Federal Circuit

* Sadly, Ronald Dworkin has died at 81. [The Faculty Lounge]

* Oracle really really hopes the Federal Circuit has read Harry Potter. But of course they have, because… nerds. [Groklaw]

* A 16-year-old is suing her parents to keep her unborn baby, claiming her parents are forcing her to have an abortion. I’m sure she’s just hoping to get on the next season of Teen Mom. [KPLR 11]

* Snake-handling pastor has his snakes confiscated by Tennessee cops. I had to read this twice because I assumed it was a recap from last night’s Justified. [WSJ Law Blog]

* An interesting look at the false dichotomy between teaching and practice. It’s probably unfair, but all I kept thinking was, “those that can, do; those that can’t…” [PrawfsBlawg]

* Jeff Kurzon is taking a break from suing law schools to run for Congress. If elected, Staci expects an invitation to the next State of the Union. [Jeff Kurzon Blog]

* Overlawyered cites, presumably with disdain, a school district banning the use of a piece of playground equipment. I’m sympathetic to the school for two reasons: (1) when I was a kid, I broke my arm on a piece of playground equipment; and (2) take a look at the death trap of a machine they’re banning. [Overlawyered]

* TestMasters claims that individual posters have been sharing their materials for free. This case sounds an awful lot like what brought down Litchfield Law School. [Courthouse News Service]

* President Barack Obama recently nominated two attorneys for the Federal Circuit who are being referred to as “noteworthy” because of their ethnicity (Asian American) and sexual orientation (openly gay). Let’s hear three cheers for diversity! [Blog of Legal Times]

* Dewey & LeBoeuf and Howrey have something in common aside from going down in a gigantic ball of flames that rocked Biglaw as we know it. Both firms’ fine art collections will soon be auctioned off by Adam A. Weschler & Son Inc. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* There’s nothing like acting like the product you’re selling: MGA, the maker of Bratz dolls, would like to have Orrick’s $23 million arbitration award vacated because paying your legal bills is so passé. [The Recorder]

* We briefly noted California’s new bar passage mandate for state-accredited schools here, but now a law school is suing over it, claiming the bar examiners are “waging a vendetta” against it. [National Law Journal]

* The NCAA wants to get Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett’s suit over PSU’s Sandusky-related penalties tossed, with a harsh reminder that hurt feelings have absolutely nothing to do with antitrust law. [Bloomberg]

Me, earlier today.

* PETA sends Bebe a cease-and-desist letter over fur-free advertising. To be honest, I only understood half of what I just wrote. [Fashionista]

* Here are five reasons why editors hate lawyers. Of course, when the editors are lawyers, you just kind of end up hating yourself. [About Editing And Writing]

* Can someone explain to me how it’s constitutional for Virginia to promise not to enforce laws? [Pilot]

* Did you enjoy the South Park episode that involved proprietary towel technology? Then you’ll love this lawsuit! [Thomson Reuters News and Insight]

* I asked Professor Rick Hasen whether or not I should self immolate to prevent the GOP from legally rigging the next election, and he’s telling me to chill out because it’s gonna be okay. [Slate]

* I’ve been trying to find an excuse to link to this. It’s a guy who is blogging about news from 1913 as if it was happening in real time, in this technological environment. Here, we look at some very swift Southern-style justice. [Retro Pundit]

* I must admit, I wanted to pull out my Leonardo DiCaprio coconut drinking goblet to fully enjoy this rich-white-man fight. [Dealbreaker]

* Belated congratulations to Elbert Lin, aka Mr. LEWW, on his appointment as solicitor general for West Virginia. [Bench Memos / National Review Online]

A trademark cock-a-doodle-don’t.

We think that the Board did not err in concluding that the distinction between COCKSUCKER and COCK SUCKER is a distinction without a difference. So too the association of COCK SUCKER with a poultry-themed product does not diminish the vulgar meaning – it merely establishes an additional, non-vulgar meaning and a double entendre.

This not a case in which the vulgar meaning of the mark’s literal element is so obscure or so faintly evoked that a context that amplifies the non-vulgar meaning will efface the vulgar meaning altogether. Rather, the mark is precisely what [appellant] Fox intended it to be: a double entendre, meaning both “rooster lollipop” and “one who performs fellatio.”

– Circuit Judge Timothy Dyk, affirming on behalf of a three-judge panel of the Federal Circuit the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s prior affirmance of an examiner’s refusal to register the mark “COCK SUCKER” for rooster lollipops.

Angelica Marie Cecora, Oscar's latest lady-friend

* A bill to repeal DOMA made it past the Senate Judiciary Committee, but members of the Senate don’t do dick (unless it’s in an airport bathroom), so it’s probably not going anywhere. [Blog of Legal Times]

* Next on the gay rights news beat, after waiting around for 18 months, WilmerHale attorney Edward DuMont has refused to be the last belle at the ball. He’s asked Obama to withdraw his Federal Circuit nomination. [ThinkProgress]

* “Be careful of what you do, ’cause the lie becomes the truth.” Sound familiar? Conrad Murray says the King of Pop deceived him. Oh, boo hoo. Come on, MJ warned you about this stuff via song lyrics back in the eighties. [CNN]

* When a lawyer’s wife allegedly hires you to kill her husband, the easy way out isn’t to burn down his law firm. You kind of need to make sure that he’s in there first. [KBZK]

* Oscar de la Hoya’s got bigger problems than this kinky lawsuit. He’s probably more worried about getting runs in his stockings, to be honest. [New York Post]

* Snitches don’t get stitches in Mexico. They get their freakin’ heads chopped off. And now I wait for a drug cartel to come and murder me. [Daily Mail]

Two people from my high school got into the same college I did. We were all in the top 10 of our class, but none of us were in the top 5. One was a white guy who was a brilliant piano player. The other was a white girl who excelled at sports. Then there was me. I had the “does lots of activities” application. You know the type of d-bag kid I’m talking about: debate this, mock trial that, sports, school plays, bands.

Also, I’m black. Do you think that might have had something to do with it? I hope it did, since it seems to me that my race is at least as much of a factor in what I may add to an incoming college class as whether I could play the piano or dominate in field hockey.

Of course, saying race can be a factor in college admissions is controversial. A certain segment of the population gets all bent out of sorts when a “deserving” white student potentially gets “passed over” because a college official gave a person of color “extra points” when making up the entering class of students.

I find these arguments totally irrational. If the top five students from my high school were passed over — three Jews and two Asians (you know, the real victims of affirmative action, if there are any) — then who exactly “took” their spots? Me, or the sports chick? And if an Asian guy “takes” my spot, but I bump down the piano player who didn’t score as well as I did, and the piano player takes the spot of some poor Hispanic kid who has never seen a piano in real life, would everybody say that we all got what we deserved?

Coming up with an effective way to balance all of the relevant factors in college admissions is hard. But when race is involved, people don’t want to deal with “hard,” and they don’t want to hear “complicated.” They want simple rules and a few platitudes they can recite on television. After yesterday’s Fifth Circuit decision upholding affirmative action at the University of Texas, the only question is whether the Supreme Court has the will and intellectual rigor to think through something hard, or whether the majority will want to fall back on truisms and clichés…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fifth Circuit Upholds Affirmative Action, But Is It Begging for SCOTUS Intervention?”

Paul Michel Chief Judge Paul R Michel Federal Circuit.jpgWe received this info last night, from several readers in attendance. One of them wrote:

For the patent nerds out there, including me, Chief Judge Paul R. Michel of the Federal Circuit is retiring effective May 31, 2010. Just personally announced it at the FCBA annual dinner. Sent his resignation letter to Obama this morning.

Why is Chief Judge Michel stepping down? Is it due to inadequate judicial pay?
Apparently not, according to our source:

[H]e said he’s motivated to retire instead of moving to senior judge status because he hates the muzzle that comes with being an Article III judge. He wants to lobby. He feels pretty strongly that certain parts of the pending patent reform act are outrageous.

Read more at Patently-O and the BLT (links below).
Federal Circuit Chief Judge Paul Michel Announces that he is Leaving the Bench [Patently-O]
Federal Circuit Chief Judge Paul Michel Announces Retirement [The BLT: Blog of the Legal Times]

Posner.jpgIt’s an exciting day here at ATL when we can find three excuses to cover the salacious beat (see #1 and #2). Judge Richard Posner brings us our third opportunity.

Judge Posner issued a ruling [PDF] Friday in a patent infringement case involving “sex aids” companies. Posner brings his dry humor and excellent wit to the decision, starting off by defining the nature of the business the plaintiff and the defendant are in:

Both firms produce what the parties call “sex aids” but are colloquially referred to as “sex toys.” A more perspicuous term is “sexual devices,” by analogy to “medical devices.” The analogy lies in the fact that, like many medical devices (thermometers for example), what we are calling sexual devices are intended to be inserted into bodily orifices, albeit for a different purpose.

Never before has patent infringement been so sexy… and sex toys so un-sexy:

The devices are generally in the shape of rods of various curvatures and are made out of rubber, plastic, glass, or some combination of these materials. Until the plaintiffs began manufacturing their patented sexual devices, glass sexual devices were made out of soda-lime glass, the most common form of glass.

We are not as well-versed in the nature of sex toys as is Judge Posner. We didn’t realize there were such things as glass dildos — despite the presence of this commenter in our threads — but apparently there are, and they have been around for a long time. The plaintiffs in Ritchie (Know Mind Enterprises/Topco) v. Vast Resources Inc. claimed to innovate the glass dildo design, obtaining a patent for those made with borosilicate glass (the stuff used by Pyrex). Adding silica makes the devices “slippery,” “lubricious,” and “resistant to heat, chemicals, electricity and bacterial absorptions.” While we like chemistry in bed, electricity might be a bit much.

Ritchie sued Vast Resources for violating its patent, and making their own slippery glass rods. The Seventh Circuit, in Judge Posner’s opinion, reversed the lower court’s decision in the plaintiff’s favor, ruling that Pyrexing sex devices is not patentable. It’s an “obvious” invention, an example of “modest, routine, everyday, incremental improvements of an existing product or process that confer commercial value… but do not involve sufficient inventiveness to merit patent protection.”

Posner is a judge on the Seventh Circuit but sat on this Federal Circuit case by designation. Like us, Posner likes writing on salacious topics. After all, having penned the book Sex and Reason in 1992, Posner is a judicial sexpert.

Decision [Federal Circuit]

Slippery Sex Toys Aren’t Inventive, U.S. Court Says [Bloomberg]

Slick Glass Dildos are an “Obvious” Improvement! [The Legal Satyricon]

Judge Posner at the Federal Circuit: Patent on Sex Aid is Obvious [Patent Law Blog]

depression.jpg

* Mississippi Circuit Judge Bobby Delaughter, known for prosecuting a white supremacist, pleaded not guilty. He was accused of ruling in favor of Tobacco attorney Dickie Scruggs (Trent Lott’s brother in law) in exchange for a seat on the federal bench. [The Associated Press]

* Damn, I miss the 90′s (and not just because I loved Pauly Shore movies). yesterday. [Bloomberg]

* Will there be more? Yes. $*%&$. [The National Law Journal]

* Meanwhile — two Pennsylvania judges were caught getting $2.6 million in kick backs for sending innocent teenagers to two private juvenile detention facilities. [Reuters]

* A special federal court of three judges or “special masters” (is this a video game?) decided that the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine does not cause autism. [Los Angeles Times]

*Madoff’s defense attorney Ira Sorkin may have a conflict of interest because his parents invested with Madoff. [Bloomberg]

small phone.jpg

* A “court” upheld the government’s authority to tap international phone calls and emails without a warrant. [The Washington Post]

* Would-be Attorney General Eric Holder’s confirmation hearing went well yesterday, and he will go for more today. [The Associated Press]

* Marc Dreier, the lawyer who sold hedge funds phony investments, wants to be released on bail. [Reuters]

* The Senate released the second portion of the bailout fund yesterday, giving Obama a tidy $350 billion to get the economy back on track. [The New York Times]

* In an effort to rally lending, President-elect Obama’s advisors are considering drastic proposals that would take toxic assets of bank balance sheets. [Bloomberg]

Page 2 of 3123