Intellectual Property

College basketball tipped off on Friday, but the biggest NCAA win of the night was in another kind of court. The legal kind… not the “deck of an aircraft carrier” kind. After months of speculation, Judge Claudia Wilken handed down her ruling in the class certification motion in the Ed O’Bannon suit.

If you haven’t been following the O’Bannon case, the former UCLA star heads up a group of current and former players suing the NCAA for improperly restraining players from negotiating the use of their own likenesses on everything from calendars and jerseys to broadcasting contracts and video games.

Judge Wilken’s ruling changes the landscape of the case and sets the parties on a collision course for trial in June. It also makes the NCAA very, very happy…

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It would take an heroic effort of explication to derive such a conclusion from their words and informal email exchanges. And to read Phillips’s or Z-Trip’s words to convey a contract to cede Monster such rights would flout common sense. Phillips, a former forestry and ski-industry worker with no evident legal expertise, never raised any such questions with Z-Trip, or reflected any awareness of the copyright interests that Monster would need to acquire or license to bring the promotional Video it contemplated into compliance with copyright law.

Judge Paul A. Engelmayer, ripping a claim by Monster Energy that it received a license to advertise with a mashup of Beastie Boys songs because the D.J. who created the mashup said “Dope!” As Spin magazine puts it, Monster’s argument was that the aforementioned word “could function as some sort of license-giving, legally binding term. Really.”

* In 1967, Hunter S. Thompson explored the wild and crazy world of the Hell’s Angels. In 2008, FX premiered Sons of Anarchy. In 2013, the Hell’s Angels are filing intellectual property suits. Hard. F**king. Core. [Houston Chronicle]

* Who’s your favorite Disney princess? I’d say RBG. [Women You Should Know]

* Some folks are scared that recent FERC settlements are too aggressive and could “unravel the entire power market.” That’s either hyperbole or the scariest thing in the universe ever. [Breaking Energy]

* Loyola Law School started a fashion law program to serve this burgeoning industry. Pretty interesting stuff. And if you want to meet Staci Riordan, the woman responsible for setting up this program, join our Staci Zaretsky in L.A. on November 12, when she hosts a panel of fashion law experts including Riordan . It’s dueling Stacis! [Fashionista]

* The discriminating woman’s guide to buying pearls. I figured y’all just pulled identical necklaces out of a drawer like Marge Simpson. [Corporette]

* In cases of sex abuse, the expert witness is incredibly important. [The Expert Institute]

* Here’s a look at what may be next for Judge Scheindlin, who gave interviews revealing her bias because she said stuff like the government is not entitled to deference and should be forced to make its case. Oh my God, IMPEACH!!! [Ramblings on Appeal]

* Speaking of Judge Scheindlin, Elie was on HuffPo Live today discussing the ruling. Video embedded after the jump (around 11:08)….

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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.

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Here at Above the Law, we’ve brought our readers great responses to cease and desist letters on multiple occasions (see e.g., here and here). It’s about time we shared an epic cease and desist letter with you.

This C&D letter is of great importance to those of you watching the World Series and rooting against the Boston Red Sox. The American Mustache Institute (yes, that exists) allegedly sent this creative piece of genius to Ed Weiss, who serves as the team’s general counsel. It seems the AMI objects to the team’s display of facial hair, claiming that hirsute players — like Mike Carp, Jonny Gomes, Dustin Pedroia, Ryan Dempster, Mike Napoli, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and David Ross — have “harness[ed] facial hair towards athletic excellence,” thereby infringing upon AMI’s trademark on the “Sexually Dynamic Mustached American Lifestyle.”

This is something you’ll definitely want to read…

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* Affirmative action is again being put to the test before the Supreme Court, but this time, we’re not so sure the justices will punt the ball like last time. The countdown to one of Elie’s epic rants on race in America starts in 3, 2, 1… [National Law Journal]

* The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is open for business, but the government shutdown has pretty much brought work at both the International Trade Commission and the Federal Trade Commission to a complete standstill. May they live to fight patent trolls another day. [Corporate Counsel]

* Good news, everyone! Many Biglaw firms have changed the way they make their real estate and office space decisions, primarily because “maintaining profitability has become very challenging.” [GlobeSt.com]

* Here’s another list of the law schools where you can get the most bang for your buck — except it neglects to mention what percentage of the class responded to these salary questions. Oops! [PolicyMic]

* Just saying, but if you’re applying to a law school on an early decision basis, it’s helpful if you actually want to go to that law school above all others. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

* The author of Even Greater Response to a Cease & Desist Letter fame sent the ATL office some glitter pens because Staci asked for one in the comments. Keep being awesome Andrew Delaney! [Twitter]

* Tired of the National Zoo Panda Cam? A USPTO attorney has created the Substitute Panda Cam. I wonder if the cam will survive the shutdown. [Substitute Panda Cam]

* Well, wonder no more! Here’s a rundown of how the shutdown is treating the intellectual property world. [Patently-O]

* So if you’re part of the intellectual property legal regime that’s shut down (or any government employee off because of the shutdown), here’s a list of all the drinking specials in D.C. you can use to fill your day. [Washington Post]

* An update on Bike Dude. [Racked]

* Some advice on handling terrible clients. Alternate title: 50 Shades of Grey. [The Careerist]

* St. Charles Parish Judge Michele Morel has finally agreed to recuse herself in a trial over the rape of a 10-year-old girl. And why should she have recuse herself? Just because she has a personal relationship with the defendant’s family? Pshaw! [Times-Picayune]

* Happy 100th birthday to income tax! Back then, someone with around $12 million (in 2013 dollars) paid about 7 percent in taxes. Meanwhile, today that same person would pay… well, with deductions and carried interest exceptions, probably about 7 percent. [TaxProf Blog]

In our recent look at Texas law firms, the firm of Baker Botts placed sixth out of six surveyed firms. But there are some things cooking down there that could cause the dough to rise.

Perhaps taking advantage of the recent turmoil in the Texas offices of Weil Gotshal, Baker Botts just nabbed a lateral from WGM: Nicolas Barzoukas, an IP litigator in Houston. We don’t yet know whether other attorneys are making the same move, but it’s possible. Neither Baker Botts nor Weil responded to our requests for comment, but we do note that Barzoukas’s bio is gone from Weil’s website. (We’ve posted a cached version at the end of this story.)

So that’s the good news about Baker Botts. Now, on to the bad….

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In vino veritas — about unannounced transactions.

Here’s some friendly advice: when you’re drunk, try to keep your mouth shut. Or at least keep your work-related thoughts to yourself. This is certainly true for junior lawyers, but it goes for partners as well.

According to a complaint just filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, an IP partner at a leading law firm had a few too many drinks, then got a little “TMII” — “too much (inside) information” — with his investment adviser. That adviser then traded on the material, nonpublic information, the SEC alleges….

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Folks love Game of Thrones. Maybe it’s the intricate storytelling, the impeccable acting, the allure of high fantasy, or the fact that all the exposition is done by naked prostitutes. Whatever it is, the show is a hit and everyone clamors to watch it.

Unfortunately, lots of people want to watch it illegally. Even the New York Times is watching it illegally.

And when students use a school network to stream Game of Thrones, it can clog up the works and bottleneck the Internet faster than Walder Frey can lock down passage over the Trident…

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