Lawtalk is a collection of essays and observations on the intersection of business, technology, entrepreneurship and the law.

The Pitfall of Trademark Genericide: When Household Names and Brands Collide

Josh Greenberg

Escalator. Heroin. Dry Ice. Teleprompter. Laundromat. Each of these words or phrases were originally coined as trademarks, though have since lost their distinctive nature and exclusivity as they slowly became part of the American lexicon in the years since their introduction. They’ve fallen victim to genericide. “Genericide” occurs when a once-distinctive trademark becomes the commonly used and […]

Read More

Trademark Case Roundup

Josh Greenberg

  As we recently reported in our blog post Disparaging Trademark or Reclaimed Slur? The Supreme Court Weighs In, the high court ruled 8-0 in Matal v. Tam that the Lanham Act’s ban on disparaging marks was an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment and allowed Simon Tam to move forward with his trademark application for his Asian-American dance-rock […]

Read More

Disparaging Trademark or Reclaimed Slur? The Supreme Court Weighs In

Matal v. Tam

Josh Greenberg

In a unanimous decision in Matal v. Tam, 582 U.S. __ (2017), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that federal law prohibiting the registration of disparaging trademarks or service marks was unconstitutional under the First Amendment and that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) may no longer reject applications to register trademarks deemed potentially offensive. The “Disparagement” Clause of […]

Read More

Benefit Corporations and Purpose-Driven Commerce

Josh Greenberg

 “Brands and consumers will continue to come together to form a more cohesive and fluid business ecosystem….The new era of business is about creating enterprises that work together in tandem to drive commerce that matters.” – Billee Howard, We-Commerce   Entrepreneurs who seek to harness the power of business and innovation to address and implement […]

Read More

“Cannabusiness” in the U.S.

Steve Masur

What’s Kosher, What’s Crowded, and What Will Get Crushed?   As public opinion continues to shift in favor of legalizing marijuana and state legislatures respond accordingly, many people, including investment firms and financial analysts, believe that legalized cannabis and cannabis-related products will become the next big market. We’ve been advising an increasing number of entrepreneurs […]

Read More

(Trade)Marking Your Territory

Josh Greenberg

A strong trademark or service mark can become a valuable asset for your business, so when you come up with a great name or memorable tagline for your product or service, it makes sense to register the trademark. Common law trademark rights originate from use in commerce so all you have to do is use […]

Read More

I’ve Seen the Future, and It’s Voice Activated

Steve Masur

Smartphones are awesome. But aren’t you sick of looking at the tiny screen, especially if you wear glasses? A hundred times a day you stop in your tracks to navigate some groovy mobile interface to get a tiny piece of information—an address, a gate number, maybe a change in direction. The screen is a litter […]

Read More