Federal Circuit

* Some marriage equality enthusiasts applauded the Supreme Court’s decision to stay out of the way and let the circuits do their thing. But the history of miscegenation in America suggests the Supreme Court had a moral obligation to interject. [USA Today]

* On this subject, Professor Dorf presents a fascinating hypothetical: is it in the strategic interest of an anti-gay marriage conservative lower court judge to strike down same-sex marriage bans in light of the Supreme Court’s cert denials? [Dorf on Law]

* One more story while we’re at it, after the Ninth Circuit struck down bans on same-sex marriages, District Judge Robert C. Jones of Nevada, who upheld the ban in the first place, recused himself rather that be forced to issue an opinion in accordance with Ninth Circuit precedent. [BuzzFeed]

* If you’ve ever wondered how Islamic State manages to recruit Western youth to the cause, the answer is a “Disney-like” social media campaign. It’s like a Biglaw summer program, but for murder. [Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy]

* “Better Hold Off Sexting With High School Students” in Indiana. The Indiana Supreme Court finally weighed in last week after the lower court had okayed a teacher texting a 16-year-old to sneak out of the house for sex. Wait, this required the Supreme Court to weigh in? What is wrong with you Indiana? [Valpo Law Blog]

* Looking professional with a pixie cut. [Corporette]

* Enter for a chance to win a Chief Judge Randall Rader bobblehead! Yes, these exist. [Santa Clara Law]

* The Zephyr Teachout book tour for Corruption in America (affiliate link) begins. Is your town on the list? [Teachout-Wu]

* New Orleans taxpayers spent around $75K traveling judges to conferences and resorts last year. Quoth the tipster: “I could make a joke about New Orleans judges going to the third world to learn how to run their courtrooms, but I think I already did.” [The Times-Picayune]

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.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Federal Circuit Review – Nautilus, Limelight, and Alice (July 2014)”

Zach Warren

* They know where to find a deal: Justice Sonia Sotomayor ran into Hillary Clinton at Costco this weekend where the former secretary of state was hawking her book (affiliate link). It’s almost like this wasn’t arranged. [Huffington Post]

* “[T]his is my chance to do what I love and I am going to seize it!” Judge Randall Rader stepped down from his role as chief of the Federal Circuit less than a month ago following an ethics issue, and now he’s retiring for good. [Reuters]

* The government says that Zachary Warren’s prestigious legal accomplishments “left him well-able to understand the criminal nature of his conduct at Dewey.” Ouch, the People just turned it around on him. [WSJ Law Blog]

* “The reasons they have are the reasons they have.” The ex-dean of Indiana Tech Law quit his job weeks ago, but no one has any idea why. We guess he got out while the getting was still good. [Journal Gazette]

* Kenan Gay, the Charlotte Law student charged with murder after allegedly tossing a man into traffic, was acquitted. He graduated this spring. Nice work, but loans are still a life sentence, bro. [Charlotte Observer]

* It’s been 20 years since the O.J. Simpson case — aka the “trial of the century” — came to its dramatic conclusion. If you want to know what happened to all of the lawyers involved, we’ve got you covered. [CNN]


* Federal judges frequently fly across the globe on other people’s dime for conferences and symposia, but 2012’s most frequent flyer is a judge who was recently embroiled in an ethics scandal: Randall Rader of the Federal Circuit. [National Law Journal]

* Even though she claims nothing is “fundamentally broken,” Securities and Exchange Commission chairwoman Mary Jo White proposed “sweeping” new stock market regulations in an attempt to get with the times. [DealBook / New York Times]

* U. of Maine wants to combine its business and law schools, but professors are concerned about pressing questions like, “What will the diploma say?” rather than, “Do I get to keep my job?” [Portland Press Herald]

* Law schools are seen as cash cows for their affiliated undergraduate universities, but this law school is hurting so bad for cash due to low enrollment the university is infusing it with millions. [Minnesota Daily]

* A Pennsylvania man is suing his local police department for First Amendment violations after he was arrested for cursing in front of officers. N.W.A has a song this guy would like. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

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]

We have a whole contest here at Above the Law in which law students sing, dance, and show off the talents they’re murdering to become lawyers. We’ve seen other lawyers who balance practicing law and making music, such as Anthony McNamer, or who leave the law to pursue music full-time, such as Weil Gotshal associate turned rapper Mekka Don (who just released his debut album).

But there are very few lawyers use their musical talents to promote their legal careers, like the attorney we’re about to discuss. He’s also footnoted his lyrics, so you can tie some of his hard, gangsta action to specific Federal Circuit cases. Which is a sentence that would have made Tupac roll over in his grave… if he were really dead. Don’t tell me a dead guy is still releasing a hit every couple of years….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer Touts Practice Through Rap Video. Yes, This Is Real.”

Mediation. For some lawyers, it is a great way to spend a day; for others, it is an interminable bore, and ineffective to boot. It is easy to imagine that lawyers who have had successful mediation experiences are more likely to fall into the former category than the latter. What is more certain, however, is that mediation skills are increasingly important for a litigator to have, for a number of reasons. Unfortunately, most lawyers, especially Biglaw attorneys, are left to fend for themselves when it comes to developing those skills. That is a shame, as the importance of being able to mediate successfully has only grown in today’s business climate. More generally, negotiation skills remain under-taught in law schools and by law firms, and as a result are underdeveloped in many lawyers.

Any chance a lawyer has to develop their mediation skills should be seized. As an intellectual property litigator, all of my cases originate in federal district courts, and throughout the country, almost every case schedule includes mediation (or some other form of alternative dispute resolution) as a distinct event. Where on the schedule the mediation occurs, and whether it is held before a magistrate judge or local certified mediator, is usually up for negotiation between the parties. What is important is that mandated mediation is on the schedule. As a result, just as litigators need to know how to handle a discovery motion in a particular court, so should they be prepared to make the most out of whatever mediation process their case calls for. Interestingly, mediation has become an important part of appeals as well, including at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, a familiar forum for patent litigators like myself….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Beyond Biglaw: Mediation Matters (Part 1)”

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.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Chief Judge Of Patent Court Compares Killing Bad Patents To Genocide”

‘Who’s bad? O’Melveny!’

* U. Penn. Law doesn’t need to toot its own horn about kicking off its visiting jurist program with a Supreme Court justice — we’ll do it on the school’s behalf: toot f-ing toot for Justice Kennedy. [National Law Journal]

* President Obama nominated former OLC attorney and current HLS professor David Barron for a First Circuit vacancy, and a Western New England alum for a district court judgeship. Congrats! [Boston Globe]

* The Senate confirmed Todd Hughes for a seat on the Federal Circuit without any opposition. This is what progress looks like: Hughes will be the first openly gay federal appellate judge in U.S. history. [BuzzFeed]

* Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, is pretty pissed that federal budget issues are allowing his office to get outgunned by wealthy financial firms. [DealBook / New York Times]

* “It seems a very coordinated effort of smugness.” As we reported previously, lawyers from the small firm representing Michael Jackson’s family think O’Melveny & Myers is full of d-bags. [Los Angeles Times]

* Sorry, but you can’t bang your clients. Well, that’s not completely true. You can bang your clients, but you have to bang them before there’s a legal relationship to keep banging them ethically. [Daily Report]

* The hits keep on coming for Curt Schilling. Now the SEC has woken up and decided to probe the $75 million he secured from the state of Rhode Island (already the subject of another suit). Maybe he can fake another bloody sock to generate some sympathy. [Bloomberg]

* Apple sold a “Season Pass” to Breaking Bad Season 5 and then refused to honor the second half of the season to its subscribers, prompting an Ohio doctor to file suit for $20, with hopes of building a class action. Look, Apple needed that money; Tim Cook is desperate these days. [Deadline: Hollywood]

* Speaking of Apple, the Federal Circuit looks like it’s going to give Apple another crack at its claim that Google ripped off the iPhone patents, citing “significant” errors on the part of the last judge to rule on the dispute: Richard Posner. You come at the king, you best not miss. [Wall Street Journal]

* And last, but definitely not least, Apple’s new fingerprint ID will be the death of the Fifth Amendment. Discuss. [Wired]

* A film chock-full of unsanctioned footage and insulting knocks on Disney has been picked up for distribution. This is your official warning that it’s time to prepare the beauty pageant pitch for the Disney execs. [Grantland]

* Elie smash, Charlotte Law School. [NPR Charlotte]

* The International Association of Young Lawyers conference will feature a speed dating session (on page 6). Really hard-hitting program there. [International Association of Young Lawyers]

* Congratulations to the 49 firms honored for meeting all of WILEF’s criteria for Gold Standard certification at today’s awards gala! [Women in Law Empowerment Forum]

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