Intellectual Property

There’s a very cool group out there called the Hacker Scouts, which was started last year, trying to get kids interested in cool hacking stuff:

Hacker Scouts is a national non profit organization, founded in the Fall of 2012 in Oakland CA, that focuses on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) education, skill building and community engagement with the aspiration to help our children develop skills in the areas they are truly interested in, abilities that would allow them to dream big and create big. A variety of experts and mentors from the community ensure a well rounded and high level of attention and skill building for all ages through accessible programs that meet the different needs of our young makers. Hacker Scouts provides open source material and a support program for Hacker Scout programs globally.

Awesome, right? Definitely the kind of thing that should be encouraged. But, then the Boy Scouts of America went ballistic and threatened the Hacker Scouts with trademark infringement claims…

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You’ve probably heard Robin Thicke’s magnum opus Blurred Lines this summer, whether you wanted to or not. For those who haven’t, ATL would like to welcome you home from your captivity at the hands of the Dread Pirate Roberts.

Blurred Lines is seemingly forced upon every American stepping more than 20 paces from the seclusion of their home. It is what is known as an earworm, too: a piece of music appealing enough on a core psychological level that the listener repeats it to themselves after the fact.

Now the artists behind this “genius” work — Thicke the Younger, Pharrell, and T.I. — have filed for declaratory judgment in federal court to protect their stake in the song from two different camps threatening to sue the trio for ripping off earlier works.

I’ve compiled clips of the allegedly offending (or, I guess, “allegedly non-offending,” given the posture) works. You can judge for yourselves….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “That Horrible Robin Thicke Song You’ve Been Listening To May Have Been Ripped Off”

Does your law school ROI look like this?

* Victoria Espinel, chief IP counsel to the White House (better known as the “copyright czar”), has stepped down. A tech or trade company will snap her up in 3… 2… [Corporate Counsel]

* Child custody train wreck alert: Baby Veronica of SCOTUS fame was in the news after her father was arrested for refusing to return his child to her adoptive parents. [ABC News]

* Rather than watching people pump gas, BP is watching people pump out lawsuits against the company at a rather alarming rate as a result of its 2010 oil spill. [Businessweek]

* Cynthia Brim, the Illinois judge who was reelected despite the fact that she was legally insane, finally had a complaint filed against her by the state’s judicial board for being just a little bit too kooky for court. [Chicago Tribune]

* Your degree might not be worth a million dollars, but if you went to one of these schools, you probably got a good bank for your buck. We’ll have more on this later. [The Short List / U.S. News & World Report]

* The fight over attorneys’ fees in the antitrust lawsuits filed against BARBRI continues rage on, and class members still haven’t received a penny — which is all they’d really get, anyway. [National Law Journal]

* Congratulations to Newark Mayor and Yale Law alumnus Cory Booker! Last night, he handily won the New Jersey Democratic primary election for the late U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg’s seat. [CBS News]

I mean suing the bejeezus out of Goldman Sachs. And likely a number of other high-profile financial players.

Not over something mundane like the whole “taking part in collapsing the global economy” thing. That’s been discussed to death. I’m talking about something much more concrete and, apparently, easy to establish.

People sometimes derisively call bankers pirates, but it turns out they may be right. Software pirates, at least.

In this month’s issue of Vanity Fair, Michael Lewis looks at the prosecution of former Goldman Sachs programmer Sergey Aleynikov. In addition to detailing the outsized influence large banks have over the justice system and the ease with which the system can break down when the facts of a case are too complex for lay jurors, Lewis uncovers a small nugget that he doesn’t really pursue, but that could be trouble for Wall Street….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Shouldn’t Somebody Be Suing Goldman Sachs Right Now?”

* Whitey Bulger was convicted on 31 of the 32 counts he faced. [NBC News]

* Eric Holder announced that the federal government will stop charging certain drug offenders with crimes that carry draconian mandatory minimum sentences. Apparently, he just now realized the prison system is riddled with non-violent offenders. The last horses are finally crossing the finish line, folks! [Washington Post]

* Johnny Manziel has hired counsel for his upcoming NCAA probe. Surprise, surprise, it’s Champ Kind from Anchorman. [Jim Darnell]

* As a follow-up, the lawyer who filed suit against his ex-wife for bad mothering is facing ethics charges in an unrelated matter where he wrote a will giving his own kids 40 percent of his client’s estate. It take something special to try and slip that one past the goalie. [ABA Journal]

* The former escort behind the nom de plume Belle de Jour, whose exploits gave rise to a TV show, is being sued for defamation by an old boyfriend who claims her sexploits are a lie. If you can’t trust a detailed diary of sexual experiences, what can you trust? [Jezebel]

* Here are the top energy law priorities facing Congress after they return from summer recess. Repealing Obamacare, Congress’s only priority, is not an energy policy. [Breaking Energy]

* For IP attorney LOLZ, here’s a fun Tumblr. [IP Attorney]

* A law student at Wisconsin has developed a system that allows easy stalking of someone’s smartphone. While this makes him sound like a jerk, his intention is to prove how unacceptable this lack of privacy really is. It’s not stalking if it’s proving a point! [Ars Technica]

* The Sixth Circuit thinks the emergency manager law in Michigan may violate the state’s constitution. This could throw the whole Detroit bankruptcy into doubt. There’s a lot of talk about how this could help city pensioners, but let’s focus on the victims it could cause — what would happen to Jones Day’s billings? [Constitutional Law Prof Blog]

A few months back, we covered New York State’s unfortunate decision to engage in base IP trolling. The state farmed out its rights to a property rights management firm, who then started bringing outrageous claims alleging violations of Albany’s trademark on “I ♥ NY.” Specifically, the firm in question not only pressured a coffeehouse into ending its “I [coffee cup] NY” campaign, but then asked for an accounting of the profits to calculate a damages claim.

Sadly, New York has not since exited the trolling world.

A couple weeks back, a new set of attorneys for the New York State Department of Economic Development — the agency holding the trademark — sent a threatening letter to a model train manufacturer.

And the manufacturer fired back in kind…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “All Aboard the IP Trolling Train! New York Continues Harassing Over ‘I ♥ NY’”

* PepsiCo can no longer label its Naked juices as “natural” because the only place you can find more unnatural substances in something naked is in a Vivid Video production. [New York Daily News]

* The New Yorker shines a light on the world of civil asset forfeiture. In honor of Shark Week, the article should have spent a lot more time on the United States v. Approximately 64,695 Pounds of Shark Fins case. [The New Yorker]

* Thomas J. Kim, the Chief Counsel and Associate Director of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Corporation Finance since 2007, is going to be a partner at Sidley Austin. Don’t let the revolving door hit you on the way out! [Bloomberg Businessweek]

* Whatever happened to Shinyung Oh, author of the incendiary Paul Hastings departure memo? An update. [Capricious Bubbles]

* 10 reasons lawyers say the prosecutors botched the George Zimmerman trial. [AlterNet]

* As we predicted, the four patent litigation partners leaving Finnegan, as well as six other IP lawyers, are joining Winston & Strawn. [Winston & Strawn]

* How do you react when colleagues endorse you on LinkedIn for skills you don’t practice? Take a look…

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* “Our graduates have a history of going to small firms, DAs and public defenders’ offices. We don’t have the employment swings that big law schools have because their graduates are focused on more elite firms,” says the dean of law school that costs $185,214 to attend. Certainly all of those students at the District Attorney’s office are making enough bank to pay that off. [Daily Report]

* Looking to avoid jury duty? Practice some F-Bombs. [Lowering the Bar]

* Copyright carries with it a substantial weakness — most publishers would rather reprint public domain works than deal with authors. [The Atlantic]

* 75 percent of IP counsel are either litigating with patent trolls or expect to in the next 12 months. The other 25 percent just represent really sh**ty products. [Consero]

* A former attorney is aiming to crowdfund her invention, a 3-in-1 kitchen tool. [Gambas and Grits]

* Several State Attorneys General want to make it easier to go after bloggers because narrowly tailored laws are for suckers. [Popehat]

* A tipster sent us this from Facebook. This is the best tattoo of Lady Justice ever. Picture after the jump…

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Ed. note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts from the ATL Career Center’s team of expert contributors. Today, Kristina Tsamis shares some career advice for JD/MBAs from a panel discussion hosted by Duke Law in conjunction with other peer law schools.

We spend a lot of time discussing the dismal employment outcomes for JD grads. Things aren’t so rosy for MBA graduates either. To talk about a dual JD/MBA degree in this context seems like a double fail — a one-two punch of more work and potentially more debt in exchange for the same sad outcome.

Enter the panelists of How to Use the JD/MBA Degree in Business and Entrepreneurship: all JD/MBA graduates who touted the usefulness of a dual degree during a discussion hosted by Duke Law in conjunction with other peer law schools. The panelists centered their advice on four main areas: what to focus on while pursuing the dual degree, how to select a good mentor, how to interview well, and how to stop being risk-averse.

1. Maintain the Right Focus as a JD/MBA student

That class in early English case law will leave you painfully ill-equipped for the modern practice of law. But there are some courses you should be paying attention to, both on the JD and MBA side.

Continue reading at the ATL Career Center…

On the “Our Professionals” section of its website, Finnegan Henderson boasts that it has “375 lawyers focused on IP.” It may be time to revise that downward: “371 lawyers focused on IP.”

Last night, the high-powered, intellectual-property-focused firm announced four notable partner departures. The Finnegan partners in question practice in the generally hot area of IP litigation (although we’ve heard anecdotal reports of cooling, including stealth layoffs of IP litigators — see here and here).

Who are the departing Finnegan partners, and where are they going?

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