Google

Law firm advertising is expensive and certain methods may be cost-prohibitive for small firms. For instance, a small firm may not be able to afford a television or print campaign. Enter online marketing including, among other things, Google AdWords and sponsored links. In 2009, a law firm filed a lawsuit in Wisconsin state court challenging certain marketing strategies as an invasion of privacy, as defined in the Wisconsin privacy statute. Luckily for consumers and small firms, the court disagreed.

The case involved the two most prominent personal injury firms in Wisconsin. One of them, Cannon & Dunphy, used a Google AdWords PPC (price-per-click) strategy (and other search engines) to bid on the name of the state’s largest personal injury firm, Habush, Habush & Rottier. In other words, when a user would search the terms Habush or Rottier, a Cannon & Dunphy link would show up in the shaded section as a Sponsored Link.

Habush sued Cannon, alleging that Cannon’s online marketing campaign violated Wis. Stat. §995.50. That statute prohibits “the use, for advertising purposes or for purposes of trade, of the name . . . of any living person, without having first obtained the written consent of the person,” and provides a cause of action where such an invasion of privacy was unreasonable.

The result of the litigation, after the jump….

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This news is more than a little scary.

Google announced yesterday that hackers in China had gotten access to hundreds of Gmail accounts. And it wasn’t just anyone’s email. The attack targeted senior government officials in the United States, Chinese political activists, officials in several Asian countries, military personnel, and journalists.

I have a feeling we will hear a lot more about this over the next few days. For the moment, let’s take a look at the details we know so far….

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* It looks like Jonathan Lee Riches has some competition. Check out this crazy lawsuit filed against Apple (and many other defendants), by one David Louis Whitehead. Why do the wackos always have three names? [Apple Insider]

* Check out Professor Glenn Reynolds’s interesting argument against a federally-mandated drinking age of 21. “If you get shot at, you can have a shot.” [Wall Street Journal via Instapundit]

* The FTC is holding Google’s balls feet to the fire over its privacy practices. Want to turn up the heat a few degrees? [EPIC]

Do you heart boobies? I do -- for aesthetic reasons, and as symbols of female seductive power.

* Speaking of body parts, would this lawsuit have turned out differently if the bracelets, instead of promoting breast cancer awareness by declaring “I ♥ Boobies,” promoted testicular cancer awareness and read “I ♥ Balls”? [Philadelphia Inquirer via WSJ Law Blog]

* And speaking of free speech and schools, Congress should proceed with caution when passing anti-harassment legislation. [Chronicle of Higher Education]

* Biglaw partners team up with a former federal prosecutor to launch a new litigation boutique. Say hello to Levine Lee LLP. [Am Law Daily]

* But how does the bulldog feel about being used in an advertisement for a law firm? Cf. this controversy. [Ross Fishman's Law Marketing Blog]

Raj Rajaratnam

* Raj Rajaratnam’s got a cute insider trading friend named Octopussy. Maybe he’s been doing some other insider trading, if you know what I mean. [Bloomberg]

* Florida redefines “beating it.” It may be time to reconsider things if you’re paying $2.99 to watch a hate crime with your pants off. Come on, at least look into some free porn. [Washington Post]

* Speaking of beating it, here’s a memo to file for John Branca from Katherine Jackson: she doesn’t wanna see your face, you better disappear. [Newark Star-Ledger]

* Listen, Frank, Bingham might be trying to “defend conduct that is indefensible,” but you were thinking about trading Chad Billingsley. Give me a break. [NBC Sports]

* Google v. Government. The DOJ isn’t buying what Google’s selling because Microsoft is a little bit less evil, and a little bit more FISMA compliant. [Los Angeles Times]

* Nothing says corporate equality for women lawyers like a picture of a woman in a fugly suit trapped inside of a dog cage. [The Careerist]

The satirical Onion News Network recently reported on new government funding for that “massive online surveillance program run by the CIA,” known as Facebook — dreamed up by “secret C.I.A. agent Mark Zuckerberg.” The report made light of how much information we’re willing to make available to a third party — information that we would never consider freely handing over to the feds. While funny, the report speaks to serious concerns about privacy. Civil liberties advocates like Christopher Soghoian and Nicholas Merrill worry about the ease with which the government can get access to the digital information we store with third-parties like Facebook, Yahoo!, and Google, as well as to the rich databases that our mobile phone providers have.

Should we call it the Tech.B.I. or the Dot.Com.I.A.?

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Kaga, L., dissenting

* Did Malcolm Gladwell’s endorsement lead to an increase in Colorado Law applicants? Malcolm Gladwell, a man whose book Blink was described by Richard Posner as “written like a book intended for people who do not read books.” [Law Week Colorado]

* A litany of legal challenges faces the Obama administration now that they’ve backtracked on Khalid Sheikh and the boys. [msnbc.com]

* The Supremes ruled against Arizona taxpayers who claimed a tax credit for religious school donations was unconstitutional. Justice Kagan popped her dissent cherry on this one. [NPR]

* Connecticut looks to “add teeth” to a law that attempts to determine whether racial profiling exists in the state. Sorry, I don’t find anything funny about racism. Unless, of course, we’re talking about the basketball scene in Soul Man. [Hartford Courant]

* Google has bid $900 million on a whole bunch of patents. Meanwhile, the patent to Google Wave is being peddled for two dollars and a box of envelopes. [Financial Times]

* “Police have nabbed the second prepubescent punk wanted for trying to rip off the religious headdress of a Muslim schoolgirl on Staten Island.” [New York Post]

David Boreanaz

* What kind of a tour bus does Willie Nelson have? A cannabus. The singer won’t have to make a pit stop to sing in court on his maryjane charges. [New York Daily News]

* How is there a human trafficking problem in Michigan? Are they all Canadians? No one cares if Canadians aren’t getting their fair share of maple syrup. [Chicago Tribune]

* The FTC can be a real Buzz-kill. Google settled its privacy case with the feds over its failed social networking site. [Bloomberg]

* The big O avoids the big ©: my FAAAAAVORITE talk show host doesn’t have to pony up $100M. That makes me want to scream, cry, and then pee my pants. [Crimesider / CBS News]

* Let me save you the trouble: Dockette, your comment about dwarfs was completely inappropriate. I hope that you turn into a dwarf. [Washington Post]

* David Boreanaz settled a wangtastic lawsuit about his peen — and rightfully so, because the show is called Bones, not Boners. [E! Online]

* Howrey gonna make ends meet? By moving to Baker Hostetler. [Am Law Daily]

How can you be a happy lawyer?

* Is concern for “privacy” simply a justification for censorship on the internet? Some thoughts from a lawyer for Google. [Peter Fleischer: Privacy...? via Kashmir Hill / Forbes]

* What’s the secret to lawyer happiness? And no, it doesn’t involve illegal drugs or porn stars (Charlie Sheen isn’t a lawyer). [Slaw via Legal Blog Watch]

* Want to start your own law blog? Read this interesting interview with BL1Y (a regular in the ATL comments section). [Lawyerist]

* Superstar criminal defense lawyer John Dowd, the Akin Gump partner who successfully got Monica Goodling (among many other clients) out of legal trouble, offered a rousing defense of Raj Rajaratnam today. [Dealbreaker]

Jonathan Bristol

* Ex-Winston & Strawn partner Jonathan Bristol, former counsel to money manager / fraudster Kenneth Starr, has reached a plea agreement with S.D.N.Y. prosecutors. [New York Law Journal via Summary Judgments]

* Elsewhere in Ken Starr news, it seems that some celebs are getting hit with IRS tax liens as a result of their ties to him. [TaxProf Blog]

* Congratulations to a 3L at Harvard Law School, Nneka Ukpai, who trounced the prosecution at trial and won an acquittal for her client. [Yolanda Young / On Being a Black Lawyer]

* Congratulations to a 3L at NYU Law and future S.D.N.Y. law clerk, Eli Northrup, who belongs to a hip-hop band called Pants Velour — which has, in the words of our tipster, “captured the magic of Charlie Sheen as only music can.” [YouTube]

* This week, A Round Tuit includes a nice round-up of opinions on the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in the Westboro Baptist Church case (Snyder v. Phelps). [Infamy or Praise]

* Musical chairs: Donald M. Remy leaves Latham to become the new general counsel for the NCAA. No offense, but I hope he’s terrible at his job. The NCAA needs to be sued by all comers until they stop profiteering off the sweat of poor young athletes so that old, rich university presidents can make even more money. [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

* Anything you Google can and will be used against you. [Forbes]

* Did sanitation workers really make the blizzard worse by protesting proposed wage cuts through a “slowdown”? Somewhere there’s a union official freezing his ass off and smiling. [NY1]

* Some people say law school is a waste of time, some people say getting a Ph.D is a waste of time — is anyone starting to feel like “education” is a waste of time? Snooki is rich, famous, and has a book coming out; Sarah Palin might become president. Maybe stupid and uninformed is a perfectly acceptable way to go through life? [Economist]

* Here’s something interesting. Harvard Law School is doing some research on legal mentoring (or lack thereof). They need people (including non-HLS people, of course) to take their survey. [Harvard Law School]

* I wish Princeton had a law school. I bet it would be loads of fun to cover, since their college alums are already so good at getting embroiled in sex-contest scandals. [Jezebel]

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...

You may want to download a class action tracking app to your iPhone

It’s always sad when two people give you the same present for Christmas — especially if it’s not a present you want. That’s the situation Apple is in this holiday season, hit with two lawsuits in federal court last week, both seeking class action certification, for helping advertisers create profiles of iPhone and iPad users.

Lalo v. Apple, first reported by Businessweek, and Freeman v. Apple, first reported by Wired, were both filed on Thursday, Dec. 23, in the Northern District of California. The first was filed by Kamber Law, the team behind the $2.4 million Quantcast “zombie cookie” settlement, and the second by three law firms, including the one that recently sued YouPorn over its “history sniffing.”

Both lawsuits are essentially copy-and-paste jobs of a recent Wall Street Journal article about how smartphones spy on their users. The WSJ report detailed how apps on iPhones and Android phones gather personal information, including location, gender, age, contacts, and a phone’s unique identifier, and then pass that information along to advertisers. The suits focus on Apple’s disclosing iPhone and iPad users’ Unique Device ID (UDID) — basically a mobile device’s social security number, which, when disclosed, can be used to profile a Machead.

Re-gifting alert: since this occurs on the Android as well, Google may want to look out for a belated class action present. “We usually take the most meritorious action first and then work our way down,” says Majed Nachawati, one of the class action attorneys in the Freeman complaint. “Google is on the radar, but we haven’t taken any action against them yet.”

Read on at Forbes.com.

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