Intellectual Property

Under normal circumstances, Lady Gaga can do no wrong in my eyes. After all, she’s done a lot for me. When I was sad, she advised me to just dance, because it would be okay. When I was drunk, she reminded me that I can’t text with a drink in my hand. When I was in court, she made sure I didn’t let anyone read my poker face.

Today, however, Lady Gaga has let me down. Today, Lady Gaga is disobeying her own mantra, because instead of being a queen, she’s just being a drag. Today, my friends, Lady Gaga has threatened to sue a company that sells human breast milk ice cream.

Why does she want to sue, you ask?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lady Gaga, There’s No Use Crying Over Spilled Breast Milk
(Or: Another intellectual-property hypothetical.)

In our most recent practice area survey of the Above the Law readership, the most popular single response was “Intellectual Property.” Eighteen percent of survey respondents identified themselves as IP attorneys.

So many of you might be interested in the latest controversy to heat up the small-firm blogosphere. If you’re an IP lawyer, if you work at a small law firm, or if you’re a law student who enjoys intellectual-property hypotheticals, keep reading….

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* Awesome diary of a rich wife trying to cut back on expenses. [Going Concern]

* Justice Elena Kagan — who currently lives in D.C., and apparently plans to stay there — was called for jury duty by the District. She wasn’t seated, since we don’t let supremely qualified people sit on juries. [ABC News]

* Bros at George Washington have been charged with being bros. Given what I think about bullying, you can imagine how little tolerance I have for anti-hazing laws. [Jezebel]

* Real prison time for a virtual bully. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Elective leg amputation? Somebody’s been watching too much House. [New York Personal Injury Law Blog]

* Is patent law so easy a caveman could do it? Probably not — but a 15-year-old has a shot. [Kansas City Star]

* In the new economy, new strategies are necessary in hiring law firms. A new paradigm is upon us and we must think outside the box. Synergy, people. Consultants are here to help. [New York Times]

* David J. Stern, Florida’s Foreclosure King, is the gift that keeps on giving. Like syphilis. [Palm Beach Post]

* On Tuesday, Paul Allen revised his patent suit against… well, pretty much the internets. Gotta pay the troll toll. [Reuters]

* U.S. prosecutors arrested a California woman yesterday on insider trading charges. Immediately after the charges were filed, Michael Douglas’s ex-wife sued the woman for royalties. [CNET]

* A Los Angeles law firm, Glancy Binkow & Goldberg, is being sued for maintaining a hostile work environment and being generally pervy. The article raises several important questions. None more important than this: What the hell is a bikini bar? [Los Angeles Times]

* A primer on Bill Richardson’s possible pardon of Billy the Kid. Emilio Estevez hasn’t been this stoked since the Men at Work premiere party. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Vernon, a small town in California, has hired Latham & Watkins in an effort to save its status as a city. Pretty fascinating read. [Los Angeles Times]

* A former Israeli President, Moshe Katsav, was convicted of rape. [Bloomberg]

* And finally, what about Brett Farv…ra? Out $50,000. And he may face future litigation over those harmless Croc shots. [New York Daily News]

Ed. note: Have a question for next week? Send it in to advice@abovethelaw.com

Dear Above the Law,

I’m a jobless 3L with waning hope (shocking). I want to practice patent law in some capacity, but I majored in mathematics and only gained patent bar eligibility through an 8 hour engineering exam last April. Apparently I’m not a hedonist these days. Anyway, by the time I got my passing results on the FE (Fundamentals of Engineering exam), the summer Chicago Patent Firm Festival application deadline had lapsed.

I’m now considering going back to school to get a master’s degree in mechanical engineering. Do you think it would injure my (non-existent) law career to take a couple years away from the law in order to educate myself further in eventual pursuit of patent aspirations?? (And to give myself a back up career, let’s be serious).

— Patently Nerdy

Dear Patently Nerdy,

I stared at the sentence “Apparently I’m not a hedonist these days,” wondering what that meant and if it was final confirmation that I had lost cognitive abilities after the concussion, but I concluded that that sentence makes no sense and that you were trying to say “I’m a glutton for punishment.”

Let’s move on, quickly…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Pls Hndle Thx: Getting Schooled”

After a 16-year-long fight, Valentino has prevailed in litigation with Florence Fashions over the use of the Valentino trademark. Read an interesting interview with Valentino’s lawyer, Anne Sterba, and comment — over at our sister site, Fashionista.

Valentino Wins 16-Year Trademark Case; Valentino’s Lawyer Explains the Ruling [Fashionista]

Today was the last day of the Supreme Court term (and also the last day on the Court for Justice John Paul Stevens). The SCOTUS handed down four blockbuster opinions — on the same day that the confirmation hearings of Elena Kagan are starting. Coincidence?

In alphabetical order, the four cases are (click on each case name to access the ScotusWiki page):

  • Bilski v. Kappos (patent law): “Whether a ‘process’ must be tied to a particular machine or apparatus, or transform a particular article into a different state or thing (‘machine-or-transformation’ test), to be eligible for patenting….”

  • Christian Legal Society v. Martinez (First Amendment right of association): “Whether a public university law school may deny school funding and other benefits to a religious student organization because the group requires its officers and voting members to agree with its core religious viewpoints.”
  • Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (separation of powers): “Whether the Sarbanes-Oxley Act is consistent with separation-of-powers principles — as the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board is overseen by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is in turn overseen by the President — or contrary to the Appointments Clause of the Constitution, as the PCAOB members are appointed by the SEC.”
  • McDonald v. City of Chicago (guns / Second Amendment incorporation): the applicability of the Second Amendment to state and local governments.

How were these cases resolved? Find out, after the jump.

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As some readers know, I’ve had a dispute with the paper of record before. But this time, the Grey Lady has gone after a different Kashmir: the restaurant formerly known as the Kashmir buffet. According to Midtown Lunch, the eatery across from the NYT headquarters recently changed its name to the “Times Restaurant”:

Perhaps because journalists are trained to notice details, the NYT company took note of the familiar font in the restaurant’s sign. The NYT’s lawyers sent a message to the buffet and it wasn’t about their tasty samosas…

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