Patents

A time-sensitive matter comes in. An experienced hand is needed to help. Where to look for that help? In Biglaw, the answer is usually an easy one: call up Partner No. 37 in distinguished branch office No. 6, and keep the billable hours rolling — with a happy nod towards a successful “cross-sell,” and instant validation of the underlying “size is good” concept behind so many of today’s firms. But is Partner No. 37 really the best lawyer to help out? Hard to believe that the answer is “yes” more often than not. Because Biglaw firms are constructed the way they are, however, there is a premium on making sure that existing firm resources are utilized as much as possible.

At the same time, we know the legal industry is struggling to cope with demand fluctuations, or all too often a lack of demand for expensive legal services. In the current environment, it is not a surprise to see Biglaw firms contorting themselves to reach optimal size, whether through mergers, layoffs, or lateral growth. Despite their efforts, there are very few firms that are optimally size-calibrated in relation to the demand for their services. For those firms fortunate enough to experience the occasional demand spike, retaining the ability to be nimble on staffing can mean the difference between a satisfied client or one who looks elsewhere “next time there is a big need.” Firms want repeat business, and being able to incorporate experienced additional lawyers — within the budget for a particular matter — onto the legal team can make a real difference in whether or not that repeat business happens.

But where else can firms (of all sizes) go for experienced help on short notice?

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* Justice Sotomayor would like to remind you that just because you’ve been to one Indian casino, that doesn’t mean all Native Americans are fantastically wealthy. [KGOU]

* Nor is every Native American cured by this news, but this is certainly a start — the Department of the Interior will sign a $554 million settlement in the breach of trust case brought by the Navajo nation. [Buckley Sandler LLP]

* A Peruvian woman has sued Disney for $250 million because she alleges that Frozen is a rip-off of her life story. Because she has magic ice powers? I guess. Actually, it looks like the only connection is that she lived in a cold place and had a sister. This reminds me of my lawsuit against Chuck Palahniuk for basing Fight Club on my life story. Not that I ran anarchic underground fight clubs, but because one-time at camp I made a bar of soap. [Bustle]

* Law professor goes after revenge porn and patent trolls because he’s trying to win the title of best person ever. [Brooklyn Paper]

* Harold Hamm, Continental Resources’ Chairman and CEO — and former energy adviser to Mitt Romney — is staring down the barrel of a massive divorce settlement. So he takes a page from Romney’s adversary. Hamm is arguing that his fortune… he didn’t build that! He was just the beneficiary of a good market rather than a contributing factor so he doesn’t have to share. [Upstream Online]

* The CAC launches a new series on the Roberts Court at 10. It’s hard to believe how long ago that was. When the Chief Justice took over we still thought the ending of Lost was going to make sense! [Constitutional Accountability Center]

* Winston & Strawn lawyer turned famous LEGO artist Nathan Sawaya opened a new show in London. Sculptures made of thousands and thousands of hand-assembled bricks. Just in case you were wondering if there was a task more boring than document review. [Yahoo! Canada News]

* Paul Clement and Mike Carvin offer a SCOTUS preview. [Heritage Foundation]

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Want your name on a law school? Just pony up $50 million.

* Voters in Scotland just said no to independence from the United Kingdom (although it might not have been a big deal for the legal profession if the vote had gone the other way). [New York Times]

* Congratulations to Drexel Law on a whopping $50 million gift — and its new name, the Thomas R. Kline School of Law. [Philadelphia Inquirer via WSJ Law Blog]

* The latest chapter in the “cautionary tale” of David Lola: dismissal of the contract attorney’s lawsuit against Skadden and Tower Legal. [American Lawyer]

* An office renovation for Baker Botts in Houston strips junior associates of window offices. [ABA Journal]

* How could Watson transform the practice of patent law? [Corporate Counsel]

* Are we seeing a reversal in the trend of declining prison populations? [Washington Post]

* The chorus of voices calling for Judge Mark Fuller to resign in the wake of domestic violence charges against him continues to grow. [New York Times]

Our law firm does not have a Twitter account. But our consulting and patent monetization firm, Markman Advisors, does (@MarkmanAdvisors) — an active one, where we post about patent litigation-related events that are of interest to our followers. Twitter has become our number-one way of interacting with the investment community that is the target for our consulting and patent monetization services.

Yet our law firm still does not have a Twitter account — and I am not convinced it should. As a practicing litigator, I am reluctant to give out my opinions on legal issues through such a broad-reaching medium. Lawyers on Twitter either need to have a lot of guts, or follow the typical boring Biglaw marketing model. I am not interested too much in either approach.

Our engagement with Twitter is relatively recent, dating to the launch of our law firm and consulting practice. Prior to Twitter, our focus was on demonstrating our patent litigation bona fides via investor-focused articles on websites like Seeking Alpha and Harvest. The goal of that work was to demonstrate that Markman Advisors offered investors, inventors, and companies interested in patent situations a unique analytical approach, informed by our collective experience litigating big-ticket patent cases while at Biglaw firms. We were fortunate to build a following on those platforms, which led to meetings with the type of clients we were interested in representing. In the course of those discussions, we found out that for the investment community — traders, hedge funds, whomever — Twitter is a necessary and powerful communications tool.

Being lawyers, our first reaction was skepticism….

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* 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]

* 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. [NBCDFW]

* 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]

Raise your hand if you’ve been to Marshall, Texas. It’s on the eastern edge of the Lone Star State, not far south from Springdale, Arkansas, where Jim Bob and Michelle are raising 19 kids (and hopefully no more), and just west of Monroe, Louisiana, where the Robertsons play whack-a-duck every fall.

I see a few hands raised. Vacationing in Marshall, perhaps? No? Visiting family? No?

Then, I bet you’re patent litigators….

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* 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] UPDATE 8/14/14 5:16 p.m.: Hey what do you know, USA Today is overselling the story a tad! Still, someone performed this search and he seemed to approve enough to have the photo.

* 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]

‘I get paid to play Candy Crush and do laundry all day!’

Imagine, if you will, a world where you’re able to do absolutely nothing but surf the internet, watch all the daytime TV you can stand, go on as many online shopping sprees as your wallet will allow, and like and comment on every Facebook status in the world, all while being paid your regular salary (ranging from $60,000 to $80,000), and maintaining performance-based bonus eligibility (with awards ranging from $2,000 to $3,500).

If you think that sounds great, then maybe you should apply to become a paralegal specialist for the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), because that judicial body apparently wasted up to $5.09 million on salary payments for what was nothing more than paralegal playtime.

Ain’t life grand as a federal employee?

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