Patents

There’s something beautiful about watching someone have a full meltdown. There’s a primal insanity that spews forth during a complaint-filled rant. It’s what makes movies like Network and Falling Down such enjoyable romps.

Attorneys aren’t immune to meltdowns, but they usually reserve them for a legal secretary, hapless associate, or beleaguered co-counsel. Anything to keep the episode shielded from the prying eyes of ATL.

Which makes a patent attorney’s public freakout on the USPTO itself so much more entertaining.

Prepare a Bingo card for the over-the-top references you expect to see in these rants (yep, plural). Here’s a freebie for the center square: mocking the Special Olympics…

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It doesn’t have to be this way.

If someone asks you whether they should go to law school, here is a very safe response: “Sure, provided that you get into a top law school and can go for free.” Even the biggest critics of legal education would admit that, assuming you want to be a lawyer, going for free to an elite law school is not a bad idea. See, e.g., Professor Paul Campos, Don’t Go To Law School (Unless) (affiliate link).

How can this be achieved? It’s not impossible. As we’ve mentioned before, more than 10 percent of law students graduate with zero debt, and another 5 percent or so graduate with less than $20,000 in student loans. Some of these students receive generous scholarships from their schools; others have savings or come from well-to-do families.

But there are other options. For example, does your employer offer tuition reimbursement?

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* “I don’t believe judges should be filibustered.” Tell that to the rest of your Republican pals, Senator Hatch. D.C. Circuit nom Sri Srinivasan faced little drama at the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday. [Bloomberg]

* A bipartisan gun regulation deal has been reached in the Senate, and of course the NRA is opposing it — well, except for the parts that expand gun rights. The group really likes those parts. [Washington Post]

* Trolling for patent partners? Bingham recently snagged five IP partners from DLA Piper’s Los Angeles office, including the former co-chair of DLA patent litigation department. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Time well spent: while Detroit hangs on the precipice of bankruptcy, local politicians are worrying about whether retaining Jones Day poses a conflict of interest for their emergency manager (Kevyn Orr, formerly of Jones Day). [Am Law Daily]

* NYLS — or should we say “New York’s law school” — is revamping its clinical program to kill two birds with one stone (e.g., fulfilling pro bono hours and boosting job prospects). [National Law Journal]

* For all the talk of his being a hard ass, Judge Rakoff is a nice guy after all! The judge gave an ex-SAC trader permission to go on a honeymoon after his release from prison. [DealBook / New York Times]

* If you’ve ever wondered how Lat spends his free time, sometimes he’s off writing book reviews for distinguished publications. Check out his review of Mistrial (affiliate link) here. [Wall Street Journal]

* “Lindsay Lohan is the victim.” What the Heller you talking about? LiLo’s lawyer thinks there’s a conspiracy among the prosecutors on her case that’s resulted in leaks of information to TMZ. [CNN]


Patricia A. Martone

“You can’t eat the orange and throw the peel away — a man is not a piece of fruit.”

— Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman (affiliate link)

Take this famous line and replace “man” with “law firm partner,” and you’ve captured the gist of the lawsuit against Ropes & Gray brought by Patricia Martone, who alleges age and sex discrimination by her former firm. (Martone, a former IP litigation partner at Ropes, is now a Morrison & Foerster partner.)

When I broke the news of this lawsuit back in 2011, I expected a speedy settlement. Would Ropes really want to go toe to toe with a pair of high-powered litigatrices, namely, Martone and her formidable employment lawyer, Anne Vladeck?

But here we are, two years later, and the battle rages on. Ropes has hired a third leading litigatrix to defend itself. Let’s learn the latest news….

(Note the multiple UPDATES at the end of this post.)

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* A former general counsel has settled a case with the SEC alleging a slew of backdated options. It was suspicious when all the options were backdated to October 30, 1929. [ABA Journal; The Recorder]

* “If Microsoft Shuts Down Google Maps In Germany, How Does That Benefit The Public?” Um, it makes it harder for them to find Poland! Duh. [TechDirt]

* Senator Ted Cruz is having a rough go of it in the Senate. He’s already been publicly ripped by fellow Republicans John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Then he raised the ire of Senator Diane Feinstein, who has exactly zero patience for his crap. [Jezebel]

* Based on the description, HLN is licking its chops. [Craigslist]

* Supreme Court bobbleheads! I’m particularly impressed by Justice Brandeis riding the railroad. [Justices For Sale]

* To get yourself wound up for March Madness, here’s a fictional lawyer bracket from Constitutional Daily. Jack McCoy didn’t even make the field so this won’t be a repeat of the Above the Law winner. [Constitutional Daily]

* Lifting the amazing disappearing cloak over merit scholarships. [TaxProf Blog via National Jurist]

* Lawyer cited as the good guy in a punchline. Hurray! [OMFG Meme]

* Video after the jump of Lindsay Lohan showing up late for court, and getting a surprise gift from the crowd…

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Will review documents for a sense of dignity?

* “Do you know which state has the worst ratio of white voter turnout to African American voter turnout? Massachusetts.” Sorry, Chief Justice Roberts, but the Bay State’s top elections official begs to differ with your assessment. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* This retired SCOTUS justice — the first woman to ever serve on the nation’s highest court — now refers to herself as “an unemployed cowgirl.” We wonder what Justice Scalia will refer to himself as in interviews after he retires. [Sacramento Bee]

* Mayer Brown wasn’t the only Biglaw firm that had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year. Dorsey & Whitney’s 2012 revenue was also at a six-year low, but firm leaders think they can turn it around. [Star Tribune]

* Billion-dollar patent verdicts, so hot right now: 2012 was a “banner year” for for Biglaw firms representing winning clients, with K&L Gates leading the pack for the highest monetary award. [National Law Journal]

* “I wouldn’t want to be coming out of law school now.” Oh my God, you guys, the legal job market is still really tough for brand-spanking new law grads. This is new information that no one’s heard before. [Buffalo News]

Sir Robin and clerks [File Photo]

The “revolving door” between government service and the private sector often raises eyebrows. Regulators drawn from high-paying jobs in the industry, only to return to their old gigs after a few years of writing the rules just feels wrong to most people. Larry Lessig even created some Venn diagrams to illustrate the extent of the problem.

The revolving door problem afflicts the UK as well, but they just ignore it by pretending that their classy accents will distract everyone from the glaring conflicts.

Like Sir Robin Jacob, a former Lord Justice who takes advantage of a quirk of the UK legal system to continue adjudicating cases even after his 2011 retirement. The judge once laid a smackdown on Apple for mistreating Samsung.

Guess where he works now?

Spoiler alert: It rhymes with “Hambung.” What exactly is going on here and is this really OK?

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The facts in today’s Supreme Court opinions read like a bloopers reel of our courts system. What do we do when judges are wrong on the law in a criminal case? What if a plaintiff decides, after losing, that he filed in a state court when the state court didn’t have jurisdiction? What if a lawyer doesn’t tell his client that by pleading guilty he’s going to be deported?

As Yakov Smirnoff would say, “What a country!

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When Rick told Ilsa that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world, he was right, because a hill of beans is worth a whole hell of a lot thanks to Monsanto.

Today, the Supreme Court will hear argument in Bowman v. Monsanto Co., an appeal from the Federal Circuit regarding the extent of Monsanto’s rights in patented, genetically modified soybean seeds. In addition to the obvious stakes for the agricultural sector, the decision could impact the entire biotechnology industry, as well as computer software and nanotechnology. I mean, I want to know who holds the patent when the grey goo overruns the planet!

So, who are the players and why do they care?

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‘They stole [accreditation] from us. Sneaky little ABA. Wicked, tricksy, false!’ — FAMU Law

Ed. note: Due to the Presidents’ Day holiday, we will be on a reduced publication schedule today. We will be back in full swing tomorrow. We hope you enjoy your day off (or feel free to lament your lack thereof in the comments).

* “[T]hey don’t want to hear nothing.” Vedel Browne, the man accused of robbing Stephen Breyer at machete-point while the justice was vacationing in his home in the Caribbean, now claims that he’s innocent, mon. [St. Kitts-Nevis Observer]

* You know what, the farmer in the Super Bowl commercial probably didn’t have to deal with bullsh*t like Monsanto’s seed patents, but today’s farmers do, and they’ll argue their case before the Supreme Court this week. [New York Times]

* “I’m a betting man. And I would bet and give odds that Sullivan & Cromwell has never said that publicly.” Who dares question S&C’s stance in the hot mess that is Herbalife? None other than Carl Icahn. [Am Law Daily]

* Here’s an important Biglaw math lesson that’s been provided to us via California-based firms like Irell & Manella, Munger Tolles, and Orrick: a little revenue minus a lot of partners equals profitability. [Recorder]

* Amid a flurry of filings on Valentine’s Day, love must’ve been a battlefield for the embattled Dewey & LeBoeuf refugees who were in desperate search of their once promised 2011 bonuses. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* From the department of things that suck: having to defend your office’s alleged “underhanded tactics” in a $150 million wrongful conviction case while you’re trying to get re-elected as district attorney. [New York Times]

* We got bitches in the office lawyerin’ on, and they ain’t leavin’ till six in the mornin’ — unless they want to be fired. An ex-Travers Smith trainee claims she was canned for leaving the firm “early”… at 6:30 a.m. [Telegraph]

* If it weren’t for Cosmo, this woman wouldn’t have known her landlord was an alleged creeper. A Maryland lawyer now faces criminal charges for allegedly filming his female tenants in the nude. [Washington Post]

* “We wants it, we needs it. Must have the precious!” The ABA officially put Florida A&M on notice that its law school accreditation may be in jeopardy if they don’t shape up in terms of bar passage. [Orlando Sentinel]

* What do you do the second you step off a cruise ship that’s been described as “a floating toilet, a floating petri dish, a floating hell”? You grab the very first lawyers you see, and sue! [Nation Now / Los Angeles Times]

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