Intellectual Property Lawyers Jim Astrachan and Donna Thomas Recognized in Chambers 2024

Congratulations to Jim Astrachan and Donna Thomas, who were recognized in the 2024 edition of Chambers, a leading ranking of the world’s top lawyers. Both were selected for the Maryland Intellectual Property category.

Jim and Donna are ranked in Chambers every year, which is a testament to the stellar reputation their IP practice has earned (and held) for decades.

Jim Astrachan - Intellectual Property Lawyer

Jim Astrachan

Donna Thomas - Baltimore Intellectual Property Lawyer

Donna Thomas


US Supreme Court Opens Door for Once-barred Copyright Claims

Earlier this month the U.S. Supreme Court answered the question of when a copyright plaintiff must file an infringement claim or be barred from suing by statute of limitations. The case was Warner Chappell v. Nealy Music, Inc.

The controversy arose because the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal were in disagreement whether limitations under 17 U.S.C. Section 507(b) required that suit be filed within three years of the infringing event or whether a plaintiff could sue when it discovered, or should have discovered, the infringement even though beyond the three-year limit for suit. Continue reading

Your Voice is Your Identity

In 1992, a jury awarded the singer Tom Waits the equivalent of $6 million in today’s dollars because Frito-Lay used a voice-alike in its Doritos ad and misappropriated his right to publicity. Bette Midler, Shirley Booth, and Bert Lahr also sued advertisers who used their voice-alikes in ads.

The reason for the lawsuits is that a distinctive voice is a recognizable component of a person’s identity, and the use of a person’s identity without consent to sell goods violates their right of publicity. With new technology, there will be many new incidents.

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A Company’s Website and Copyright Issues

It happens way too often. A website owner or employee innocently downloads to their website a photograph or some other work to illustrate or explain some aspect of the owner’s business. Or, its use may be intended to draw more viewers to the website.

The work may be a news photo, an illustration or an article. Use may be as innocent as finding and downloading a photo of the city’s skyline just to emphasize the business is local. One picture, they say, is worth a thousand words.

Then a letter arrives, demanding that a work must be immediately taken down from the website. The letter further demands that the user pay compensation to the owner of the work for unauthorized use, claiming that use on the website is copyright infringement. The compensation demanded may be in low five figures per work infringed, sometimes more. Continue reading

The Corporate Transparency Act: What Business Owners Need to Know

In an effort to combat the proliferation of anonymous shell companies used for criminal purposes in the United States, Congress enacted the Corporate Transparency Act (the “CTA”), which requires Reporting Companies to report personal identifying information about the Beneficial Owners and Company Applicants to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”), which will maintain the personal identifying information in a secure database for use by governmental authorities and certain financial institutions.

What is a Reporting Company?

Reporting Companies include domestic corporations, limited liability companies, or other entities created by filing with a secretary of state or similar office under the laws of a state or an Indian tribe and corporations, limited liability companies, or other entities formed under the laws of a foreign country that has registered to do business in the United States. Continue reading

WEBINAR: 3 Key Issues for Maryland Business Owners in 2024

Complimentary Webinar for Maryland Business Owners: Tuesday, January 16, 2024, 10:00 – 10:45 a.m.

Maryland companies face new and evolving obligations in 2024. Prepare your business now by understanding the issues most likely to affect your organization’s financial and legal positions.

Join us for this complimentary webinar on three key developments that business owners should be thinking about in 2024. We will provide an overview of:

  • MarylandSaves, a new retirement program created by the state of Maryland
  • Corporate Transparency Act (CTA), which was passed to enhance transparency in entity structures and ownership to combat illicit activities
  • Maryland Family Paid Leave, which guarantees workers the right to up to 12 weeks of paid, job-protected leave to attend to family matters

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Kaitlin Corey Joins Board of Discovery Center at Water’s Edge

Kaitlin Corey - Business and intellectual property lawyer at Goodell DeVries

Kaitlin Corey – Business and intellectual property lawyer at Goodell DeVries

Intellectual property lawyer Kaitlin Corey has been appointed to the Board of the Discovery Center at Water’s Edge (DCWE).

DCWE is a trailblazing educational institution dedicated to nurturing a lifelong love of learning and exploration in STEM. Its mission is to create an inclusive environment where people of all ages can engage with interactive science exhibits, attend enriching workshops, see new technology, learn about the local science heritage, and discover the fascinating world of STEM. Continue reading

Trademark Law and ‘Trump Too Small’

The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard argument in a third trademark case in which a denied registrant sought to overturn a provision of the Lanham Act on First Amendment grounds.

The mark at issue is “Trump Too Small.” First there was Tam in which the court held “The Slants” must be registered for a musical band even if it allegedly disparaged Asian-Americans. Next was Brunetti where the court required the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to register “Fuct” for a clothing line, a salacious term if ever there was one. The Lanham Act’s bans on registration of salacious and disparaging marks were held to violate First Amendment rights because they were expressive speech. Continue reading