Beitchman & Zekian Blog

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Archive for trademark

Love & Marriage…and a Prenup

Spring.  It’s the time of year when a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of love.  Or so they say.  With about one third of first marriages ending up in divorce and approximately half of subsequent marriage coming to the same conclusion, it is no wonder that more and more savvy brides and grooms to be are addressing their financial planning through a prenup, especially those who own their own businesses, real estate, or, as we are in LA – home of the entertainment business, have worked for years on their scripts, music, or other intellectual property.

We all know the stigma of the prenup – why start the marriage with the idea that it will end?  For the same reason it is recommended that you speak with an estate planner sooner rather than later.  It is a contingency which provides for the financial security and well-being of the individuals who are making a commitment to stay together for the rest of their lives, but are realistic enough to know that marriage is not only the uniting of hearts, but of bank accounts and finances and when it comes to romance and money, one cannot know what the future will bring.

A prenuptial agreement (or sometimes an antenuptial or premarital agreement) serves the purpose of providing a roadmap with respect to the distribution of assets should a marriage end in divorce or death.  These agreements set out the consequences should one or both of the parties commit adultery, separate or divorce before a certain amount of time passes, or for the birth of children.  There are, of course, some prenups which address less common topics, for example monetary benefits or detriments based on weight gain, drug use, or spending habits.

Now, many people believe that because they are not heiresses, or multi-millionaires they do not need a prenup.  This is not true.  A prenup is useful to people of all socio/economic classes.  In fact if you have assets such as real property, stocks, retirement funds, intellectual property such as scripts, lyrics, songs, or films, or certain personal property you wish to protect and ensure is established as separate property; if you are pursuing or have already obtained a degree/license in a possibly lucrative profession (ie: law or medicine),  if you own all or part of a business, if you have elderly parents or family members who need care, if you have children or grandchildren from previous relationships, if one person earns more than the other or if you might be receiving an inheritance, you would do well to discuss a prenuptial agreement with your soon-to-be spouse and consult with an attorney.

If you have questions, or would like more information about prenuptial agreements or what can be protected under the prenup, please contact our office to schedule an initial consultation. If you’ve been asked to sign a prenup and you’re not sure about the conditions of the agreement or whether you and your property are protected, we can assist you with that as well.

Case Comments – Cybersquatting

Lahoti v. Vericheck, Inc., 586 F.3d 1190 (9th Cir. 2009) – the decision against the defendant for bad faith adoption of domain name vericheck.com was affirmed, based in part on defendants prior acts of cybersquatting where the defendant was ordered to transfer domain names obtained in bad faith.  The Court reasoned that defendant’s prior failed defenses against cybersquatting made it unlikely that the defendant legitimately believed his use of the vericheck.com domain was lawful or amounted to fair use in the present case.

The Lahoti decision is significant to all persons whose domain name has been held hostage by cybersquatters, whether celebrities, corporations, fashion brands, sports figures, or small businesses, because it allows a plaintiff to establish that a defendant’s prior acts of cybersquatting, even when dealing with unrelated domain names, not only supports a showing of bad faith registration, but may invalidate any safe harbor defense the infringer could potentially have asserted, i.e., that he/she believed and had reasonable grounds to believe that the use of the domain name was a fair use or otherwise lawful.

In plain English, if a Defendant has unsuccessfully defended against allegations for cybersquatting in the past, it is less likely that the Defendant will be able to defend a subsequent litigation by trying to convince a Court that he believed his use of the domain was protected  as a fair use or in any other way lawful.

Welcome…

Welcome to the Beitchman & Zekian blog!  Without repeating too much of what you can find on our website (www.bzlegal.com), here are our basic stats:  we’re a 5 attorney boutique firm that focuses our practice on civil/commercial litigation, entertainment law, business/corporate law, intellectual property, and real estate law.

What this means to our readers is that we will bring to you interesting and useful information on topics about and relating to the above subjects.  Are you a writer? Tune in to see what our IP attorney has to say about copyrighting that script or manuscript.  Are you about to start your own business?  Our corporate attorney will point out the differences between an LLC and corporation and our IP attorney may discuss the benefits of trademarking your brand.

If you’d like to see a topic covered, leave a comment and we will address it as soon as we can tear ourselves away from our cases.