Intellectual Property

Mahbod Moghadam, formerly of Rap Genius

* Supreme Court justices are “basically rewriting the law,” sometimes years after the fact. As it turns out they’ve been quietly “changing the wording of opinions” — sometimes, even our legal idols make mistakes. [New York Times]

* Many law school deans at leading law schools are pretty pissed off about Justice Antonin Scalia’s latest criticisms of the legal academy. Please, continue taking “Law and Unicorns.” It’s a real class, we promise! [National Law Journal]

* Judge Randall Rader, who recently resigned as the Federal Circuit’s chief judge, released a memo to his colleagues apologizing for his scandalous recusals in a pair of patent cases. Poor guy. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Peter Alexander, Indiana Tech Law’s dean, has resigned less than a year after opening the school’s doors. The school’s interim dean doesn’t use capital letters in his name. That’s cute. [Journal Gazette]

* Très, très déclassé: Mahbod Moghadam, formerly of Dewey & LeBoeuf, was fired from Rap Genius after he inappropriately annotated suspected Santa Barbara shooter Elliot Rodgers’s manifesto. [Re/code]

It’s great to be an in-house lawyer these days. The jobs enjoy greater prestige than they did in the past. Depending on which company you work for, the compensation can outstrip Biglaw, big time.

And let’s not forget: the work can be very, very interesting. For example, imagine being the general counsel or another in-house lawyer at Apple — a company involved in two of the most high-profile litigation battles currently raging….

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In case you’re not an intellectual property practitioner, there exists a mythical creature known as a patent troll who resides in the underbelly of the world of legality. Patent trolls are evil beings whose sole purpose in life is to extort money from their victims for no legitimate purpose. These patent holders don’t use their patents to make anything themselves; instead, they assert patent infringement claims against entities that are productive, and often walk away with wads of cash in hand. They frustrate big and small companies alike, and their nefarious deeds can lead to hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees over the course of a patent’s lifetime.

Typically those in charge at companies facing a patent shakedown are quick to pass the claims off to their legal teams, but sometimes, enough is enough. Sometimes, a “less than cordial” response is required when one is faced with a patent troll’s irritating threats. Sometimes patent trolls need to be trolled.

Keep reading for an example of a great response to a patent troll….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “‘Dear Piece Of Sh*t': A Great Response To A Patent Troll”

En garde, esquires of the Biglaw realm!

* Partners from Patton Boggs and Squire Sanders may vote on their merger sometime this week. Get ready to say hello to Squire Patton, House of Boggs, Hodorific of Its Name. [Reuters]

* “[E]xcuse me, sir, you may not be here in five years.” Biglaw firms are becoming more “egalitarian” about office space because attorneys have expiration dates. [National Law Journal]

* After a flat year in 2013, and much to Biglaw’s chagrin, “[i]t is going to be harder to sustain year-over-year profitability gains.” Oh joy, time to power up the layoff machine. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

* Tech giants Apple and Google have called a ceasefire in their dueling patent suits in a quest to reform patent law — and so Apple can concentrate all of its efforts on suing the sh*t out of Samsung. [Bloomberg]

* GM’s in-house legal department is being heavily scrutinized in the wake of the car maker’s ignition switch lawsuit extravaganza. You see, friends, people die when lawyers don’t even bother to lie. [New York Times]

* Donald Sterling found a lawyer willing to represent him, an antitrust maven who thinks the NBA should take its ball and go home because “no punishment was warranted” in his client’s case. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Wal-Mart adds lawyer offices. No, this article isn’t about Infilaw. [ABA Journal]

* Now we are! The faculty of Charleston Law is pleading with anyone who will listen to stop Infilaw. [Pro Bono Populi (Charleston School of Law Alumni Association)]

* Has the college applications process become a monopoly? There’s an antitrust lawsuit contending it is. Maybe somebody will make the same sort of claim about the law school applications process with all its major security concerns. [Reuters]

* The latest traffic stats for blogs edited by law professors. It’s good to see Brian Leiter wasn’t just wrong about being more popular than ATL — he was really, really wrong. [TaxProf Blog]

* Goldieblox paid the Beastie Boys (or technically charity) $1 million over using their song for 10 days in an effort to promote smart toys for girls. Good job bringing the lyrics to life, Boys! [Hypebot]

* Speaking of intellectual property suits, the University of Alabama sued a company for using a houndstooth pattern because Bear Bryant used to wear hats with a houndstooth pattern that some other company developed. They’ve settled. [SF Gate]

* Judge Claudia Wilken has denied the NCAA’s latest effort to delay the Ed O’Bannon trial. At least the NCAA is nearing a settlement on a concussion suit. I wonder if that’ll end up favoring the players? [Associated Press]

* Litigation financing meets intra-disciplinary disputes as philosophy professors chip in to help a student sue a Yale philosophy professor for sexual harassment. [Chronicle of Higher Education]

* Porsche sued for building cars that are too fast and too furious. [ABC News]

This is the delicate dance done between American cities and the NFL. The American city will bow, the NFL will embrace. They glide across the dancefloor of time and space, dipping and twirling, bumping and grinding. The city and the NFL become one as the dance reaches its climactic stage, the NFL gently caressing the city, like a mother might a child. As the music of the universe crescendos, the NFL will whisper gently into the willing city’s ear.

GIVE ME ALL YOUR F*$&ING MONEY, YOU DIRTY PIECE PIECE OF S&!*

The stadium is built and the dance is complete.

In upstate New York, this thrusting, rapey foxtrot is just getting started. Governor Cuomo, the Bills, Roger Goodell, they’ve all been invited. And so has a lawyer… natch.

Because the Bills need a new stadium and because they need a new owner. Because the state of New York drafted an attorney with tremendous upside potential.

Because all of this, let’s talk sports…

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* When it comes to billing rates, starting at the junior level, female law firm partners are still lagging behind their male counterparts by an average of 10 percent less. Boo. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

* Just in time for the graduation of one of the largest law school classes in history, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says the legal sector is shedding jobs. That sucks. Sorry Class of 2014. [Am Law Daily]

* Law school deans are dropping like flies. Since last week, at least three have announced their intention to leave their positions. We know of one more that we may discuss later. [National Law Journal]

* If you want to work as an attorney, your odds are better if you go to a Top 50 law school. Seventy-five percent of Top 50 grads are working as lawyers, compared to 50% of all others. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* The verdict is in on the latest Apple v. Samsung patent case, and Apple is probably pretty miffed it was awarded only $120M this time, since lawyers for the company requested billions in damages. [Reuters]

* Laura LaPlante, a 3L who was set to graduate from U. Chicago Law on June 16, RIP. [Chicago Tribune]

* Are you a judge or former judge interested in being on television? All you have to do is move into some quasi-Survivor commune. Who would be the best jurist to send out there? I’d say Thomas so he can just stare at everyone silently and offer no assistance. [LawSites Blog]

* Law students fight to get an immigrant lawyer admitted to the bar over 100 years later. Just what California needs. Another lawyer. [UC Davis News & Information]

* Speaking of California needing more lawyers, California law schools are reaching out to community colleges to find students who saved on their undergraduate education and might be willing to start taking on some serious debt. [SF Gate]

* The State of Texas has intervened in a legal brawl between two breweries over the use of the Alamo. One more liberal government trying to take over the free market. [Brewery Law Blog]

* Professor John Banzhaf has an interesting suggestion regarding the death penalty: why are we still using injections anyway? [PR Log]

* Most people shouldn’t sue just because they can: a commentary on Alex Rich’s recent piece. [Law and More]

* More feedback on the ATL Top 50. [Most Strongly Supported]

* “Tacoma needs a law school like I need a hole in the head.” Exactly. [Post Defiance]

* The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education took a big step toward invalidating their own name by approving the sale of Charleston to Infilaw. By the way for comedy’s sake, attached below is a screenshot of the Google News alert I got on this story…. [The State]

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The ice cream season is finally here! Can’t you tell from the 50 degree weather and driving rain? Well, technically ice cream season is here and that means the streets will be filled with ice cream trucks peddling their tasty wares and blaring “Pop Goes the Weasel” or some such.

If you’re one of the lucky ones living in a city serviced by the venerable Mister Softee, you’ll get their original song drilled into your head. You can listen to it on a loop here if you’re working at a CIA black site and looking for some new jams to play for your guests. Did you know it had lyrics? Apparently it does. Who knew?

When you’re the preeminent “soft-serve out of a truck” vendor, people come gunning for you. Usually by looking ever so suspiciously exactly like you.

You actually will not believe the name of the company Mister Softee is suing….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For Trademark Infringement”

The experience of leaving a Biglaw partnership to start a boutique law firm did not allow me to stop thinking about Biglaw. If anything, I think about Biglaw now more than ever. Because the very nesting grounds that I flew away from, IP litigation departments at national and international law firms, are some of my upstart boutique’s biggest competition for new business. And considering our experience with the first five or so cases that our firm has brought, our adversaries as well. Of course, I continue to work with Biglaw firms as co-counsel on some cases as well.

So I think about Biglaw. How it works, and most often how it fights patent cases. For over a decade I was a Biglaw-branded pugilist, and now that I am on the other side of the ring, I am forced to respect but try and beat the Mike Tyson’s Punchout-worthy cast of characters that Biglaw rolls out on behalf of its clients. There are not many Glass Joe’s in the bunch. Which makes it fun.

I would not have left unless I thought that my partners and I would be competitive — both with Biglaw and with the many quality IP boutiques that have come before us and continue to thrive. But as I think back on how IP litigation practice has changed just in the short amount of time that I have been practicing, I take comfort in the fact that the playing field between Biglaw and boutiques has been leveled across a number of fronts. Two areas in particular deserve focus….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Beyond Biglaw: Biglaw’s Eroding Edge (Part 1)”

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