Intellectual Property

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]

Juliette Youngblood and Morgan Chu

Last month, Juliette Youngblood, an ex-partner at the elite California law firm of Irell & Manella, filed suit against her former firm. In her lawsuit for sex discrimination and wrongful termination, Youngblood advanced a whole host of salacious allegations — including a report of sexual harassment by Morgan Chu, arguably the nation’s #1 intellectual-property litigator.

Irell did not respond to the lawsuit at the time. Now it has, in a blistering 22-page filing that calls Youngblood’s claims “meritless” and “utterly false, complete fabrications manufactured out of whole cloth.”

What does the firm have to say about the specific claims made by Youngblood — such as the allegation that a drunken Morgan Chu made inappropriate and offensive comments to her at a firm happy hour, including remarks about her physical appearance and about “objects entering [Youngblood's] body”?

And what do ATL sources, including readers familiar with both Youngblood and Irell, think of the situation?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Youngblood v. Irell & Manella: The Law Firm Fights Back
Firm denies claims and moves for arbitration.

It doesn’t take much to get people riled up about peer-to-peer file sharing and everything that goes along with it. Who is the RIAA is suing or not suing? Which Oscar-winning director thinks illegal downloading is maybe kind of OK after all? The list goes on and on.

Often file-sharing doesn’t much concern us here at Above the Law, but sometimes the P2P attorneys themselves become important and/or easily despicable characters within the always-hot topic. A few months ago, I wrote about an attorney named John Steele. A court found his methods of going after P2P porn downloaders to be unsound.

Last week, two more British attorneys were fined almost £200,000 and suspended from practicing law for their unacceptable Internet pirate-baiting schemes.

Let’s see who these guys are and what they did….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Two British P2P Lawyers Suspended for Being Bloody Wankers”

* This whole debt crisis has been a little like Deal or No Deal, except that show had a much better host. Howie Mandel can get people to make a deal with the banker in under 60 minutes. Obama? Not so much. [POLITICO]

* Real life intellectual property matters be damned, because even virtual horses need to eat. If a PETA group doesn’t exist yet in Second Life, I have a feeling that one soon will. [Wall Street Journal]

* Reality shows rule, but I’m not sure if an execution can compete with Jersey Shore. The only thing I want to see die on TV is dignity, but our own David Lat has some other interesting ideas. [New York Times]

* New Mercer Law students are moving into the apartment complex where pieces of Lauren Giddings were found. Why would you sign a lease with a place that’s so stabby? [Macon Telegraph]

* B*tch has balls if she’s willing to go to war with Oprah over an acronym. Before you can OYP (Own Your Power), you might want to OYT (Own Your Trademark). [Daily Intel / New York Magazine]

A busy Biglaw bee.

If you’re bummed about having to shelve your plans for a nice tropical vacation this summer, you’re not alone. According to 43% of survey respondents, this summer is turning out to be busier than the rest of the year.

The top reasons cited for the increased billables are that partners are bringing in more business (63%) and the economy is improving (42%). Some of the other reasons, however, are not as upbeat: respondents report having to pick up the slack for other associates who left their firm voluntarily or involuntarily (28%), or who went on vacation (15%).

Another 30% of survey respondents say that this summer has been slower than other months (while the remaining 27% of respondents report that their workload is about the same as the rest of the year).

Why the work slowdown? Which firms and practice areas are turning up the heat this summer? An which ones are cooling things down?

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Morgan Chu

Legendary litigator Morgan Chu, former managing partner and current litigation chair at Irell & Manella, is one of the nation’s top intellectual-property attorneys and trial lawyers. He has tried multiple IP cases to nine-figure jury verdicts, and he has earned every professional accolade under the sun (see his Irell website bio). He is arguably the nation’s #1 IP litigator. (If you disagree, make your case for someone else in the comments.)

And now Morgan Chu is the subject of sexual-harassment allegations. In a lawsuit filed in California Superior Court on Friday, former Irell partner Juliette Youngblood alleges that Chu sexually harassed her, then retaliated against her after she rejected his advances.

Morgan Chu is widely admired — at Irell, where his rainmaking monsoon-making helps generate robust partner profits (over $2.9 million in PPP in 2010), as well as above-market associate bonuses; in IP litigation circles, where he is a fearsome adversary; and among Asian-American lawyers, where he stands as proof that we can excel at litigation as well as transactional work.

It’s hard to believe that such a beloved figure has been hit with such salacious allegations (which we must emphasize are mere allegations at this point, nothing more). But let’s forge ahead and check them out — along with the pertly pretty plaintiff who is making them….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawsuit of the Day: Youngblood v. Irell & Manella
Former partner alleges sexual harassment by Morgan Chu.

Rashard Mendenhall

* You’ve got to check out this lawsuit (in case you missed it earlier). An athlete says nonsensical tripe over Twitter, loses his endorsements, and then wants to sue. Yeah, Rashard Mendenhall has the right to say whatever he wants, and we have the right to spend a lifetime calling him an idiot. [Legal Blitz]

* I’m not sure that creating jobs for prison inmates is exactly what the voters in Wisconsin had in mind. [Adjunct Law Prof Blog]

* The Winklevoss twins really justify all the hate I’ve ever had for the trust fund, Final Club set at Harvard. [Dealbreaker]

* When law firms fight back (against News Corp.). [Am Law Daily]

* I’ve never read somebody waxing so poetically about the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. [What About Clients?]

* The state of intellectual property is… well, confusing. [Law &Technology / Forbes]

* I’m telling you, this is the most intelligent explanation of why Twitter is what it is. [An Associate's Mind]

Before I sat down to write this column, I thought I knew what trolls were. Answer: they are the men who I dated in law school. Apparently, that is only partially true. Trolls are also a potential revenue source for small firms.

The term “patent trolls” is a controversial term with multiple meanings. According to Wikipedia, the definition includes a party that does one or more of the following:

• Purchases a patent, often from a bankrupt firm, and then sues another company by claiming that one of its products infringes on the purchased patent;
• Enforces patents against purported infringers without itself intending to manufacture the patented product or supply the patented service;
• Enforces patents but has no manufacturing or research base;
• Focuses its efforts solely on enforcing patent rights; or
• Asserts patent infringement claims against non-copiers or against a large industry that is composed of non-copiers.

The controversy can be seen by comparing the views of those considered the trolls (the non-practicing entities with patent rights) to those who are sued by the trolls (often big companies). For instance, compare this to this. The former considers the notion of a patent troll to be a myth, while the latter describes patent trolls as “reprehensible.” For those of you looking for a side gig, you may consider talking to the silk-screeners of the Team Aniston and Team Jolie t-shirts during the Brangolina saga.

Regardless of where you fall on the Team Trolls versus Team Troll-Haters debate, a recent article suggests that patent trolls can mean big money for small firms….

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The normally tepid e-discovery world felt a little extra heat of competition yesterday. Recommind, one of the larger e-discovery vendors, announced Wednesday that it was issued a patent on predictive coding (which Gabe Acevedo, writing in these pages, named the Big Legal Technology Buzzword of 2011).

In a nutshell, predictive coding is a relatively new technology that allows large chunks of document review to be automated, a.k.a. done mostly by computers, with less need for human management.

Some of Recommind’s competitors were not happy about the news. See how they responded (grumpily), and check out what Recommind’s General Counsel had to say about what this means for everyone who uses e-discovery products….

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On Wednesday, white and nerdy musical genius Weird Al released “Perform This Way,” to his Twitter followers for free download, after Lady Gaga supposedly refused to approve it for inclusion on his upcoming album. The song parodies Gaga’s “Born This Way” and, while certainly no “Another One Rides The Bus” or “Rye or the Kaiser,” appropriately mocks the Gaga marketing machine with such gems as “got my straight jacket today / it’s made of gold lamé / no I’m not crazy, I perform this way.” The whole thing is kind of a meta-parody because “Born This Way” is really a low rent rip-off of Madonna’s “Express Yourself” and “Vogue.”

Here’s the background story:

Lady Gaga denied Weird Al the right to release his parody of BORN THIS WAY, only the second time in his career that he’s been denied. [Ed. note: The other refusal came from Prince.] But he recorded the track at her request as a part of the approval process… the first time any artist has made that request. She summarily passed without comment. So instead of selling a couple hundred thousand or a million copies… he gave PERFORM THIS WAY away for free to his 2 million followers on Twitter.

Really, Lady Gaga wants to throw down with Weird Al?

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