My name is Kevin Christopher. I’m the founder of Rockridge®, a B Corp technology law firm, as well as B Tennessee, a nonprofit advancing uptake of B Corp and benefit corporation frameworks. I’m also pro bono counsel for B Academics, a collection of researchers studying behavioral, market, political, and other metrics of social enterprises. In my professional career I’ve evolved from a neural implant patent nerd to an unabashed social enterprise advocate. Read more about me and my practice in the links that follow.

This article is written for my B Corp consultant friends, as well as entrepreneurs, directors, and…

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Can CBD Companies Secure Federal Trademark Protection? Can CBD Products be Trademarked if not Ingestible? Here’s what you need to know, according to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB).

In 2021, CBD seems to be everywhere.

No matter where you go, you’re bound to come across a café that sells CBD specialty drinks or a pet supply store that sells freshly-baked CBD-infused treats for your four-legged friend. CBD cosmetic products are also making a splash. Hundreds of spas in the country are offering a broad spectrum of “CBD-infused treatments” through oils, lotions, and balms.

If you aren’t living under a rock, you’ve likely heard by now that the 2018 Farm Bill removed “hemp” from the list of controlled substances under the Controlled Substances…

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Startups and emerging companies often require large amounts of capital to get off the ground or to scale. With a lack of significant revenue and traditional financing options, entrepreneurs often rely on private investors for funding. Early-stage investors play a critical role not only by providing capital but also by contributing time, experience, and connections. Not every entrepreneur, however, has access to these investors. In fact, founders from underrepresented groups (e.g., female or minority founders) or located in regions with underdeveloped investor networks often lack meaningful connections to early-stage investors.

In these situations, entrepreneurs often turn…

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Have you been thinking about transitioning or expanding the online presence of your business? Many businesses are successfully selling online, but lack sufficient understanding of various branding laws that would further strengthen their product and service portfolios. Many design and media houses creating brand platforms for businesses don’t have sufficient understanding of intellectual property rights to deliver to their clients optimal ROI. This quick guide will enable you to learn the language and seek the additional help that you need to protect your business and its intellectual property online.

What’s the Difference between Copyrights and Trademarks

Trademarks and copyrights are often confused, and for good reason, since…

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As your e-commerce company grows, it’s likely that you’ll experience copycats. Despite the money and efforts you spent on marketing, customer relations, and manufacturing a high quality product, that work can be swept away when an infringer disguises themselves under your company name and logo, stealing all your customers away. Even a seemingly innocent copycat can hurt your bottom line.

If you sell on Amazon, your company may be eligible to enlist in Amazon’s Brand Registry Program.

The Amazon Brand Registry is a program that enables vetted brand owners to register their brands with the platform and access Amazon’s infringement-finding…

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Blockchain-based technology is fraught with legal issues. It’s new to many, innovative, and has scared regulators into making an abundance of regulatory decisions quickly and fiercely.

Despite the novelty of blockchain technology to the average lay person (if you want a definition, you won’t find it here), many of the legal aspects applicable to the technology are nothing new. If your organization is considering implementing blockchains in some form or fashion (cryptocurrency, recordkeeping, funds transfer, product safety, etc.), here are some aspects to consider.

Ownership of Intellectual Property

As in any software dealing, special consideration should be taken to define the scope of ownership…

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Trade secrets are a unique form of intellectual property — they require no filing or examination, no acquisition cost, nor is their value limited by any expiration date. A business can operate under the value of a trade secret for as long as the secret is kept.

Kentucky Fried Chicken and Coca-Cola are notorious examples of entities that go to great lengths to protect their secret formulas to maintain their trade secret status.

Other examples of trade secrets include:

· Commercial bidding information and contracts;

· Customer and supplier lists;

· Financial information and planning;

· information pertaining to overhead…

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How much money and time does it take to create a brand? Countless hours and thousands in marketing, website and social media creation, and product development.

How easy is it to lose a brand? One cease-and-desist letter, following by the threat of a trademark infringement lawsuit.

Before you ever get started with creating a business under a name-you-love-and-just-have-to-have, if you want to avoid wasted time, lost money, and the threat of a lawsuit, you should conduct a clearance search of possibly similar trademarks owned by others. Why is this important? …

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Technology Contracts — often called Terms & Conditions — are the set of documents that no one ever wants to read . . . unless you happen to be a contract law attorney or a company executive sitting on a decision to spend a significant amount of money on new hardware, upgrading software, or implementing a management system solution.

Unless you are a technology vendor, it is unlikely that you will be in charge of drafting such contracts. However, whether you are the seller or the buyer, you can guarantee that you’ll find yourself at the negotiation table over a…

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Marketers need to be able to answer two essential questions . . . 1) What is the GDPR? and 2) Does it apply to my business or client? Let’s add third and fourth questions, since there’s a 90% chance the GDPR does apply: 3) What happens if my business / client doesn’t comply, but ought to? and 4) How does my business /client get started?

This five-minute read is not meant to answer all your questions, which likely requires a chat with an attorney to discuss your specific business operations and data collection/sharing practices. Rockridge® would love to work with…

Rockridge Venture Law®

We’re an intellectual property law firm + certified B Corp focusing on innovation + corporate social responsibility.

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