We’ve seen this many times before, how patents can hold back very useful developments. Notice how 3D printing is suddenly a big thing? It’s not because of any new miraculous breakthroughs, but because some key patents finally started expiring, allowing real innovation to move forward. We saw something similar in the field of infrared grills, which were put on the… uh… back burner (sorry) until key patents expired. Derek now points us to a similar example.
- 10th Circuit, Baseball, Biglaw, Crime, Gay Marriage, Morning Docket, Patents, Plaintiffs Firms, Tax Law, Technology, Utah
* In case you missed this piece of news amid yesterday’s Supreme Court madness, the Tenth Circuit found Utah’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. It’s the first federal appeals court to make such a ruling. Hooray! [New York Times]
* “Just about everyone he came in contact with, he managed to corrupt.” Paul Daugerdas, formerly of Jenkins & Gilchrist, was sentenced to 15 years for his role in an $8B fraud scheme. [Businessweek]
* Despite what you may have been led to believe, not all patent awards are as high as those you see in media headlines. Fewer than 2% of infringement cases even result in damages. [National Law Journal]
* When is it okay to turn down a Biglaw offer and head to a plaintiffs firm? Probably when you’re planning to file a massive class-action suit against the MLB on behalf of minor leaguers. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
* William Mitchell Law’s new J.D. program is the first of its kind to be approved by the ABA. It’s half online, half on-site (does 9 times count as half?), and we see more like this coming down the line. [U.S. News]
- Biglaw, Crime, English Grammar and Usage, Fast Food, Federal Judges, Morning Docket, Patents, SCOTUS, Screw-Ups, State Judges, State Judges Are Clowns, Supreme Court
* With OT 2013 drawing to a close, here’s a nifty chart that shows which Supreme Court justices vote together most and least often. The division is real, people. [The Upshot / New York Times]
* “Not only do they have unique interpretations of the Constitution but they can’t even agree on how to pronounce words.” Listen to our SCOTUS justices flub the word “certiorari.” [Legal Times]
* Quinn Emanuel and Samsung must now pay more than $2M in sanctions to Nokia and Apple after leaking confidential, “attorneys’ eyes only” information in a discovery blunder. Oopsie! [Legal Week]
* “Why can’t you get a real job?” This judge — the same one who sentenced a rapist to just 30 days in prison — told a fast-food worker to get a better job to pay off his restitution more quickly. [Billings Gazette]
* If you think you’ve seen the best of the “Law and ______” classes, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Say hello to some newcomers, like Video Game Law and Law of Robots. Justice Scalia is pissed. [WSJ Law Blog]
No one expects Biglaw to have the greatest sense of humor. Make no mistake, individual Biglaw partners can be hilarious. We actually talk to them all the time here. But when you get a big entity, the funny gets lost. See Apple or Saturday Night Live. Add in the fact that Biglaw doesn’t even have to pretend to pitch to the masses, and the tiny fragment of a fun-loving personality that mass advertising requires is lost.
So it should come as entirely zero surprise that a Biglaw firm has thrown a petulant fit over a parody website mocking it for behavior that even a federal judge has called into question….
‘The Court concludes that the [Board’s] finding that the marks at issue ‘may disparage’ Native Americans is unsupported by substantial evidence, is logically flawed, and fails to apply the correct legal standard to its own findings of fact.’ Those aren’t my words. That was the court’s conclusion. We are confident that when a district court reviews today’s split decision, it will reach a similar conclusion.
–Bob Raskopf of Quinn Emanuel, trademark counsel for the Washington pro football club, discussing yesterday’s ruling invalidating the club’s federal intellectual property rights in the name ‘Redskins.’ Yes, maybe there’s a judge who still thinks Native Americans only “may” find the term offensive, even though it’s labeled “offensive” in the DICTIONARY. Raskopf is betting that a judge will hear argument on the USPTO’s detailed, 177-page opinion and find it as lacking in evidence as Judge Kollar-Kotelly did in 2003 (except the D.C. Circuit specifically limited that decision to the issue of laches).
It’s a more interesting bet than whether they’ll win the division.
- American Bar Association / ABA, Biglaw, Crime, Intellectual Property, Law Schools, Morning Docket, Native Americans, Paralegals, Rankings, Sports, Trademarks, Vault rankings
* The latest Vault 100 rankings are out, and it’s time to find out which Biglaw firm is the most prestigious in all the land. Is it Wachtell? Is it Cravath? We’ll have the answer for you, and much more analysis, later today. [Vault]
* A former office manager at Vedder Price has been accused in a $7M embezzlement scandal. She allegedly used the money to buy “lavish homes, numerous vacations” — it’s as if she were trying to live like a partner. [ABA Journal]
* Since the Redskins’ trademark was canceled by the Patent and Trademark Office, sports fans are wondering whose offensive team name is next. The Cleveland Indians might get scalped. [WSJ Law Blog]
* According to ALM Legal Intelligence, paralegal pay is on the rise, and it’s almost $80/hr in top roles. Why should new attorneys care about this? Because they’ll probably have to work as paralegals. [ALM]
* Double the deanships, double the fun: Penn State Law’s campuses have been approved by the ABA to become separately accredited locations. We’ll take bets on which one closes first. [StateCollege.com]
Holy crap, it worked. Not the ads or the begging or a pointless debate with an implacable owner, but simply going through the legal system actually worked. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office cancelled six federal trademark registrations for the Washington Redskins. The office held that the marks could not be protected because they are “disparaging to Native Americans.”
You see, not everything in this world is subject to the whim of a rich white man who doesn’t care about the people he’s offending. We are a nation of laws, and sometimes those laws even win!
* Law school kills brain cells. [TaxProf Blog]
* Dean Stephen C. Ferruolo takes on Justice Scalia’s recent critique of legal education. Oh, it’s on now. [Los Angeles Daily Journal]
* Newsmax has a new cable network and it’s bringing on Professor Alan Dershowitz to offer “practical legal advice to ordinary Americans.” Hopefully he’ll be able to walk us through the legal points of Newsmax’s usual coverage of how the Black Panthers ordered Hillary to let Benghazi happen. [Digital Journal]
* PRIDE cometh before the court. [Likelihood of Confusion]
* Lip-sync battle starring 3L Ty Wood and Professors George Bach, Alex Ritchie, and Kevin Tu. Complete with cheesy effects! [UNM School of Law]
* The intellectual property history of dog leashes. How long is a patent in dog years? [Slate]
* 10 real-life laws that regulate the supernatural world. [io9]
* There’s a new bill of rights in this country and it comes from the IRS. The right to basically avoid taxes is only on the form for rich people. [TaxProf Blog]
* After receiving an award, a young lawyer blasts legal aid cuts. [Legal Cheek]
* The Daily Show examines the ongoing effort to unionize college football with commentary by Dee Dee Benkie. She’s wrong of course — college football unions would work like professional sports unions representing players who face exactly the same workplace hazards, instead of stereotypical longshoremen — but it’s good to see even an anti-union advocate agreeing that players deserve something more than what they currently get. Video below…. [The Daily Show]
- Biglaw, Boutique Law Firms, Intellectual Property, Partner Issues, Patents, Small Law Firms, Solo Practitioners, Technology
Since Lat tweeted this past weekend about my UpCounsel profile, I thought I would share some thoughts about my experience with the service to date. First off, compared to leaving a Biglaw partnership to open a new firm, trying out a new legal platform was easy. I first heard about UpCounsel from a former in-house client who had struck out on his own. He happens to now be back in-house, but at the time we discussed UpCounsel, he was very enthusiastic about his experience using the site. Since I happen to like trying out new things, signing up once I left Biglaw was an easy decision.
Notice how I did not join UpCounsel while a Biglaw partner. Such things are simply not done. For all of Biglaw’s talk about encouraging partners to be “entrepreneurial” or to “try new marketing ideas,” there is a lot of resistance to using “new ways” to reach potential new clients. Couple that inertia with a general distaste towards marketing individual lawyers at the expense of “firm branding” (aside from a select group of key current rainmakers), and platforms like UpCounsel face a Tough Mudder-level set of obstacles to overcome if they want to break into the Biglaw firm marketing rotation. But I don’t think UpCounsel and their “evolution of legal services”-oriented kin want to….