Intellectual Property

Here at Above the Law, we regularly cover benchslaps: judges laying the smackdown on poorly performing attorneys. But what about when it’s the judge who says, “I’ve made a tiny huge mistake”?

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh made a significant technological blunder in a patent case between two of Silicon Valley’s heaviest hitters. Yet her mistake is almost quaint. It harkens back to an earlier, simpler time –– like, pre-2006. When legal technology was a bit more primitive, and, more specifically, when the legal profession was still learning to master PDF files.

So, what did she do? Let’s just say she couldn’t keep a secret….

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The real Elizabeth Sky

The Internet may be infinite, but people still are constantly fighting over online real estate. It happens in the porn industry, and it happens to celebrities. Even Miami Dolphins cheerleaders have to fight for their right to party at their own website.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida recently ruled in a dispute between two models using the stage name Elizabeth Sky. The defendant allegedly went on a campaign across the Internet to destroy the other model’s social networking presence. Will the real Elizabeth Sky please stand up, please stand up, please stand up.…

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Cristina Fierro: not of age.

* Here’s something that’s actually worth crying over instead of your “meh” bonuses. Much like this year’s Cravath scale, Biglaw pro bono hours will likely be stagnant or cut altogether. [Fortune]

* What’s the point of fleeing if you’re just going to let yourself get extradited? Ex-Crowell & Moring counsel, Douglas Arntsen, will return to New York to face grand larceny charges. [New York Law Journal]

* Knock it off: the feds took down 150 sites selling counterfeit goods yesterday, alleging willful copyright infringement. So much for all of those too-good-to-be-true Cyber Monday deals. [Blog of Legal Times]

* It’s pretty much impossible for Gloria Allred to take a client who doesn’t have a vagina. Her latest litigant, 16-year-old Cristina Fierro, is suing Lawrence Taylor for sex trafficking. [New York Post]

* Finally, some Spider-Man drama that we can get behind, unlike that Turn Off the Dark crap. Tobey Maguire has settled his illegal poker lawsuit, and he didn’t even have to go all in. [CNN]

* Sorry, Chick-Fil-A, but no one is going to be confusing your “chikin” trademark with kale. Maybe like 3% of your customers even know what kale is. And that’s being generous. [Huffington Post]

Businesses spend a surprising amount of time and effort protecting their brand and intellectual property from cybersquatters. It often takes the threat of litigation or creative domain name registry to prevent random people from registering websites like Pepsisux.com.

So, it’s kind of funny that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is in the process of introducing a new top-level domain — .XXX — built specifically for porn websites. In doing so, it may have created a cybersquatter’s dream come true.

Eighty thousand .XXX domain names have been registered in the past few months. A new lawsuit shows that some companies are registering even though they really don’t want to. Let’s find out why….

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Taylor Swift

* Snowtober was a treat for some, but a trick for many more. Let us know how your firm is handling this Halloween horror. Email us or send a text to (646) 820-TIPS. [Reuters]

* Will the legal profession continue to be a slave to ethical rules of the past? Only if lawyers can’t profit from it. And if they can, then say hello to an ABA resolution in 2012. [New York Times]

* Pot trafficker: add this one to the list of career alternatives for attorneys that aren’t working out so well. But if you don’t mind giving up your Benz and getting disbarred, then go for it. [Times Union]

* Yo Taylor, I’m really happy for you, I’mma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best topless trademark lawsuits of all time. One of the best topless trademark lawsuits of all time! [Daily Mail]

* Urine trouble, lady. Here’s some proof that next time things aren’t going your way in court, you should try peeing all over yourself. [New York Post]

Nobody ever seems to believe me when I say this, but San Francisco gets chilly. It is cold most of the time. And foggy. The warmest time of year is right now, in late October. If you come to visit in July, and you stay in the city, and you will get cold.

That’s why every San Francisco tourist ever buys those cheesy sweatshirts with “San Francisco” written on them in a font that strangely resembles one of the main logos for our hugely disappointing championship-winning major-league baseball team, the Giants. Actually, it might be exactly the same logo. The baseball team is currently in a trademark dispute with the clothing company from Hayward (Oakland’s smaller, crappier neighbor to the south) over rights to the logo.

But hold on, the Giants have been using it for almost 20 years. They must have gotten the rights locked down years ago, right? Oopsies….

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* Wait, is this real? People actually sued al-Qaeda and expect to be paid billions of dollars in damages? Seriously? Having a major “what is this I don’t even” moment over here. [Bloomberg]

* Judith Kaye is the new centerfold for the New York State Court of Appeals. She’s the first woman in history whose portrait will hang in the state’s highest courtroom. [New York Law Journal]

* Thompson Hine partner Leslie Jacobs was charged with tax fraud last week. As could be expected, the Biglaw firm now wants nothing to do with him. [Am Law Daily]

* Another law firm’s confidential files mysteriously ended up in the garbage, but this time at a Georgia newspaper’s office. Just as an FYI, our office is located in New York. [Gainesville Times]

* GTL doesn’t just stand for “Gym, Tan, Laundry” anymore. Apparently, it also stands for “Get The Lawyer.” The Situation is suing a guido lifestyle company for trademark infringement. [Examiner]

* Lindsay Lohan’s alleged probation violations might send her back to the slammer, but she doesn’t want to be made “an example of” in court. Sweetie, it’s called “a mockery.” [Daily Mail]

* It took SCOTUS more than four hours to write one sentence. But oh, to be a fly on the wall last night when they decided to deny a stay of execution for Troy Davis. [New York Times]

* AT&T wants to take the DOJ’s antitrust case to trial. This must be some sort of a joke, but the only punchline I can think of is the company’s crappy wireless network. [Bloomberg]

* Court-clogger or pocket-stuffer: Andrew Cuomo is debating signing a bill that could put more money into the hands of class action attorneys. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* GW Law ex-adjunct Richard Lieberman was disbarred this week. What is with all of these lawyers who try to seduce minors online? Such a weird casualty of this profession. [National Law Journal]

* Because Chanel No. 399 just doesn’t sound as classy as Chanel No. 5, the company has filed a massive trademark infringement lawsuit against nearly 400 defendants. [ABC News]

* Memo to our readers: You know our exploding car thing was just a caption contest, right? We weren’t anticipating a real life lawyer car bombing. [Forbes]

Adam Bier (sans beard)

At the Legal Technology Leadership Summit opening reception on Tuesday, I struck up a conversation with a friendly young lawyer. He won immediate social coolness points for several reasons: He has a beard. He’s from the East Bay, like me. He runs a solo practice, and he had some good stories about lawyers following unique, non-lawyerly paths (which we might mention in future posts).

Needless to say, I was surprised to walk into Thursday’s keynote discussion, “Qualcomm Revisited: When Lawyers Face Discovery Sanctions,” and discover that this attorney was actually the youngest member of the Qualcomm Six.

Adam Bier was still a self-described “baby lawyer” when he was wrongfully sanctioned in the landmark 2008 Qualcomm e-discovery case. Kashmir Hill interviewed him early last year, when the appealed sanctions were finally vacated, more than two years after they were first imposed. Bier shared his story with conference attendees, joined onstage by U.S. Magistrate Judge David Waxse and Frank Cialone of Shartsis Friese, who defended several of the outside counsel in Qualcomm.

After the jump, learn the details of Bier’s nightmare experience. Can you imagine yourself in his shoes?

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Judge Ginsburg: back to school.

* Judge Douglas Ginsburg (D.C. Cir.) is taking senior status and joining the NYU Law faculty. Query how this will affect his feeding (and no, we’re not talking about New York versus D.C. restaurants). [The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times]

* “Two Examples of Things Not to Say When You’re at Your Local IRS Office.” [Going Concern]

* Speaking of efficiency-challenged government entities, how can the U.S. postal service be fixed? Professor Gerard Magliocca floats some ideas. [Concurring Opinions]

Madonna: going to court.

* Should you rinse religion from your résumé? Reflections from Professor Paul Horwitz. [PrawfsBlawg]

* The Material Girl is going to trial — over the trademark to “Material Girl.” [Fashionista]

* It’s not just law schools that are getting sued for fraud; it’s happening to art schools too. [PetaPixel]

* Elsewhere in litigation land, Quinn Emanuel is making bank — by suing banks. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* What’s the deal with high-frequency trading algorithms? Fear not; the SEC is on the case. [Dealbreaker]

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