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Are You a California Resident?

Are You a California Resident?

Many people believe that as long as they are outside the state of California for six months and a day they are not residents of California. And thus don’t have to pay California’s high income taxes. But the state of California is both broke and arrogant. And they make the rules the way they want.

Design Your Asset Protection Plan

Design Your Asset Protection Plan

You design a lot of things in your life. The layout of your house, the flow of your business, the requirements on your children, and many more scenarios are all elements of conscious design. Asset protection is no different. There is an architecture, a cohesive...

Corporate Opportunities

Corporate Opportunities

Does the Rule Apply to Real Estate? If you invest in and/or syndicate real estate what are the duties to your investors? You owe them a duty of loyalty. But how far does that go? The issue of corporate opportunities is important. I wrote a whole chapter on it (from...

Chippendales Lose it All in Federal Court

The Chippendales have raised animal spirits around the world since 1979. The dancing men wearing their abbreviated tuxedo costume – shirtless with just a bowtie collar and wrist cuffs – have entertained bachelorette and GNO parties with, as their spin doctors indicate, unique skill and artistry.
But are the guys’ ‘Cuffs to Collar’ outfits unique and distinctive enough for a trademark registration?
A big issue in accepting a trademark application is whether the mark – in this case the ‘Cuffs to Collars’ – was in common usage and thus not distinctive enough for registration. When their application was refused on those grounds the boys appealed.
The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board noted two things. First, exotic dancers commonly wear costumes such as “a doctor wearing a stethoscope, or a construction worker wearing a utility belt, or a cowboy wearing chaps and a ten-gallon hat.” Yes, the judge just described the Village People, who were at it first, with more taste, and certainly with more musical ability. Second, the Board noted that the Chippendales’ outfits weren’t unique because they were inspired by the world renowned and recognizable Playboy Bunny suit.
The Chippendales didn’t take kindly to the ruling. They appealed again, this time to Federal Circuit Court. (In re Chippendales USA, Inc. Case No. 09-1370 (Fed Cir. Oct 1, 2010))The court, among other issues, held that the Playboy Bunny outfit had been widely used and for 20 years before the Chippendales arrived on the scene. The girls were there first. The Chippendales were just chips off the original block. Since they arrived after the Playboy Bunnies, there was nothing distinctive about the boys’ costumes. The trademark registration was refused.
Will this put the Chippendales out of business? Fear not, certain fans. It will not. But it does raise the question: Do you really need to try and trademark every aspect of your business?

Are You a California Resident?

Are You a California Resident?

Many people believe that as long as they are outside the state of California for six months and a day they are not residents of California. And thus don’t have to pay California’s high income taxes. But the state of California is both broke and arrogant. And they make the rules the way they want.

Design Your Asset Protection Plan

Design Your Asset Protection Plan

You design a lot of things in your life. The layout of your house, the flow of your business, the requirements on your children, and many more scenarios are all elements of conscious design. Asset protection is no different. There is an architecture, a cohesive...