Monthly Archives: December 2022

A Jack of All Trade(marks, patents & copyrights)s: An Interview with Monika Malek

Monika Malek is an associate in Vedder Price’s Chicago office and a member of the firm’s Intellectual Property (IP) group. She maintains a broad practice spanning trademark, copyright and patent litigation, prosecution (writing and filing a patent), enforcement (monitoring for potential infringement or enforcing an owner’s rights) and portfolio management (advising on business strategies associated with a patent). Prior to joining Vedder Price, she was an associate at a boutique law firm where she worked closely with clients on litigation and transactional matters involving a wide range of IP issues. She earned her law degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law and her undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. While in law school, she was awarded Loyola’s Laura Terlizzi Scholarship, given to a female student intending to practice intellectual property law, and three CALI Awards for the highest grade in Copyright, IP Advocacy, and IP Colloquium. She also researched issues related to drug patents in domestic and international contexts as a research assistant to Professor Ho.
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Thinking out Loud…. About Copyrights: Ed Sheeran’s Recent Copyright Lawsuits

Ed Sheeran is a Grammy-winning artist known for his hit songs such as “Thinking Out Loud” and “The Shape of You.” Sheeran has accrued a great deal of wealth and as a result seems to be a good target for copyright trolls, litigious entities or individuals that litigate large amounts of copyright infringement cases with often baseless claims in the hope for a settlement. Ed Sheeran is a well-known artist and as such, he is in a financial situation to settle lawsuits rather than go through the litigation process. Continue reading

My Summer Working on “Secrets” … Trade Secrets!

Stealing, scheming, heroes, villains, action! You might think I’m talking about the new James Bond movie, but I’m actually talking about intellectual property!

When people hear the words “intellectual property” they may think of the traditional patents, copyrights, or trademarks. But most people might not realize that there is another kind of IP – trade secrets. I definitely fell into the “not knowing” category prior to working at an IP firm this past summer.

Although I worked on a multitude of IP matters, the one that stuck out to me the most was a high-stakes trade secret case. It felt just like a James Bond movie! I felt like I was a detective, scanning through documents, finding evidence. Then trying to figure out how many “crimes” the bad guy committed and what he stole from our client!

 

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Coca-Cola’s Clandestine Operation: The Story and the Rationale Behind the World’s Greatest Trade Secret

How well can you keep a secret? How about a secret that has been around for over a century and is one of the most sought after secrets in the world? Well, that’s the challenge for those who know the world-famous secret formula of the original Coca-Cola, better known as Coke. The company protects the formula by shrouding it in a great amount of secrecy. But, how did this formula come to be and how it is protected under intellectual property law?

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Movies and Beyond: My Journey into IP

My journal into intellectual property begins with movies.  I have always been fascinated by them. How a combination of images and sounds can captivate audiences worldwide, never ceases to amaze me. This fascination led me to study every aspect of filmmaking.  This included how a scene is staged, the process where a director tells the actors where to go and how to move.  Indeed, when I was a freshman in college, the only career path I had in mind was one in film.

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Look What You Made Me Blog

… Ready for It?

Nine Studio Albums. Five Tours. Two Re-Recordings. One Massive Fanbase. We know all too well that Taylor Swift is the pinnacle of success for the music industry. Spanning multiple genres from country to pop and even some folk(lore), Taylor Swift has accomplished a lot in her first 32 years of life. But what’s gotten her to this level of recognition?

Some say it’s her songs. Some say it’s her stage presence. Others say it’s her re-recordings. Taylor Swift says it could be her songs, “with a catchy hook and an intensely cathartic bridge section.” Call it what you want, I say her level of recognition comes from her fearless team of lawyers registering her trademarks.

Taylor Swift performing during the Reputation Tour, Photo by Ronald Woan, licensed under CC by-NC 2.0

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Free Patent Lawyers? It’s easier than you think!

Are you a student curious if there is a place for pro bono work in patent law? Are you a practitioner curious about how the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has addressed accessibility to patent protection? Do you or a friend want to file a patent for an invention but can’t afford a patent attorney?  If so, this blog is for you! Continue reading

Sports, Photography, and Copyright: Who Has the Rights?

For sports fans, photographs taken during competition can become iconic. Muhammad Ali standing over Joe Frazier, the United States Hockey Team celebrating the “Miracle On Ice,” and Tiger Woods at the Masters are a few examples. Sports photos are highly marketable, but who owns and has the rights to use these photos?

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Classic Copyright Issues

If I played “Blue Danube” by Johann Strauss II, you would probably recognize the song immediately. In fact, there are dozens of classical pieces that many of us are probably familiar with, even if we don’t listen to classical music regularly. Copyright for classical music can sometimes cause issues for YouTubers and other internet content creators. For example, a YouTuber might think that they are free to play a song because the composer has been dead for centuries. However, the recording they choose to play in their videos might be protected by copyright law and result in the video being taken down! Two content creators named Ludwig Ahgren and “JSchlatt” took it upon themselves to solve some of their copyright problems once and for all. To understand what they did and how they did it, we should talk about copyright law first.  Specifically, let’s look at the distinction between copyright protection over a musical composition versus a sound recording. Continue reading

“Scamilton” – Copyright Troubles in “Way-Off” Broadway Productions

When I was in high school, the annual musical was always a big deal. They would do renditions of famous productions such as Fiddler on the Roof, The Sound of Music, and even Disney’s High School Musical. Although I had long since graduated from high school by the time my favorite musical Hamilton became popular, I noticed that there weren’t really productions of it outside of Broadway sponsored productions. Perhaps a recent controversy regarding the threat of a copyright lawsuit and an unauthorized Hamilton production at a Texas church helps explain why…

Photo by Sudan Ouyang, licensed by Unsplash

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