Put TBA UPS to Work

Have you enrolled in TBA’s UPS account for members? Visit UPS's TBA page and save up to 34 percent on UPS’s broad portfolio. Shipping services include next day air, international, ground and express.
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Law Office Management Tips on Shipping

If your law office uses shipping services, your TBA membership team can help you compare those costs to TBA’s UPS member benefit. Your firm office manager can work directly with TBA staff and UPS services to enroll or transfer shipping accounts. Members can save up to 34 percent on UPS’s broad portfolio of shipping services, including next day air, international, ground and express.
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Destination CLE Survey

Let's take a trip! The TBA CLE Committee would like your feedback on destination CLE events. Taking a moment to complete this brief survey will greatly assist us in developing the best CLE experience for you. Please complete this survey by Aug. 10. We greatly appreciate your help with this endeavor.
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Last-minute Proposal Could Sink Music Modernization Bill

An 11th-hour proposal by a music licensing company could torpedo the Music Modernization Act before it even becomes a law, The Tennessean reports. The act, which has already passed the U.S. House and Senate, would improve digital royalty payouts to songwriters, begin paying artists and labels a digital royalty for songs recorded prior to 1972 and would create a new licensing collective to oversee digital mechanical licensing for songwriters and music publishers. The Nashville-based licensing agency SESAC has proposed changes to the legislation that would allow certified licensing companies to handle licensing and administration of digital mechanical licensing. Supporters of the bill say they worry that the last-minute addition could kill the bill.
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USPTO Grants Blockchain Patent to Tennessee Based Company

On June 5, the United States Patent Office issued U.S. Patent 9,990,418 to a Tennessee-based company, 2020 IP, LLC. The ‘418 patent covers Blockchain technology in the market research space and was prosecuted by past TBA Intellectual Property Chair A.J. Bahou. This patented method covers novel technology that puts the user in control of his/her data and allows the user to set the value for the user’s data. Although a variety of companies use Blockchain technology to collect data and record secure information, the ‘418 patented technology uses Blockchain to create a revolutionary consumer-led exchange for market research.
In the growing field of Blockchain technology, many companies are seeking patent protection on a variety of different applications, including cryptocurrency, supply-chain management, messaging applications, and payment networks. In general, Blockchain technology records data on a decentralized database that is similar to a ledger entry. Once the data is validated, the information is written in a block of data and chained together in a secure way so that it is very difficult to modify any validated information. In addition, since the data is duplicated in various places throughout the decentralized database network, an improper change to any one copy does not impact the other valid copies of the information. You can view the patent here.
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Senate Approves Motion in Attempt to Limit President's Authority on Tariffs

In an 88-11 vote last Wednesday, the U.S. Senate approved a motion requiring tariffs based on national security to obtain congressional approval prior to enactment, Time Magazine reports. President Donald Trump has recently imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports and is contemplating more on automobiles, causing stocks and commodities to drop worldwide. The measure, sponsored by Senator Bob Corker, R–Tenn., comes after the administration said it would impose a new round of tariffs on Chinese goods due to purported theft of U.S. intellectual property. Legislation limiting Trump’s power will likely face an uphill battle in the U.S. House.

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Trump Changes Hiring Process for Federal Administrative Law Judges

President Donald Trump has issued an executive order altering the hiring process for administrative law judges at federal agencies, removing the examination process and competitive selections, NPR reports. Administrative law judges will now be political appointees. A White House official said that the move was intended to “protect agencies against challenges to the legitimacy of their administrative law judges,” but opponents of the move say it’s an example of executive overreach.
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Arts and Business Council Seeking Director of Legal Services

The Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville is looking for a part time Director of Legal Services to oversee the management of the Arts & Business Council’s cornerstone program: Volunteer Lawyers & Professionals for the Arts (VLPA). VLPA provides critical and necessary pro bono legal services to artists of all disciplines, as well as legal and business assistance to emerging nonprofit arts organizations in Tennessee. Read more about the job and requirements here.

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Knoxville-based Company Earns Canadian Patent for Electronic Visit Verification

Knoxville based healthcare technology company HealthStar has earned an additional patent for the company's electronic visit verification (EVV), according to a June 25 press release. The Canadian Intellectual Property Office granted the patent for the underlying technology used in HealthStar Visit, the company's signature EVV software. It uses GPS-based technology to help reduce fraud, waste and abuse in Medicaid reimbursement for services delivered in a home-based setting.

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Schedule Time to Read Email

A Tip from the TBA Attorney Well-Being Committee

Rather than checking on every e-mail as it arrives, schedule time in your calendar for reading and managing e-mail (and leave e-mail notifications silent during the other times of the day). This will enable you to have focused time for given tasks without constant interruption and distraction.

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Nashville Brewery Sues Kansas City Beer Maker for Copyright Infringement

Nashville-based TailGate Beer filed a copyright infringement lawsuit on June 19 against Kansas City’s Boulevard Brewing Co. over allegedly copying the former beer maker’s logo, the Nashville Post reports. TailGate’s logo – that of a pickup truck with beer in the bed – was trademarked in 2013, while Boulevard recently added a similar image to the label of its pale ale. The lawsuit argues that Boulevard committed willful infringement, noting that the company ran an ad campaign featuring the slogan “Why just tailgate when you could Palegate?” Boulevard has denied the claims and says the image was not knowingly taken from TailGate.
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Financial Services Firm Secures Patent on Storing Meeting Minutes Using Blockchain

Financial services firm Northern Trust won a patent Wednesday for a method of backing up records of meetings using blockchain technology, according to Coindesk. The method utilizes a series of smart contracts to capture data related to the meeting, including records of who is attending, when the meeting took place and where. This is the latest development in what has developed into a race for blockchain-related patents, with companies such as Alphabet Inc., Google and Bank of America trying to secure blockchain patents of their own. Information on the patent can be found here.

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Intellectual Property Chair A.J. Bahou Joins Waller

Tennessee Bar Association Intellectual Property Section Chair A.J. Bahou has joined the Nashville office of Waller, according to a press release on its website. In addition to leading the IP Section, Bahou was recently appointed to the TBA's Special Committee on the Evolving Legal Market, which focuses on the changing nature of the practice of law. We congratulate A.J. on his new transition.

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Velcro’s In-House Lawyers Hope Their Message Sticks

According to Corporate Counsel, fastener manufacturer Velcro's in-house lawyers recently launched a second attempt at a viral video aimed at deterring improper use of its VELCRO™ trademark. With a little  more than 1,800 views will it stick? Judge for yourself; watch the video here

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A Wellness Tip from the Attorney Well-Being Committee

Making an effort to notice the positive aspects of your life can have specific and beneficial results. Positive psychologists asked volunteers to each night write down three good things that happened that day and reflect for a few minutes on each one.  Benefits resulting from this exercise included increased happiness, increased moments of gratitude and other positive emotion, enhanced capacity for hope and optimism, improved physical health, and decreased depression.  Why not give this simple exercise a try? Think of three instances of something that went right during the past 24 hours, write them down, and spend a few minutes reflecting on them (i.e., cause of the good thing, my contribution to the good thing, similar good things can happen in the future if I do X, what this good thing means).  Do this for two weeks and see whether you notice a difference!

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TBA, Commercial Appeal to Co-Host Gubernatorial Forum at Convention

The TBA and The Commercial Appeal are teaming up to host a gubernatorial candidate forum during the TBA’s annual Convention in Memphis. The forum will take place on June 14 at 8:30 a.m. during this year’s Bench/Bar program. Four major candidates have confirmed to attend the event, which will be moderated by The Commercial Appeal’s executive editor, Mark Russell. The program will offer the chance to hear each candidate’s position on issues that matter to attorneys, as well as opportunities to mix and mingle with the candidates. The event will be livestreamed on
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Knoxville Based Boat Company Accused of Violating Patent Injunction

Cobalt Boats LLC filed a motion in federal court on May 11 accusing Brunswick Corporation's Knoxville based Sea Ray brand of violating an injunction order by continuing to infringe on Cobalt's patented flip-down "retractable swim step," according to a press release issued on Wednesday. Cobalt contends that the swim steps currently sold on Sea Ray boats are not significantly different from the Sea Ray swim steps found to be an infringement in a previous trial, in which Cobalt was awarded upward to $5.4 million.

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Share Your Thoughts on Proposed Amendments to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 6

The Supreme Court recently requested comment on proposed amendments to TSC Rule 6 that would require new attorneys to complete a Tennessee Law Course within one year of admission to the Tennessee bar. The Tennessee Bar Association has a working group on this issue and will be drafting comments in response to the court's Order for Comment. To ensure this comment best reflects members’ views and positions, the groups is looking for your feedback. Share your thoughts about the proposed amendments through this form by June 8.
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    May 23 Last Day to Book Hotel for TBA Convention

    Time’s running out to book your stay at The Peabody Hotel for the 2018 TBA Convention in Memphis, June 13-16. The last day to reserve a room at the TBA discounted rate is May 23. Don’t miss out on our Bench/Bar CLE, the gubernatorial forum, attorney well-being program or the Ducks! Make your reservation by calling the Peabody’s Reservation Department at 800-Peabody.
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    Rap Icon Loses Trademark Battle to Gynecologist

    Rap pioneer Andre “Dr. Dre” Young lost a trademark dispute against Pennsylvania gynecologist Draion M. Burch on May 3, ending a years-long legal battle between the rapper and the practicing doctor, The Washington Post reports. Dr. Dre filed a lawsuit in 2015, arguing Burch’s use of the moniker “Dr. Drai” would cause “confusion” among consumers. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office shot down the claim, maintaining the rapper failed to show people would be misled by Burch’s Dr. Drai branding and purchase his products thinking they were Dr. Dre’s.
    Dr. Drai hosts sex education classes for adults and teens, and is featured on webinars titled, “What Your Mama Didn’t Tell You About Making Babies” and has authored several books, including “20 Things You May Not Know About the Vagina.”
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    Trademark & Copyright Law Developments

    At the annual Intellectual Property Forum in the Tennessee Bar Center, IP Section Executive Council Eastern Delegate Mark Graham provided a presentation on Trademark & Copyright Law Developments for 2017-18. This informative presentation was well received, featuring timely updates on important cases affecting the practice area. You can view a summary of Graham’s presentation here.

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    Intellectual Property Section Wraps Up Successful Forum

    The TBA Intellectual Property Section recently presented its annual forum at the Tennessee Bar Center in Nashville. Attendees were treated to top-notch programming from seasoned veterans in the practice and law enforcement officials with a focus on cybersecurity. Through the dedication of the section and strong leadership, this event has become a staple for lawyers throughout the state. Thanks to the TBA Intellectual Property Section Executive Council for their time and assistance with another remarkable forum.
    A.J. Bahou, Chair, Bahou Miller
    Hemant Gupta, Vice-Chair, Butler Snow
    John Winemiller, Immediate Past Chair, Merchant & Gould
    Shawn Sentilles, Adams & Reese
    Doug Johnson, Miller & Martin
    Autumn Boyd, Law Office of Autumn Witt Boyd
    Judy Goans, Judy Winegar Goans, Attorney at Law
    Ed Lanquist, Patterson PC
    Kevin Christopher, Ridgeline Venture Law
    Ryan Levy, Patterson Intellectual Property Law
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    USPTO Proposes Changes to the Claim Construction Standard

    The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on Tuesday released a short “Notice of proposed rulemaking” entitled “Changes to the Claim Construction Standard for Interpreting Claims in Trial Proceedings Before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board,” The National Law Review reports. The notice would replace the interpretation standard for construing unexpired patent claims that are used by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board in intellectual property rights, post-grant review and the transitional program for covered business method patents, with the Phillips Standard used by district courts. 

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    Artists Sue City of Memphis for Painting Over Murals

    Twelve artists have filed suit against the city of Memphis for mistakenly painting over their murals, The Commercial Appeal reports. City workers painted over the artwork while attempting to scrub nearby murals that council members deemed “satanic.” The artists had permission from the city to paint the murals in the first place, but the artwork had been under fire from City Council member Jamita Swearangen, who requested their removal even though they did not constitute illegal graffiti.
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