Trademarks

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…

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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.

But don’t worry, he had a good excuse….

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Lateral partner movement continues in the world of intellectual property law. As we noted in Morning Docket, four partners and one of counsel are departing from Finnegan Henderson, one of the leading IP-only firms in the country.

Where are they going? What else is going on over at Finnegan? And what does the future hold for large, IP-focused law firms like Finnegan?

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* Thieves made off with 5.5 tons of Nutella. Damn you Danny Ocean! [CBS News]

* Don’t try to play Baseketball in Canton, Ohio. [Legal Juice]

* The SEC finally allows companies to distribute disclosures via social media. Welcome to the 21st Century, SEC. [IT-Lex]

* Speaking of the SEC, Mary Jo White was confirmed by the Senate. [Fox Business]

* Chief Judge Alex Kozinski: “Can I get an oy vey up in here?” [COLLive]

* Kentucky is just all kinds of screwy. Lawyer jailed for not turning over documents/running drug ring. [AP]

* Energy law was number two in law firm activity this quarter. For the billionth quarter in a row, Third Amendment law failed to crack the top 10. [AOL Energy]

* Ha! “Thus, it seems that (as has so often occurred in IP law) the focus on the problems of copyright and patent has allowed trademark law to engage, unsupervised, in a great deal of mischief.” [Law of Fashion]

* Just a reminder: Legalizing gay marriage does not end discrimination. [National Law Journal]

* Happy Pi Day from Sasha Volokh! [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Tiffany’s sued Costco for trademark violations because Tiffany’s is afraid someone walked into Costco and thought, “$20 Tiffany’s engagement ring? AWESOME!” [Law of Fashion]

* Pro se litigants have finally killed Virginia’s sodomy statute. [The CockleBur]

* UChilawgo provides a visual representation of what happens when you criticize Brian Leiter on the Internet. [UChilawgo]

* Kelly Mathis, a Jacksonville attorney, got arrested for allegedly running a $300 million illegal gambling operation. And yet Nova Southeastern is able to make bank gambling that their students will find jobs with their degree. [Tampa Bay Times]

* If you’re looking for someone else to foot the tab for law school, the folks at Best Criminal Justice have a helpful list. [Best Criminal Justice]

* Law and the Multiverse knows the way to my heart: an analysis of the Futurama “Future Stock,” featuring my all-time favorite Futurama character, “80s Guy.” Click through to see “80s Guy” doing the The Safety Dance on a loop. [Law and the Multiverse]

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‘What, no power rings for the Law School Avengers?’

* In case you didn’t catch this yesterday when it was announced, Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, is currently being held for trial in New York City. This will be the most unbiased jury in the world. /sarcasm [New York Times]

* According to Justice Anthony Kennedy, democracies shouldn’t depend “on what nine unelected people from a narrow legal background have to say.” Well then! I suppose we should look forward to the uprising. [The Big Story / Associated Press]

* Cooley and Winston & Strawn are working on the $600 million sale of everyone’s favorite store for slutty Halloween costumes, Hot Topic. Apparently that store still exists. I had no idea. Good to know! [Am Law Daily]

* Proskauer Rose is now the most powerful Biglaw firm in the sports world. It just goes to show that even if you’re too awkward to play ball, it doesn’t mean you can’t hit it out of the park in court. [Sports Illustrated]

* “I would love to blink and wake up in 10 years and see where all this ends.” Unemployed law grads are probably saying the same thing, but hopefully these law school law firms will be beneficial. [New York Times]

* A group of legal heavy hitters — “The Coalition of Concerned Colleagues” — submitted a cutting letter to the Task ABA Force on Legal Education. Next time, try “The Law School Avengers.” [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* If it’s proven that enough Native Americans find the Redskins team name offensive, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board may cancel the mark. Would it be offensive to call the TTAB Indian givers? [National Law Journal]

* An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but benchslaps are another thing entirely. Sorry, Gibson Dunn, but your document production “mistake” was “unacceptable” in Judge Paul Grewal’s courtroom. [Bloomberg]

If you have a mediocre law firm, here’s a new trick — just buy the ad-search rights to the names of better law firms. Every time someone searches for the better firm, a nice big ad for your firm will pop up.

Does that sound dirty? It kind of seems like cashing in on the good will of another firm. Not to mention the personal identities of the lawyers at the better firm.

So, yeah, it sounds dirty and not possibly legal.

Well, a state appeals court decided it was totally legal….

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The Notorious P.O.P.E.

* Like any lawyers worth their salt, attorneys for the Obama administration are wasting precious time and procrastinating on whether they’ll weigh in on the Supreme Court’s Prop 8 case. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

* The nation’s largest companies, on the other hand, filed a brief with the Supreme Court concerning the DOMA case. Of course, they care more about money than people, but that’s beside the point. [New York Times]

* Lanny Breuer took his sweet time turning in his resignation from the top post of the DOJ Criminal Division, but his acting successor was named quite quickly. Welcome aboard, Mythili Raman. [Blog of Legal Times]

* Francine Griesing, the ex-Greenberg Traurig partner who alleged the firm was a “boys club,” agreed to mediate her claims. Too bad, we hoped something would actually happen with this case. [Legal Intelligencer]

* Hoping to get all your law school applications out before that looming March 1 deadline? Not gonna happen. LSAC’s site has been borked since Tuesday. Take this for the obvious sign that it is! [National Law Journal]

* Surprisingly not from The Onion: the Vatican wants to call the retiring pontiff “Pope Emeritus,” but a California rapper that no one’s ever heard of is threatening trademark litigation to stop it. [Borowitz Report / New Yorker]

If you think you can buy this at Costco, your brain probably fits in this box.

If you walk into a Costco, buy a diamond ring, and think you are getting a “Tiffany” ring, you are an idiot and I have no sympathy for you. You deserve what you get and should probably practice breathing through your nose before going out in polite company.

But, luckily, Tiffany wants to stop you from being so easily fooled. Not because they care about you, per se. But because the thought that even one person thinks that Tiffany is selling rings through Costco is horrifying to them. It’s like asking a Penn student if they make it to football games in Happy Valley.

As we mentioned in Morning Docket, Tiffany filed a lawsuit against Costco to protect their brand….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Instead Of Buying Your Engagement Ring At Costco, Why Don’t You Just Give Her A Lump Of Coal And Tell Her To Sit On It?”

To clarify, this picture is an album, not a handjob joke.

Yesterday, musician Chubby Checker, née Ernest Evans (the man loves his alliteration), filed a $500 million lawsuit against Hewlett-Packard and Palm over a Palm Pilot app that was downloaded a mere 84 times.

Why?

Because the Palm Pilot app store apparently sported an application known as the “Chubby Checker” that allowed inquiring minds the ability to figure out penis sizes based on shoe size.

This case shocked me: did you know Palm still had assets?

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