Raising Your Intellectual Property IQ – Part 2

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 September 2021 12:37 Written by Chris Griswold Wednesday, 29 September 2021 12:37

First, what is the purpose of, and what are, service marks (SM)? 

ANSWER:  They are a legal creation which identify the services provided by a person or entity in their course of business.

Second, what is the purpose of, and what are, trademarks (TM)?

ANSWER:  They are a legal creation which identifies the creation of something.  This “something” can include, but isn’t limited to, any sort of product, idea, mathematical formula, recipe, thought, song, movie, film, name, technology, algorithm, derivative, sound, noise, packaging and/or symbol, brand or logo. None of these things are mutually exclusive either.  So, any combination of the above can be trademarked and then constitute a single TM.

Third, can something that is a TM also be part of a SM, and vice versa?

ANSWER:  Yes.  A SM can include certain elements that are TM, like a logo or branded name or symbol.  For example, a taxi cab company, which provides services to the public, can have a SM of its name, “Friendly Taxi,” which includes its logo of a uniquely shaped, small, red and yellow taxi cab with green little tires – which the company trademarked as its brand and logo and then put on its website, internet service app, t-shirts, mugs and online directory with the local Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Chamber of Commerce – as their readily identifiable brand and logo.

Fourth, what’s the big picture of SM’s and TM’s?

ANSWER:  Remember, that both SM and TM, while different, are both forms of intellectual property.  Accordingly, each type of legal creation can be owned by some person or entity to the exclusion of other persons and entities once a legal process has been completed. 

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McGirt Decision Q&A – Indian Law Update

Last Updated on Tuesday, 31 August 2021 03:57 Written by Chris Griswold Tuesday, 31 August 2021 03:57

We’ve all heard at least a little about the recent Supreme Court ruling on the McGirt case last July – which involves a look into the current Indian law landscape.  Whether or not you own real property, you should know something about it….  A thank you goes out to my own Gena Timberman, Esquire, a Choctaw tribal member, for having access to the information below which was provided from the Choctaw Nation and The 5 Civilized Tribes on this subject matter.

McGirt Decision Q&A / Indian Law Update

  1. Does the McGirt ruling mean that the Choctaw Nation will become a reservation? The Supreme Court’s ruling in McGirt is specifically about the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and clearly establishes that the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s treaty territory is a reservation. The decision also strengthens the Choctaw Nation’s position that it has and has always had a reservation.
  2. Does this ruling mean that Indian people who are in State prison will automatically be released? No. Today’s decision from the Court will not result in any prisoner’s automatic release. Any challenged conviction will be evaluated on its own merits and there are many other laws that could prevent a state prisoner from being retried. Any person whose conviction may be affected by today’s ruling will either remain in prison or face re-prosecution and re-incarceration by federal or tribal authorities.
  3. If I live within Choctaw Nation and an emergency arises, do I still call 911? Yes. Federal, tribal, state, and local officials already have many agreements in place to ensure that emergency response will continue to be handled the same way and that those committing criminal acts—whether they are tribal members or not—can be arrested by law enforcement to maintain law and order. Police protection and emergency response will continue to be provided for all.
  4. Who will prosecute crimes that occur within Choctaw Nation? No person within the Choctaw Nation—whether they are a tribal member or not—is above the law. Generally, tribal members who commit crimes will be subject to federal or tribal prosecution, and non-tribal members will remain subject to state prosecution.
  5. Does this decision mean non-Natives no longer own their homes or other property if they live within the boundaries of the Choctaw Nation? No.Today’s decision has no effect whatsoever on anyone’s ownership of property, and all existing contracts, leases, and title to property remain as they were before this decision. State law remains applicable for the most part especially with respect to persons who are not members of the Choctaw Nation (or another tribe) and on lands not owned by the tribe or tribal members.
  6. Does this ruling change the boundaries of the state of Oklahoma? No, Oklahoma’s boundaries are not changed by any aspect of today’s ruling. The Muscogee (Creek) treaty territory remains part of Oklahoma, as does the treaty territory of every tribe in Oklahoma. Everyone living within the boundaries of those treaty territories, Indian and non-Indian, remains a citizen of Oklahoma and their rights and responsibilities as Oklahoma citizens, including voting, schooling, and many other rights guaranteed by state law, remain the same.
  7. Will this ruling change any existing agreements between the State of Oklahoma and the Choctaw Nation? No. All existing agreements between the Nation and the State regarding issues such as hunting and fishing will remain in effect.
  8. Is this decision related to the Tribes’ dispute with the Governor over the gaming compact? No. This has nothing to do with the gaming compact. It stems from appeals from Creek citizens who were convicted of crimes in state court and should have been tried in federal court. This litigation arose before the gaming compact dispute and will have no impact on it.

What My Clients Are Saying

“I have been extremely pleased with the legal services provided by Chris.  He is an expert on real estate issues; devotes immediate attention to our needs and follows through with all required action.  I look forward to a continuing relationship with Chris.”
Harrison Levy / Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

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Raising Your Intellectual Property IQ – Part 1

Last Updated on Saturday, 24 July 2021 01:34 Written by Chris Griswold Friday, 16 July 2021 12:08

My clients do a lot more than just real estate; more than just borrow money to acquire businesses, assets or capital; more than just form partnerships and entities, and do more than just estate planning.  They start up tech firms, service businesses and website development companies and ask me to help with their intellectual property and/or licensing issues and concerns.  Read more below.

Raising Your Intellectual Property IQ – Part 1

First, what is the purpose of service marks (SM) and trademarks (TM)? 

ANSWER:  It’s to properly give credit to the person or entity that created or provided the product or service.

Second, what is the difference between a SM and a TM? 

ANSWER:  You’ve probably heard these commonly referred to or used together, which can be confusing.

A SM refers and relates to a business that provides a service, like a window washing company or a trucking company.  Services (like of a doctor or a consultant) and physical acts (of hauling freight, like a trucking company or a landscaping company) are both the proper object of a SM, and the rights to them should be reserved with a SM.

Contrastingly, a TM refers to a product or a good that has been produced, and the TM seeks to preserve the producer’s rights to the intellectual property attached to such product or good.  The product or good can be both tangible and intangible.

Remember, that both services (SM) and products and goods (TM), while different, are both forms of intellectual property.

Third, what are some working examples of the differences between SM and TM?

ANSWER:  For example, the rights to a song or a movie (which are both products and goods) is intellectual property which should be trademarked – eventhough they’re both intangible.  Graphic art, computer programs (and their code) are also intangible things whose intellectual property rights can be reserved with a TM.

However, a computer engineer (that would help a client to develop these computer programs, and their code, as an independent contractor) is providing intellectual property in the form of a service, so, as a service provider, the computer engineering company would SM its services provided to such client.

In contrast, a book (whether a physical book or an e-book) is intellectual property (not a service) whose author would protect with a TM.

Fourth, can SM and TM both be used together?

ANSWER:  Yes.  Often, the same business will, respectively, use both SM and TM protections on its services (SM) and goods and products (TM) – since one business can offer both classes of intellectual property.

What My Clients Are Saying

“I have been extremely pleased with the legal services provided by Chris.  He is an expert on real estate issues; devotes immediate attention to our needs and follows through with all required action.  I look forward to a continuing relationship with Chris.”
Harrison Levy / Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

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chris@chrisgriswoldpc.com

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