News & Resources

Redaction as a Transparency Avoidance Strategy in NJ School District

Have you ever received heavily redacted records from a public agency?  If something seems off about the redactions in a fulfilled request, don’t just sit on your hands. Sometimes, it is worth challenging them. In Monmouth County, NJ, a school district parent filed a lawsuit last summer. The mother had originally become an intense critic of the district after some portable classrooms at an elementary school were deemed unsafe.  Her criticism mounted after a football […]

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Public Records Accountability Comes to a Head in San José

How should you proceed if your city appears to be stonewalling public records requests? Is this a sign of corruption? Mismanagement? Overwhelmed public employees?  Where public records accountability is concerned, there’s no single answer. For instance, in San Josè, CA, the city and mayor have been confronted with a lawsuit brought by the San Josè Spotlight and the First Amendment Coalition for what they allege to be habitual withholding of public records. The lawsuit targets […]

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Filing Public Records Lawsuits to Make a Point in WA

Public records lawsuits—do they aid or undermine democracy?  Sometimes government says public records plaintiffs “have an agenda.” Requestors say, yes, their agenda is to shed light on government operations and at times shed light on government malfeasance.  Sometimes, requestors say government has an agenda to avoid accountability… while government says they must comply with public records law and cannot always release the requested records. A retired schoolteacher in the city of Langley on Whidbey Island, […]

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How Not to Lose Your Trademark to Non-Use Abandonment

Do you know what matters more than the registration of your business’s trademark? Its usage. One major way that a business can lose a viable trademark is non-use for a period of three or more years — it’s called trademark non-use abandonment. The USPTO tries to keep the registry fresh and not have any unused trademark on the registry. They periodically will send out Office Actions to trademark owners to see if registered marks are being […]

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First Amendment History: The Deborah Lipp Case

  Consider this from First Amendment history: In August 1977, Deborah Lipp won a First and Fourteenth Amendment case against the principal of her New Jersey public school and the state attorney general arising from her refusal to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance at school. Check out the First Amendment case: Deborah Lipp. Lipp was 16 at the time and had recently moved to a new school. She believed that some aspects of the […]

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IP Education: IP Assets & Estate Planning

For many artists, part of the intention for a piece of art is to live beyond its creator. Similarly, inventors and business owners are likely hoping to leave behind some kind of legacy. Yet, surprisingly, many neglect to make a posthumous plan for their works – intellectual property assets need be managed as much as financial, real estate, and physical properties. Perhaps the hesitation to act comes from uncertainty about what to do. To help […]

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