Steve Jobs did not invent the iPod. Neither did Bibble.
No, the inventor of the iPod is Kane Kramer, a British guy who stored three and a half minutes of music on a microchip in 1979.
In fairness to Apple, they did not “steal” Kramer’s idea. According to the Daily Mail, Kramer set up a company to develop the iPod idea:
But in 1988, after a boardroom split, he was unable to raise the £60,000 needed to renew patents across 120 countries and the technology became public property.
Patent law: how good ideas are redistributed from kooky inventors to effective businessmen.
And with that Kramer might well have been discard into the Farnsworth bin of history.
But thanks to a dispute between Apple and Burst.com, Apple needed Kramer. Apple flew Kramer to California to give crucial testimony about the prior art behind the iPod. The dispute between Apple and Burst.com was settled out of court, but Apple is stuck with the price of admitting that the iPod was invented across the pond.
Why Biglaw associates should support Apple giving money to Kane Kramer, after the jump.
We’re rather late on this, but better late than never. Some time ago, one of you sent us this tip:
Fish & Richardson has asserted ownership over patents secured by a former principal who, in addition to being an attorney, also is a prolific inventor (and alleged “patent troll”).
Interestingly enough, Fish appears to have made its claims only after Google, one of its clients, was sued under a patent claiming a technology that Harris invented while at Fish. See Patently O, which has a copy of the Complaint.
What a mess. Anyway, we were reminded of the case yesterday, when it was picked up by Overlawyered:
Annals of creative patent lawyering: Highly placed attorney with intellectual-property specialists Fish & Richardson accumulates his own portfolio of patents, quits the firm, begins suing Fish & Richardson clients, things get messy fast (Patent Troll Tracker, Oct. 21).
A reader drew a legally-themed music video to our attention:
It’s from a specialized patent blog, but some of your readers may find it funny — especially because is an actual partner from a large firm singing the song. Is this a new BigLaw marketing trend?
Check out the video via Patently O. As you can see from the lyrics, the song is a comparison of dating to the Patent Act.
Performer Lana Knedlik, a fine-boned, pixieish beauty, looks like she could be an indie film actress or Indigo Girl. She strikes us as considerably younger and more attractive than the average (1) registered patent attorney or (2) partner at a large law firm.
(No offense to patent lawyers or Biglaw partners. We’re just sayin’…) Redefining the Bar Date [Patently O] Bar Date by Lana Knedlik [YouTube] Lana M. Knedlik bio [Stinson Morrison Hecker LLP]
Sometimes it seems like we talk about the same handful of general practice Biglaw shops again and again. So let’s mix things up a bit. Here’s a suggestion from a loyal reader:
I’m in the field of patent law. It might be interesting to post a Fall Recruiting Thread that discusses both patent boutiques (Finnegan Henderson, Fizpatrick Cella, Kenyon & Kenyon) and general practice firms with a strong IP practice (Kirkland, Irell, MoFo, Jones Day, Ropes & Gray).
Yes, it might. So here’s that post — an open thread in which people can talk about firms that specialize in or excel at intellectual property law.
(Last month we had a post dedicated to discussion of compensation issues at IP firms. But this open thread is intended to be broader, to go beyond pay to discuss quality of life, strong practice areas, type of work, etc. Enjoy.) Earlier: Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: IP Firms
* No do-over for Vonage. [c|net via How Appealing]
* Legislature approves $5 million settlement in Florida boot camp death case. [CNN]
* Katrina wrongful death claims blown away by judge. [Jurist]
* Reno trial lawyer faces his own trial. [Reno Gazette-Journal]
* Fen-Phen plaintiffs have a horse in Saturday’s race. [WSJ Law Blog]
[F]irst-year associate salaries at big firms have gotten to a level where increases are very bad. They are bad for the law firms that pay them, for the associates who receive them, for the clients who foot the bill for them, and for the society we serve.
Sandman takes a swipe at the firm that initiated the latest round of pay raises (Simpson Thacher, cough cough):
I don’t understand what causes a firm be the first to increase the salary of a brand-new lawyer from an already eye-popping $145,000 to $160,000. There is no competitive advantage in doing so. Other firms will surely follow suit, and the firm that led the market will quickly be indistinguishable from the rest of the pack.
To read Sandman’s interesting and provocative argument against the recent raises, click here.
3. Finally, here’s the latest departure from the LIST OF SHAME: Baker & Hostetler.
From a source at the firm:
Baker Hostetler announced raises yesterday effective March 1 (for its New York office only). First-year associates will be making $160K; the managing partner didn’t say how much other classes would be making, but that associates would get letters about next week telling them what their new salary would be.
That leaves, as far as we know, just seven firms on the LIST OF SHAME.
Who knew that jurisdiction in the patent context could cause judicial tempers to flare? In MedImmune, Inc. v. Genentech, Inc., an 8-1 decision handed down earlier this week, Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas — who voted together almost 90 percent of the time last Term — exchanged harsh words.
Justice Scalia wrote the opinion of the Court, holding that a patent licensee doesn’t have to terminate or breach its license agreement before suing to challenge the patent’s validity. Justice Thomas dissented, finding no standing to sue.
From a tipster:
Scalia’s MedImmune opinion disembowels Thomas’s dissenting arguments one by one. See footnote 6 (“This is demonstrably false.”). Or footnote 9 (“It obviously is not.”).
One of my kids takes Synagis (a very very expensive medication), which is why I read the decision. While patent law is not my practice area, Scalia’s scorn is very clear and understandable to even a patent law layperson.
Now, Justice Thomas doesn’t take all this lying down. He accuses Justice Scalia of “misread[ing] our precedent,” “inappropriately rel[ying]” upon various cases, and committing “serious error.”
But this match must be scored for Scalia. Some other goodies (all in the footnotes, of course, where judges get to be catty and not feel guilty about it):
Footnote 2: “The dissent contends that the question on which we granted certiorari does not reach the contract claim. We think otherwise.”
Footnote 5 6: “[The dissent would be correct] only if the license required royalties on all products under the sun, and not just those that practice the patent. Of course it does not.”
In other words: “CT, get your head out of your ass!”
Justice Sandra Day O’Connor used to take criticism from Justice Scalia rather personally. But she should have realized that with Justice Scalia, it’s really not personal. To paraphrase what our mother told us in second grade, “Nino only picks on you ’cause he likes you.”
P.S. To be sure, we suspect Justice Scalia doesn’t think very highly of Justice O’Connor as a judicial thinker — in contrast to, say, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whom he can respect even when they disagree. MedImmune, Inc. v. Genentech, Inc. [FindLaw] Court rules on right to bring patent case [SCOTUSblog]
Fred Fielding, the incoming White House counsel, did pretty well for himself when the Blackberry litigation was settled. His firm, Wiley Rein & Fielding, represented NTP, the patent holding company that won a $612.5 million settlement from Research in Motion, maker of the Blackberry. Wiley Rein took the case on a contingency-fee basis. Ka-ching!
But some people did even better than Fielding — like Donald Stout (at right), patent lawyer to the late inventor, Thomas Campana. Here’s an explanation of how the Blackberry spoils were divvied up:
Biggest single winner was Joletta Campana, widowed second wife and former secretary of patent-holder Thomas Campana Jr., who received one-third [of the $612.5 million,] or about $200 million. Wiley, Rein & Fielding also received $200 million, a huge sum given that in 2004 the Washington, D.C. firm’s two hundred and fifty lawyers generated about $140 million in total revenue. The final $200 million was shared by Donald Stout and some colleagues at his Alexandria-based law firm.
So how did Donald Stout spend his windfall? On real estate, of course. From Washingtonian magazine, via Wonkette, here’s an account of “The Stouthouse”:
Lawyer Donald Stout put up $6.8 million for a 15,000 square-foot Georgian on more than four acres near the Madeira School in Great Falls, VA — this after his Arlington patent-holding firm won a settlement against the makers of BlackBerry and earned him $177 million. HGTV’s Dream Builders featured the six-bedroom, ten-bath house in a segment taped before the sale.
WOW. This place makes the Feldsuk house look like a law school dorm. At a Tier 4 school.
For those of you who share our obsession with high-end real estate, there’s more discussion of The Stouthouse, plus links, after the jump.
Watch to find out what some of our subscribers received in their May box!
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We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
The last time I flapped my wings your way, I tried to make at least enough noise about your mobile phone to make you more than a little bit uncomfortable. I hope I did. If enough of us become anxious enough about the known and unknown unknowns and knowns in our mobile phones, then we can start making wise decisions about how to manage that information and its resultant investigations.
Today, I’d like to put a finer point on the last installment’s topic by asking a question that seemed to catch most attendees off-guard at a conference panel that I moderated last week: is there discoverable personal information in a mobile app? Our panelists’ answer was a uniform “yes” with one stating that, if he had to choose only one type of data that he could discover from a mobile phone, he’d choose app data. Why? Because there’s simply so much of it and because almost all of it is objective – not just user-created like an email – but machine-tracked like GPS, usage duration, log in and log out times, browsed web addresses, browsed actual addresses. Also, most of us seem to have the idea that data doesn’t actually “stick” to our mobile devices the way it “sticks” to our hard drives. Maybe there’s a disconnect based on the fact that our phones are mobile so we assume the data is mobile to?
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