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Barbara Berschler

Barbara Berschler

Copyright, Trademarks, Intellectual Property & Business Law Attorney
  • Trademarks, Intellectual Property, Business Law
  • Maryland
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Summary

I offer a combination of in-depth experience to advice business owners about issues related to business law (i.e., entity formation, contracts, commercial leases) and intellectual property law (i.e., trademarks, copyright, open source software, licensing). As your business grows, it is important to have a legal adviser versed in both areas of the law in order to avoid problems and to protect the major assets of your enterprise.

Practice Areas
  • Trademarks
  • Intellectual Property
  • Business Law
Additional Practice Areas
  • Commercial Lease Negotiations
  • Copyright Registrations & Protection
  • Licensing Agreements
Fees
  • Free Consultation
  • Rates, Retainers and Additional Information
    The initial telephone conversation which would cover the scope of services to be provided is offered at no charge. I also offer fixed fees for certain services and a special fee plan package.
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
Maryland
Languages
  • French: Written
Professional Experience
Principal
Law Office of Barbara I. Berschler
- Current
I provide legal services for my general business matters and intellectual property protection for trademarks and copyright.protected works.
Member
Press & Dozier, LLC
-
I provide legal services to business owners in the areas of: intellectual property protection, entity formation, contracts, commercial lease negotiations, franchise agreement negotiations.
Education
Temple University Beasley School of Law
J.D.
Washington College
LL.M. (2003) | Intellectual Property-Copyright & Trademark
Honors: Awarded the Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione Award for Excellence in Intellectual Property Law
Professional Associations
Maryland State Bar Association
Member
- Current
Activities: Member of the Business Law and Intellectual Property Law Sections.
District of Columbia Bar
Member
- Current
Speaking Engagements
Introduction to Intellectual Property for Business Owners, SCORE Workshop, Washington, DC
SCORE-DC
The workshop covers legal issues that a business owner faces in taking steps to protect her/his intellectual property such as: copyright, trademarks, trade secrets, non-disclosure agreement.
Franchise Legal Issues for SCORE-DC, SBA HQ, Washington, DC
Bi- Annual Presentation that introduces those thinking of buying a franchise to legal issues that come up in the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD), Franchise Agreement, Commercial Lease, Entity Formation.
Examining Synergistic Architectural Relationships through the Lens of Copyright, DesignDC 2014, Washington, DC
Washington Chapter, American Institute of Architects
Examined copyright issues faced by architects.
Websites & Blogs
Website
Website for Law Office of Barbara I. Berschler
Legal Answers
11 Questions Answered

Q. How do i trademark a name of a brand and a logo?
A: Depending on where you are in the process of using a trademark, you may have already acquired some rights in it. If you have your "brand" word and/or a logo design, and you are using them "in commerce" within your state, then under the common law, provided you are not infringing on another's trademark, you could check to see whether your state allows for the registration of the mark with your state. If, on the other hand, you expect to use the word mark and/or logo in interstate commerce" meaning selling, etc., across state lines, you may be eligible to register your mark(s) with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Check the USPTO's website at www.uspto.gov for their trademark information. The site may answer some of your questions.
Q. Can I make a Tshirt design with the name of a HighSchool but with the same style as the logo of a movie?
A: Doing as you suggest would likely land you in hot water for several reasons. 1. The school has rights in its name and, unless you have its permission to use it, using it could cause confusion with the public as to whether the school was endorsing your activity, which would not be the case. 2. The producers of the movies you reference have trademark and copyright rights in their logos, so again, unless you have their permission, the use you propose would not be a good idea. Changing the color of the logo would make no difference as to their claim that your use is infringing.
Q. If you were to commission (pay) an artist to draw an imaginary character you made, who would hold the rights to it?
A: I agree with Mr. Blackton. I would add, that what copyright protects is the expression of an idea, not the idea itself. From what you describe, you had the idea for the imaginary character and conveyed the idea to the artist. But then the artist actually found one way to express your idea. If you hire a different artist, she could also develop an expression of the character, but it would not be a "copy" from the first, unless, of course, if she sees it. Best to remember that whenever you have third parties create any intellectual property for you, you always want to be sure who will own the copyright in the work in the end. As Mr. Blackton noted, you need to have a writing in place before the artist starts to work.
Q. Which class do I use and do I file trade or service -- or both?
A: You have posed many questions and described a complicated scenario. I suggest it would be worth your while to work with a business attorney who is also conversant with IP matters like copyright and trademarks so that you do not take steps which might conflict with one of your other goals.
Q. What kind of licensing do I need to use a song on a podcast if the artist has given permission and owns the rights?
A: It sounds like you should ask for a written license/permission to use the work which states that the song writer does in fact own all of the rights and he is granting you x times to use the work under certain circumstances. You should consider all of the ways you might use the work going forward, not just in your actual podcast, but if you intend to replay it so that the license covers all. Also, what happens if your listeners make a copy of the podcast with the song included. I suggest you consult counsel familiar with how music is licensed. It is tricky because there may be a song plus lyrics both of which are protected by copyright.
Q. When the Justia site says something has a registered "wordmark" do you mean the LOGO or the company name in body copy?
A: If a mark is designated as a "registered" mark, that means it is registered in the USA with the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) for goods (a "trademark") or for services (a "service mark"). Marks can take different forms, such as simply words; words using special layout, font or color; a design; a design with words, etc. For example, if you see Nike's swooch by itself, that design is a registered mark for the kinds of goods and services for which Nike registered it. Nike likely also has a registration for the word "Nike" when used as a mark, not merely as the name of the company. In your case, you need to find out whether the words in question actually are registered with the USPTO and whether there is a registration for the words alone and not with any designation of color or font. Then, if this is so, determine whether in the context of their use, the words simply refer to the company's name or are being used for purposes of linking the company with particular goods or services.
Q. What is the legality of creating and selling a board game based off a fictional board game from a TV show?
A: For copyright purposes, just as you cannot copy a real game, you may not copy from someone's imaginary game. In both instances, someone created the board game and to the extent the board was an expression of the idea of the game, then that would be off limits without the copyright owner's permission. However, if there is an "idea" of the game and you can determine what that idea is, and then come up with your original expression for the game board, you may be in a better position if challenged for infringement. Best to consult a local IP attorney to work out the specifics.
Q. Am I aloud to use other artists drawings as a reference for tattoos? As long as I make some changes to it?
A: Just because you can copy a drawing and turn it into a tattoo, does not mean you "may" do so. Even if you made some changes, that would only create a derivative work based on the original logo and without the permission of the copyright owner of the drawing, you would be infringing. As for images that appear on websites like Instagram, Pinterest, etc., you should consider consulting such sites' Terms of Use to see if they have placed any restraints on those who view the images. You might consider consulting a local IP attorney to check out what you as a viewer may or may not do with the images posted.
Q. Is it legal to transcribe audio books into text?
A: You are right to be troubled by the request. You would be making a derivative work by creating the transcription of the recorded materials. As you say, there is a hard back of the book and the recording. The author has not given anyone permission to make a transcript of the recording. While the copyright owner can restrict unauthorized copying of the work (for ex. a book), she cannot prevent someone who reads the book from using the ideas expressed in the book. However, the person would have to express the ideas in their own words. I gather you feel you have been placed in an awkward position. Your employer needs to find another way to gain access to the recordings ideas without infringing on the author's rights. Maybe she needs to listen to the recording and take her own notes from which she can then develop her independent work. Good luck.
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