Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Earlier this year, a man tried to pass himself off as a San Francisco building inspector. He prominently displayed the logo and address of the city’s Department of Building Inspections on his Web site, which included a description of the city’s code process and the procedure to get a building permit. When the city attorney’s office found out about the site, it sent a cease and desist letter, and the would-be inspector promptly deleted the department identifiers. The city attorney’s office has been handling such issues since 1996, when it assigned a deputy attorney to track IP matters. Three of the 190 lawyers in the office now spend a significant part of their time working with the Contracts and IP team. “Like any corporation, we are interested in protecting and licensing our IP,” said attorney Adine Varah, the IP point person in the office. The office also wants to “protect the public from being misled or confused about the source of goods and services.” The city’s IP attorneys register trademarks and negotiate licensing agreements for the use of city logos such as the Muni symbol. Varah said she doesn’t know how many trademark applications the office has filed. While the office hasn’t prosecuted any patent applications, it does handle patent issues involving the inventions of city employees. For instance, attorneys have licensed a dynamic mapping system created by the Department of Public Works to private, nonprofit groups. Before becoming a deputy city attorney, Varah was a staff attorney at Yale University, where she also handled IP matters. Her clients now include the San Francisco Arts Commission, the War Memorial Board of Trustees and the Asian Art Museum. The arts commission sponsors a writers program for youth in the city, and Varah’s office puts together agreements for publication and use of their poems and other writings. “There’s a strong public interest component to the work we do,” Varah said. Intellectual property is “an important city asset — like city property or funds in the treasury.”

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.