NALS Luncheon

Join BMWB attorney, Chris Stewart, at the NALS luncheon on Tuesday, August 18, where he will present the second part of his Lunch and Learn series,  Online Reputation, Privacy and Random Stories About Famous People. You won’t want to miss it.

NALS, the Amarillo association for legal professionals, hosts informative Lunch and Learns on a regular basis. Check out their website for details, www.nalsamarillo.com 

Global Animal Products: 6 Business Lessons for the Entrepreneur

Among the international businesses that call Amarillo home, Global Animal Products, Inc., located on the aptly-named Airway Boulevard, is truly a high flyer.  Global Animal Products manufactures and markets mineral supplement products primarily to the feedlot cattle, poultry, and dairy industries.  As their name implies, Global Animal Products conducts business on a global scale-in the U.S., South Africa, Brazil, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand.  Their website is www.gapinc-usa.com  

Ken Ridenour, the sole shareholder and President of Global, is a technology leader in the industry and it shows when you visit the company.  A hallway at Global Animal Products (pictured below) is lined with certificates that document Ken and his company’s role in four U.S. patents, six foreign patents, and 30 U.S. and foreign trademarks.  It’s an impressive sight in the eyes of this intellectual property attorney.  Gary Gulp, the long-time Vice-President of Global Animal Products, ribs me about how much money they’ve spent on “that wall.”   

Upcoming Lunch Seminar: If I Owned A Marketing Firm – Insights From a Trademark and Copyright Attorney.

The Amarillo Advertising Federation is hosting their next meeting on Wednesday, March 25, 2015. The speaker for this lunch meeting will be Chris Stewart, a brand strategy attorney who regularly collaborates with marketing professionals.  He will share his experiences with the biggest legal issues that face marketing professionals.  This discussion will touch on trademark, copyright, clearance, advertising and social media law.  Chris will be providing lots of free tips and pointers that you won’t want to miss.   

This meeting will be held at the Amarillo Club on the 30th floor of the Chase Tower in Downtown Amarillo. The lunch starts at 11:45 a.m. along with some club announcements. This will then be followed by the presentation beginning around 12:15 – 12:30 p.m. and lasting until about 1 p.m. Afterwards, there will be a brief question and answer portion at the end.

The members of this club are advertising professionals that represent nonprofits, ad agencies, TV, higher education, print companies, design studios, etc. and are all interested in what is going on in the industry.  Non-club members can join the seminar for a $25 entrance fee. The Amarillo Advertising Federation website can be found here.

Lubbock Seminar

Chris Stewart from Burdett, Morgan, Williamson & Boykin, LLP

Monday, November 17th   6:00 – 8:00 pm 
TTU SBDC at Lubbock


Chris will be presenting on:
• Brand Strategy
• Trademarks, copyrights, patents
• IP in Marketing

Cost is $25.  Space is limited!  
Register with Elaine at 745-1637

Intellectual Property & Computer Law for Businesses

Chris Stewart, partner with Burdett, Morgan, Williamson & Boykin, LLP will be presenting a seminar on Intellectual Property and Computer Law on Tuesday, July 22nd 2014. The seminar will run from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at the WT Small Business Development Center at 701 S. Taylor Ste. 118, Amarillo, TX, located in the Happy State Bank building. This seminar is not a bunch of lawyer-speak.  Chris really focuses on the practical tips in an easy-to-understand manner. See the flyer below for more information, or sign up here.

Website Development Contracts (and tips for software development deals too) 

Many companies do not have the capabilities, resources or desire to produce a website.  They need help with their website efforts.  They must necessarily rely on independent website developers. 

Companies (and individuals) often move forward with an independent website developer without a written contract to govern the relationship.  I’ve been asked to get involved as a lawyer in numerous website projects gone wrong in which the only signed writing is a vague set of specifications and a bottom-line price. 

Before hiring a website developer, the company should first develop a clear vision of what the website will do.  A company that knows what it wants typically gets it.  Open-ended or vague specifications do not benefit the ongoing relationship at all.  Someone is generally unhappy when the website project is ill-defined. 

The starting point for developing a clear vision for the website is to consider what the website will do.  Does the company merely wish to use the website for advertising? Or does the website sell a product or service through the company’s online catalog?  Will users of the website generate the content—like what happens on Pinterest, Facebook or YouTube?  Knowing in advance what the website will do shapes the agreement between the company and the website developer.

A website development agreement may, and probably should, address the following:

  • Services. The agreement should describe the scope of services that the developer will provide.  The company may want detailed schedules that describe the work to be done and the time frame for delivery. Some contracts or incorporated exhibits have layouts of the entire website.  I saw one recent contract in which the layout of each page was put into a PowerPoint presentation and attached to the agreement.     
  • Cost. The project could be billed hourly or by the task.  Some deals say that the developer gets paid at the conclusion of certain periods of time—like the end of each month.  When I represent businesses that want a new website, I generally draft the agreement so that payments are tied to specific objective milestones, and not the passage of time.  I have generally found that such projects move forward faster.  
  • Intellectual property ownership and protection. The agreement should specify who will own the website content.  Work made for hire language that addresses the critical issue of copyright ownership may be appropriate.  The issue of ownership is often overlooked to the frequent detriment of the company.  Generally, in the absence of a written contract providing otherwise, independent website developers (independent contractors by definition) own the intellectual property they bring to a website even if the company pays for the website work.  A detailed discussion of the intellectual property issues involved in the typical software and website development deal exceeds the scope of this article.  The attorney who drafts website development deals will want to have a good understanding of the relevant issues.     
  • Technical considerations. The agreement may set forth the software the developer will use.  Websites need to be readable and glitch-free on all of the major Internet browsers, including Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Safari.  Websites should be smartphone-friendly too. 
  • Advertising and promotion. The agreement may provide that the developer will promote the website, place advertising on the website, or both. Many people use search engines to find websites, and the agreement could obligate the developer to list the website with search engines or perform tasks that make the website “search engine optimized.”  The website developer may want to include an acknowledgement on the website to highlight its work.
  • Hosting services. Some website developers possess the capability to host the website. If so, the agreement should set forth the terms of the hosting arrangement.
  • Updates and new features. Companies often wish to change the content, functions and features available on their websites. If the website developer will retain responsibility for updates and modifications, the agreement should set forth payment terms and schedules appropriate to the circumstances.

These are just a few of the terms a company may want to include in the website development agreement. Ultimately, the agreement should be tailored to the company’s specific needs and preferences and anticipate the issues that may arise during the life of the website. 

FTC Publishes New Online Advertising Disclosure Guidelines

The new FTC guidance .com Disclosures: How To Make Effective Disclosures In Digital Advertising can be found by clicking here.  Among other things, the guidelines address the application of the clear and conspicuous disclosure rules to online advertising.  The guidelines acknowledge the multiple ways that consumers access internet content and the expanding use of handheld devices and smartphones with small screens.  Regardless of the device used by the consumer to access the content, disclosures should be prominent (not buried) and in appropriate proximity to the relevant claim.  
Many websites put disclosures in hyperlinks.  The guidance stresses the importance of appropriate labels for such hyperlinks.  
The FTC guidance should be required reading for online advertisers.    

The Emerging Copyright and Publishing Law for Writers seminar

This Saturday (May 18) I will be giving a seminar on copyright and publishing law to the Panhandle Professional Writers organization in Amarillo.   The seminar is titled “The Emerging Copyright and Publishing Law for Writers.”  This seminar will be held on Saturday, May 18, 2013 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Amarillo Senior Citizens Center, 1217 S. Tyler, Amarillo, Texas.  Check-in starts at 9:30 a.m.
PPW always inspires me.  I really enjoy being around creative people!  This seminar has been an annual event for PPW for four consecutive years.  The audience participation and questions are always great.
If you are interested in attending, there is a $10.00 charge for the meeting plus an additional $10.00 fee for lunch.  You can make reservations by calling Donna Otto at (806) 681-4181 or by e-mail to ppwlunch@gmail.com.  I hope to see you there!  
You can learn more about the program by clicking here: http://www.panhandleprowriters.org/bimonthly-programs
You can learn more about the Panhandle Professional Writers by going to their website at http://www.panhandleprowriters.org/home
Thank you to PPW for making this happen!