Trademark, while generally one of the better forms of intellectual property as used in practice and in purpose, can certainly still be abused. It can also fall victim to an ever-growing ownership culture that seems to have invaded the American mind like some kind of brain-eating amoeba. And that’s how we’ve arrived here today, a day in which I get to tell you about how there is currently a trademark dispute over the flavor of pizza. And no, I’m not joking.
- Clarence Thomas, Eyes of the Law, Federal Judges, Food, Samuel Alito, SCOTUS, Sonia Sotomayor, Supreme Court
I’m a big fan of Justice Samuel Alito. He’s a brilliant thinker, a tremendous writer, and an incisive questioner (as I learned arguing before him when he sat on the Third Circuit, and as anyone can learn from listening to audio recordings of Supreme Court arguments). I’m also a devotee of his delightful wife, the stylish and vivacious Martha-Ann Alito.
This past weekend, the Alitos returned to his alma mater, Yale Law School, where Justice Alito, Justice Clarence Thomas, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor received the Yale Law School Association’s Award of Merit for their contributions to the legal profession. The three justices then participated in a lively and insightful conversation, skillfully moderated by Professor Kate Stith (and live-tweeted by yours truly; see @ATLblog and @DavidLat).
Members of the audience expressed admiration for Justice Alito and his sly sense of humor. But beyond the ivory tower, not everyone admires the justice — or even has the ability to recognize him.
Earlier today, Justice Alito got bounced out of a brunch joint….
@DominiqueAnsel I am so sad I upset you, I started to cry & I immediately reached for a Kleenex… I mean paper facial tissue #NotACronut
– Rounds Bakery, the self-described home of Reno’s best bagels, responding to a cease and desist letter from Dominique Ansel. Rounds had offered a hybrid croissant-doughnut and that sticks in Dominique Ansel’s craw as the registered trademark holder of the “Cronut.” What followed on Twitter was epic trolling by Rounds, listing every proprietary eponym they could think of.
[R]eading the record with just a dash of common sense tells us that chefs who happen to be American citizens surely have the capacity to learn how to cook Brazilian steaks and perform the relevant related tasks. To maintain otherwise, as Fogo de Chao does, is to imply that Brazilian chefs are essentially born with (or somehow absorb during their formative years) a cooking skill that cannot be acquired through reasonable training, which seems an entirely untenable proposition.
– Judge Brett Kavanaugh (D.C. Cir.), dissenting in an interesting case regarding whether certain foreign chefs can qualify for the L-1B visa, granted to workers with “specialized knowledge.” Why does this feeder judge hate… food?
The Platonic ideal of a non-compete agreement envisions an engineer who worked on a team perfecting the latest iPhone quitting in the middle of the night to take a job heading up the Samsung product development team. That’s the sort of industry where companies have a legitimate interest in protecting their intellectual property. And hell, even there the agreement is probably not valid since Apple is based in California and they frown upon non-compete agreements. In any event, non-compete agreements are intended to cover something pretty close to rocket science.
In other words, non-compete are not intended to keep 18-year-old delivery drivers from seeking employment. Yet that’s exactly how bread and meat purveyor Jimmy John’s uses them. A class action lawsuit filed against the company reveals that they force the lowliest of their lowly employees to sign away their rights to work almost anywhere in the food industry as a condition of employment. And we have a copy….
* Florida State QB Jameis Winston is still in a heap of legal trouble and it turns out his best legal move might just be to drop out. It’d save him the trouble of getting demolished by Mississippi State. [Sports Illustrated]
* A follow-up on the Yale Law/Colombia Prostitution/Secret Service/Obama scandal. An amateur poet was hot on this story from the start and sent cryptic verse about it to a Yale student paper way back in the day. [Ivy Gate Blog]
* Ron Swanson explains lawyers. Best line, “The man who kills me will know.” [Legal Cheek]
* Perdue has settled two lawsuits against it over the use of the phrase “humanely raised.” Apparently its chickens were “not that.” [Salon]
* One lawyer explains why it’s high time we eliminate this holiday. [Katz Justice]
Federal judges are… fruity! I once visited Chief Judge Alex Kozinski in chambers, where I witnessed the judge engage in a spirited argument with one of his law clerks over the proper way to peel and eat an orange. Everything is up for debate in the Kozinski chambers.
And it seems like Judge Kozinski isn’t the only judicial giant with a fruit fetish. In oral arguments yesterday for Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk, concerning whether Amazon warehouse workers can get paid overtime for going through an end-of-day security screening, Justice Elena Kagan raised this fun scenario: if a federal judge orders his clerks to come into chambers early, to cut up his grapefruit and make the rest of his breakfast, should the clerks get paid for that?
As it turns out, this “hypothetical” is based on real life. Which federal judge actually does this?
Some lawyers have this crazy idea that the hoi polloi are in such awe of attorneys that they bend to your will upon the very mention of a Juris Doctor. It’s one thing to throw around your credentials arguing with a landlord or something like that — that’s an actual legal dispute. It’s quite another to be the person who injects their admission to the bar into every unreasonable demand. “I demand an aisle seat! I’m a lawyer!” There are probably a significant number of students who chose law school in hopes of being able to tell off someone with the threat of “I’m a lawyer!” And that’s incredibly sad.
To rain on the parade of these douchetards, regular people understand that there are a whole lot of lawyers out there and that most of them are middle managers at best and paper-pushers at worst. They aren’t really trembling over lawyer threats.
Which this attorney learned when he tried to bully a non-takeout restaurant into sending him takeout because, of course, he’s a lawyer. The restaurant disagreed and posted an epic takedown to the Internets…
- 5th Circuit, Fast Food, Food, Gay, Gay Marriage, Law Schools, Lesbians, Morning Docket, SCOTUS, Supreme Court, Texas
* Babies wait for no one: a pregnant lesbian couple fighting the Texas ban on gay marriage filed an usual request asking that the Fifth Circuit hurry up and schedule arguments. [WSJ Law Blog]
* The “puff, puff, pass” defense? Robel Phillipos, friend of accused Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, claims he was so high during the aftermath he can’t remember a thing. [Bloomberg]
* When should you apply to law school? When you can get into a top school, have clear career objectives, and won’t have to take out loans. You’re preaching to the choir. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]
* A Burger King customer is suing because he claims the restaurant’s manager attacked him with a knife and a Taser. This all allegedly happened over some cold onion rings, of course. [New York Daily News]
Joe here. You’re minding your own business, checking your law school email in lieu of listening to the lecture, when an invitation catches your eye. It’s from the local Federalist Society chapter and they’re hosting an event on marriage equality. Fed Soc puts on good events, and unlike a lot of the issues out there, marriage equality is an issue where the organization might have a fair and respectful debate. After all, this is the organization of Ted Olson and Richard Posner as much as it’s the organization of Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito. There’s room under that ideological tent. But you open the email to see an oversized Chick-fil-A logo. Shock jock tactics.
To say that Staci and I disapproved would be an understatement.
Now imagine the event were not about marriage equality. Would it be acceptable to serve Chick-fil-A at a talk on gun control? On eminent domain? Is there ever a time where Chick-fil-A is a “content neutral” noshing option?
I say no. David says yes. We let you in on our argument about this….