Cobalt Law – Articles

Artist Barbed about Copyright Infringement Case

A federal court in Colorado denied Kathleen Todd’s claim for copyright infringement and granted defendant’s motion of summary judgment, on the ground that Todd’s jewelry had no copyrightable features.

In 1996, Tood applied for and received a copyright registration for her jewelry crafted from barbed wire. Montana Silversmith’s Inc. came out with their own line of barbed wire jewelry in 2000 and Todd sued for copyright infringement. The court found that while Todd was a skilled artists and her work had a certain “creative gestalt,” and emotional appeal, these things lacked the precision necessary to define them from a legal perspective and was therefore forced to find that her designs did not add anything to the public domain features of the barbed wire.

practice pointer: Counsel clients that a copyright registration is not irrefutable evidence of a copyright. Clients (and their attorneys) should be realistic about the copyrightable elements of a public domain product that has been transformed for some new use.


Navigating the Promotions Waters

Clients are quick to jump on the sweepstakes bandwagon in hopes of driving traffic to their website or increasing sales of their products. To be sure, contests, sweepstakes, give-aways, and promotions are all savvy tools in any marketing arsenal, but clients and attorneys should approach with caution. Each new promotion may carry with it landmines that can not only defeat the purpose of the promotion in the first place, but also open the door to legal issues.

The following article was originally written for The Practical Lawyer (2005 May/June) and provides a brief overview of this area of law.

Download article

Copyright 2005, Tsan Abrahamson. All rights reserved.


Children’s Marketing — Pitfalls

Promoting to children means more than simply swapping out the product. Television stations, regulatory agencies, and parents all watch carefully the position that companies take in marketing to kids. The following summary provides an overview of specific issues that companies need to watch for in creating promotions directed at children.

Kids Marketing

Copyright 2005, Tsan Abrahamson. All rights reserved.