Intellectual Property

I have to admit that I’m still a bit surprised that pop-up/pop-under advertisements still exist. The concept is so annoying and so anti-consumer that pretty much all browsers figured out ways to build in pop-up blockers many, many years ago. Every so often one gets through (almost always advertising Netflix, by the way), and I get annoyed and try to remember never to visit that site again. However, Paul Keating alerts us to the news that a company called “ExitExchange” now claims to hold a patent on pop-up ads, and has sued seven porn sites and two travel companies [Ed. note: this link is from a porn industry publication so it's "safe-ish" for work, but be warned] for using them without a license.

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In case you don’t know by now, many lawyers — maybe even you — enjoy writing cease and desist letters in a foreign language called legalese. This exotic tongue often contains Latin phrases, SAT vocabulary words, and various here-and-there words (e.g., herein, heretofore, hereinafter, hereunder, thereof, thereto, therewith, thereunder, therefor, thereon, and therefrom).

A person unfamiliar with legalese may become frightened and run to another attorney for help in deciphering this mystical language of lawyerly legend. The lawyer who has been tasked with translating legalese to English may then become annoyed, and issue a scathingly funny letter in return.

For an example of a great response to a cease and desist letter, keep reading….

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Here are three true statements:

(1) Monopolies are generally illegal.
(2) Like baseball, patents make monopoly laws get a little funky.
(3) Courts really really really like to encourage settlements.

So, when two companies get together, and work out a settlement that makes a whole patent infringement lawsuit go away, and the only objection is that pesky Federal Trade Commission complaining that the settlement is anticompetitive, you can understand why a federal court could meditate on points (2) and (3) and dismiss that FTC complaint.

Yet, in FTC v. Actavis, the Supreme Court yesterday made it harder to settle some patent infringement suits, saying that sometimes a settlement of a lawsuit can be an antitrust problem.

How?

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* Marshall University is no longer a defendant in a case about a student shooting bottle rockets out of his anus. So from now on your sum total knowledge of the Thundering Herd involves the movie We Are Marshall and “shooting bottle rockets out of anuses.” [West Virginia Record]

* Documentary filmmaker files suit seeking declaratory judgment that “Happy Birthday to You” is in the public domain. Why hasn’t everyone just accepted Larry Lessig’s new birthday song? [New York Times]

* Men tend to think professional dress is one part white/blue shirt and one part brown/black/navy slacks. There’s more to it than that. Well, if you want to look good at all, there’s more to it than that. [Corporette]

* Market realities catch up with law school plans. Pour a little out for the proposed Arlington Law School. [ARL Now]

* Rough legal question: Should the U.S. refuse to send a child to a country employing Islamic family law? [Volokh Conspiracy]

* A federal judge ordered HHS to give a little girl a lung transplant. Popehat wonders who lost out on a transplant in this exchange. I’m wondering why there aren’t more lung donors out there. [Popehat]

I don’t know about you, but the first thing I did on social media this morning was follow @KUBoobs, which then led me to follow @UKboobs and @Mizzouboobs. And then I remembered that I’m a goddamn 35-year-old married man, these women are in college, and didn’t really need to follow these accounts to do “research” for this story. Then I followed @JonesDay, which is kind of like throwing a pack of gum on the checkout scanner after ringing up a tube of K-Y.

In any event, the point is that there is a Twitter account called @KUBoobs which involves girls provocatively wearing Kansas Basketball gear (I suppose they could wear KU Football gear but, c’mon) and sending the pictures to the account to be posted online. The best ideas are the most simple.

Now, you’re not going to believe this, but this account is not sanctioned by the university. Shocking, I know.

But what actually is surprising is that some people at the University’s office, probably some pervs who were “tempted” to spend their whole work day on the site, tried to get their lawyers to shut it down. Do old people really know nothing about the internet?

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A gal from the Garden State.

* Meow! An ethics complaint has been filed against Judge Edith Jones, the judicial diva herself, over insensitive comments about race and the death penalty that she made at Penn Law. [San Antonio Express-News]

* In the pissing contest over judicial confirmations, it’s fair to say that Obama’s recent nominees to the D.C. Circuit won’t receive a hearing, much less be confirmed, any time soon. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* Nobody likes patent trolls, not even the president. Obama went on the offensive yesterday, promising to curb unwarranted intellectual property litigation filed by pesky profiteers. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Speaking of patents, there’s a new exchange being formed for public trading rights. Please welcome the Intellectual Property Exchange International, the first exchange platform of its kind. IP: so hot right now. [DealBook / New York Times]

* After a review of evidence that Colorado movie theater shooting suspect James Holmes was whacked out of his mind at the time of the shooting, he was allowed to enter an insanity plea. [Bloomberg]

* The judge in the Oscar Pistorius case has adjourned the track star’s legal proceedings until August on account of a “trial by media.” We’ll probably continue to speculate about it until then. [New York Times]

* A woman is suing because she got her ass kicked by a gang of hookers at a Florida hotel. She claims the prostitutes thought she was infringing on their territory. Nope — she’s just a Jersey girl. [Fox News]

“Siri? How do I commit a massive breach of my professional and ethical obligations?”

As previewed in Morning Docket, a partner at Morgan Lewis & Bockius allegedly patent-trolled a firm client.

I say “allegedly” not to suggest there’s any question over whether the partner owned the trolling company, but because the partner claims he had no involvement in the decision to sue his firm’s most prominent tech client. Even if he didn’t, it hardly sounds kosher.

Whatever his precise role, he might have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for that meddling privilege log…

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Forget horse heads — this is what you wake up to if you try to unionize at Burger King.

* Burger King sells burgers by celebrating that they are built with fictional union labor while actively interfering with workers forming real unions. This would be too much hypocrisy for some, but Burger King gets to have it its way. [Buzzfeed]

* I cannot top the subject line from the tipster: “Obama calls the nation to arms on trade secret theft, but the nation is at the mall.” [Orrick]

* A review of Logan Beirne’s new book Blood of Tyrants: George Washington & the Forging of the Presidency (affiliate link). I wonder what George Washington would say if the Senate blocked his judicial nominees? [Washington Times]

* Step One: Collect cash from government for doing business in downtown Manhattan. Step Two: “Close” the firm and move all the partners and cases to Blank Rome. Step Three: Refuse to pay back the money. [Thompson Reuters News & Insight]

* Why does everyone want to go to law school? I figured it was just to compete in the ATL Law Revue competition. [The League of Ordinary Gentlemen]

* Be nicer to the sea cows! [Lowering the Bar]

* This Craigslist job posting under “Legal/Paralegal Jobs” in San Diego: Accidental listing or sadly prophetic commentary on the legal job market? Just in case someone removes the listing, I’ll post a screenshot after the jump…

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Move over Prenda, there’s a new IP troll in town and it’s New York State.

Or at least the third-party agency assigned to protect New York’s trademark, and it’s harassing everyone it can find over an iconic image that few would recognize as a trademark.

But what elevates this trolling to a new level is that enforcing this trademark actually frustrates the mission of the holder. And isn’t promoting the business of the holder kind of the whole point of intellectual property protection?

And what really elevates this case is that the IP troll is literally sticking it to the Everyman…

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I’ve always liked the state of Vermont — but mainly because it was a nice place to visit. But, now the state appears to be declaring war on patent trolls. A new anti-patent trolling law has been quietly enactedH.299, which targets patent trolls. Or, as it says “bad faith assertions of patent infringement.” It does this by amending the state’s consumer protection laws, to give tools to judges to recognize when patent litigation is done in bad faith (i.e., for trolling, rather than legitimate reasons)…

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