantastic story of how this company began. We've copied part of it here to save you a click.

Grillo's Pickles began with a pickle cart, just a small wooden stand in downtown Boston, where Travis Grillo and his friends would sell two spears for one dollar. Travis would make the pickles by night using his family's 100-year old recipe - one he'd memorized from making pickles every summer as a kid. In the morning, Travis would bike to the Boston Common and set up the cart with his buddies. They'd hang out all day, urging people to try the simple Grillo family pickle. It was a small business but Travis worked hard for it. He made more pickles, biked more miles, and slept less hours than he ever had before.
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CLIENT SPOTLIGHT: Factory Five Racing

Factory Five Racing was founded in 1995. Over the years they have grown from a start-up business in a small garage to become the world's largest manufacturer of "build-it-yourself" component car kits. They employ a full-time crew of about 40 people, and are located in Wareham, Massachusetts (about an hour south of Boston). They make their products right here in the USA, in the heart of New England where American manufacturing was born.
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CLIENT SPOTLIGHT: Luca + Danni

Fred and Danny Magnanimi grew up watching their father create beautiful, handcrafted jewelry in the family's Cranston, RI jewelry manufacturing business. When the boys grew up, Fred moved to New York and began working on Wall Street as an investment banker, while younger brother Danny, still enamored by the family business, stayed home. Increased competition from overseas businesses created significant challenges for the business, but Danny was confident he could find a way for the family business to evolve and thrive. This was his mission, this was his passion.
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        Intellectual Property Traps for the Unwary Business

        Businesses often have misconceptions when it comes to intellectual property issues. Here are a few questions and answers on topics about which clients often ask us for advice:

        Q: The Name is available at the Secretary of State’s Office, so it’s OK to use, right?
        A: Not always. Federal and common law trademark rights supersede name availability at the Secretary of State.

        Q: We hired the photographer to take pictures for our company brochure, so we own them and can use them on our website, right?
        A: No, not unless you have a written agreement assigning or licensing the copyrights in the photographs to your business. The business only owns the copyrights in works prepared by regular, full time employees. You may need to go back to the photographer and obtain additional rights (and pay an additional fee).


        Q: We found the (text, picture, graphic, music, video) on the Internet, and it did not have a copyright notice, so we can use it in our company's marketing presentation, right?
        A: No. Copyright notices have not been required since 1989. The absence of a copyright notice is no assurance that a work is unprotected by copyright. In general, one cannot copy content found on the Internet and use it for a website, brochure, presentation or other promotional materials without obtaining permission from the copyright owner, regardless of whether it has a copyright notice or not.

        Q: We have been selling our product for a while, and now we want to apply for a patent. Can we?
        A: The first act of sale, offer for sale, public use or publication of an invention starts a one year clock ticking within which the U.S. patent application must be filed, and bars filing a patent application in some other countries.

        Q: We are keeping the invention a secret, so is there any rush to file the patent application?
        A: The United States is now a “first to file” jurisdiction, which means that invention priority is decided by who files first, not who invents first. A delay in filing the application could be costly.

        Q: Trademark rights are acquired by use, so there is no hurry to file a trademark application, is there?
        A: Under federal trademark law, a registration cannot be canceled after 5 years (except on limited grounds) even if the owner of the registration started using its mark after your business started using its mark. So if another business registers a mark that is identical or similar to a mark that your business uses, you could be prevented from registering your mark. Early filing prevents later users from obtaining trademark rights.

        Q: We cannot decide on how to allocate the intellectual property ownership while we are working together. Can we just say all intellectual property rights will be “jointly owned”?
        A: Joint ownership of intellectual property is very messy, and often has unintended consequences. In general, each co-owner has the right to exploit the intellectual property and grant non-exclusive licenses to others without the consent of the other co-owner.  So a co-owner could grant rights in the jointly-owned intellectual property to your competition without your permission.