Washington Redskins

* Congrats to William Voge, who was elected as the new chairman of Latham & Watkins. He succeeds Robert Dell in this position, who is one of the Am Law 100′s longest-serving leaders. [Am Law Daily]

* Dewey’s former execs filed a motion to dismiss their criminal charges, lamenting the fact that the Manhattan DA made them “scapegoats” for the total failure of their firm. [DealBook / New York Times]

* A judge banned the Washington Redskins name from his court, proclaiming that the offensively monikered team shall be known only as “the Washington Team” in documents submitted. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid thinks that if it were up to Judge Judy, House Speaker John Boehner’s “show trial” suit against President Obama would be thrown out in “half a second.” Well then. [ABC News]

* A Michigan attorney was arraigned yesterday on a felony charge of homicide-solicitation of murder. It seems that the hired hitman warned his target. He’s not getting a good Yelp review. [UpNorthLive.com]

* If you’re an international student with a foreign law degree trying to get a law degree in the U.S., why the hell would you waste your money on a J.D.? Just get an LL.M. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

* Oh baby8: Nadya Suleman (formally doing business as Octomom) pleaded no contest to welfare fraud charges after she failed to report income from all of her public appearances and porn videos. [Reuters]

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?

We shall…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Your Legal Guide To Offensive Trademarks”

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.

Bob Raskopf of Quinn Emanuel, trademark counsel for the Washington pro football club, discussing yesterday’s ruling invalidating the club’s federal intellectual property rights in the name ‘Redskins.’ Yes, maybe there’s a judge who still thinks Native Americans only “may” find the term offensive, even though it’s labeled “offensive” in the DICTIONARY. Raskopf is betting that a judge will hear argument on the USPTO’s detailed, 177-page opinion and find it as lacking in evidence as Judge Kollar-Kotelly did in 2003 (except the D.C. Circuit specifically limited that decision to the issue of laches).

It’s a more interesting bet than whether they’ll win the division.

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.”

You see, not everything in this world is subject to the whim of a rich white man who doesn’t care about the people he’s offending. We are a nation of laws, and sometimes those laws even win!

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Patent Office Just Tomahawk-Chopped The ‘Redskins’ Trademark”

* Poe’s The Raven, if the narrator was a midlevel associate working on Christmas. Excerpt: As of someone slowly rapping, rapping at my office door. “‘Tis the janitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my office door — Likely here to clean the floor.” Ha. [Law Poetry]

* In the wake of Greece, a Satanist wants to open a government meeting with a Satanic prayer. When reached for comment, Dick Cheney said he was flattered. [Broward Palm Beach New Times]

* Dan Snyder is just awful. Now he’s sent a cease and desist letter to LaVar Arrington because Arrington describes himself as a “Redskins great.” Because if anyone around here is going to needlessly slur indigenous people, it’s going to be Dan Snyder. [Deadspin]

* Speaking of cease and desist letters, the one we talked about yesterday — sent over a bad Amazon review — has resulted in Amazon yanking the seller’s license. [ArsTechnica]

* Come on, lawyers. Clean up after yourselves. Especially if you’re just leaving Molly all over someone else’s car. [South Florida Lawyers]

* Guy in Alabama killed his wife, three dogs and a parrot after she sent a critical text. I know this is a tragedy, but as I saw the story all I could think is the parrot was somehow completely to blame. [AL.com]

* There’s still a slave plantation in the United States and it’s terrifying. [Policy Mic]

* Sometimes it’s worth remembering that we have it very easy as lawyers compared to some in other parts of the world. A lawyer representing a professor accused of blasphemy in Pakistan was gunned down last night. [The Volokh Conspiracy / Washington Post]

* A conversation with Solicitor General Donald Verrilli. The full interview is available after the jump… [California Lawyer]

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Non-Sequiturs: 05.09.14″

This is the delicate dance done between American cities and the NFL. The American city will bow, the NFL will embrace. They glide across the dancefloor of time and space, dipping and twirling, bumping and grinding. The city and the NFL become one as the dance reaches its climactic stage, the NFL gently caressing the city, like a mother might a child. As the music of the universe crescendos, the NFL will whisper gently into the willing city’s ear.

GIVE ME ALL YOUR F*$&ING MONEY, YOU DIRTY PIECE PIECE OF S&!*

The stadium is built and the dance is complete.

In upstate New York, this thrusting, rapey foxtrot is just getting started. Governor Cuomo, the Bills, Roger Goodell, they’ve all been invited. And so has a lawyer… natch.

Because the Bills need a new stadium and because they need a new owner. Because the state of New York drafted an attorney with tremendous upside potential.

Because all of this, let’s talk sports…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Ask Not What The NFL Can Do For Buffalo”

Yesterday, one of America’s most famous lawyers died. The repulsive apotheosis of homophobia, Fred Phelps, slithered off his mortal coil surrounded by the physical sensation of hatred and utterly alone… if his own brand of brimstone karmic retribution carries with it even a shred of truth. At any rate, old Fred was a lawyer back in his day. Back in the 70s, he was disbarred for calling a witness a “slut.” Sex is difficult and bewildering for some people.

As a youngster growing up in Kansas, I was familiar with Freddy’s wacky brand of hatred. I think I first encountered him protesting a Pat Robertson speech when I was in high school. Très dada, the 16-year-old me whispered to no one in particular. And so it was that I began to notice Fred Phelps, long before his military funeral protests and his national fame. In college at the University of Kansas, I encountered dozens of his protests. To a homophobe like Fred, Lawrence, Kansas, was Sodom itself. A den of iniquity quite pleased with itself, thank you. And so it was jarring when we all noticed Fred’s choice of attire to keep himself warm during those gross, cretinous, mid-January protests. A KU jacket.

With March Madness upon us and basketball open on another tab of the browser I’m typing on, I say unto you… Rock chalk Jayhawk, let’s talk sports…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Kansas To Win This National Championship For Fred”

So a lot of clients are jerks.

We all know it, it’s why lawyers are so terrible: we spend all our time taking out how awful some client is on others. But no one ever calls out the client in public, because we’re either too nice or too interested in keeping our business to ridicule our gravy train.

But then there are some lawyers who are big enough and important enough to become the Honey Badger and just rip clients on the radio.

Maybe this is one more advantage of being part of Skull & Bones….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “‘My Client Is a Jerk,’ Says Prominent Lawyer In Uncontrollable Fit of Honesty”

Scalia’s buddy?

* The Supreme Court’s Term opens today, and the conservative justices may have the opportunity to shift the law even further to the right when it comes to today’s social issues. [Los Angeles Times]

* In his Biglaw days, Chief Justice Roberts “gave his adversaries heartburn.” Now, his litigation skills serve the same purpose for those giving oral arguments before SCOTUS. [National Law Journal]

* It seems that in the end, Justice Ginsburg’s career choices have been whittled down to the lyrics found in one of The Clash’s catchiest songs: Should she stay or should she go now? [Washington Post]

* In other news, in case you were wondering, Justice Antonin Scalia, a firm believer in the Devil, is just as scary in real life as he is when he haunts your dreams (which is impressive!). [New York Magazine]

* “If this continues, it’s going to be very problematic.” Clients are very annoyed, and some Biglaw firms continue to worry about how the government shutdown will affect their bottom line. [New York Law Journal]

* The defections at night, are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas: Weil Gotshal’s Houston office is still leaking partners like a sieve. We’ll have more on these developments later today. [Law360 (sub. req.)]

* President Obama continues to comment on the important issues of the day. He’d “think about changing” the Redskins team name if he were its owner — just like this fired Quinn Emanuel associate. [CNN]

* Viva la raza! The federal government is too slow for California, so the governor signed a bill into law that will allow illegal immigrants to become licensed as lawyers. Congratulations to Sergio Garcia. [Reuters]

* No, we won’t remove that embarrassing story we wrote about you — but at least we’re not trying to charge you hundreds of dollars for its removal like those pesky mug shot websites. [New York Times]

I’m not really much of a football fan. To the extent I am, I hate the Redskins. In fact, I always root for Dallas.

– Justice Antonin Scalia, responding to a question from an audience member during a lecture the justice delivered in Houston on Friday.

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