TBA to Introduce Legal Document Generation

The TBA will soon launch a new subscription-based product for Tennessee lawyers — automated legal forms. The initiative will use HotDocs, a custom documentation generator that creates form templates and speeds up the preparation process based on client and case data. In order to provide this valuable resource to our members, we hope to obtain your comments and ideas on forms you deem beneficial for replication. With across-the-board participation, we can comprise a substantive, comprehensive database where subscribers will have access to forms submitted by all TBA sections. Please send suggestions and comments to TBA Membership Director Mindy Fulks.

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TBA Offers Complimentary Meeting Rooms

Your membership includes free use of TBA’s meeting rooms for mediations, depositions and arbitrations. Rooms include display monitors and WiFi access. Available spaces can provide seating for 6-75. Please contact Linda Murphy for application and details. (A small hospitality fee provides coffee, sodas, water and parking.)
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ABA House Passes Resolution on 'Fair Use' Doctrine

The American Bar Association House of Delegates today approved a resolution encouraging courts to take a consistent approach to the "fair use" doctrine, a defense to copyright infringement that permits use of copyrighted works for free without obtaining a license or permission in appropriate circumstances, The ABA Journal reports. The resolution, passed at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Las Vegas, asks that repackaging and distribution of all, or nearly all, of a copyrighted work to the copyright owner’s actual or potential market not be deemed a “transformative” act in favor of fair use, regardless of whether the copyrighted material is delivered more efficiently.
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20 Gymboree and Crazy 8 Stores to Close in Tennessee

Change this to - Gymboree Group Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on January 16 and indicated it will close over 800 total stores in the United States and Canada — including 20 in Tennessee, the Daily News Journal reports. A press release from the company said it will conduct an auction by February 25. It also revealed that it has received a commitment for debtor-in-possession financing. The company plans to sell its Janie and Jack business, including its 139 stores, as well as the intellectual property and online platform for Gymboree. The music and art classes by Gymboree Play & Music were split from the company in 2016 and should not be affected by the court proceedings.

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Intellectual Property Forum Set for May 10

Plan to Attend!

The Intellectual Property Forum is set for Friday, May 10 at the Tennessee Bar Center in Nashville.  

The program will be blast style, allowing attendees the flexibility to create their own schedule. 

Sessions and speakers will be addressing a wide-variety of IP topics. Specific details are coming soon ...

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NPR: Adventure Series Book Publisher Sues Netflix Over Trademark

The publisher of the book series “Choose Your Own Adventure" is sueing Netflix for trademark infringement, NPR reports. The Netflix show Black Mirror contains the episode "Bandersnatch,” which allows viewers to make the decisions for the main character. CEO and publisher of Chooseco Shannon Gilligan believes the episode’s interactive narrative format and use of the phrase “Choose Your Own Adventure” violates their trademark and causes confusion for viewers regarding whether or not the book series is affiliated with the episode. Read the full interview between Gillogan and Alexi Horowitz-Ghazi of NPR’s Planet Money podcast here.

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IP, Trade Talks Between China and U.S. Continue This Week

Officials from China and the U.S. have yet to come to an agreement regarding trade and intellectual property issues, Bloomberg reports, but talks are set to resume this week. American officials confirmed the lack of progress and reported that China continued to deny the alleged IP theft and requested proof. China’s top economic emissary, Liu He, is scheduled to attend the next round of talks in Washington, D.C. this week.

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R. Kelly May Benefit Financially Despite Industry Splits

Although R. Kelly is no longer represented by his publisher and label following Lifetime’s Jan. 3 release of the documentary Surviving R. Kelly, which detailed allegations of years-long history of sexual assault, Rolling Stone reports that the artist may financially benefit from the event. The six-part series drew around 20 million viewers, caused a social media uproar, topped the news headlines and invoked protests and pressure from music fans and industry professionals for Sony, owner of RCA Record, to part ways with Kelly. Sony announced the separation from R. Kelly on Jan. 18. However, the split with his label is not a major blow to the artist’s career because as the article points out, “both parties will continue to profit off of all past music releases as long as those releases are in distribution.” Additionally, in order to avoid a lawsuit, RCA may have had to make a financial settlement with R. Kelly since he had two albums left on his contract. Although his publishing company, Universal Music Publishing Group, also no longer represents him, the company is still responsible for distributing his past work (681 songs). R. Kelly and his team adamantly deny the allegations. 

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Meditation Apps Help Incorporate Mindfulness Each Day

Consider a meditation app for your phone to help incorporate mindfulness into your day. The accessibility and variety of meditation apps can make them beneficial and easy to try. Some, such as Mindbody, Stop, Breathe & Think, 10% Happier, Breethe, Omvana, Insight Timer, Sattva Meditations & Mantras, and Smiling Mind (which can be tailored to different age groups) are free. Others, such as Calm, Headspace, and the Mindfulness App, have free trials and can be upgraded to a paid subscription. Comparisons of various apps are available on or
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Will AI Technology be the Next Disrupter in the Legal World?

There is a growing prevalence of AI (artificial intelligence) technology being utilized in the legal sector, Crain’s Cleveland Business reports. Some fear that this technology will replace attorneys with computers. However, the Cleveland office of Baker Hostetler experienced an increase in lawyers a couple of years following the partnership of its bankruptcy practice and IBM’s ROSS intelligence. This technology was able to divert mundane and tedious tasks from the attorneys, such as legal research and case law analysis. Baker’s bankruptcy practice is using the AI technology to track case law and make predictions on the outcome of current cases. While Baker is open to partnering with various legal tech companies, the American Bar Association’s 2018 legal tech survey only found that 10 percent of attorneys polled utilized AI technology in some way. In addition to firms incorporating new technology, Cleveland-based law school Case Western University is also exploring ways to slowly incorporate programming, AI and blockchain technology into its curriculum in order to stay ahead of the disruptive curve.

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Rhianna Sues Father Over Fenty Trademark

Singer Rhianna filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against her father Ronald Fenty and two business partners claiming fraud and false advertising over his Fenty Entertainment talent and production company, Reuters reports.  Rhianna uses the Fenty trademark to sell cosmetics, lingerie and sneakers. An unspecific amount of damages and an injunction to stop her father from using the Fenty name has been asked of the court. The lawsuit provides examples of Fenty Entertainment misrepresenting an affiliation with Rhianna, including falsely implying that she was involved a boutique hotel project.

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McDonald’s Loses EU 'Big Mac' Trademark to Irish Chain

The European Union Intellectual Property Office recently ruled against McDonald’s in favor of Irish fast-food chain, Supermac’s, over the use of the “Big Mac” trademark, the Guardian reports. Supermac’s had been unable to expand beyond Ireland because of this trademark, as McDonald’s had claimed the similarity between names would confuse consumers. McDonald’s can appeal the decision.

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Tennessee AG Joins Settlement with Neiman Marcus Over Data Breach

Following a 2013 database breach, Neiman Marcus Group LLC has agreed to pay a $1.5 million settlement to resolve an investigation with 43 states and the District of Columbia, including Tennessee. According to a release from Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery, of the 370,000 payment cards that were compromised in the breach, 1,896 were determined to be associated with Tennessee consumers. Tennessee’s share of the settlement funds is $28,659.04.
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Blog Reviews Most Important Legal Tech Developments in 2018 has published a roundup of the 20 most important legal tech developments in the past year, eschewing the traditional Top 10 list due to the overwhelming number of significant changes. Included on the list were analytics becoming an essential part of the legal practice, investments in legal tech topping $1 billion, the end of Avvo and the new American Bar Association rule emphasizing the duty of lawyers to be up-to-date on legal technology.
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First Copyrighted Works in 20 Years to Enter Public Domain

At midnight on New Year’s Eve, all works first published in the United States in 1923 will enter the public domain, The Smithsonian Magazine reports. It has been 21 years since the last mass expiration of copyright in the U.S. The last one — in 1998, when 1922 slipped its copyright bond — predated Google. The more than two decade delay was due to lobbying from Disney in the 90's, when it fought to stop the expiration of the copyright on Mickey Mouse, who was born in 1928 and was expected to enter the public domain in 2004. Mickey is now protected until 2024.
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Regular Memphis Pro Bono Clinic Has Served 12K Since Inception

Since its beginnings over a decade ago, a Memphis-area pro bono legal clinic has gone on to serve roughly 12,000 individuals in need, The Daily Memphian reports. The Saturday Legal Clinic, sponsored by Memphis Area Legal Services (MALS) and the Memphis Bar Association, has been held at the Benjamin L. Hooks Library once a month since November 2006. Firms and associations work to promote the event to ensure that 30 to 40 attorneys attend each month.
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Amazon Sued Over Trademark, Patent Infringement

Williams-Sonoma filed suit last week against Amazon, The Washington Post reports. The complaint alleges that Amazon is selling unauthorized Williams-Sonoma merchandise, and it is claiming that Amazon engaged in widespread copying of furniture designs. Knockoff products sold and marketed by Amazon itself have been labeled as “by Williams-Sonoma “or “Best-selling products from Williams-Sonoma.” Additionally, Amazon’s home goods brand Rivet is selling products with similar design, name and marketing as products from West Elm, a Williams-Sonoma owned company. The company is seeking damages of up to $2 million per counterfeit item being sold by Amazon.

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Disney Faces Backlash to 'Hakuna Matata' Trademark

An online petition accusing Disney of cultural appropriation for trademarking the Swahili phrase “hakuna matata” is gaining traction, The Telegraph reports. More than 60,000 people have signed the petition, which was started by a Zimbabwean activist. Disney first applied to trademark the phrase in 1994 but was not granted rights until 2003. The trademark is still active, but it does not give the Hollywood studio the right to sue people for using the phrase in speech. The controversy began last month when a founder of a Kenyan intellectual property law firm wrote an article in a Kenyan newspaper. She cited the phrase as an example of “pilferage of African culture.” Disney is set to release a highly anticipated remake of the film next year featuring Beyonce and Chiwetel Ejiofor’s voices.

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Court Solicits Comments on Rule Change for Professional Privilege Tax Payments

The Tennessee Supreme Court is soliciting comments on a proposed rule change that would make delinquent professional privilege tax fees payable via an online portal and remove the requirement of a Privilege Tax Delinquency Notice to be sent via mail, requiring only an email notice. The deadline for submitting written comments is Feb. 4. Written comments may be emailed to or mailed to James M. Hivner, Clerk, Re: Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 9, section 26 Tennessee Appellate Courts, 100 Supreme Court Building, 401 7th Avenue North, Nashville, Tennessee 37219-1407.
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Join Us Today: LAW TECH

Today's the day! Discover the newest technology for your law practice and law office at this year's Law Tech Blast at the Tennessee Bar Center in Nashville!

The flexible open house format allows you to create your own schedule. You can attend CLE sessions, enter to win prizes, network with attendees, visit with sponsors and interact with speakers. Take as many or as few CLE hours as you need. Only those seeking to be awarded CLE Credit will be charged. The registration desk will be open all day, so you can come and go for the hours you need when it is convenient for you. Attendees can earn up to 6.5 hours of Dual CLE credit.

  • GDPR, Cloud and Technological Competency
  • The Bill and Phil Tech Show 2019: BEAT THE CLOCK
  • Best Practices: Information Security for Firms
  • Judicial Panel: Technology in the Courtroom
  • Know When to Hold 'Em
  • Digital Evidence – A Technical Life Raft for the Legal Mind
  • Make it Rain: Ethics Guidelines and Practice Essentials

ATTEND TO WIN: Attendees will have a chance to win prizes, including an iPad Pro. The tech prize drawing will be held at the 10:30 a.m. break. Must be present to win.

TAKE A LYFT: TBA has partnered with Lyft to offer attendees a discounted ride.

  • New to Lyft?: Get $5 off 2 rides at or download the app and enter code LAWTECH5
  • Already Have Lyft?: Save 10% off 2 rides to or from Law Tech Blast with code LAWTECH



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Give the Gift of TBA Membership

Give yourself (or a friend) the gift that keeps giving — one-year of unlimited access to professional development opportunities and a number of programs and services designed to help you become a better practitioner. Founded in 1881, the Tennessee Bar Association is dedicated to enhancing fellowship among members of the state's legal community. Oh, and did we mention some of the benefits? Earn three pre-paid credits to use on any live or online course featured in the 12-days of CLE. Join now!

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Amazon Announces Newly Developed Medical Record Mining Software

Amazon on Tuesday announced that it has launched a project to mine data from electronic medical records, allowing developers to “process unstructured medical text and identify information such as patient diagnosis, treatments, dosages, symptoms and signs, and more," CNBC reports. This is the latest move regarding Amazon’s foray into health care, after news in June that the company had been working on the ‘Hera’ project, developing software intended for insurance companies that can fill in gaps in data when doctors neglect to fully document an office visit. The company also confirmed another project in cooperation with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to use newly developed tools to analyze its data sets in efforts to prevent or cure cancer.

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G20 Summit will Focus on Intellectual Property

The Group of 20 Summit starts today in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and President Trump and President Xi Jinping of China are expected to discuss trade, intellectual property and the theft of American technology, The New York Times reports. The Trump administration has accused China of stealing American technology on numerous occasions. However, the article points out that these accusations are offensive to the Chinese and may be a barrier for accomplishing a trade deal at the summit. The administration and American companies have expressed distaste for several Chinese trade requirements, including joint venture requirements for American companies wanting to do business in China, requirements of foreign-owned research companies being built in China and a compulsory certification program for foreign products. All of these policies put sensitive American technology at risk for replication and theft. In response to the Chinese appropriating American technology, President Trump has imposed significant tariffs on over $200 billion of Chinese goods. China has eased joint venture requirements in some sectors and is implementing a new intellectual property appeals court system to remedy some of the foreign concerns regarding trade secrets.   

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U.S. Lawsuit on Cannabis Patent Will Set Industry Precedent

The first U.S. lawsuit surrounding a patent on marijuana is working its way through the courts, Reuters reports. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is issuing more patents each year containing the word cannabis or marijuana in their summaries; however, the ability for the patent to hold up in court is still in question.  Patent litigation and issues over licensing fees are likely to increase with the entrance of business-oriented players. The result of the lawsuit will impact how major players in the industry view the potential to use patents as a business tactic.  

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Celtics Player Faces Lawsuit for ‘Scream’ Mask Use

Eastern Unlimited has sued Boston Celtics point guard Terry Rozier for copyright and trademark infringement, Forbes reports. Rozier, nicknamed Scary Terry, sold merchandise featuring a cartoon image of himself wearing the white mask from the “Scream” horror films. Eastern Unlimited holds the copyright and trademark registrations and negotiated licenses for the mask to appear in the film series. The company filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York and is requesting an injunction to stop Rozier’s use of the mask image on merchandise. The company is seeking damages for trademark infringement, trademark counterfeiting and trademark dilution as well as attorney costs.

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