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National Grocery Chain Profits From Selling Personal Information

It’s amazing but true that some national long-standing retail businesses are accessing or selling so much of their customer’s personal information that:

1) A national grocery chain now makes more money on the sale of customers’ personal information than on merchandise sold, and a

2) Budget big box retailer re-sells purchase pattern information from customers that, with an algorithm that may give an inquiring parent clues as to whether or not a minor child online purchaser may be pregnant. Target, for example, has figured out how to data-mine its way into your womb, to figure out whether you have a baby on the way long before you need to start buying diapers. To read more about this go to:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/02/16/how-target-figured-out-a-teen-girl-was-pregnant-before-her-father-did/

Intellectual Property Presentation by State Bar

On July 18-20, 2013 the Institute for Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) and the Intellectual Property (IP) Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan presented the Intellectual Property Law Summer Institute. The conference was held at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan. This conference is where we were informed of the controversial selling of personal information by grocery stores and big box retailers mentioned above.

Jeffrey G. Nutt and Associates IP attorneys Jeffrey G. Nutt, Sadeer Farjo, and D. Scott Brinkman joined hundreds of lawyers looking at the solutions to complex IP law issues. National experts presented sessions on the latest patent, trademark, and copyright law updates. Notable cases, including Apple vSamsung, and Oracle v Google, were analyzed.

The Institute training reported on the latest USPTO activities and initiatives with one speaker from the USPTO. Moreover, hundreds of new top-level domains are coming to the marketplace everywhere, to the dismay of some the trademark holders. Examples of top-level domains may include brands, (e.g., .kindle, .chevrolet, .microsoft), geographic terms (e.g., .berlin, .paris) and generic terms (e.g., .movie, .news, and .shop).

The session Updates in Trademark Laws (presented by Anne Gilson LaLonde) was especially useful and informative. Recently, the Supreme Court turned its attention to trademark law for the first time since 2004. Mrs. Gilson LaLonde spotlighted a new opinion on covenants not to sue in trademark cases. The Supreme Court found that when a heavy burden of showing a covenant was “absolutely clear”, that the need for the defendant to show only cognizable injury was eliminated and the case was moot.

Another topic included the new standard articulated in a recent patent case. The case eliminated the presumption of the “irreparable harm” requirement for a likelihood of success on the merits assessment in a trademark infringement case. Some other courts decided that it will often be true that merely a showing of likelihood of infringement will meet the “irreparable” injury test.

The main author of this article is Jeffrey G. Nutt, with contribution from Mark Anthony Nutt and Forbes