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!
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: email@example.com.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.
Whether you’re fresh off the bar exam or hitting your stride after hanging a shingle a few years ago, one thing’s for certain: independent attorneys who start a solo or small-law practice live with a certain amount of stress.
Non-attorneys would think the stress comes from preparing for a big trial, deposing a hostile witness, or crafting the perfect contract for a picky client.
But that’s nothing compared to the constant, nagging, real-life kind, the kind you get from the day-to-day grind of being a law-abiding attorney.
Connecticut plaintiffs-side boutique litigation firm (12 lawyers) seeks full-time associate with 2-4 years litigation experience, top tier undergraduate and law school education. Journal or clerkship experience a plus; highest ethical standards and strong work ethic required. Familiarity with Connecticut state court legal practice is preferred, but not required.
The firm handles sophisticated, high-end cases for plaintiffs, including individuals and businesses with significant claims in a wide array of matters. Our cases often have important public policy implications, and are litigated in state and federal courts throughout Connecticut. Representative areas of practice include medical malpractice, catastrophic personal injury, business torts, deceptive trade practices and other complex commercial litigation, and products liability.
Additional information can be located on our website, at www.sgtlaw.com.