Trademarks. Registered Trademark.Tavern on the Green.

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Trademarks. Registered Trademark.

Trademark Protection. Registered Trademark.

Trademark Protection. Registered Trademark.

The protection of your Trademarks is REALLY important. Why? Because if you don’t protect them, someone else will. And you may not be as lucky as the owner of Tavern on the Green to get your trademarks back. A registered trademark is an essential element of your brand.

Tavern on the Green. Trademark.

In the mid-1970’s one of my most favorite restaurants was Tavern on the Green. Along with Maxwell’s Plum, it was the place to be if you were young, single, hip, and even marginally attractive. Assumed to be owned by Warner LeRoy, in fact it was owned by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (“Parks & Recreation”). Over the years since it opened in 1934 until it closed in 2009, it was leased to a number of entities, namely LeRoy Adventures, which owned and operated Maxwell’s Plum, Potomac in Washington, DC, and the Russian Tea Room.

On May 12, 1981, Tavern on the Green was registered as a federal trademark. For the purpose of that registration, LeRoy Adventures was the owner. There was no challenge by the real owner, because Parks & Recreation probably didn’t even know what was going on. In 2009, LeRoy Adventures filed for a Chapter 11 reorganization and tried to auction its trademarks to the highest bidder. He was not successful, because the federal court stepped in.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York said, “no way.” That Court determined that the real owner, Parks & Recreation had continuously owned the restaurant since 1934. That Court also held that because LeRoy Adventures did not tell the truth, as to the real owner, that they did not deserve to keep the trademark, which was valued at millions of dollars.

While there are many messages here, one that is most important is to protect what is yours. It is wonderful that Parks & Recreation won its case. But, had it registered its trademark in the very beginning, or had it even paid attention back in 1981, when LeRoy registered the trademark, Parks & Recreation could have stopped him and saved itself a ton of money. BTW, Tavern on the Green reopens on April 24, 2014.

I am Attorney Francine Ward reminding you again to Protect What’s Yours! Join my conversation on my Legal Facebook Fan Page, my Legal Twitter Page, and in one of my LinkedIn discussion groups.

Will. Family Trust. Seniors. Elder Abuse. Seniors helping seniors. Center for Spiritual Living

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Seniors. Center for Spiritual Living. Will. Family Trust.   

Seniors helping seniors. Law.

Seniors helping seniors. Law.

  • Are you a senior 55 years or older?
  • Do you have kids or grand-kids?
  • Do you have a Will? a Trust?
  • Do you know someone who is the victim of elder abuse?
  • Do you have questions about your rights as a senior, but don’t know where to go for answers?

If you answered “Yes” to any of the above, then this seminar is for you.

Center for Spiritual Living. Seniors Helping Seniors. Elder Abuse.

On Saturday, April 12, 2014 at the Center for Spiritual Living, Palm Desert, I will be presenting an informative program designed for seniors (or those who may someday be).  In this content-rich, interactive seminar, we will discuss a number of issues confronting seniors, such as:

  1. Finances and debt
  2. Social Security and insurance
  3. Consumer Scams
  4. Care-giving
  5. Employment
  6. Healthcare
  7. Elder abuse/elder fraud
  8. Grandparents’ rights
  9. Divorce and remarriage
  10. Estate planning and legal services

Will. Family Trust. Seniors. Elder Abuse

Admission to this program is free, however, we do accept Love Offerings (voluntary donations). Here are some of the questions I’ll answer on Saturday:

  • Is there special tax relief for seniors?
  • Can I be evicted from my home because I’m a senior?
  • Can a landlord prevent me from having a pet
  • How do I make sure my affairs will be handled like I want them to be handled when I die?
  • Do I need a will? A trust?
  • How do I know if I am a victim of elder abuse?
  • How do I become guardian of my grand-kids?
  • If I get divorced, will I still get social security benefits on my husband’s work record?
  • What consumer scams should I be aware of?
  • and many more!

Look forward to seeing you on Saturday. I am Speaker, Author, and Attorney Francine Ward helping you protect what’s yours.  I am also a licensed Religious Science Practitioner. Feel free to share this info with a  senior in need of  some useful information. I can also be found on Facebook (Legal and Esteemable Acts), Twitter (Legal and Esteemable Acts)

, and on LinkedIn.

 

Jimi Hendrix. Will. Family Trust. Power of Attorney. Estate Planning.

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Jimi Hendrix. Will. Family Trust.

Do you have a Will? A Trust? If not, you may find your valuable assets going to the wrong person after you die.  Some folks think this is the case with the Jimi Hendrix estate battle.

Will. Family Trust, Estate Planning.

Will. Family Trust, Estate Planning.

Jimi Hendrix. Estate Planning.

For those too young to remember or not interested in music history, Jim Hendrix was a famous rock guitarist in the late 1960s. Perhaps, he was the most gifted guitarist of his time.

He became very wealthy AFTER his death in 1970.  His brother Leon, who Hendrix was said to be close to, will never see a penny of the $80-million dollars left by the Jimi Hendrix estate. Why not? Because Jimi did not think to prepare a will. Maybe it was the drugs, the booze, the blondes, the bright lights, or the incompetent management. Whatever the reason Hendrix did not have a will, the fact remains he died without implementing an estate plan.  Consequently, he left the decision, regarding the administration of his vast estate, to the courts.

Because there was no will, his assets and all proceeds therefrom went to his father, Al.  When Al died in 2002, instead of leaving his wealth to his son Leon, he left everything to his adopted daughter, Janie, from a second marriage. There was a lawsuit which lasted for years, and in the end, Leon got $0. Who knows whether Jimi Hendrix would have left anything to his brother?  Who knows the reason Al Hendrix removed his son Leon as a beneficiary of his will.  The argument Janie made in court was that Leon’s drug addiction, unwillingness to work, and overall irresponsible behavior was the reason.  Regardless of the legal outcome, had Jimi Hendrix left a will, this very costly and protracted litigation could have been avoided.

Estate Planning. Power of Attorney.

You may think this has nothing to do with you, since you are not Jimi Hendrix the famous rock star.  You would be wrong. The idea behind estate documents is that you control what happens to YOUR assets and other property. YOU decide, not the courts.

At a minimum, YOUR Estate Plan should include the following important and essential documents:

  1. A Family Trust
  2. A Will
  3. A Power of Attorney
  4. An Assignment of Assets
  5. A Healthcare Directive 

Francine Ward. Attorney.

If you are interested in discussing YOUR Estate Plan, feel free to contact me Attorney Francine Ward. If you just want to join the conversation, feel free to check out my legal Facebook Fan Page, my Twitter page, or one of my LinkedIn Groups.

Copyright. DMCA. Digital Millennium Copyright Act. CafePress.

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Technology is wonderful. It creates information sharing opportunities that surpass anything we have ever known. With the click of a mouse or the touch of a finger, you can learn just about anything.

Copyright DMCA

Copyright DMCA

With such immediate and extensive access to so much information, it is not always easy to know what is true and what is concocted in the mind of some pseudo expert.  Armchair experts are everywhere, spouting a plethora of sometimes useful opinions, but most often spewing falsities.  It’s when their opinions cross over into the realm of “supposed facts,” that a problem exists.

One area where pseudo experts are most often quick to share opinions, masquerading as fact, is in the area of law.  They read a few blogs and now everyone thinks they are a lawyer.  The rules surrounding the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) are ripe for misunderstanding among non-lawyers. As some folks quickly discover, unless you stay up on the law, you are likely to miss it.

Section 512 of the DMCA provides a safe harbor for internet service providers (ISP). It provides a shield between ISPs and copyright infringement liability based on copying or storage done by the ISP’s users, as long as the ISP satisfies certain conditions. If they do not meet those statutory conditions, then the ISP can be found liable.

One of the great myths heard around the social media water cooler is that website owners are always protected by the DMCA, no matter what they do.  CaféPress, Inc. (CaféPress) just discovered that was not true.

CaféPress, like so many others, believes that if they use the word “store” they are safe. Wrong. A federal court sitting in the Southern District of California held that CaféPress went beyond the bounds of “storage.” The fact that CaféPress retained the right to determine which user content to upload, the right to modify the content, and the right to set pricing, put it into the non-protected class. There are of course people who believe this was a bad decision. I, on the other hand, believe it is correct.  It’s about time ISPs stopped being given unfettered discretion to facilitate copyright infringement in the name of the DMCA.

Here are a few take-a-ways:

  1. Know the current law. The law changes every day. One day it may work in your favor, and the next day, not so much.
  2. Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet, unless it is written by someone with the expertise and credentials to know what they are talking about. Review your terms of use to make sure they actually say what you think they say, and what you want them to say.

Until next time, I’m Attorney Francine Ward helping you protect your assets and stay out of court.  Join the conversation on my legal Facebook Fan Page, my Twitter page, or in one of my LinkedIn groups.

Personal Responsibility. Oscar Pistorius. Jason Bohn. Law and Order SVU.

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Personal Responsibility. Jason Bohn.

Personal Responsibility. Oscar Pistorius. Jason Bohn

Personal Responsibility. Oscar Pistorius. Jason Bohn

We just don’t want to take personal responsibility for our actions. And why should we?  As long as we can blame someone else for the choices we make, AND get away with it, why not keep up the good work.

The story of Jason Bohn is one such story.  To be clear, this is NOT the golfer Jason Bohn.

Once upon a time there was a wealthy lawyer, with an Ivy League background, who had it all.  Or at least at first glance, he appeared to have it all.  But we know that things are not always as they appear, and even if they are, there is someone to blame when things don’t turn out like you plan. His story is very similar to that of Oscar Pistorius , Jared Remy, Jovan Belcher, and countless other men who killed their girlfriends and wives. What is up with this–everyday in the news there is another account.  But the story of Bohn stands out because of his defense, “My mommie made me do it.”

Bohn graduated from Columbia University, and his mom, Maureen O’Connell, is the chief financial officer for Scholastic Publishing.  She earns over 1 million dollars annually.  But delve a little deeper into this fairytale picture and a much darker side is revealed.

Jason Bohn is currently on trial for the murder of his girlfriend. In June of 2012, Danielle Thomas, 27, an executive with Weight Watchers was found in the bathtub of the Queens apartment she shared with Jason Bohn. The young woman was strangled and beaten to death. Prosecutors claim that Bohn then fled the scene and was eventually captured in White Plains, a suburb of New York City.

According to the prosecution, Bohn and Thomas had a tumultuous relationship filled with fights that were often triggered by Bohn’s jealousy. One of the key pieces of evidence against Mr. Bohn is an alleged recording from a phone that accidentally went to a friend’s voicemail from the night of the murder. In the recording, a man who prosecutors claim to be Bohn is heard threatening Ms. Thomas and interrogating her about a phone-number she was being accused of calling. At one point in the recording a male voice is heard saying “’you have five seconds and then, and then I’m going to kill you.”

In a tragic twist to her senseless death, Ms. Thomas was offered a place to stay on the night of her murder but went back to the apartment because she feared for the safety of her dog, who Mr. Bohn had allegedly threatened to kill on numerous occasions.

After the murder, Bohn allegedly used his girlfriend’s cell phone to leave text messages to her parents saying that all was well. He also allegedly called an ex-girlfriend and confessed to getting drunk and striking Ms. Thomas up against a wall. The message also asked the former girlfriend not to speak to law enforcement until his attorneys had a chance to contact her.

Mommie Made Me Do It.  Law and Order SVU.

Mr. Bohn’s defense will attempt to show that he is suffering from mental illness and did not understand what he was doing when he killed Ms. Thomas. They will attempt to show that Mr. Bohn suffered an abusive childhood and that he was abandoned by his mother at age 10 so that she could go chase after her corporate career. Adding intrigue to this case is the much anticipated appearance of Alexander Sasha Bardey, a renowned forensic psychiatrist from Los Angeles, who is slated to testify for the defense. Dr. Bardey is a consultant for the hit television show ‘Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.’  Essentially, Bardey and Bohn’s defense team will help him prove that his mommie made him do it.

This case shines light on several important issues that we face as a society:

  1. Domestic violence (as we see from the Pistorius murder trial);
  2. The responsibility of one to address these issues before a fatal incident occurs;
  3. Can an adult blame his or her violent behavior on their childhood? Should they?  If so, to what extent? Is it ever their fault?
  4. Can a woman who chooses her career over motherhood be held responsible for the behavior of her grown children?
  5. Is there a role society plays? If so, what? If not, why not?

I’m Attorney, Speaker, Author Francine Ward.   Feel free to join the conversation on my Esteemable Acts Facebook Page, my Esteemable Acts Twitter Page, or in one of my LinkedIn Groups.