Patents

Look at all those poor patents…

Unfortunately, I have no link on this one, because someone sent me a copy of an article that is either not online or only behind a paywall somewhere, but at a recent AIPLA (American Intellectual Property Law Assocation) meeting, Judge Randall Rader, the chief judge of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), which handles all patent appeals, apparently complained about “vague language” in the most recent update to patent law, the America Invents Act, to have the US Patent Office’s (USPTO) Patent and Trademark Appeal Board (PTAB) review more patents to dump bad ones. The recently proposed patent reform bill from Rep. Bob Goodlatte would expand this program. Now, anyone who recognizes the importance of getting rid of bad patents, knowing how bad patents can make the overall problem worse, should support this. But, not Judge Randall Rader. He compares it to genocide.

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* “I Love Boobies” case may go to the Supreme Court. [Jezebel]

* Law firms are warning clients to beware of “Misclassification Creep” which is a “threat” to many businesses. Yeah, it’s a real shame that employees might start getting paid what they actually earn. [Corporate Counsel]

* Recurring ATL subject, Caskers craft spirits retailer, has been sold to Anderson Press. [Pandodaily]

* Meanwhile, another legally related business has raised a total of $850,000. Hopefully they can use some of that to make another hilarious commercial. [Techcrunch]

* Here are 10 things every new lawyer should do right now. Shorter version: start puckering up. [The Careerist]

* In horrible news, a missing Wayne State law student was found dead. [Detroit Free Press]

* A former Biglaw, current Midlaw associate has written a book and created this trailer to promote it. What if a sex toy manufacturer became a patent troll? Video embed after the jump…

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* Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has joined Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in being one of the only justices to perform a same-sex marriage. No divas here: the wedding ceremony was held at the high court because “[t]hat’s where she was.” [BuzzFeed]

* “Proceed with caution.” David Kappos, the former director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, isn’t too keen on the latest patent reform bill that’s currently before the House Judiciary Committee. If only the man still had a say. [National Law Journal]

* Dentons and McKenna Long & Aldridge have released a joint statement to ensure the public that the proposed merger is still on. Good news, everyone! The firm won’t be named McDentons. [Am Law Daily]

* Ralph Lerner, formerly of Sidley Austin, has been slapped on the wrist suspended from practice in New York for one year’s time after improperly billing car service to clients to the tune of $50,000. [Am Law Daily]

* It’s been a year since Superstorm Sandy, and lawyers are still counseling their clients on how to muddle through the mess. Volunteer some pro bono hours and help out those in need. [New York Law Journal]

* After threatening to cut faculty positions, New England Law Dean John O’Brien is taking a 25 percent pay cut. He’ll only earn $650,000. Wow. I think we’re supposed to be impressed. [Boston Business Journal]

* Career alternatives for attorneys: rescuer of nerd relics. Head to this Brooklyn book store (of course it’s in Brooklyn) if you’re desperately seeking long lost science fiction tales. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

* We bet that folks in Australia would like to tell the the High Court to bugger off after overturning this ruling. Sexual injuries that occur during work-related trips don’t qualify for workers’ compensation. [Bloomberg]

* Parties in the greenhouse gas cases before SCOTUS have agreed to trim the number and length of their briefs to reduce the number of times “go f@ck yourself and die” is written. [Blog of Legal Times]

* The latest patent reform bill up for debate promises that it will put an end to the trolls by forcing them to do more work before filing suit. If only it were that easy to keep the trolls at bay. [National Law Journal]

* Do the hustle, and blame it on Becca! A jury has found that Bank of America is liable for selling defective mortgages, and the potential penalty could be up to $848 million. [DealBook / New York Times]

* Since the law was puff, puff, passed, lawyers in Washington State have politely asked their Supreme Court if and when they’ll allowed to smoke weed and represent clients that sell it. [Corporate Counsel]

* Class certification in the Alaburda v. TJSL lawsuit over allegedly deceptive employment statistics has officially been denied. We guess that all good things must come to an anticlimactic end. [ABA Journal]

* Another law school gets it: the U. of St. Thomas will its freeze tuition at the low, low price of $36,843, allowing students to pay a flat fee for all three years of education. [Campus Confidential / Star Tribune]

* If you’d like to ace your law school interviews (which apparently are a thing these days), it helps if your personality doesn’t inspire ritualistic seppuku. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

* Michael Skakel, the Kennedy cousin convicted of killing, was granted a new trial due to ineffective assistance of counsel. Getting away with murder? Aww, welcome to the family, Mike! [Washington Post]

* Affirmative action is again being put to the test before the Supreme Court, but this time, we’re not so sure the justices will punt the ball like last time. The countdown to one of Elie’s epic rants on race in America starts in 3, 2, 1… [National Law Journal]

* The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is open for business, but the government shutdown has pretty much brought work at both the International Trade Commission and the Federal Trade Commission to a complete standstill. May they live to fight patent trolls another day. [Corporate Counsel]

* Good news, everyone! Many Biglaw firms have changed the way they make their real estate and office space decisions, primarily because “maintaining profitability has become very challenging.” [GlobeSt.com]

* Here’s another list of the law schools where you can get the most bang for your buck — except it neglects to mention what percentage of the class responded to these salary questions. Oops! [PolicyMic]

* Just saying, but if you’re applying to a law school on an early decision basis, it’s helpful if you actually want to go to that law school above all others. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

* The author of Even Greater Response to a Cease & Desist Letter fame sent the ATL office some glitter pens because Staci asked for one in the comments. Keep being awesome Andrew Delaney! [Twitter]

* Tired of the National Zoo Panda Cam? A USPTO attorney has created the Substitute Panda Cam. I wonder if the cam will survive the shutdown. [Substitute Panda Cam]

* Well, wonder no more! Here’s a rundown of how the shutdown is treating the intellectual property world. [Patently-O]

* So if you’re part of the intellectual property legal regime that’s shut down (or any government employee off because of the shutdown), here’s a list of all the drinking specials in D.C. you can use to fill your day. [Washington Post]

* An update on Bike Dude. [Racked]

* Some advice on handling terrible clients. Alternate title: 50 Shades of Grey. [The Careerist]

* St. Charles Parish Judge Michele Morel has finally agreed to recuse herself in a trial over the rape of a 10-year-old girl. And why should she have recuse herself? Just because she has a personal relationship with the defendant’s family? Pshaw! [Times-Picayune]

* Happy 100th birthday to income tax! Back then, someone with around $12 million (in 2013 dollars) paid about 7 percent in taxes. Meanwhile, today that same person would pay… well, with deductions and carried interest exceptions, probably about 7 percent. [TaxProf Blog]

* According to Altman Weil, law firm merger mania is on pace for record highs as firms desperately attempt to stave off financial problems by gobbling up smaller firms’ clients. [Am Law Daily]

* The NCAA better watch its back: Jeffrey Kessler, the Winston & Strawn partner who helped bring free agency to the NFL, wants in on the potential case for unpaid college athletes. [Bloomberg]

* Lawyers doing regulatory work are very afraid that the shutdown will decimate their fourth quarter billables because “[t]he longer it goes, the more problematic it will be.” Yay government. [Reuters]

* GrayRobinson partner Philippe Devé is in need of a bone marrow transplant, and his firm is using its social media presence to crowdsource a donor. Will you lend a helping hand? [Daily Business Review]

* UpCounsel has successfully raised $1.5 million in funding to beef up its international patent practice, proving the point that it costs a pretty penny to protect clients from the world’s patent trolls. [TechCrunch]

* Law schools in New York State are feeling the pain of the drop in applications, and some are now willing admit that their graduates had to start “cannibalizing each other” in the job market. [New York Law Journal]

* But really, so what if applications are down? Lots of law schools consider themselves lucky to be keeping the lights on with the assistance of generous alumni donations in the millions. [National Law Journal]

* Another day, another “diploma mill.” Sorry to disappoint you, law students and alumni, but Charleston School of Law is moving forward with its plans to sell out to the InfiLaw System. [Post and Courier]

* Who’s bad? Not AEG Live. A jury made up of people unable to answer yes or no questions during the reading of the verdict found that the concert promoter wasn’t liable in Michael Jackson’s death. [CNN]

* This Term, both wings of the Court will be making originalist arguments because “slaveholders from 200 years ago said so” is the most compelling argument in our legal toolbox. [Constitutional Accountability Center]

* Yale Law grad Ronan Farrow, supposedly Woody Allen’s son, might really be Frank Sinatra’s son. Looking at him that… makes sense. [Vanity Fair]

* Looks like the FTC is finally going after patent trolls. Or would be if we still had a government. [Ars Technica]

* Based on the look and address, the Law Librarians blog appears to have left the Law Professor Blogs Network. It must have been too loud in there for the librarians. [Law Librarians]

* So… you’re saying lots of trial judges out there don’t understand hearsay? [The Legal Watchdog]

* Avast! Russia is going after Greenpeace (probably illegally) for piracy. [The Volokh Conspiracy]

* A reminder that the federal government shut down is the result of state laws, so maybe you should vote in those off-year local elections. [PrawfsBlawg]

In our recent look at Texas law firms, the firm of Baker Botts placed sixth out of six surveyed firms. But there are some things cooking down there that could cause the dough to rise.

Perhaps taking advantage of the recent turmoil in the Texas offices of Weil Gotshal, Baker Botts just nabbed a lateral from WGM: Nicolas Barzoukas, an IP litigator in Houston. We don’t yet know whether other attorneys are making the same move, but it’s possible. Neither Baker Botts nor Weil responded to our requests for comment, but we do note that Barzoukas’s bio is gone from Weil’s website. (We’ve posted a cached version at the end of this story.)

So that’s the good news about Baker Botts. Now, on to the bad….

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In vino veritas — about unannounced transactions.

Here’s some friendly advice: when you’re drunk, try to keep your mouth shut. Or at least keep your work-related thoughts to yourself. This is certainly true for junior lawyers, but it goes for partners as well.

According to a complaint just filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, an IP partner at a leading law firm had a few too many drinks, then got a little “TMII” — “too much (inside) information” — with his investment adviser. That adviser then traded on the material, nonpublic information, the SEC alleges….

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