In our most recent practice area survey of the Above the Law readership, the most popular single response was “Intellectual Property.” Eighteen percent of survey respondents identified themselves as IP attorneys.
So many of you might be interested in the latest controversy to heat up the small-firm blogosphere. If you’re an IP lawyer, if you work at a small law firm, or if you’re a law student who enjoys intellectual-property hypotheticals, keep reading….
After a 16-year-long fight, Valentino has prevailed in litigation with Florence Fashions over the use of the Valentino trademark. Read an interesting interview with Valentino’s lawyer, Anne Sterba, and comment — over at our sister site, Fashionista.
No, this isn’t about a lawsuit arising out of the writing of Animal Farm II: Sharks on Retainer — but who knows, my original thought for a post title might be subject to trademark infringement.
More on that later; for now, let’s turn our attention to this delicious product offered by ThinkGeek (which went on sale April 1, 2010):
As a connoisseur of unicorn delicacies, I was annoyed when the ThinkGeek people exposed this product to the general pubic. We’ve already got the Care Bears on our ass; we certainly don’t need PETA getting wind of this tasty treat.
But who knew that this entirely fictional April Fool’s joke would come to the attention of the National Pork Board and their legal representatives at Faegre & Benson…
Legal battles over Native American mascots are being waged in both the professional and college sports arenas. The New York Times reports that the controversy over the Fighting Sioux of the University of North Dakota has gotten more complicated.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association advised the school, along with 17 other universities, to change its mascot three and half years ago, says Ashby Jones at the WSJ Law Blog. While other universities acquiesced, the Fighting Sioux fought back, filing a lawsuit against the NCAA.
The suit was starting to wind down, and the name was to change soon says the NYT, until members of the Sioux tribe decided to file a lawsuit of their own. To keep the name. They’re proud of it:
The members from Spirit Lake behind the lawsuit assert that many of the American Indians opposed to the Fighting Sioux nickname are simply from tribes other than the Sioux, and are jealous of all the recognition. (Opponents call this absurd.)
Eunice Davidson, 57, who says she is “full blood” and “grew up on this reservation” tells the New York Times: “I have to tell you, I am very, very honored that they would use the name.”
When we interviewed Amanda Blackhorse, a member of the Navajo Nation who has a petition pending before the Trademark Board about the Washington Redskins name, she expressed skepticism about Native Americans who defend tribal mascot names. She said they are in the minority.
This week, Fordham Law professor Sonia Katyal penned a column for Findlaw about the IP and First Amendment issues when it comes to racialized symbols. Why do we object to “Wong Brothers” but embrace the “Skins”?
For most of us, today is Thanksgiving! For a small segment of the population, today is the 2009 National Day of Mourning. The United American Indians of New England describe the day as:
An annual tradition since 1970, Day of Mourning is a solemn, spiritual and highly political day. Many of us fast from sundown the day before through the afternoon of that day (and have a social after Day of Mourning so that participants in DOM can break their fasts). We are mourning our ancestors and the genocide of our peoples and the theft of our lands. NDOM is a day when we mourn, but we also feel our strength in political action. Over the years, participants in Day of Mourning have buried Plymouth Rock a number of times, boarded the Mayflower replica, and placed ku klux klan sheets on the statue of William Bradford, etc.
The arrival of white folks from across the sea led to a Native American holocaust, theft of native lands, and the trivialization of Native American culture for the sake of national and college team mascots.
We’ve written a few times about the Native American battle to get the Washington Redskins football team to change its name. After a 17-year battle, the Native Americans lost a trademark suit against the team. The Supreme Court denied cert for the case earlier this month, meaning that the Redskins and their attorneys at Quinn Emanuel kept their laches victory. (As you certainly remember, not everyone at Quinn was pleased about that.)
In our post about the Supreme Court ruling, we asked:
Are we really going to make it through this entire case without any judge having to rule on whether or not it is appropriate to put “redskins” on a football helmet? Maybe not.
Drinker Biddle & Reath partner Philip Mause, who is representing the Native American plaintiffs, has another petition regarding the Redskins name pending before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. The Board previously ruled in 1992 that “redskins” is defamatory and cannot be trademarked. But that decision was overturned in federal court due to the laches issue. The new case, though, is led by Amanda Blackhorse of the Navajo Nation; Blackhorse and her co-petitioners were in their late teens and twenties when they filed their petition, so the courts won’t be able to dismiss the case based on the time elapsed/age issue.
This petition means there might be a Drinker Biddle v. Quinn Emanuel, round two. We’ve got an interview with lead petitioner Amanda Blackhorse after the jump.
* A former federal courts chief is calling for the resignation or impeachment of an appellate judge in California for watching internet porn. In one month, there were 90,000 hits on 1,100 porn sites at the California Judiciary. [Miami Herald]
* Al Franken, the Senate candidate from Minnesota, may appeal to the courts because he argues that 1,000 absentee ballots were wrongly discarded in the recount. [CBS]
* The US Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from the city of Garden Grove in California that argued that city police should not have to return seized medical marijuana to a chronic pain patient. California’s 4th District Court of Appeal sided with the patient, and now the case is closed, a victory for advocates of medical marijuana use. [The Los Angeles Times]
* At least something is going well for Detroit these days. “U.S. car maker Ford Motor Company Tuesday won its case at a European court over the registration of the word “Fun” as a European trademark.” [CNN]
* Chevron was found not-guilty by a federal court jury in San Francisco; the jury dismissed claims of Nigerian villagers who say they were attacked by company paid soldiers on an an off-shore drilling platform. [Bloomberg]
Wonder why IP lawyers still have work? In the midst of a 177-page indictment against the “Mongols” biker gang, the government put in a charge invalidating the gang’s trademarked name.
If prosecutors succeed, the feds will own the Mongols trademark and can charge patch-wearing gang members with trademark infringement; or, at the least, have one more reason to stop them for a little sidewalk chat. Which is bound to irritate the gang members. Which may be the point.
As a person with some Chinese ancestry (that would be Elie “Ying” Mystal for those playing along at home) I am happy that the American government is finally standing up to those raiding Mongolians who come on their dread (steel) horses. Every time I try to build a wall, some goddamn Mongolian always comes to tear it down.
Of course, the government’s actions are disingenuous — soon NYPD will be able to stop anybody wearing a do-rag because it’s a yarmulke knock-off — but the Mongols leave us little choice.
Said one Mongol leader “To the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.”
But we will break this gang. I don’t believe in the no-win situation.
Facebook, Facebook, Facebook. It’s all over the news these days due to a spate of lawsuits. If we weren’t so into Facebook, we might be over it. It’s way overexposed.
Anyway, here’s one of the latest suits. This one is near and dear to our hearts, as it concerns one of our favorite procrastination tools Facebook applications: Scrabulous. From the Associated Press:
The Indian creators of a Scrabble knock-off that has become one of the most popular activities on Facebook have been sued by Hasbro, the company that owns the word game’s North American rights.
You might think this will give you the opportunity to break your Scrabulous habit and stop wasting so much time on Facebook. Not so fast — Hasbro conveniently launched its own version and hopes to keep you hooked:
The suit against Scrabulous’s creators comes less than two weeks after the release of an authorized version of Scrabble for Facebook.
Hasbro said in its lawsuit that Scrabulous violates its copyright and trademarks. Separately, Hasbro asked Facebook to block the game.
(Lat, let’s not start a new game until they figure this out. I shall savor my recent victory for now.)
More Facebook legal news, and a reason to create a Facebook profile if you haven’t already, after the jump.
Sometimes it seems like we talk about the same handful of general practice Biglaw shops again and again. So let’s mix things up a bit. Here’s a suggestion from a loyal reader:
I’m in the field of patent law. It might be interesting to post a Fall Recruiting Thread that discusses both patent boutiques (Finnegan Henderson, Fizpatrick Cella, Kenyon & Kenyon) and general practice firms with a strong IP practice (Kirkland, Irell, MoFo, Jones Day, Ropes & Gray).
Yes, it might. So here’s that post — an open thread in which people can talk about firms that specialize in or excel at intellectual property law.
(Last month we had a post dedicated to discussion of compensation issues at IP firms. But this open thread is intended to be broader, to go beyond pay to discuss quality of life, strong practice areas, type of work, etc. Enjoy.) Earlier: Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: IP Firms
* Martha steps into the minefield of political incorrectness once more. [Racialicious; The Mercury]
* There’s nothing I like more than old-fashioned, non-partisan fun. Hill interns, this is your chance to make a buck from an illicit affair or two, without resorting to Jessica Cutler antics (because prostitution can tarnish even the best CV). [Taegan Goddard's Political Wire]
* You haven’t heard anything since they filed for separation, and you won’t hear anything now that they’ve filed for divorce. And that’s what makes them worth mentioning. (Plus, I have a total girl crush on Catherine Keener and just a regular crush on Dermot Mulroney.) [Yahoo! News]
* An ice cream man in 2007 is a different breed from his 1953 counterpart. (Although a co-worker once did this to me to drive home the point that he was lost without the former girlfriend who used to do his laundry.) [KOCO]
If your firm is in ‘go’ mode when it comes to recruiting lateral partners with loyal clients, then take this quiz to see how well you measure up. Keep track of your ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses.
1. Does your firm have a clearly defined strategy of practice groups that are priorities of growth for your office? Nothing gets done by random chance, but with a clear vision for the future. Identify the top practice areas for which you wish to add lateral partners. Seek input from practice group leaders and get specifics on needs, outcomes, and ideal target profiles.
2. In addition to clarifying your firm’s growth strategy, are you still open to the hire of a partner outside of your plan? I’ve made several placements that fit this category. The partner’s practice was not within the strategic growth plan of my client, but once the two parties started talking with each other, we all saw how it could indeed be a seamless fit. Be open to “Opportunistic Hires.” You never know where your next producing partner might come from, so you have to be open to it. I will be the first to admit that there is a quirky element of randomness in recruiting.
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: email@example.com.
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.
The traditional job application and interview process can be impersonal, and applicants often struggle to present themselves as more than just the sum of their GPAs, alma maters, and previous work history. ATL has partnered with ViewYou to help job seekers overcome this challenge. ViewYou NOW Profiles offer a unique way for job seekers to make a personal, memorable connection with prospective employers: introduction videos. These videos allow job candidates to display their personalities, interpersonal skills, and professional interests, creating an eDossier to brand themselves to potential employers all over the world. Check it out today!