International Students: Protect Future Opportunities

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shutterstock_253351303The entertainment industry is built upon sharing disparate stories. Filmmakers, actors, production crews, etc. all come from different backgrounds and life-history. The immigrant narrative is one that cannot be lost. It is unique in its experience and is part of America’s story. People have migrated to the US to provide a better life for their family, increase their education, or prospective job opportunities due to the increasingly competitive global market.

For many, working for the opportunity to become an international student at a prestigious American university is the first step of transitioning from an international student to an American citizen. These opportunities, especially academics, have been earned and should not be taken away from prospective graduates.

However, due to the increase of COVID-19 cases in various States across the Nation, Universities are trying to assess how to resume classes in the Fall of 2020 while also limiting the number of COVID-19 outbreaks. As such, some campuses have adopted a hybrid model or simply decided that all classes will be taken virtually.[1] But this puts all international students with F-1 and M-1 visas at-risk.

As of Tuesday, July 7, 2020, The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency announced that the Student and Exchange Visitor Program released modifications to temporary exemptions for nonimmigrant students taking online classes for the Fall 2020 academic semester. “Nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States. The U.S. Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor will U.S. Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States.”[2]

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Furthermore, international students in the United States enrolled in completely virtual programs must “depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status.”[3]

A study completed by NAFSA: Association of International Educators found that “international students studying at U.S. colleges and universities contributed $41 billion and supported 458,290 jobs to the U.S. economy during the 2018-2019 academic year.”[4]

As such, not only does this new modification take future opportunities away from international students, but it also takes away money circulating in the Nation’s economy.

These academics are future scholars, professors, screenwriters, directors, politicians, and actors. It is important that we come together as a country and do our part in ceasing the spread of COVID-19 so more opportunities are not taken from our future leaders, regardless if they are international students or not.

[1] Miriam Jordan, Trump Visa Rules Seen as Way to Pressure Colleges on Reopening, The New York Times (July 7, 2020), https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/07/us/student-visas-coronavirus.html.

[2] U.S. Department of Homeland Security, SEVP modifies temporary exemptions for nonimmigrant students taking online courses during the fall 2020 semester (2020), https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/sevp-modifies-temporary-exemptions-nonimmigrant-students-taking-online-courses-during.

[3] Id.

[4] NAFSA International Student Economic Value Tool, Economic Value Statistics, NFSA,  https://www.nafsa.org/policy-and-advocacy/policy-resources/nafsa-international-student-economic-value-tool-v2 (last visited July 8, 2020).

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Eryn L. Pollard, is a second-year law student at Notre Dame Law School and is the secretary of the Black Law Students Association.

 

“Normal” is Relative: Normal Is Familial Reunion in a Detainment Center

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shutterstock_1036368061Times are changing, identities are being questioned and confronted, and people are getting uncomfortable. With protests demanding justice, COVID-19 cases spiking, and states such as Texas “pausing” it’s reopening, people are beginning to get restless and just want things to “get back to normal”. But what is this “normal” you speak of? For some, it is going back to a 9-5 job and getting to visit their children and grandchildren on the weekends, but for others, it means being reunited with their families and children in safe and healthy conditions after prolonged detainment in the US immigration jails.

In the summers of 2019, video footage was released of the unsanitary and overcrowding of migrant detention centers managed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.[1] Reports indicated that children were “held for weeks in deplorable conditions, without access to soap, clean water, showers, clean clothing, toilets, toothbrushes, adequate nutrition, or adequate sleep. The children, including infants and expectant mothers, are dirty, cold, hungry, and sleep-deprived.” [2]

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The 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement, which arose out of the Flores v. Reno, 507 U.S. 1439 (1993)  is what governs the standards for detaining child migrants, but with conditions such as these, with minor improvements of said facilities in over a year and continuous overcrowding, one can only imagine the risk of exposure and infection of COVID-19.

As such, U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee’s ordered on June 26, 2020, that children be released from the detention centers in the care of a listed “designated sponsors” if they have spent more than 20 days at three family detention centers in Texas and Pennsylvania.[3] However, for many of the families, there are no “designated sponsors” and thus, many children remain in the detainment institutions.

As of June 29, 2020, it has been reported that “[m]ore than 2,500 people in ICE custody have tested positive for COVID-19. The agency says it has released at least 900 people considered to have heightened medical risk and reduced the populations at its three family detention centers.”[4] But is that enough? It is times like these where we need to assess what is “normal” to us and how “normal” can be code for “privilege” and “stability”.

[1] Madeleine Joung, What Is Happening at Migrant Detention Centers? Here’s What to Know, TIME (Jul. 12, 2019), https://time.com/5623148/migrant-detention-centers-conditions/.

[2] Artemis Moshtaghian and Eliott C. McLaughlin, Federal judge orders prompt mediation to determine if detention facilities and child migrants are safe, CNN (Jul. 2, 2019) https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/30/us/child-migrant-detention-center-doctors-federal-judge/index.html.[3] Miriam Jordan, U.S. Must Release Children From Family Detention Centers, Judge Rules, New York Times (Jun.26, 2020), https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/26/us/immigrant-children-detention-centers.html.

[4] Nomaan Merchant, Judge: US must free migrant children from family detention, ABC News (Jun. 26, 2020), https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/judge-us-free-migrant-children-detained-parents-71485845.

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Eryn L. Pollard, is a second-year law student at Notre Dame Law School and is the secretary of the Black Law Students Association

 

Why You Should Trademark Your Company Name And Logo

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So, you’ve decided to start a new business or maybe you’ve been in business for a while. Maybe you’ve just come up with a fantastic idea for a new “App”. Whether you’re a brick-and-mortar or completely online business, you’re probably asking yourself “Do I really need to trademark my business name?” It can seem unnecessary to go through the long, tedious process and cost of trademarking. You may even think that other entrepreneurs and creators would be courteous enough to not use the name or logo that you meticulously crafted – they’d see your use and just choose a different name or logo, right? Unfortunately, not everyone is so considerate.

businessMost business owners and entrepreneurs understand the importance of a business name to their branding. In fact, your business name and logo are some of your company’s most valuable assets. Your carefully crafted name becomes a symbol of your business’ reputation. So, how can you stop others from using your name and protect your hard work and company’s goodwill? One important measure to take is to apply for trademark registration.  Many attorneys say that trademark registration isn’t always necessary, and registration necessity truly depends the geographic scope of your business and whether you have the time and money to file a trademark application. But, in today’s day and age, whether you’re a small, local storefront, or a completely online nation-wide service, trademark registration is a valuable investment.

Just imagine, one day your small mom-and-pop dessert store is visited by a tourist who happens to be a popular food blogger. After tasting your delicious treats, this blogger decides to write an article about you. The next day you’re inundated with calls and orders, and your small one-page website crashes from the amount of visitors. Lo and behold, stores, using your mom-and-pop name, are appearing all over the nation, marketing goods that are similar but of a different quality than your own. The same could happen with a purely online store, or even more likely, with the newest brilliant “App” idea. Wouldn’t it be a shame to see this happen to your business? What if consumers believe your company is affiliated with those knockoff products? All of the time and effort you devoted to developing your business, brand and goodwill would be damaged. When you think about the potential risk of a situation like this occurring, the cost of trademarking seems minimal.

DBA, Limited partnership, LLC, Corporation…

Now, you may be asking, “I’ve already registered my business name with the state government, doesn’t that protect me?” Though state business registration is important, it only applies to the state where you register. It may stop another company from registering the exact same name in the same state, but it does not give you formal ownership rights over a name or protect you outside of the state.

Trademark Registration Benefits

Federal trademark registration, on the other hand, gives you the exclusive right to use your business name nationwide in connection with the goods and services you’ve identified in your application and allows you to take swift action and enforce your trademark rights by filing a lawsuit in federal court.

In addition to these benefits, you gain several other advantages, including:Trademark

  • A record of ownership of the trademark, and a proven date of first use.
  • A legal presumption that you own the trademark and can use it for the goods and services listed in your application.
  • Right to use the registered trademark symbol ®
  • U.S. registration creates some ease in registering your mark internationally.

Registration also makes your mark visible to anyone doing a trademark search, thereby decreasing the likelihood that another will use it.

But, What About Common Law Rights?

At this point, you may be thinking, “don’t I have trademark rights to stop infringing activity before I even apply for registration?” Yes, you do. You can claim ownership of your trademark without officially registering it with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), however, your rights are limited to the geographic regions where your mark is used. So, those rights wouldn’t be enforceable against a competitor who pops up in a region where you were considering expanding to, but had yet to do so.

So, When Is It a Good Time to Start the Trademark Registration Process?

Though the trademark registration process can be started at any stage, it’s best to start it in the very early stages of your business by filing an “intent-to-use” application. This initiation of the registration process can ensure that your business name is cleared for use. A significant part of the trademark application process includes a trademark search, wherein research is conducted on existing and pending trademarks to ensure that your name isn’t infringing on an established mark.  The trademark search process not only increases the likelihood of a successful application, but prevents you from investing time, effort, and money into marketing a brand that may later be challenged by an existing competitor.

It is important to note that your name does not need to identical to an existing trademark in order to be considered infringing, it simply needs to be close enough to be considered confusingly similar to a competitor offering similar products or services. The entire process from search to complete registration can take 10 months to a year (potentially longer). Therefore, if you wait to trademark your name until after your business has launched, or until someone begins infringing on your name, you may find yourself in the long and expensive process of opposing or canceling an existing mark, or be in an odd position of waiting for registration to complete before you can have an enforceable right to stop infringing activity.

By filing a trademark application as early as possible in your business development process, you’re protecting not only your name but the hard work you will, or already have, put into building goodwill.

 

Helping You Succeed. Call the Law Office of Reena Sehgal to see how we can help you with trademark registration.

 

Check back soon for more articles – including:

“What kind of Names Can Be Trademarked?”

“Trademarks: The Process from Search to Registration”

 

Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from Law Offices of Reena Sehgal. or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this Post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.