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Nathan speaks to college students about intellectual property

I spoke to a class of upperclassmen at Henderson State University today about intellectual property. These students, all business majors, are preparing business plans for course credit as well as several local and statewide competitions that have cash prizes for the best plans.


Using the Coke bottle analogy, I taught them about the different forms of intellectual property, and I fielded questions from the students about how intellectual property fit into their business plans. The students were curious about the different forms of intellectual property fit together, what type of patent and trademark procurement costs they could expect to report in their business plans, and how to search for software patents using free tools.

Good luck to Professor Lonnie Jackson's students on the upcoming business plan competitions! 

Nathan speaks to Arkadelphia High School business class


I was invited by Principal David Maxwell and instructor David Gustaveson to speak to several business classes at Arkadelphia High School this morning on the subject of intellectual property. 

I told the students a plastic Coke bottle represents 5 types of intellectual property and asked for their help in naming each one. We walked through (1) the design patent for the shape of the bottle, (2) the utility patent for the tamper-resistant top, (3) the trade secret on the Coke formula, (4) the trademark for Coca-Cola® and Coke®, and (5) the copyright for the label.

The discussion turned to the laws for intellectual property. We discussed the constitutional basis for each type of intellectual property and some basic tensions between protecting intellectual property rights and encouraging free sharing of ideas. iPhone vs. Android helped illustrate some of these principles, and the students were divided in their loyalties to their cell phones.

I appreciate the students being attentive and interactive. Thanks to Mr. G and Principal Maxwell for inviting me out! And, thanks to Paul Sivils for giving me a tour. AHS has changed quite a bit since I was a student!

UPDATE: We've added a page on the site that includes an explanation of how a Coke bottle represents five different types of intellectual property. Check it out here.

FDCPA protects consumers against unfair debt collectors

Here's a recent report on a debt collection company that was sued for abusing an Army veteran. The veteran was declared 100% disabled after suffering permanent spine and head injuries during his service. The debt collector told the veteran that he should have served his country better and he wouldn't be disabled, and that he should have died.

The Chaney Law Firm handled a similar pro bono case recently, and helped a disabled veteran prove in court that he had paid what he owed.

This type of abuse is against the law. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) protects consumers against unfair abuse. Some of the things that are illegal are:

  • threatening violence or other criminal acts to get someone to pay a debt
  • cursing at a consumer who owes a debt
  • publishing someone's name in a list of people who owe money
  • repeated telephone calls
  • lying about the character, amount, or legal status of the debt

The FDCPA prohibits many other acts as well. If a consumer is tired of hearing from a debt collector, he or she should (1) tell the debt collector to provide validation of the debt, and (2) instruct the debt collector not to call or write anymore. If the debt collector's conduct becomes abusive, a consumer should keep a log of contact from the debt collector, noting the date, time, and duration of the call as well as what the debt collector said. Attorneys need this type of information to be able to help.

Nathan wins pro bono bench trial for disabled veteran

A local disabled veteran was sued by a lending institution over a loan made several years ago. The debt collector hired by the lending institution added a whole bunch of fees and costs to make it look like the vet didn't pay what he owed. Instead, the judge ruled he'd already paid it and then some, and ordered the lending institution to refund what the vet had overpaid. I defended the case pro bono, and was happy to serve someone who'd served our country.

Nathan talks to high schoolers about IP law

Nathan Chaney was a guest speaker this morning at a class for high school students at Jessieville and Mountain Pine through the distance learning program at Dawson Education Cooperative. Nathan’s presentation was an overview of intellectual property law and how it applies in today’s world.

The outline for Nathan’s presentation is available here.

Thanks to Robert Cooper for inviting Nathan to come speak to his class.