Intellectual Property

CORONAVIRUS NOTICE:  Open for business.  Call (408) 981-4293 or email 


Don’t Call Us “Twit” SM


By Bob Payne

            HUSBAND:  Honey, I just read about these guys who got the “Materials Science award” from the IgNoble® Awards, for experimenting with frozen knives made of human feces.  They tried to replicate historical accounts of Inuit natives in the Arctic.  The knives were probably used to carve animal flesh and hides.  It gave me a great idea for starting a home business during the pandemic.  We could make frozen potty knives and sell them online.  You freeze it, cut and pop it back into the freezer.  No fuss, no contamination.

            WIFE:  John, I said you should find a hobby.   I didn’t say you could stuff our freezer with poop!

            HUSBAND:  We could buy a chest freezer for the garage, and we could double our money if you’d, y’know, “contribute” as well.

            WIFE:  That’s a hard pass. Besides, how is a frozen potty knife supposed to get sharp enough to cut meat?

            HUSBAND:  Don’t worry, I tested it out.  It just needs a little sawing. I could call our business “Doo-Doo Dandy™” and I’ve even come up with some other cool trademarks we could use, like “Look what BROWN can do for you™.”

            WIFE:  That probably infringes UPS’s trademark. (Pause) And thank you for that image.  I’ll probably use FedEx from now on.

            HUSBAND:  Nah, it’s for completely different goods, so there’s no likelihood of confusion.  Anyway, I spent the afternoon coming up with cool trademark ideas, like:

     - Stooltoole™
     - The No. 2 Blade™
     - Crappy Cutter™
     - Dung Ho!™ . . .

            WIFE:  (Wearily)  “Stop, that’s enou…”

            HUSBAND: . . . and PoopSickle™.  Get it?  Like the Soviet Union’s hammer and sickle.”

            WIFE: Oh, wow!  You’ll be the darling of Marxist foodies!  Look, there’s just no way you are doing that in this house.  I know you’re upset about losing your job, but let’s not risk starting a plague of excrement, no matter how well the knives cut.

            (Grudgingly, Husband joins Wife on the couch to watch “Tiger King” yet again.  After five minutes, Wife notices how still the house is.  She starts to look around with growing apprehension.)

            WIFE:  Honey, . . . WHERE’S FLUFFY??
Payne IP Law, San Jose, | (408) 981-4293
Glimpsing Our Po§t-Covid World

As we live through the New Normal and approach the Next Normal, what businesses will survive and how will they cope in the new environment?   Tech and IP law will play a critical role in this changed world, and in changing that world.  We provide three articles in each issue of our newsletter, worth a few minutes of your time.  Rather than focusing on immediate issues like vaccine production and testing, we will offer articles on broader tech trends that will adapt to and define our emerging economic condition.  

Our first article is a thoughtful piece by Deloitte, which explores covid-induced business developments, including consumer trends in digital social interactions, value-for-money mentality, safety vs. privacy, exploiting community power in branding and the massive shift in service and products directed to a home-focused environment.  (covid-19-induced-business-trends-deloitte-whitepaper.pdf)

In our second article, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce notes a number of service-based businesses that will thrive in the post-covid environment, including errand services (DoorDash, etc.), box subscriptions (meal kits, beauty products, etc.), freelance copyrighting and design as marketing pivots to the new business environment, IT and cybersecurity consulting.  (Service-Based Businesses That Will Be in High Demand After Coronavirus (

In our third article, provides an online essential business guide for the covid crisis, which provides a wealth of thoughts on business emergence from the pandemic.  Perhaps most intriguing are articles on how to reopen closed businesses, emphasizing worksite preparation and other health security precautions, enhanced employee communication, employee scheduling challenges and rethought hiring practices.  (The Essential Business Survival Guide in a Crisis |

And New§ About U§: 

PAYNE CHOSEN AS “SUPER LAWYER” IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA FOR TENTH YEAR.   Robert Payne was reconfirmed as a “Super Lawyer” for Northern California in the area of intellectual property for 2021. According to the website, “Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.  This selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.”


Save Our Planet

Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock

Why Did IBM Skip the Loo?

The Dude Abides


§TO WIT is a blog about IP humor and about IP “news you can use.”  What does “To Wit” mean?  In formal, legal language, it means “namely,” to clarify and specify. “The indictment charged that Jones knowingly possessed a firearm, to wit: a .38 caliber revolver.” But for us, it’s a salute, well, "to wit." (Pop Quiz:  Did we use “To Wit” as a double entendre, a triple entendre or quadruple entendre? Answer: Who cares?)  

But we’re more than just fun and games.  We also will post articles on IP issues of interest to smaller businesses — for business owners and their general counsel.  The articles will be written in plain English and short.  Very short.  Rather than rewrite what others have said, we'll generally link to a longer article or original source for those who want to know more.  

Payne IP Law, San Jose, | (408) 981-4293


Contact us at or (408) 981-4293.