Adler Law Group

Based in Chicago, Illinois, the law office of Adler Law Group focuses on the legal needs of corporate entities and offers services in the following areas: Information Technology & Ecommerce, Corporation & Business Law, Intellectual Property Law, Entertainment Law, and Privacy & Security Law

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How Can Designers Protect Their Intellectual Property?

Interior Design and knockoff furniture made headlines in a recent New York Times article, most likely due to the celebrity attached to the controversy. The complaint filed by the Judd Foundation against interior design firm Clements Design, Inc. and the designer’s client, Kim Kardashian, alleges claims for trademark infringement, copyright infringement, unfair competition, false advertising, and false endorsement related to the sale and promotion of allegedly knockoff Donald Judd designed furniture.

Filed in California, the Judd Foundation brings its unfair competition claims primarily under 15 USC 1125(a) based upon Clements Design’s and
Continue Reading Kardashian YouTube Video of Office Furniture Prompts Lawsuit Against Celeb & Interior Designer

This month’s issue of Ping® highlights some trends in digital advertising. On June 29th, 2021, Illinois passed a Name, Image, Likeness (NIL) law for their colleges and institutions allowing a student-athlete to earn compensation commensurate with market value while enrolled at a postsecondary educational institution, and obtain and retain a certified agent for any matter or activity relating to such compensation.  This has prompted some discussions around different states treatment of right of publicity laws. This month’s issue of Ping® briefly compares NY and IL NIL laws.

Illinois vs New York Right of Publicity Acts: Key Differences and Protections

Continue Reading Ping® by Adlerlaw January 2024 – A Brief Comparison of NY and IL NIL laws.

Ping® by Adlerlaw Reminder: NYC Requires Written Contracts For Freelance Workers

New York City’s Freelance Isn’t Free Act defines freelance workers as any individual hired or retained as an independent contractor by a hiring party to provide services for compensation. Commonly referred to as gigs, tasks, projects, side or contingent work, working on contract or spec, freelancing, contracting, subcontracting, consulting, moonlighting, entrepreneurship, alternative arrangements, self-employment, etc., you can contact DCWP if you have questions about classification as a freelance worker, independent contractor, or employee.

If you employ independent contractors in New York City (NYC), you may need to have written
Continue Reading Ping® By AdlerLaw – NYC Written Contracts & Freelance Workers

Or, Can I post a photo of graffiti art to Instagram?

Imagine this scenario: while traversing the city on your daily walk to the office you see some interesting graffiti on the inside of a stairwell in the commercial building housing your favorite independent coffee shop. It’s clearly layers upon layers of works by who-knows-how-many artists. Next to the stairwell is a sign, with icon of a camera, and hashtag. Feeling inspired and intrepid you snap a photo, instantly uploading it to your story with a witty one-liner about undiscovered urban art.

As the caffeine works its magic you begin
Continue Reading Ping® By AdlerLaw – Public Art & Social Media

Ping® by Adlerlaw – Structuring and Planning M&A Transactions

I was honored to participate in a recent webinar about Merger & Acquisition Transactions as part of the Financial Poise  M&A BOOT CAMP 2023. Our program, the kick-off episode in the series,  “Structuring and Planning the M&A Transaction,” covered a broad range of topics related to preparing for, structuring, and executing M&A transactions.

Whether you are a buyer or a seller, you may have questions, such as “What are the primary types of M&A transactions?” The panel discussed some of the key similarities and how they are structurally different. For
Continue Reading Ping® by Adlerlaw – Structuring and Planning M&A Transactions

In Warhol v. Goldsmith, Opinion located here, the estate of deceased pop artist Andy Warhol argued its use of the photo at issue was fair use under the first of the four Fair Use test factors (the “purpose and character of the use”), because Warhol’s contributions were transformative, adding new expression, meaning, or message. The Court countered that while relevant to whether a copying use has a sufficiently distinct purpose or character, it is not, without more, dispositive. It must be weighed against other considerations, like commercialism. Here, the specific use of Goldsmith’s photograph alleged to infringe her copyright is AWF’s licensing
Continue Reading Ping® by Adlerlaw – Warhol Loses Copyright Fair Use Defense of Photo at SCOTUS

Advertisers delight in activating values and hidden desires of consumers using the language of the advertising claim. The “claim” is the part of an ad that makes some claim of superiority for the product being advertised. These days it is difficult to recognize those that are misleading and even downright lies, because most fit into the category of neither bold lies nor helpful consumer information. When consumers see or hear an advertisement, whether it’s on the Internet, radio or television, or anywhere else, federal law says that ad must be truthful, not misleading, and, when appropriate, backed by scientific evidence. 
Continue Reading Ping® By Adlerlaw – FTC Notices Concerning Product Claims In Advertising

A recent Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) decision is noteworthy for the lighting-design industry. This trademark application rejection sheds light on strategies for lighting designers seeking to protect their trademarks. This begins with the approach to the application process itself.

In In re B-K Lighting, Inc., Serial No. 88769422 (January 27, 2023) [not precedential], the USPTO refused to register “AGI2” for “lighting fixtures,” finding confusion likely with the registered mark “AGI & Design” for lights, lighting assemblies, and light fixtures for architectural signage. As is often the case, applicant B-K Lighting was left scrambling to distinguish its trademark from
Continue Reading Ping® By Adlerlaw – The Importance of Trademarks for Lighting Designers.

This month’s issue of Ping® highlights Illinois rules regarding use of iPhone-recorded video in a criminal trial. In case you missed it, my article, “Six Things You Can Do to Improve Your Contracts,” from ASID Impact Illinois Magazine, Issue Two, 2022, is discussed below.

Six Things You Can Do to Improve Your Contracts.

In case you missed it, my article “Six Things You Can Do to Improve Your Contracts” appeared in ASID Impact Illinois Magazine, Issue Two 2022, pages 22-24.

Here’s a quick summary.

If you have questions about your business, or about contracts, or if you need assistance
Continue Reading Ping® By Adlerlaw – Illinois Evidence Rules on Admissibility of Cell Phone Video

Copyright law protects the expression not the idea.

Many writers worry about “idea theft,” using it as the reason they don’t tell people about their projects, won’t publicaly post their loglines, or won’t apply for contests and fellowships. But the fact is, copyright law only protects the expression of an idea, not the idea itself. Lots of films and television shows have similar concepts.

But what do you do if you believe your actual script or deck, or other materials were stolen? I recently received a call from a prospective client with that very concern. Read more here.
Continue Reading Ping® by AdlerLaw – Important Reasons To Register Your Copyright

I originally intended to call this article Challenges For Structuring Interior Design Purchasing Fees and Mark-ups, but felt that might be too alarmist.

Nevertheless, Interior Designers often find it challenging to craft the best structure and find the right way to charge clients for interior design services, as well as related services like purchasing and project management. Whether you plan to start up an interior design business or you are already a seasoned interior designer, having clear terms on charges for art, furniture, finishings, fixtures, and other decorative items (sometimes generally referred to as “FF&E” for convenience), will avoid problems
Continue Reading Ping® by AdlerLaw – Structuring Interior Design Purchasing Fees

When a party seeks to protect a mark that is unregistered, the plaintiff has the burden to establish its entitlement to protection under the Lanham Act due to the “distinctiveness” of the mark. Platinum Home Mortg. Corp. v. Platinum Fin. Grp., Inc., 149 F.3d 722, 727 (7th Cir. 1998).

“The first step in determining whether an unregistered mark or name is entitled to the protection of the trademark laws is to categorize the name according to the nature of the term itself.” Int’l Kennel Club of Chi., Inc. v. Mighty Star, Inc., 846 F.2d 1079, 1085 (7th Cir. 1988). “Marks
Continue Reading Ping® by AdlerLaw A Note On Protecting Descriptive Words

This month’s issue of Ping® highlights recent changes in State laws in Illinois and New York. Effective January 1, 2023, Illinois joins at least 18 other states to have a Title Act authorizing Registered Interior Designers to seal any bound set or loose sheets of technical submissions. This change can only benefit everyone in the industry including, designers, tradespersons, and most importantly, consumers. Also noteworthy is New York’s legislative approval of NY State Senate Bill S8369B relating to protections for freelance workers. The Freelance Isn’t Free Act (the “Act”) if signed, would amend the New York Labor Law to establish rights for
Continue Reading Ping® by AdlerLaw July 2022 – Recent State Laws in Illinois & New York Affect Contractors, Interior Designers

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) approved a request for public comment related to updating its Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. These are better known as the “Endorsement Guides” or just the “Guides.” The current version of the Guides can be found at 16 CFR part 255. These updates were released in May 2022.

The proposed updates are fairly sweeping and touch many aspects of the Guides. I recently discussed these updates at AM Days as part of Affiliate Summit East in New York. Here are the highlights from responses to the questions I get
Continue Reading Ping® June 2022 – FTC Updates Endorsement Guides 2022 Part I

Just How Enforceable Are Online Terms? What You Need To Know

We have all, at some point while online, clicked on the “I Accept” button without giving it a second thought. Whether creating a social media account, signing up a for an online service, or just trying to get to bank statements, more and more businesses are linking to their standard terms and conditions online for suppliers and customers. But just how enforceable are these? Does it matter where the link is displayed or how it is displayed. Some courts have refuse to enforce online disclosures due to perceived problems
Continue Reading Ping® February 2022 – Just How Enforceable Are Online Terms?