Legal Blog

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Trade Bureau--Managing Our Vices

Posted by Brandon Selinsky on Aug 25, 2015 5:55:00 PM

Who's in Charge of the Beer?

Great American Beer Festival season is upon us and our turns our thoughts to beer.[1] In recent years, discussions of brewing law have often revolved around trademark disputes, which have become increasingly contentious and numerous. But trademark disputes are like the early arrival of pumpkin beers: we need a break from all that. Instead, we are going to look at the decidedly less sexy—but equally important--topic of the TTB.

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Topics: Trademark Law

Facility Clearance Can Be Pre-Condition For Government Contract Offers

Posted by Dan McAuliffe on Aug 25, 2015 5:05:21 PM

Will your lack of facility clearance effect your ability to win a bid?

The GAO has reaffirmed that the possession of a secret facility clearance by a government contractor may be a pre-condition to submitting a bid. 

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Topics: Government Procurement

Should We Be Trying So Hard to Help Veterans Adjust?

Posted by Joseph Whitcomb on Aug 25, 2015 9:19:00 AM

Should Veterans Adjust to Us or Us to Them?

“In the military, we give medals to people who sacrifice themselves, so that others may survive.  In corporations, we give bonuses to people who sacrifice others, so that they may benefit.” Simon Sinek, author of Leaders Eat Last, Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t

It's not hard to find someone nowadays advancing the idea that hiring veterans is a good idea.  After all, the saying goes, look at all the great traits the military teaches its service members:

  • “Courage under fire,” which translates to “works well under pressure.”
  • “Teamwork,” which translates to, “works well with others.”
  • “Initiative,” which translates to, “Self-starter.”
  • “Selfless service,” which translates roughly to “they’ll work hard and ask for little in return.”
  • And “Discipline,” which translates to “they’ll show up to work on time and do what they’re told.”

What few CEOs or HR managers consider, is that they may commit to the feel-good measure of hiring Veterans and then realize few of the benefits they anticipated when making the hire.  Unfortunately, what usually follows is someone becoming the Veteran’s apologist.  Stakeholders expecting the Veteran to shine and finding themselves disappointed quickly run through the list of “usual suspect” excuses.

1) The Veteran is having a hard time adjusting to civilian life;

2) The military just didn’t train the Veteran for anything useful for the civilian market place;”

3) The Veteran must be suffering from PTSD or some other variety of “the military broke the Veteran.” 

What almost none of them do is think to themselves or say out loud, “boy, we must have really fallen short of this Veteran’s expectations.”  Unfortunately, even fewer would be willing to change their corporate culture if they did stop to ask the question and found themselves answering in the affirmative.

Is Your Mission Statement as Cool as Their Old One?

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Topics: Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDV

Misleading and Profane Language Precludes Trademark Registration

Posted by Brandon Selinsky on Jul 21, 2015 6:40:09 PM

Some examples of what will preclude trademark registration? 

When designing or searching for a mark to represent a product or service, a savvy business owner knows to research that mark against existing ones for clearance against possible infringement. But a search alone is not always sufficient. In this article, we look at section 1052 of the Lanham Act, which primarily addresses aspects of a mark that would preclude trademark registration.

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Topics: Trademark Law, Intellectual Property

Clearly Unreasonable Contracting Officer = Attorney's Fees and Costs

Posted by Joseph Whitcomb on May 12, 2015 8:59:00 AM

What Should I Do If Faced with a Clearly Unreasonable Contracting Officer?

Federal contracting officers have broad discretion – within the limitations and unreasonable contracting officerallowances of the FAR. But, COs must respond in writing to claims filed by contractors. If they do not, they are violating the FAR and contractors are eligible for attorney's fees and other costs and penalties. A recent federal appellate court decision reveals that egregious breaches by unreasonable CO renders the FAR immaterial and courts will rely on the common law of contracts to make contractors whole.

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Topics: Appellate Law, Government Procurement

Equitable Estoppel Defense in Intellectual Property Infringement Claim

Posted by Joseph Whitcomb on May 12, 2015 8:38:00 AM

Can an Equitable Estoppel Defense Win the Day in Intellectual Property Infringement Casesequitable estoppel defense

This blog post will be the first of a series dealing with this subject. In completing my LLC (Master of Laws) in International Business Transactions at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, I spent the last 4 1/2 months studying the subject of Intellectual Property rights in an International Business Transactions setting. This series of blogs will be about the International Trade Commission’s treatment of four affirmative defenses over the last ten years: Collateral estoppel, waiver, laches, and acquiesces. The author’s method of research involved reviewing a sampling of 85 International Trade Commission (ITC) decisions issued since January 1, 2005. Most of these cases involved hundreds of filings and some were filed by Fortune 100 companies. What this blog will deal with are the affirmative defenses raised in these cases, the elements of those defenses, and the Administrative Law Judges’ (ALJs’) treatment of those defenses.

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Topics: International Business, Copyright Law, Trademark Law, Intellectual Property

Copyrights and Work Done for Hire

Posted by Joseph Whitcomb on May 12, 2015 7:52:00 AM

Work Created for My Employer Eligible for Copyrights?copyrights at work

When you create a work that is normally protected by U.S. copyrights law, you normally assume that protection yourself, as the creator. But this is not always true. In the case of a work made for hire, the employer or other person for whom the work was prepared is considered the author and owns all of the rights that comes with the copyrights unless the parties have expressly agreed otherwise in a signed document.

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Topics: Copyright Law, Intellectual Property

SBA and FAR Council Shortfalls Cause Subcontracting Limitations

Posted by Joseph Whitcomb on May 12, 2015 2:28:00 AM

The New(ish) Subcontracting Limitationssubcontracting limitations

In January 2013, Congress enacted 15 USCA § 657(s), which in its relevant part states (1) in the case of a contract for services, may not expend on subcontractors more than 50 percent of the amount paid to the concern under the contract. (see 15 U.S.C.A. § 657s (West) ) This statute was meant to clear up confusion created by the old FAR provision, 48 C.F.R. (FAR) § 52.219–14 (2002), which states, in part, that “[a]t least 50 percent of the cost of contract performance incurred for personnel shall be expended for employees of the concern.” One commenter on the old FAR provision wrote:

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Topics: Government Procurement

CVE Denies CS-360's Access to VetBiz VIP Database

Posted by Joseph Whitcomb on May 11, 2015 4:00:00 AM

Déjà Vu All over Again

In 2012 the US District Court for the District of Columbia remanded CS-360, LLC’s case back to the Department of Veterans Affairs “for further consideration and exclamation of its decision to deny Plaintiffs application” for registration in the VetBiz VIP database. Upon reconsideration, the VA once again denied CS-360’s application to be included in the VetBiz VIP database. CS-360 again challenged the VA’s determination in the Federal District Court. This time, unfortunately for CS-360, the Court granted the VA’s motion for summary judgment, sustaining the Agency’s denial of the applicant company’s conclusion in the Veterans First program.

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Topics: Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDV, Government Procurement

Crafting a Trademark Application for Your Craft Brew

Posted by Brandon Selinsky on Apr 14, 2015 3:18:00 PM

Brewing Trademark Applications

Brewers and brewery owners, be diligent in your naming. The collaborative solidarity of the brewing community fissured long ago. It’s not gone--there still exists a wonderful collection of craft beer producers who will walk 10 miles uphill both ways in a snowstorm to loan you a sack of grain. Great value exists in fostering and supporting that community. But protect yourselves. You operate a business. Just as you lock your doors at night to protect your brewing assets, so should you do what is necessary to secure your company’s intellectual assets.

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Topics: Government Procurement, Trademark Law, Intellectual Property

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Whitcomb Law, PC is dedicated to helping business owners maximize benefits, while minimizing risks.  We strive to provide content on this blog that is up-to-date, relevant, and easy to read.  We enjoy reading your feedback especially when it helps us improve the way in which we serve you.

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