In Minor Political Race, Major Misunderstanding of IP Law

f.k.a. reports on a tiff between two bald white guys running for a family court judge-ship. At least one of the candidates doesn’t know the difference between copyright and trademark — and certainly knows nothing about either field.

10 Responses to In Minor Political Race, Major Misunderstanding of IP Law

  1. kurt mausert says:

    You’ve missed the forest for the trees. The point isn’t copyright v. trademark. The point is unfair taking and causing voter confusion. The point is lack of integrity. The point is running a fair campaign. My opponent acted in such a way as to cause confusion by taking a slogan I had been using for 5 months. And he did it only right before a primary. Is that fair? Does it show integrity? My drawing attention to this act has brought public attention to a race that is usually otherwise ignored. So I may be wrong on the copyright issue–but no on the fiarness issues. And that is the point.

  2. You might have a point, but if he is a family man and you are a family man, how are you not both family men for family court?

  3. I’ve responded at my own weblog to Kurt’s additional arguments, so I won’t repeat them here. He did not mention his common law trademark claim at my site. Is there any chance that a non-commercial slogan could have such protection? Would the fact that the slogan has been used often by others in our region (and elsewhere) — including his opponent — defeat the claim?

  4. A non-commercial slogan *could* grow some trademark protection. However, the fact that the slogan had been used by others first, including the guy he is accusing of wrongdoing, would tend to weaken his claim.

  5. kurt mausert says:

    According to the two intellectual property lawyers I have consulted with, trademark can be established in regard to a particular circumstance (the campaign of 2008 –vs. the campaign of 1998 or another campaign in a different county) by useage. Their argument is that I have established that common law trademark via useage. Of course, it would be silly to litigate the issue. But here is something else interesting–Hall’s campaign chair told me that Hall isn’t using my slogan in any of his GOP material. He only used in the the Independence Party mailing knowing that I had targeted that party with my slogan for the last 4 months. and he only used it a week and a half before the primary. I see this as fairly strong circumstantial evidence that Hall tired to confuse voters.
    Not only did I use the slogan for 4 months, I was out going door to door with fliers with the slogan. Hall didn’t do that. Is it possible that voters would think he had been the one they met at their door? Yes. But they didn’t. I lost the primary by 26 votes, so maybe this sleazy tactic worked.

  6. Dude, seriously, you seem so obsessed, petty, and small that I think your community lucked out by 26 votes. You need to chill out.

  7. kurt mausert says:

    I am happy to debate with you, but you seem intent on substituting insults for debate. If you have never run for office, you can’t know that you have to be a little obsessed in that effort. I don’t mind losing if the other side plays fair. In this case they didn’t. And so all the time I spent away from my kids, all the effort that my good friends put into this campaign, all of that and more, was it wasted only to be cheated? That isn’t “petty”–that is a legitmate complaint. As for petty, petty is superficial judgments and making disparaging remarks instead of reasoned comments. Look to yourself, “marcorandazza”.

  8. Ok, you win, it’s “nucular”

  9. kurt mausert says:

    OK–if that is your tone, I say this: In India there is a saying:’ The jackals will bark but the caravan will pass.”

  10. kurt mausert says:

    Here is the latest news in this race–it seems that Judge Hall has a terrible rate of being reversed on appeal by a higher court–and he won’t debate:

    Judge candidate slams his opponent’s record
    By Don Lehman
    Published: Wednesday, October 08, 2008

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    Saratoga County Family Court judge candidate Kurt Mausert attacked his opponent’s judicial record Tuesday, saying an analysis of appeal records show that Judge Courtenay Hall has a much higher history of errors than other longtime Family Court judges in the region.

    Mausert said he asked the Appellate Division for documents related to Hall’s record in cases from his court that are appealed. He said an analysis of the 38 cases Hall presided over that were appealed showed 11 of his decisions were overturned and four others were “modified.” That amounts to a 43 percent modification rate of cases that were appealed, Mausert said.

    He said that record, when compared to another longtime local Family Court judge and another former veteran judge who recently retired, showed Hall’s rate of erroneous decision was much higher than theirs.

    “This is the closest thing to a report card for a judge, and he would get a ‘D,’ ” Mausert said.

    Mausert said he compared Hall’s appeal record to those of Hamilton County Judge S. Peter Feldstein, who has spent more than two decades on the bench, and former Washington County Judge Philip Berke, who retired at the end of 2006, but continues to work as a state judicial hearing officer.

    Of 74 cases decided by Berke that were appealed, only four were overturned and three modified, according to Mausert.

    Feldstein had three reversals and nine modifications out of 73 appeals, he said.

    Mausert said it was important to compare appeals records with longtime Family Court judges so they would have large sample sizes.

    Hall did not return a phone call for comment Tuesday. His campaign manager, Mechanicville lawyer Jeff Bagnoli, also did not return a phone call for comment.

    Hall is seeking a second 10-year term on the Republican, Conservative and Independence Party lines. Mausert, a lawyer who has a private practice in Saratoga Springs, is running on the Democratic line.

    Mausert has challenged Hall to a debate, but Hall has turned down the request. Mausert said Hall recently explained that decision to the Fair Campaign Practices for the Capital Region Inc., saying that he was concerned that judicial ethics rules would lead to problems in a debate settings. Judges and judge candidates are bound by certain campaign rules that aren’t seen in other types of political races.

    Mausert, though, said a competent moderator could ensure that there were no ethical issues.

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