Internet & Technology Law

 

The Nissenbaum Law Group's Internet law clients range from true e-commerce websites to brick-and-mortar companies that utilize a website solely as an adjunct. The law firm handles a range of Internet law matters, such as drafting electronic contracts, protecting against universal jurisdiction, addressing privacy issues and attending to the Internet’s distinct intellectual property concerns related to copyright and trademark.

The Nissenbaum Law Group also practices in the related field of high technology law. For example, the firm has significant experience representing software development and technology companies, including those that sell computer-based technology worldwide. In particular, the firm has handled matters that involve software development projects in Europe, as well as the sale of high technology in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

The firm's practice in the Internet and high technology areas includes:

  • formation of online businesses such as limited liability companies, corporations and non-profit companies;
  • legal disclaimers for websites, including terms and conditions, privacy policies and online sale or license agreements;
  • domain registration disputes;
  • intellectual property filings to protect a website, including copyright registration and trademark/tradedress registration for protectable aspects of the website;
  • custom software development and licensing agreements;
  • legal aspects of online marketing;
  • Issues related to the Communications Decency Act and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act;
  • online copyright and trademark infringement;
  • cybersquatting and other domain name disputes;
  • online defamation and First Amendment rights;
  • compliance with 18 U.S.C. 2257 and 28 C.F.R. 75;
  • technology joint venture agreements;
  • software consulting agreements;
  • intellectual property filings to protect software, including the underlying source code; and
  • purchase, sale or license of proprietary technology.

Please click on the following items to learn more about these sub-sections of the firm's practice:


Copyright Registration
Copyrights protect the expression of an idea. That can be anything from the words used in a website to its colors, graphics and pictures. The firm prepares and files copyrights with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to provide them with national protection.

Trademark and Servicemark Registration
A trademark applies legal protection to the words or picture associated with a given manufacturer or source of a product, and a servicemark protects the words or picture associated with a service. A good example is a logo that is stamped on a product or a name used to identify the product or service in commerce. The firm routinely files trademark and servicemark applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It also addresses objections to the application by the Federal government and seeks to obtain registration for its clients, notwithstanding those objections. It also represent clients in litigation and enforcement pertaining to online infringement of trademarks and servicemarks.

Computer Hardware and Software Sale, Lease and License Agreements
The firm has formed many companies that create, sell and/or license software. It has negotiated such agreements for both the buyer and the seller (in different transactions). Its practice also involves reviewing and preparing terms and conditions for the purchase of computer hardware and software. Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a "standard" software license agreement. Each contract must be drafted with the unique aspects of that transaction in mind. The firm endeavors to treat each such representation as unique.

E-Commerce
The firm is fully familiar with the various laws and statutes that govern e-commerce, and what is needed to help protect and run an online business. In fact, some of its clients conduct transactions solely over the Internet. The firm advises clients as to the development of online purchase order terms and conditions, privacy policies, website advertising and online content.

Website Disclaimer
Every website should include some level of disclaimer language. This is important for such things as preventing the owner of the website from submitting to the jurisdiction of other States and subjecting itself to liability for representations made on the website. We have very affordable web site disclaimers that we can be tailored for the needs of our clients.

Cybersquatting Law
The Federal Cybersquatting Law, 15 U.S.C. Section 1125, seeks to prevent people from utilizing Internet domains that dilute or otherwise infringe on the intellectual property of others. The firm can help its clients comply with that law, and also bring claims on behalf of its clients against people who do not comply with those requirements.

Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act
(18 U.S.C. Section 2257 and 28 C.F.R. 75) This law was originally struck down as unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court. It was rewritten by Congress to address the problems in the original version, and in 2005, it became binding law. It requires any person that posts an adult website to take precautions to ensure that it does not depict an underage person. The requirements of the law are complex. For example, it mandates that certain identifying information be maintained with a custodian of records. The firm has advised numerous clients as to compliance with this law. CLICK HERE to read our 2257 blog.

Federal Trade Commission Guide Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising
The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) Guide Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising “(Guide”) was effective as of December 1, 2009. The FTC Regulations regulate advertisers, including websites, that provide testimonials and representations about products or services. For example, “Mommy blogs” and Açaí berry sites (and their affiliate sites) are affected to the extent that they contain reviews or endorsements of products or services. The regulations can be accessed at 16 CFR Section 255.2 and the applicable statute is 15 USC Section 55. The regulations are divided into the following categories: Consumer Endorsements 255.2, Expert endorsements 255.3, Endorsements by organizations 255.4 and Disclosure of Material Connections 255.5.

The old regulations have changed so that simply providing a disclaimer is not sufficient to provide a safe harbor preventing the site from being deemed to have violated them. Now, the content of the endorsement or testimonial needs to be inherently non-misleading, regardless of whether a disclaimer is included. Simply stating “results not typical” will not prevent liability. Material connections and paid endorsements must be disclosed. Celebrity and expert endorsements are particularly important since they have a higher capacity to mislead the public. We anticipate that the regulations will highlight the need for changes to terms and conditions and privacy policies; upgraded affiliate agreements; website disclaimers; and indemnification provisions for celebrity or expert endorsement agreements.

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