Blackletter

Blackletter

Blackletter laws are the well-established legal rules that are no longer subject to reasonable dispute. Originally, "blackletter" was the Gothic type-style which was used to set forth the law in England until the mid 18th century. It was originally used so commoners couldn't understand the laws. Every business is subject to so-called blackletter laws. This podcast brings famously experienced business people, lawyers, accountants, and anyone else in the realm of business to the table to share personal experiences that have shaped their business and to talk about how to handle black letter issues in creative ways.

Episodes

July 26, 2021 2 min

For today’s episode, Tom discusses Crocs recent decision to file a trade dress lawsuit against a variety of shoemakers, including Walmart, Sketchers and more. As soon as their design patent expired, which happens often, other companies released their own shoes with the Crocs style. As a response, Crocs filed a trade dress claim, which allows for protection if the company can prove certain things such as if the company can identify ...

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Tom Dunlap is joined by special guest Sabrina Shafer, CEO of transformation CONTINUUM. They discuss how to prep your company to go to market digitally.  Topics for the episode include digital transformation, executing your transformation plan and advice for law firms going through a digital transformation.

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July 19, 2021 2 min

For today’s episode, Tom discusses?a report released by RPX corporation, which handles infringement litigation?when companies have been sued by non-practicing?entities.?Non-practicing entities?own patents or portfolios,?but?do not make a?product, and sue other companies when those patents are infringed upon.?Compare to last year, litigation with NPEs has risen by 7%. On the reverse side, practicing litigation has dropped by 16%.?To...

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On this Episode of Blackletter, Tom Dunlap is joined by special guest Scott Harris, owner of the Catoctin Creek Distillery. This episode covers the history of the distillery as well as Harris’s work pioneering hand sanitizer production out of distilleries.

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June 28, 2021 1 min

Today, Tom Dunlap discusses the Supreme Court ruling in favor of a high school student who had been cut her from the varsity cheerleading time due to profanity in her Snapchat photos. The teenager posted on her Snapchat, swearing about the school, which eventually got back to the school, who punished her. The Supreme Court ruled that the school did not have the right to censor or punish students for their freedom of speech or expre...

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For today’s episode, Tom discusses employers having the authority to mandate vaccination. If Pfizer and Moderna get the full approval by the FDA, then employers have the ability to enforce vaccination before returning to work. Tom goes through the American with Disabilities Act that employers will have to comply with, as well as, if they need to keep track of side effects from the vaccine.

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Today, Tom Dunlap chats with Sharon Virts about building her successful government contracting business, her new book, and her recent philanthropy work.  

Sharon began her foundation to support four pillars that she believes are necessary for a thriving community: education, cultural and historic preservation, healthcare, and opportunity for development. They have donated millions of dollars to build much needed systems like a Trau...

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June 14, 2021 1 min

For today’s episode, Tom discusses the recent case involving Fresh Hub and Amazon. Fresh Hub alleges that Amazon infringes on their patent IOT kitchen voice technology. Fresh Hub’s patent includes using your voice to order and manage grocery lists. However, Amazon, which now owns Wholefoods, is allegedly using that technology via the Alexa app and other smart devices. The case is still evolving, so check back in with Tom on Monday ...

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June 7, 2021 2 min

For today’s episode, Tom discusses the recent Supreme Court Ruling on the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, or CFAA. The case involved an officer who used his access to a state-run computer to search for the license plate of a woman on behalf of a friend. The friend allegedly paid him $6,000 to see if the woman was an undercover cop or not. The federal government prosecuted him under CFAA, but the appeal questions if an insider like th...

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May 31, 2021 1 min

For today’s episode, Tom discusses the origins of Memorial Day as a day of remembrance and what it truly means. It began a few years after the Civil War as “Decoration Day,” in which Americans, especially in the North, placed decorations on tombstones. Tom touches on its unique presence in Charleston. In the 1970s, the government officially declared the holiday on May 31st as a day of remembrance. Listen to the episode to hear more...

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May 24, 2021 2 min

For today’ s episode, Tom discusses the origins of the phrase “Crossing the Rubicon” and how it has appeared in the legal world. He distinguishes that there was no law in Rome that Julius Caesar could not cross the Rubicon River. Rather, it had to do with Imperium, which prohibited Roman generals to return to that area of Italy without disbanding their army. When Caesar crossed the Rubicon, he and his army became outlaws subject to...

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In this episode, Tom Dunlap chats with Peter Burnett, of Burnett and Williams Firm, about his Ampersand Pantry project that collects meals from local restaurants and gives them to families in need during Covid.

Peter has been practicing law for almost 44 years. In that time, he has come to realize the power and importance of community. As someone who owns businesses in his local community, he has come to recognize how the people ar...

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May 17, 2021 1 min

For today’ s episode, Tom discusses the recent ruling by the PO Board in the Trademark trial with a Georgia Craft Brewery. The brewery couldn’t register the phrase “Dank Tank” for a beer, but the board and the brewery have differing opinions of the word’s meaning. The brewery states that “dank” refers to cannabis and when used in the context of beer, is a unique phrase. The Board said “dank” is a descriptive term for funky flavors ...

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May 10, 2021 2 min

For today’s episode, Tom discusses defamation in the current Smartmatic and Dominion lawsuits against Fox. Defamation occurs when someone publishes a written or spoken false statement that hurts the reputation of the company’s character. Tom explains the difference between “slander” and “libel” and touches on its history and burden of proof in England.  

Smartmatic and Dominion have sued Fox News for allegedly defaming them by s...

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In Season 5, Blackletter has covered a variety of topics, from building a positive and productive culture to cybersecurity in a remote workspace. We cover topics that have been exaggerated by Covid and will remain relevant long after the pandemic ends.

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May 3, 2021 2 min

For today’s episode, Tom continues his discussion on Anti-SLAPP statutes enacted by a number of states. SLAPP stands for Strategic Lawsuit against Public Participation, and references when a wealthy and powerful entity is bringing forth lawsuits to silence public criticism or participation. Over thirty states have enacted Anti-SLAPP statutes, which allow the defendant to file a response, saying the initial lawsuit is meant to intim...

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For today’s Monday Minutes, Tom discusses Robinhood’s usage of Ice Cube’s image in their newsletter. Robinhood, infamous for the GameStop stock situation earlier this year, used Ice Cube’s image and a parody of his phrase “Check yourself before you wreck yourself” in their educational newsletter, “Snack.” The lawsuit states that Robinhood misappropriated his image and phrase, and Ice Cube does not want to be associated with the pla...

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Today, Tom Dunlap chats with Stefan Leipold, the CEO of Stark. He is also the inventor of the magnetic privacy screen for laptops and PCs. Tom and Stefan discuss cyber security concerns and remote work, cyber security and company dynamics and building a career in America.

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For today’s Monday Minutes, Tom discusses laws that will take effect in 2021 on the state and federal level. In states like Connecticut, new laws will require more police accountability, better training, and de-escalation tactics. In addition, over 20 states passed laws to raise the minimum wage. On the federal level, the use of a “real ID” will be required to board planes. Tom also touches on other laws that will address the rise ...

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For today’s Monday Minutes, Tom discusses what the Supreme Court’s shadow docket is and how it works. The shadow docket allows for a fast track set up intended for emergencies. A litigant goes before a singular justice and asks that justice to take the case before the rest of the court. It can avoid public discussions, written opinions and advice to lower courts. During the Trump administration, its use has increased by 20x, causin...

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