* David Letterman and CBS got smacked with the latest internship class action. To think, poor Paul Shaffer’s been working for free all those years. [Deadline]
* Class action could be on the horizon over high-frequency trading. [Wall Street Journal]
* Frankly, I don’t know what the problem is. [Washington Post]
* You may have been following the story of Justice Ginsburg’s officiating a wedding in New York this weekend. Well, if so, here’s the Times write-up. [New York Times]
* The federal courts are looking at tightening the word limits on appellate briefs. How do you feel about this move? I’m with the author that “The number of cases where attorneys think they need a word extension is greater than the number of cases that actually warrant one.” [New Mexico Appellate Law Blog]
* Scott Brown, formerly of both Massachusetts and the Senate, is threatening to sue Harvard’s Larry Lessig after Lessig labeled the Nixon Peabody “advisor on governmental affairs” a “lobbyist.” Lessig asks if the campaign preferred he write the more technical, “sold his influence to a DC lobbying firm.” Ha. [Time]
* Fordham professor Susan Scafidi, founder of the Fashion Law Institute and designer Narciso Rodriguez make the case for strong legal protection for fashion designs. [Room for Debate / New York Times]
* On Friday, Keith Lee wrote about a lawyer who billed a client for sanctions. We’ve written before about lawyers billing for the time spent boning their clients. A law professor who teaches professional responsibility asks: “Is billing for sanctions better or worse than billing for sex. I say sanctions. Can we have a survey on this?” Of course you can. Poll after the jump….
ESPN, your trusted source for manufactured controversy, chose to report on this actual controversy in the most opaque manner possible.
Apparently, Village Roadshow’s CEO still hasn’t gotten over the loss in the legal case.
Ed. note: Due to the Labor Day holiday, we’re on a reduced publication schedule today. We’ll be back to our normal Saturday schedule tomorrow. But you don’t care about that. More importantly we’ll be off on Labor Day and back to normal on Tuesday. A restful and happy Labor Day to all!
* Jesus, this Elle Woods fascination just won’t die. [Law School Lemmings]
* Lawyers seek to ruin something beautiful: ALS Association wants a trademark on the concept of an ice bucket challenge. [Washington Post]
* Ah, fun tales of the Streisand Effect. [Popehat]
* UC Davis Law saw increased applications. Dean Kevin Johnson says, “I do think the market is coming back. And I do think the naysayers of law schools and being a lawyer, their days are limited in number.” You’re the only school in California showing an increase and the country as a whole is down and you’re conveniently not charging any application fee, but yeah, our days are limited. [UC Davis Law]
* Lawyer who showed up to court going by the name “Lord Harley of Counsel” gets a tongue-lashing from the judge. [Legal Cheek]
* Ant-f**king. OK. [Legal Juice]
* This probably goes without saying, but don’t smuggle drugs into prison. This grandpa apparently failed that lesson. [Legal Juice]
* Town gets fed up and just sues every single citizen. [Lowering the Bar]
* A city lawyer heads out to the country to woo a pretty maid. At least this song gets it right and the lawyer fails. [Legal Cheek]
* Some thoughts on trademark law and post-parody fashion, from Professor Charles Colman. [U. Penn Law Review]
* Attorneys took different approaches to litigating slavery. Nothing really funny here, it’s just interesting. [The Faculty Lounge]
* James Sherwin of SOR Solicitors made this infographic about patents in Europe (and where Ireland fits in). In case you ever wanted to know if Europe’s intellectual property set up is as crazy as America’s. [SOR-Solicitors]
* A Maryland judge ordered a court officer to deliver an electrical shock to a defendant. What the hell? [Baltimore Post-Examiner]
* Be less of a lawyer. [Medium]
* New York agrees to pay out $10 million to wrongfully convicted man. He may be gone, but former D.A. Charles Hynes is still costing the city money. [New York Times]
* Sentence requiring former Supreme Court justice to write apology letters to every judge in the state on a picture of her in handcuffs struck down as “unorthodox gimmick.” Now she has to write the letters on regular paper because apparently the apology letter part was an “orthodox gimmick.” [Penn Live]
* The public domain is awesome. [Clickhole]
* Lawyer accused of asking office manager if she wanted a “Dirty Sanchez.” Does anybody ever answer yes to that question? [Barstool Sports]
Sometimes you pick on the wrong people.
* Anna Nicole Smith’s estate finally loses its effort to secure a piece of her late husband’s estate. This whole thing was like Bleak House with boobs. [Jezebel]
* Supreme Court halts same-sex marriage in Virginia. So there you go. [ABC News]
* Our old friend the Affluenza kid is back in the news, but this time he’s only a footnote to the story. His father, the one who spoiled him so badly he couldn’t help himself but kill a bunch of people, has been arrested for impersonating a cop. Maybe affluenza is contagious.
* The preliminary draft of the proposed amendments to the Federal Rules of Appellate, Bankruptcy, Civil, and Criminal Procedure are available for public comment! So what are you still doing here? [U.S. Courts]
* Lawyer posts a bounty available to anyone who can help him collect on the multi-million dollar judgments he’s secured against a pilfering billionaire. “I’ve spent enough money getting judgments.” Enter Dog the Judgement Bounty Hunter. Go with Christ, Brah.[Forbes]
* Adam Carolla has settled with the patent troll who was suing him claiming they invented the podcast. Details weren’t disclosed, but since Carolla had previously said he wouldn’t settle for any amount of money, I wonder how they sweetened the pot. [USAToday]
* Suspended Notre Dame athletes reportedly considering a lawsuit against journalists who named them as suspects in a cheating scandal. Even though the school itself named them. If the classes they supposedly took were “Pre-Law” or “Basics of Defamation,” then I think the NCAA has a slam dunk case. [FoxSports]
* The extracurriculars that help you get into law school. Debate’s still on there even if the description — at least of the form of debate most Americans practice — sounds more like what a high school drama thinks of debate instead of reality. Less extemporaneous speaking and more “massive, in-depth research and a developing a mastery of electronic research databases.” [InGenius Prep]
* The lingering lawsuit over one of the most devastating hockey hits in recent memory has finally settled. The parties agreed to 5 minutes for fighting and a game misconduct. [ESPN]
* A murder suspect grabbed his phone and asked Siri to help him dispose of a dead body. I’ll bet Siri gave him s**tty directions on doing that, too. [USA Today]
* Criminal defeated by the same dastardly device that plagued a famous Far Side cartoon. [Lowering the Bar]
* Congratulations to Brooklyn Law School’s BLIP clinic for successfully fighting off a patent troll. How’s that for practical law school experience! [Medium]
* “As long as there is demonstrated interest and commitment by sufficiently financed local owners and a dedicated, passionate local fan base, leagues prefer not to move teams.” So says Buffalo Law professor Nellie Drew. Shhh. Don’t tell her about where the Baltimore Ravens came from, it would break her heart. [University of Buffalo]
* We get more worked up about law students charged with crimes. Like murder and arson. I mean, obviously Above the Law does because that’s part of our beat, but I mean “we” as in everybody. Why is that? [Law and More]
* Avvo just released a new iPhone app for lawyers. Among the new features is an opportunity to be alerted as soon as a question in your practice area is asked. [Avvo]
* Ha. This cartoon. [Twitter]
* After a two-year absence, we welcome VC Deal Lawyer back to blogging! [VC Deal Lawyer]
* It’s not that Justice Kennedy cares more about gay rights than women’s rights, it’s that Justice Kennedy understands gay rights better than women’s rights. That’s a much less charitable but shorter read of this insightful piece by a former Kennedy clerk. [Dorf on Law]
* The judge caught making racist and sexist remarks about Charlize Theron’s adoption has been banned from the bench. He wants to be judged on more than this incident. To quote Dr. Hibbert: “And hillbillies want to be called ‘Sons of the Soil’, but it ain’t gonna happen.” [Associated Press via Yahoo! News]
* Adam Carolla is keeping his fight against patent trolls alive. Ziggy socky ziggy socky hoy hoy hoy! [Mashable]
* Yesterday, the man who shot young Renisha McBride for knocking on his door was convicted of second-degree murder. Sadly, it was just one more in a string of cases where some idiot bought into the rhetoric of shooting first and asking questions later that gun lobbyists have pushed for years. [New York Times]
* Here’s something, a former law firm CIO wrote a novella called I Spy, You Spy, We All Spy (affiliate link) based on the allegedly true events of the “law firm spying on its own lawyers, employees and some of its employees’ family members.” Delightful. [Amazon]
* “Why Young Lawyers Shouldn’t Hate Hate Hate Baby Boomers Holding On to Jobs.” OK, I’ll go back to hating them for being the self-absorbed Me Generation that made Gordon Gekko a role model. [Law and More]
* At oral argument in the marriage equality cases, the lawyers and the Sixth Circuit exhibited… a lot of misconceptions. [Constitutional Accountability Center]
* The battle over the EPA’s Carbon rules isn’t over yet. Gear up for a Supreme Court trip. [Breaking Energy]
* Do you need to know how to pronounce the SCOTUS case of Volkswagenwerk Aktiengesellschaft v. Schlunk? There’s an app for that. [Law Technology News]
* Donald Trump is suing to get his name removed from the Trump Plaza and Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City because his reputation is tarnished by tacky façades dedicated to giving off the mere illusion of success. [Bloomberg Businessweek]
* Beset by corruption allegations, Governor Cuomo is using funds out of his campaign war chest to fund his defense rather than squandering taxpayer dollars. Ball’s in your court neighboring state governor. [North County Public Radio]
* Beau Brindley, a benchslap legend, is now the subject of his very own federal criminal probe after allegedly encouraging a client to lie under oath. A tipster told us last year “this won’t be the last you hear of [Brindley].” How prophetic. [Chicago Sun-Times]
* The woman given a forced blow job simulation for the glory of a 7-inch Burger King burger is speaking out. [Copyranter]
* The Women’s World Cup is scheduled for next year in Canada, but a number of high-profile players are threatening — with the help of Boies, Schiller & Flexner and Canadian firm Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt — to sue FIFA for discrimination over its plan to subject the women’s tournament to artificial turf. Are you suggesting FIFA is a disastrously flawed organization? Get out. [Fox Sports]
* Guess what? Your insurance company isn’t made up of the worst people on the planet. Unless you use this insurance company. Because then, maybe it is. [Gawker]
* A Harvard Law grad wanted to install an intercom so he invented a system known as “Nucleus” that does the job for less than $200. [Technical.ly Philly]
* If you’re interested in the fun and exciting world of startups, head on out to Legal Tech SF’s Startup Weekend. It’s August 15-17 at Airbnb headquarters. I assume after August 17 the location reverts to the headquarters of some other company. [Legal Tech SF]
Who owns a picture taken by a monkey?
Ain’t life grand as a federal employee?
Past Disparagement Results in Present Cancellation: REDSKINS Marks Cancelled by TTAB
The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) cancelled six registrations for marks consisting in whole or in part of the term REDSKINS for use in connection with a professional football team, because the marks were found to be disparaging to Native Americans at the time they were registered (between 1967 and 1990).
The Board found that when used in connection with football services, REDSKINS retains the meaning of “Native American.” Videos of football games, newspapers, and press guides created between 1967 and 1990 established that the respondent “made continuous efforts to associate its football services with Native American imagery.”
Supreme Court Sets New Indefiniteness Standard
In Nautilus, Inc. v. Biosig Instruments, Inc., Appeal No. 13-169, the Supreme Court vacated and remanded Federal Circuit’s reversal of summary judgment because the Federal Circuit’s definiteness standard was too lenient.
Biosig filed a patent infringement suit claiming Nautilus’ exercise machines infringed its patent. Biosig’s patent claims a heart rate monitor that includes a “live” electrode and “common” electrode “mounted . . . in spaced relationship with each other.” The district court granted Nautilus’ motion for summary judgment on the basis the claim term “in spaced relationship with each other” failed the definiteness requirement of 35 U.S.C. § 112, second paragraph. The Federal Circuit reversed and remanded, finding a patent claim meets the definiteness threshold so long as the claim is “amenable to construction” and the claim is not “insolubly ambiguous.”
The Supreme Court held the Federal Circuit’s test does not satisfy the statute’s definiteness requirement and can leave courts without a reliable compass. The Court held a patent is invalid for indefiniteness if its claims, read in light of the specification and the prosecution history, fail to inform, with reasonable certainty, those skilled in the art about the scope of the invention. The Court emphasized this standard not only takes into account the inherent limitations of language, but also requires a patent must be precise enough to afford clear notice of what is claimed. The Court vacated and remanded to the Federal Circuit for reconsideration under the proper standard.
A few weeks back, Steve discussed Apple’s recent applications to register a trio of non-verbal trademarks.
This post contains the USPTO’s ultimate decision regarding the registrability of the design and layout of various application icons as part of a computer operating system, using rectangular geometric figures in rows. However, it isn’t a spoiler for Apple’s applications referenced above (those applications have yet to be assigned to an examining attorney).
No, instead, I’m referring to a since-abandoned application that provides some interesting contrast with Apple’s applications. In 2012, Microsoft filed an intent-to-use application for the mark shown below: