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.
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…
Abraham Lincoln told a story about a lawyer who tried to establish that a calf had five legs by calling its tail a leg. But the calf had only four legs, Lincoln observed, because calling a tail a leg does not make it so…. Heeding Lincoln’s wisdom, and the requirements of the Copyright Act, we conclude that merely calling someone a copyright owner does not make it so.
* If you swap out a menorah and put in a dreidel, does your Hanukkah display avoid violating the Establishment Clause? I know, I know, WAR ON HANUKKAH. [Huffington Post]
* I wonder why Martha Minow (law dean, HLS) or Robert Post (law dean, YLS) doesn’t write an op-ed defending the value proposition of going to law school? Wouldn’t you like to hear this argument from somebody who isn’t desperate to fill their class seats? [Constitutional Daily]
* Isn’t the concept of the “last meal” the best thing about death row? Granted, that’s a low bar, but still. Having a last meal sounds so civilized. No wonder Texas and Florida want to take it away. [Legal Blog Watch]
* Do patent trolls have a weakness to fire, just like videogame trolls? Because, I’d like for them to get burned. [Business Insider]
* The fact that voter suppression doesn’t work doesn’t make it right. [Election Law Blog]
* Ignoring losses until they go away sounds like the basis of any sound financial strategy. [Dealbreaker]
On the day the iPhone 5 became available to the public, I wrote a post asking if the new smartphone might be a sign of the IP apocalypse. I’m not the only one, apparently.
Finally, the rumblings of discontent within the tech and legal industries haved boiled over into the mainstream. The New York Times wrote an extensive front-page story yesterday, chronicling the intellectual property arms race gripping the industry.
A lot of the subjects in the piece may be familiar to Above the Law’s readers. We’ve covered Apple’s schizophrenic attitude towards patents and the America Invents Act (and how it could affect one’s ability to patent bedroom gymnastics).
But let’s take a closer look and put it all in context…
Ed. note: This column will be about sports. And the law. And the intersection of those two things. And whatever the hell else Juggalo Law can come up with.
One summer during my childhood, I wanted nothing more than five copies of X-Force number one. I must have spent a solid two months harassing my mother and, when she finally had had enough, she relented, saying she’d buy the comic book for me if I hit a home run in my next little league game. She could have just said no. Because I didn’t stand a chance that summer. I was afraid of the ball and would flinch ever-so-gently as soon as the ball was pitched towards the plate. I’d try to catch up to its trajectory, but I was toast every single time. When the next game arrived, I had forgotten about my mom’s promise. And, in my last at-bat, I flinched, closed my eyes, and then swung at what I could only hope was the ball. Home run. My only home run. My sweetest accomplishment ever in baseball. My only accomplishment, really. As we walked into the house after the game, I loudly reminded my mom of her promise. She shrugged and continued inside. And that’s when my sister asked me one seemingly innocuous question. “What’s that on your pants?” Do I have to tell you, dear readers? Do I have to confess to you that there was urine on my otherwise clean and unfortunately bright white pants, a memento left in loving memory of my fear or my relief or my pride?
Fact is, I can’t really remember why I peed a little. LET’S TALK SPORTS!
So apparently Steve Jobs died last week? Perhaps you heard about it. Seems like everyone raced to their Zunes to eulogize the man who, quite literally, revolutionized the way we ignore homeless people on our walk to work. Just a whole lot of blubbering and crying and waxing poetic about iPads and Newtons and other fully assembled and ready-to-go computational machines. So yeah, he was a huge deal and I’m not sure how we’ll ever make it in his absence.
It would take a truly remarkable man’s death to overshadow the Apple guru’s passing. And so we can be thankful for Al Davis, who shuffled off this mortal coil on Saturday, slipping the surly bonds of earth, blah blah, whatever. I probably don’t need to tell you this, but Al Davis epitomized everything this website is about. Through sheer cunning and derring-do, Davis committed his life to two things: lawsuits and trolling the everliving s**t out of the most successful sports league this country has ever known.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We currently have a very exciting and rare type of in-house opening in China at one of the world’s leading internet and social media companies. Our client is looking for an IP Transactional / TMT / Licensing attorney with 2 to 6 years experience. The new hire will be based in Shenzhen or Shanghai. Mandarin is not required (deal documentation will be in English) but is preferred. A solid reason to be in China and a commitment to that market is required of course. This new hire will likely be US qualified (but could also be qualified in UK or other jurisdictions) and with experience and training at a top law firm’s IP transactional / TMT practice and could be currently at a law firm or in-house. Qualified candidates currently Asia based, Europe based or US based will be considered. The new hire’s supervisors in this technology transactions in-house team are very well regarded US trained IP transactional lawyers, with substantial experience at Silicon Valley firms. The culture and atmosphere in this in-house group and the company in general is entrepreneurial, team oriented, and the work is cutting edge, even for a cutting edge industry. The upside of being in an important strategic in-house position in this fast growing and world leading internet company is of the “sky is the limit” variety. Its a very exciting place to be in China for a rising IP transactional lawyer in our opinion, for many reasons beyond the basic info we can share here in this ad / post. This is a special A+ opportunity.
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