Jayaram Law Blog

While many businesses have experienced COVID-19 related disruptions, there is one notable exception. Around March 2020, TikTok saw an exponential growth in users after many states issued shelter in place orders. TikTok is owned by ByteDance, the Beijing based company responsible for Musical.ly. It is a social media app that allows users to create short comedy, dance, lip sync videos. In part, due to its rapid growth, TikTok has experienced several legal issues. Many users will post a video using a piece of popular music and come back to find the audio missing. This is because users are using copyrighted…
At some point early in the last decade, I was introduced to a plumber named George from Los Angeles.  He said he needed some help licensing a piece of film to a production team interested in using it in a documentary.  George explained that on the evening of March 3, 1991, he was toying around with his new camcorder, a recent gift from his wife. That night, while on his balcony, he used the camcorder to film LAPD officers overpower and assault Rodney King, a Black man whose senseless beating exposed the realities of police brutality against Black people.  Not just…
The USPTO v. BOOKING.COM decision and the future of consumer perception evidence for generic marks. The Supreme Court affirmed that a generic word combined with “.com” can be a valid trademark based on consumer perception. Now what? On June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a generic word combined with “.com” can create a federally protectable trademark. In its opinion, written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, SCOTUS overturned the USPTO’s bright-line rule against registering a generic word plus top-level domain combinations, and it opened the door for the owners of others to apply for similar trademarks. The traditional rule…
Later this year, the United States Supreme Court will decide whether Google infringed on Oracle when it used Java Application Programming Interfaces (“API”) in creating its Android operating system.   In other words, the highest court in the country is about to answer an extraordinarily important question that effects the lives of virtually anyone using a mobile device today:  can you own the basic commands of a coding language? To understand why this is such a critical case, it’s helpful to understand what API actually do and how they work. API allow us to share important data between devices, applications, and…
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, innovators have been volunteering their creativity to come up with ingenious new ways of combatting the spread of the disease. And top of the list of potential tech-based solutions is 3D printing. Long heralded as a cheaper, faster, and more accessible means of production, 3D printing offers a potential silver-bullet to the problem of manufacturing and distributing much needed medical equipment by allowing designs to be shared publicly and produced locally. After all, why wait for the health authorities to navigate the procurement process and supply chain of, say, a global clinical mask…
Stairway To Hearings There’s a lawyer who’s sure all that glitters is (in fact) old…. And he’s buying another listen to what could be the longest running track in Led Zeppelin’s entire back catalogue. Namely, the “Stairway To Heaven” copyright saga. Now well into its third encore in the courts, the rock legends were originally sued in 2016, facing a claim that Stairway used the same chord progression as a little-known track called “Taurus” by the San Francisco band, Spirit. While this sort of thing may seem but trifling coincidence, particularly among musicians specializing in swaggering, 70s-charged iterations of old…
Social media has made it easier than ever for creative, talented people to turn their works of art into a revenue stream. You no longer need the backing of a big company or an art gallery to reach millions of people. Sharing your most recent creations or even live-streaming the process of making new art can attract hundreds or thousands of followers, some of whom you could successfully convert into sales of merchandise featuring your art. Unfortunately, sharing your art online also means that it is easier than ever for someone to steal your intellectual property with the intent of…
At the beginning of this year, California became the most prominent state to pass a comprehensive consumer privacy law known as the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA). The CCPA imposes new obligations on qualified businesses, such as creating and updating privacy notices on websites and giving consumers access, deletion, and opt-out rights related to information collected about them. A few other states have passed their own consumer privacy laws, and as expected, numerous states are in the process of enacting similar laws to California’s. Other State Privacy Laws Nevada (enacted): Nevada’s privacy law (SB 220) is narrower in…
A question most founders will face is whether to set aside a percentage of their company’s stock to be reserved for employees. An employee option pool (also known as an equity pool or an incentive pool) is the number of shares a private company reserves from which it can grant stock options or restricted stock to award to its employees.  Although these awards are technically stock options or restricted stock, the word “pool” is used because it represents the grouped sum of all stock that is set for the company’s employees. Both restricted stock awards and stock option awards provide…
For founders, fundraising is one of the most exhausting and confusing jobs.  And although there’s many ways to finance a company, most startups today will consider one of two options:  a priced round or a non-priced round.  A priced round is a true equity round where the Company and its investors agree on a price per share, and a transaction follows.  A non-priced round – while less familiar to those outside the tech ecosystem – has become the most common way for early stage software companies to raise money for the first time.   Why?  Because using a SAFE or Convertible…
As a self-identifying bibliophile and well-seasoned introvert, quarantine has offered a rare opportunity to make a serious dent in my growing stack of unread books. Here is a short offering of suggested reading for isolation. I also recommend contacting your local bookstore to see if they are still accepting online orders and purchasing any new books directly through them. wow, no thank you – Samantha Irby If you haven’t read Irby’s first two collections of essays, Meaty and We are never meeting in real life, I suggest going back and acquainting yourself with the author’s unique tone and sense of…
The Iditarod is one of the only sports that you can follow right now. Because of the corona virus most of the other pro sports were cancelled including the NBA, March Madness and the MLB. But don’t dismay, following the Iditarod is extraordinarily exiting, fun and pleasurable for your whole family. The Iditarod is a competitive dog sled race across the frozen tundra of Alaska.  The path of the Iditarod today mostly traces the path of the 1925 serum run which was a transport of Diphtheria medication by relay to save the town of Nome, Alaska.  This year’s Iditarod includes…
Remote work has been integrated into the fabric of our firm for a very long time.  So our senior team has put together some of their favorite work from home tips for you! Heidi Echols: 1. Set up some routines – Set a start and stop time for work, the same way you do when you work in an office. It might help to write down your schedule to help you stay productive during your “work hours,” and save the Instagram for your “free hours”! 2. Use your commute time for something meaningful to you – If your commute time…
So why are some VCs we know not panicking about the virus and its effects?  Here’s 3 reasons why: 1.There’s a bunch of dry powder out there.  As Pitchbook reported this week, American Venture Capital firms have raised over $100 billion in fund capital over the past two years.  This is unprecedented and is money that likely will be deployed.  Strategies may shift, but the actual act of investing may continue for many venture firms.  In house we have closings scheduled for the rest of the month. 2. The VC playbook is not necessarily concerned with the next 6-12 months. …
Chances are you or people close to you are working remotely to help contain COVID-19.  Working away from the office and within the comfort of your own home is a great way to avoid crowds, distance yourself socially from co-workers, and continue to do the work you do. Small businesses and new organizations with fewer resources, less data, and smaller workforces can keep things simpler than those in highly-regulated industries.  Think about what is reasonable for your organization and what steps will give you the best return. For those employers who are instituting remote workplaces, here are some tips and best…
Few places in the United States have been as impacted by Covid-19 as New York City.  Given our firm’s presence in New York City and our commitment to its entrepreneurial ecosystem, we were pleased to learn that on March 8th Mayor de Blasio authorized interest free loans to New York City companies that meet the required criteria.  While details are still emerging, below outlines how you can apply your small business for emergency loans under the two state programs set-up to help make payroll, meet expenses and continue to operate without material interruption during this crisis. The first is the NYC…