A few weeks back, Steve discussed Apple’s recent applications to register a trio of non-verbal trademarks.
This post contains the USPTO’s ultimate decision regarding the registrability of the design and layout of various application icons as part of a computer operating system, using rectangular geometric figures in rows. However, it isn’t a spoiler for Apple’s applications referenced above (those applications have yet to be assigned to an examining attorney).
No, instead, I’m referring to a since-abandoned application that provides some interesting contrast with Apple’s applications. In 2012, Microsoft filed an intent-to-use application for the mark shown below:
You remember that movie Ghost World? Me neither. It starred that girl from American Beauty and that girl from Lost in Translation and Steve Buscemi Eyes and the kid from The Client (R.I.P.). But none of that matters! What matters for our purposes today is that the plot involved signs from something called Coon Chicken Inn. Spoiler alert: that place actually existed! It was a chain of three fried chicken restaurants that trafficked in succulent breast meat and crazy f**king racism. According to its wiki entry, Coon Chicken Inn even possessed trademarks. Real, valid, honest-to-God trademarks.
This week, the Washington Redskins were adjudged to be more racist than Coon Chicken Inn. Well, not exactly. Specifically, the Redskins trademark was cancelled on the grounds that it was “disparaging to Native Americans.” You can read Elie’s take and the actual decision itself here.
But what if I told you that Coon Chicken Inn was just the tip of the racist iceberg? What if I told you that same iceberg is racist sexist, and homophobic? Is that an iceberg you would be interested in investigating?
Let’s muck around in the fever swamps of America’s offensive trademarks and the shaky legal edifice that has been erected around them, shall we?
This image constitutes fair use. Not that Washington can do much about it now anyway.
‘The Court concludes that the [Board’s] finding that the marks at issue ‘may disparage’ Native Americans is unsupported by substantial evidence, is logically flawed, and fails to apply the correct legal standard to its own findings of fact.’ Those aren’t my words. That was the court’s conclusion. We are confident that when a district court reviews today’s split decision, it will reach a similar conclusion.
Holy crap, it worked. Not the ads or the begging or a pointless debate with an implacable owner, but simply going through the legal system actually worked. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office cancelled six federal trademark registrations for the Washington Redskins. The office held that the marks could not be protected because they are “disparaging to Native Americans.”
Earlier this week, we discussed L.A.-based patent attorney Andrew Schroeder. For those who missed out on the first go-around, Schroeder penned a couple of blistering assaults on the quality of the USPTO’s work that were brought to the attention of University of Missouri Law Professor Dennis Crouch, who posted them on Patently-O.
But the story does not end there. Yesterday, I received an email from Andrew Schroeder pointing me to his blog post responding to Crouch (and, to a lesser extent, me). I found Schroeder’s original work to be professionally over the line — and at times a little offensive — but also very funny, so I was excited to see what the maestro of meltdown letters would say to his critics.
Does spending their lives poring over minuscule differences between the designs of mundane products drive IP lawyers mad?
After yesterday’s tale of a patent lawyer ripping not one, but two letters berating the “special” insights of the examiners of the USPTO, a tipster topped that outburst by directing us to the tale of an attorney who went over the examiners and tongue-lashed some trademark judges. Because if arguing the uniqueness of water sprinklers can drive someone crazy, arguing the uniqueness of a fabric patterns creates a new kind of super-crazy.
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…
Change is in the air! And it’s not just pollen. On the heels of an explosion of popular interest in (and subsequent boredom with) intellectual property, stemming from the Apple v. Samsung case, as well as new IP regulatory changes, the time is right to take IP reform to the streets! Let’s burn this mother down… or crowd-source it, at least.
A new partnership between the U.S. Patent Office, Google, and popular tech website Stack Exchange, will recruit average Americans to help end the patent wars. Take that, rounded corners!
Professor Joel P. Trachtman has developed a unique, practical guide to help lawyers analyze, argue, and write effectively.
The Tools of Argument: How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue, and Win is a highly readable 200-page book, available for about $10 in paperback or e-book. Chapters focus on foundational principles in legal argument: procedure, interpretation of contracts and statutes, use of evidence, and more. The material covered is taught only implicitly in law school. Yet, when up-and-coming attorneys master these straightforward tools, they will think and argue like the best lawyers.
For most attorneys, time spent managing the books is a necessary evil at best. Yet it is undeniably a crucial aspect of running a successful practice. With that in mind, we invite you to view or download a free webinar by Above the Law and our friends at Clio to learn how to better manage your finances.
Take this opportunity to learn what it takes to streamline your accounting and get the most out of your time. The webinar agenda:
● The basics of accounting for lawyers.
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● Steps to prepare your tax return for your firm’s income.
Do not miss this crucial chance to optimize your accounting practices. Save time and get back to billing!
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 seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney are still in Hong Kong and will stay FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK. We still have a handful of available slots for meetings with our Asia Chronicles fans. If we have not been in touch lately, reach out and let us know when we could meet! There is no need for an agenda at all. Most of our in-person meetings on these trips are with folks who understand that improving a legal practice through lateral hiring is an information-driven process that takes time to handle correctly.
Regarding trends in lateral US associate hiring in Hong Kong, we of course keep much of what we know off of this blog. Based on placement revenue, though, Kinney is having one of our most successful years ever in Asia. We are helping a number of our law firm clients with M&A, fund formation, cap markets, project finance, FCPA and disputes openings. These are very specific needs in many cases, so a conversation with us before jumping in may be helpful. As always, we like to be sure to get the maximum number of interviews per submission, using a well-informed, highly targeted, and selective approach, taking into account short, medium and long-term career aims.
Making a well informed decision during a job search is easier said than done – the information we provide comes from 10 years of being the market leader in US attorney placements at the top tier firms in Asia. There is no substitute for having known a hiring partner since he/she was an associate or for having helped a partner grow his or her practice from zip to zooming, and this is happily where we stand today – with years of background information on just about every relevant person in all the markets we serve, and most especially in Hong Kong/China/Greater Asia. So get in touch and get a download from us this week if we can fit it in, or soon in any case!