Trademarks

A cease and desist letter is going viral today, and all because it’s full of a little southern hospitality.

When I think of Jack Daniels, I think of getting drunk and saying outrageous things. I think of being sad and drowning my sorrows. I think of getting loaded and losing bar fights.

I don’t think of diffusing tense situations with reason and civility.

I’m going to guess that the lawyers for Jack Daniels who wrote this cease and desist letter didn’t have any of their client’s product before sending it out. It’s way too nice. In fact, it’s probably the nicest cease and desist that anybody has ever seen….

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Two porn stars made a “bet” on Twitter that they’d perform oral sex on fans of the Miami Heat if the team won the NBA championship. I’m not sure what these ladies agreed to do if the Heat lost; I’m going to pretend that they promised to “go back to college and blow your minds,” because I like the thought of LeBron being blamed for ruining their chances at an education.

In any event, the Heat won, and the women committed to going through with their dare. They set up a website, TeamBJNBA, to promulgate the rules of their free giveaway — because if they were paid to service the fans, THAT would be wrong and illegal.

But it appears that the NBA noticed their branding. I can only imagine the kind of person who would be confused into thinking that the NBA now sponsored BJs for fans of championship teams… though if they did, I suspect interest in the league would increase exponentially. The NBA moved to stop the giveaway, but you can’t keep good girls up off their knees.

Details, pictures, silicone, and notes on how to retrieve your champion rewards to follow….

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Welcome to your new home PTO!

Did you know that for years, the U.S. Patent and Trademark has operated almost entirely out of one location in northern Virginia? Kind of odd, seeing as out in California we’ve got that whole Silicon Valley thing going on. And Virginia is kind of far away.

But, no longer. The PTO announced that it is opening several new offices across the country. Can you guess where?

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* It’s official: “law school grads face worst job market in more than 30 years.” Put that in your TTT pipe and smoke it. [Chicago Tribune]

* Not sure how good of a “cyber spy” you can be if you’re getting sued in federal court for things like cybersquatting and trademark infringement. [MarketWatch]

* Jerry Sandusky was convicted — oh Lord, he was convicted — Friday evening, and now his attorneys say they weren’t allowed to resign right before the trial. [CBS News]

* The New York Times has caught Linsanity, or at least it has caught an interest in the trademark case for Jeremy Lin’s popular catchphrase. [New York Times]

* It was Gay Pride weekend across the country. Practically speaking, for most people this meant lots of unexpected traffic jams and random glitter bombings. Evan Wolfson, a prominent attorney, was the Grand Marshal of the Chicago Pride Parade. [Chicago Sun-Times]

* Will today be the day we get the Obamacare decision? Who knows. In the meantime, here’s an interview with the folks behind the wonderful SCOTUSblog. [Forbes]

* The judge accused of elder abuse, in Alameda County, California, is still on the bench, but he has been relegated to handling small claims court. [Mercury News]

* An owner of the Miami Heat has sued Google and a blogger over an “unflattering” photo. I guess once you win an NBA championship, it leaves you with a lot of free time for other important pursuits. [CNN]

It is not necessarily uncommon for special interest groups of all stripes to invent their own “Olympics.” The Hipster Olympics went viral a few years ago, during my undergraduate years a sorority hosted the Mud Olympics (that was always fun to watch), etc. etc.

But beware, the U.S. Olympic Committee does not take kindly to those who allegedly usurp their trademark. Last year, we wrote about the Redneck Olympics getting shut down by the committee, and this week the organization is at it again, bringing the hammer torch down on an unofficial knitting “olympics.” Oh the humanity!

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* A U.S. congressional panel has voted to charge Attorney General Eric Holder with contempt of Congress. [Thomson Reuters News and Insight]

* Paul Ceglia’s motion to stay discovery, pending the resolution of his motion to disqualify Facebook’s attorneys, was denied. In last night’s ruling, the judge was less than sympathetic to Ceglia. [United States District Court Western District of New York]

* We wrote about Thomas Jefferson Law grad Michael Wallerstein‘s struggles with a quarter million dollars in law school debt last year. But it looks like he may have found an unorthodox, if not somewhat dodgy, escape route. On the other hand, maybe he’s gone out of the frying pan into the fire. [New York Post]

* The McCormick legal recruiting firm sued one of its former account managers for violating a noncompete clause. Fun times were had by all no one. [Blog of the Legal Times]

* The lawyer going after The Oatmeal and the charities benefiting from the “Bear Love Cancer Bad” campaign has now subpoenaed Twitter and ArsTechica. That’s pretty impressive for just about a week of work. [ArsTechica]

* An online knitting community feels the wrath of the U.S. Olympic Committee’s intellectual property enforcement team. [Gawker]

* Businesses have to choose their employees carefully so they don’t get sued down the road. Sometimes, apparently that means you should hire criminals. [New York Times]

A real 'Lewis' Vuitton?

* “At the Supreme Court, those who know, don’t talk. And those who talk, don’t know.” If that’s the case, then there must be a lot of people who “don’t know” — it’s rumored that the Court’s decision on Obamacare will be released today. [CNN]

* Dewey know what kind of news this week’s conference call will bring for the failed firm’s former partners? On Tuesday afternoon, we might get some information on the status of a global partner contribution plan. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Guys in my high school ambassadorial nominations pool used to have extramarital affairs with WSJ reporters all the time, it was no big deal. Obama still supports Brett McGurk, despite his racy emails. [Reuters]

* The $64,000 question in the Jerry Sandusky case: will the allegedly histrionic former football coach take the stand to testify in his own defense? He should, because apparently it’s his “only shot.” [Legal Intelligencer]

* Looks like Facebook decided to initiate the use of a proverbial “dislike” button when the company pointed the finger at NASDAQ in defense against dozens of lawsuits over its incredibly glitchy IPO. [New York Daily News]

* It’s actually possible to have an “offensive personality” as a matter of law: former prosecutor Kenneth “I Am the Prize” Kratz will plead no contest to six ethics violations for his sordid sexting scandal. [Associated Press]

* “Careful … that is a Lewis [sic] Vuitton.” It seems that at least one federal judge in Manhattan holds comedic value to a higher standard than our favorite fashion house’s trademark infringement claims. [Chicago Tribune]

* Loose lips may sometimes sink ships, but not all gossip is bad. After all, without gossip, your ATL editors wouldn’t be able to bring you some of the juiciest stories out there in the legal world. [New York Times]

When we last wrote about the epic trademark war that Gucci launched against Guess in 2009, we noted that the case made headlines soon after the first filing. Apparently Gucci’s former in-house counsel, Jonathan Moss, had been engaging in faux lawyering, and he paid for it dearly — with his job.

Gucci v. Guess has been a dramatic roller coaster ride ever since, complete with men crying on the witness stand, and hours upon hours of in-court questioning for one company’s chief executive officer.

But as we noted in Morning Docket, a verdict has finally been reached in the case, and it looks like Guess will have to own up to its fashion faux pas with a payout of more than $4 million dollars in damages. But how will this ruling affect the fashion world at large? Let’s take a look….

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* Yesterday marked day two of jury deliberations without a verdict in the John Edwards campaign-finance violations trial. The former presidential candidate says he’s “doing OK,” but you know he’s secretly pissing his pants over going to prison. [ABC News]

* Martin Weisberg, a former Baker & McKenzie partner, pleaded guilty to money laundering and conspiracy to commit securities fraud. He faces up to 15 years for both crimes. Like he wasn’t earning enough as a Biglaw partner. [New York Law Journal]

* A judge told two fashion houses to leave it on the runway, and not in the courtroom, but that’s not going to stop Gucci from collecting its due. Guess owes the company $4.66M for trademark infringement. [Bloomberg]

* If you’re wondering what you’re going to have to do to get your student loans discharged in bankruptcy, it’s really quite simple. Get diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, and you’ll be set. [National Law Journal]

* What’s the difference between looted art and art looted by the Nazis? The Hitler part. Proposed art legislation will ban all museum recovery claims, except those of families affected by the Holocaust. [New York Times]

* “”I can’t believe f**king Allred called you!” In a total attention whore battle royale, Okorie Okorocha has sued Gloria Allred for allegedly stealing both of his clients in the John Travolta gay sex scandal. [CNN]

I work in a highly competitive sales market. Underhanded deeds, though never perpetrated by my clients, are de rigeur in this field. There seems to be an ethical handbook for sales folks that has a theme of “ethics smethics –- close the deal at all costs.”

At quarter-end, or worse, year-end, this mantra can infect an attorney’s most rigid values. It is at these times when we must be on guard against the pressure to close. The pot at the end of the rainbow will look rather less shiny when tarnished by an ethics violation. None of this is news to most in-house folks.

With an economy on a slow crawl back to health, and internal pressures from all sides to cut costs and maximize revenue, shenanigans from sales people are rife in war story lore. But what of bad behavior by customers? I can tell you that after my years in-house, when I thought I’d already seen it all in private practice, I was quite wrong….

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