Looking for a good Intellectual Property Lawyer

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mac_developer
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Looking for a good Intellectual Property Lawyer

Post by mac_developer » Thu, 20 Sep 2012 3:57 pm

Hello,

I'm an iPhone developer and I've submitted my first app to Apple. The app is a reference/companion guide to the epic book series, A Song of Ice and Fire. However, Apple rejected my app and they told me that I must get an authorization from HBO: Game of Thrones stating that I'm allowed to develop a such app.

With this, I'm currently looking for a good IP lawyer that could give me advise on what to do and how I could proceed from here. If anyone of you know one, please give me his/her name and how I can contact her/him.

Lastly, how much should I pay (estimated amount) to the lawyer in this scenario?

Thank you.

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Re: Looking for a good Intellectual Property Lawyer

Post by x9200 » Thu, 20 Sep 2012 4:46 pm

mac_developer wrote:Hello,

I'm an iPhone developer and I've submitted my first app to Apple. The app is a reference/companion guide to the epic book series, A Song of Ice and Fire. However, Apple rejected my app and they told me that I must get an authorization from HBO: Game of Thrones stating that I'm allowed to develop a such app.

With this, I'm currently looking for a good IP lawyer that could give me advise on what to do and how I could proceed from here. If anyone of you know one, please give me his/her name and how I can contact her/him.

Lastly, how much should I pay (estimated amount) to the lawyer in this scenario?

Thank you.
First and basic question: Does your application contain any materials (pictures, text, sound-track) from the HBO production?
Has Apple really written to you literally what you said above or this is in your own wording?

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Post by mac_developer » Thu, 20 Sep 2012 4:59 pm

Yes they have written to me.

"We found your app includes features or content, in the title, keywords, and/or imagery, that bear a resemblance to the well-known, third-party mark, Game of Thrones. In order to proceed with the review of your app, we require documentation evidencing you are authorized by HBO to use features from Game of Thrones."

However, I didn't use any materials (i.e. text and images) from HBO. I have my own graphics artist who did all the artworks of the app. The text is taken from the wiki site (http://awoiaf.westeros.org/) which is under Creative Commons license (which I'm allowed to use).

The app is a companion guide to the book. Not the Game of Thrones TV series. I'm not sure how I violated the HBO: Game of Thrones copyright. This is why I need a lawyer who could advise me on this. If all I need is an authorization, maybe I can let the lawyer draft me an authorization document and send it to HBO for them to review and sign.

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Post by nakatago » Thu, 20 Sep 2012 5:04 pm

Check with George RR Martin's agent if they signed off the rights to HBO. And while you're at it, maybe you can ask for Mr. Martin's blessing as well.
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Post by x9200 » Thu, 20 Sep 2012 5:13 pm

mac_developer wrote:Yes they have written to me.

"We found your app includes features or content, in the title, keywords, and/or imagery, that bear a resemblance to the well-known, third-party mark, Game of Thrones. In order to proceed with the review of your app, we require documentation evidencing you are authorized by HBO to use features from Game of Thrones."
If this is correct what they say you need the approval and the lawyer may only help you to negotiate it (the approval from HBO or whoever owns the rights to the original artwork). You can take an artwork and "redraw" it by your own spirit but if the resemblance is clear this is a dependent work and still requires an approval (in order to have it published/distributed) of the authors/right holders of the original piece.

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Post by mac_developer » Thu, 20 Sep 2012 5:26 pm

x9200 wrote:
mac_developer wrote:Yes they have written to me.

"We found your app includes features or content, in the title, keywords, and/or imagery, that bear a resemblance to the well-known, third-party mark, Game of Thrones. In order to proceed with the review of your app, we require documentation evidencing you are authorized by HBO to use features from Game of Thrones."
If this is correct what they say you need the approval and the lawyer may only help you to negotiate it (the approval from HBO or whoever owns the rights to the original artwork). You can take an artwork and "redraw" it by your own spirit but if the resemblance is clear this is a dependent work and still requires an approval (in order to have it published/distributed) of the authors/right holders of the original piece.
You are correct. I think I will have a better chance of getting approved/authorized if I have my own lawyer to back me up. Do you have anyone in mind who could help me with this?

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Post by x9200 » Thu, 20 Sep 2012 6:18 pm

Unfortunately I don't know any and I am not sure if this is worth to engage one. If you are talking about good lawyers like those from Lee&Lee this will probably cost you something like $600 per hour and IP related cases are typically more complicated than an average.
Last edited by x9200 on Thu, 20 Sep 2012 6:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by zzm9980 » Thu, 20 Sep 2012 6:20 pm

Just out of curiosity, how much money are you looking to spend on this endeavor? You're going to need a US trademark and copyright lawyer, and that won't be cheap. I'd say if you're not ready to invest at least USD$5,000 (probably more!) in this, to just move on now.

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Post by mac_developer » Thu, 20 Sep 2012 7:21 pm

I'm thinking of investing about 1000SGD for an IP lawyer but I think this is not enough based from your replies. :(

I can't invest more than that because that would too much for my pocket. I've already invested about 2000SGD for both my artist and website. I also bought my own iPhone4s, iPad3, and Macbook Pro just to develop this app. This is how passionate I am for my app.

As much as I would love to get this app out, I think this will be the end of road for it. :(

I think I'll just take this mistake as a lesson. I'll make sure next time that this will not happen again.

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Post by zzm9980 » Thu, 20 Sep 2012 7:33 pm

The traditional lawyer route will definitely cost you. I would contact GRRM directly, the publisher, or someone else in the fan community (maybe the Wiki site admins?), and try and pursue that route. They may have direct contacts with HBO that could help you.

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Post by Strong Eagle » Thu, 20 Sep 2012 9:56 pm

mac_developer wrote:I'm thinking of investing about 1000SGD for an IP lawyer but I think this is not enough based from your replies. :(
Think ten times as much before it's all said and done. Seriously. Whether or not the art is original or cloned doesn't matter... Apple seems to think that you need permission.

So instantly, you get billed just for your lawyers to understand the situation, then contacts with Apple, then contacts with god knows who... it will be expensive...

Unless you are looking at an app that will earn you at least a couple of hundred thousand, you are pissing into the wind.

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