Deregulating the American Dream

By: Rachel Raimondi*| Guest Writer

By Bizking2u – Eget arbejde, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Since May 16 the Securities and Exchange Commission has allowed the 99 percent to join top investors in the Securities-based Crowdfunding of private companies.  Crowdfunding is a financing method that allows companies to solicit small individual investments from the general public during the start-up and beginning stages of development.  While the basic premise is similar to that of Kickstarter, which launched in 2009, Securities-based Crowdfunding allows investors to receive an equity stake in the fledgling company, rather than first dibs on the future product or experience.  The SEC and its new rules regulate only Securities-based Crowdfunding. Continue reading »

Finders Keepers: Not The Case In Design Patent Suits

By: Hunt Harris*| Staff Writer,0.5,0,0&iccEmbed=0&layer=comp&.v=RZ0lL2

Back in December of 2015, Samsung agreed to pay Apple $548 million in damages stemming from a 2011 lawsuit filed by Apple.  In the lawsuit, Apple argued that Samsung infringed on three design patents that represent the essence of the iPhone.  Design patents are meant to protect items whose design is central to the product.  As part of the deal, Samsung and Apple agreed to withdraw all patent lawsuits outside of the United States. Samsung also reserved the right to reclaim the funds if the verdict is subsequently overturned.  In March of this year, the Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal from Samsung over the appropriate amount of damages to be paid to Apple. Continue reading »

The Intellectual Property Behind “Real Women” Advertising

By: Dana Sisk*| Staff Writer


During the past decade, there has been a steady increase in the number of companies that feature untouched images of “average sized” women, rather than the highly edited images of tall and slender supermodels.  This movement toward promoting body positivity and positive body image in young women has garnered a lot of praise throughout the advertising and modeling world, and more and more companies are jumping on board. Continue reading »

Sued For Defamation? No Problem, If You Have Homeowner’s Insurance

By: Hunt Harris*| Staff Writer

Bill Cosby is being sued by numerous women who say he sexually assaulted them.  However, because the statute of limitations has passed, he is being sued for defamation, rather than for the alleged assaults.  The women are claiming that they were defamed when Cosby’s attorneys and representatives dismissed their allegations as fabrications.  Although Cosby is facing mountainous legal costs, it currently seems likely that his homeowner’s insurance will foot the bill.  His insurance carrier, A.I.G., has been fighting this and filed a lawsuit against Cosby, claiming they should not be responsible for his legal fees. Continue reading »

Attorneys: The Real Winners In Class Action Settlements

By: Hunt Harris*| Staff Writer

In 2011, Walmart agreed to settle a class action lawsuit worth $27.5 million by paying participants via check or gift card.  The settlement was in response to a deal made in 2005, in which the CEOs of Walmart and Netflix allegedly agreed to share the DVD market.  Both parties agreed that Walmart would not rent DVDs if Netflix promised not to sell them.  The deal was designed as a promotional agreement to help each party market one another’s specific movie business on their own websites. Continue reading »

DIY Home Funeral

By: Molly Pearce* | Staff Writer

Caitlin Doughty and Amber Carvaly founded a business in California called Undertaking LA. Their business encourages and teaches families how to be more involved in end-of-life-rituals. Another similar company, the Fitting Tribute Funeral Services, offers green burials, witness cremations and post-cremation memorial services. Fitting Tribute is known for offering “anything that makes celebrating a life live more personalized and more meaningful.” For many, traditional funerals are not preferable or economically feasible, and home funerals offer a more intimate alternative. For many, eco-friendly alternatives are more appealing. This movement towards more natural funeral experiences has also expanded to burial decisions. David Wolfe’s website discusses innovative ideas for using organic burial pods to turn remains into trees. These biodegradable urns and pods could be utilized to create a “memory forest” as opposed to a cemetery. Continue reading »

Your Trip, Your Experience: Uber’s New “Trip Experiences”

By: Dianna Shinn* | Staff Writer

Uber Trip Expierence

Uber is teaming up with third party app providers to create a personal “trip experience” while taking your Uber ride.  Uber’s first partnership with Spotify in 2014 started Uber’s vision of a personalized trip experience.  With the Spotify partnership, once inside your Uber vehicle, a customer is able to listen to his or her music from their own Spotify playlist inside the Uber vehicle.  The partnership with Spotify came at a unique time when Taylor Swift was removing her songs from Spotify’s streaming service because of a dispute over Spotify’s royalty fees to artists.  The dispute between Taylor Swift and Spotify highlights a legal battle that indirectly impacts Uber’s partnership with Spotify.  The partnership with Spotify is also limited by Uber. For instance, the Uber car must be able to connect to Spotify and drivers must be willing to give control to the passenger. Continue reading »

Wine is the New Vodka: How Wine-Based Liquor is Taking Over the Industry

By: Candice Diah* | Staff Writer

Regulations limiting the quantity of restaurants and bars with liquor licenses can make the commercial sale of alcoholic beverages a very tedious and expensive endeavor. The cost of a license to sell distilled liquor can be up to 382 times the cost of a license to serve beer and wine. As of late, smaller restaurants, unable to foot the bill of serving distilled liquor, have found a way around this licensing dilemma.

Companies like Premium Blend have created a product that fits the needs of these restaurateurs. In their own words, Premium Blend “captures the distinct flavors of your favorite liquors and liqueurs,” offering wine-based alternatives to beverages such as whisky, gin, vodka, rum, tequila, triple-sec, amaretto, coffee liqueur, and peach or peppermint schnapps. To cater to the diverse national market, Premium Blend’s products vary in alcohol content to meet the regulations of different states.  Although Premium Blends is one of the more popular brands of wine-based liquor, other companies, like Toddy Blends and Liquid Assets have found success selling similar products. Continue reading »

Ladies’ Night: How Beer Companies Are Changing The Role of Women in Advertising

By: Dana Sisk* | Staff Writer

Coors Light "Climb On" Campaign

Coors Light “Climb On” Campaign

Advertising and marketing is a crucial part of business in the United States and around the world. People are bombarded daily with television commercials, billboards, pop-up Internet ads, and emails.  With Super Bowl 50 in the not-too-distant past, television commercials have become a hot topic recently.  Beer companies, more specifically, have been faced with the challenge of targeting a growing and more progressive market, and have met this challenge with new ad campaigns and marketing approaches.  The target audience of many of these beer companies is young people, but the current young generation, known as “Millennials,” have less discriminative ideas about what is appropriate in advertising. Continue reading »

Coca-Cola versus Dr. Pepper: Cola War Over “Zero” Trademark

By: Amanda Whorton* | Guest Writer 

Photo by woolenniumAfter over a decade of litigation, Coca-Cola has had “zero” luck gaining a trademark for the term “zero” in connection with its beverage brands.  In 2005, Coke filed a U.S. trademark registration for the mark “zero” in connection with their popular “Coca-Cola Zero” soda brand, which Dr. Pepper challenged in 2007.  Arguments ended in December 2015 and a ruling from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office may come as soon as this spring. Continue reading »