Tag: Advertising

New York Toy Fair Is Approaching. Are You Legally Prepared?

February 17, 2018 is fast approaching.  Anyone who is anyone in the toy industry will be at Javits Convention Center showcasing the latest and greatest in toy innovation.  All businesses in the toy industry are putting the final touches on their displays and their presentations.  Is a meeting with the company’s lawyer on the pre-show checklist?  If not, why not?

Consulting with the Company’s lawyer may save a company tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars.  The following is a short discussion of some of the items that should be on every toy company’s “To-Do” list prior to attending Day One of the New York Toy Fair.

  1. Intellectual Property.

At the very least, the company should consider applying for a trademark registration for the name of the company and its products.  Unfortunately, the number one thing most companies forget or ignore until there is a legal battle ensuing is to properly protect the Company’s intellectual property, such as its name and the names of its products.  Trademarks for product names are fairly inexpensive to search and protect, and yet, may cost a company dearly if those names were to become the subject of a cease and desist letter and resulting federal court infringement litigation.  We defended a toy manufacturer in a trademark infringement lawsuit that allegedly infringed a competitor’s trademark.  After two years and in excess of $50,000 in legal fees (pretty inexpensive in trademark dispute litigation) the matter was resolved.  Consulting with counsel and filing the appropriate trademark applications could have avoided the huge waste of time and expense.

Another form of legal protection often overlooked is copyright for the toy’s design.   If the design meets the requirements of a sculptural work, such as a plush toy design, then copyright can be a powerful tool in locking out your competition from the use of designs that are “substantially similar”.  Prior to any trade show, toy companies must identify and protect its intellectual property, or risk the very goodwill of the company.  Intellectual property can give a company significant value.

  1. Privacy and Security.

Toy companies, like all companies, must take steps to protect the data of the company, minimize the risk of a breach, and put in place technological and legal measures designed to decrease liability in the event a breach does occur.  A comprehensive privacy program including but not limited to updated privacy notices, terms and conditions, internal policies, incident response plans and insurance coverage all geared toward reducing risk of legal liability is imperative if the company is to survive.  If the toys being showcased are “smart” or “connected” toys, privacy and security issues involving the Internet of Things will be at the forefront of manufacturers’, retailers’, and consumers’ minds.  Retailers seeking to avoid liability undoubtedly will have questions as to how the software works, what, if any, personally identifiable data is collected, how is it being stored, retained and destroyed.  Additionally, if a third party vendor will be used to provide software for a smart or connected toy, the company must seek counsel knowledgeable in privacy and security in order to reduce legal risk to the company that may result from the use of such software.

  1. Labeling / Advertising.

Federal law requires product packaging and certain advertisements for toys and games intended for use by children 12 years of age and under to display cautionary statements regarding choking and other hazards.  Safety related labeling and advertising for toys generally depends upon the category of toy and the age of the child for which the toy is intended.  It is imperative that toy companies be familiar with these laws and engage counsel who is familiar.

For more information, please contact:

Natalie A. Remien at:

(312) 368-0100 or nremien@lgattorneys.com.

Who is In Charge of the Advertising and Social Media Content?

Social media has become one of the biggest and best ways for companies to advertise to their customers and generate new customers. Even smaller companies blast tens or hundreds of messages per week. But who is in charge of monitoring what is said, how it is said, and the legality of what is said? Do all companies have their lawyers reviewing this content? Likely not.

For a large company with an in-house legal department, procedures are often already in place where the legal department routinely conducts a comprehensive review of each piece of advertising and social media content before it is placed into the cyber world for all its customers and potential customers to see. For a small company, this is often not the case.

For many small companies, an internal marketing department is tasked with creating, reviewing, editing and sending out social media and advertising content. Yet, this department may or may not have the legal expertise to ensure that the company avoids claims that another party may construe as false advertising or claims that require legal substantiation under Federal or state law. Further, the company must ensure that their trademark and copyright denotations are used correctly and that the use of any other company’s intellectual property, if applicable, is used with permission or under license. Finally, the company must display all necessary disclaimers. These are just some of the issues that may arise without proper legal review of advertising and social media pieces. No company is shielded from liability that could arise as a result of such advertising and social media communications. With the right steps, companies can utilize an intellectual property lawyer to effectively and easily establish a quick review system in order to reduce their risk and exposure concerning advertising and social media content.

If you have any questions in this area, please contact:

Natalie A. Remien at:

nremien@lgattorneys.com or 312-368-0100

 

DISCLAIMER: This blog post is INFORMATIONAL ONLY, and DOES NOT CONSITUTE LEGAL ADVICE. No company should rely on this or any Levin Ginsburg blog entry or press release as legal advice, as it DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP with any client or potential client. For individualized legal advice, please call Levin Ginsburg and inquire about representation.

Natalie A. Remien Joins Levin Ginsburg’s Intellectual Property and Corporate Practice Groups as Partner

Levin Ginsburg is pleased to announce that Natalie A. Remien has joined the firm as a Partner in its Intellectual Property and Corporate practice groups.

Natalie is an accomplished IP attorney with over 16 years of experience in Intellectual Property law.  Her practice includes handling matters in all aspects of intellectual property including trademark protection, licensing, domestic and international enforcement, and management of global trademark portfolios.  Ms. Remien regularly reviews advertising and packaging materials for clients to reduce risk of exposure due to false advertising, overbroad claims, and misuse of trademarks or copyrights.  Additionally, her practice includes domain name disputes, copyright protection and enforcement.

While companies often request Natalie for her understanding of intellectual property issues, they quickly learn that she also has a keen mind for spotting and resolving corporate and employment issues.  Natalie’s practice includes corporate counseling and review, negotiation and drafting of independent contractor agreements, work-for-hire agreements, employment agreements including non-compete and non-solicitation agreements, offer letters and termination and severance agreements.

Natalie has worked with clients in a broad cross section of industries including toys, games, athletics and fitness, nutrition, luxury goods, multinational retailing, food and beverages, automotive goods and services and insurance and financial services.

Natalie holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Colorado, Boulder, with a dual emphasis in Finance and Marketing, and a Juris Doctorate from DePaul University College of Law.  Additionally, Natalie is certified in mediation from the Northwestern University College of Continuing Education.

Natalie is a champion for women in business and takes an active role in various women’s business organizations that foster the development and growth of women and minority-owned businesses.  In her free time, she enjoys learning about health and nutrition, and garnering skills that help inspire those around her to reach their true potential.

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