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Past Disparagement Results in Present Cancellation: REDSKINS Marks Cancelled by TTAB

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) cancelled six registrations for marks consisting in whole or in part of the term REDSKINS for use in connection with a professional football team, because the marks were found to be disparaging to Native Americans at the time they were registered (between 1967 and 1990).

The Board found that when used in connection with football services, REDSKINS retains the meaning of “Native American.” Videos of football games, newspapers, and press guides created between 1967 and 1990 established that the respondent “made continuous efforts to associate its football services with Native American imagery.”

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Trademark Review (July 2014)”

two businessman puts puzzle

The discovery of electronically stored information (ESI) is loaded with potential pitfalls and failure unless the parties add two components to the mix: cooperation and collaboration. Lacking those components, ESI discovery, at least sometimes, can be one of the more painful experiences for the average trial lawyer.

The problem to overcome is largely that trial lawyers, by their nature, are competitive souls and tend toward competition rather than cooperation. Add to this personality that of the client who expects her lawyer to win everything, every time and we are off to the races.

In a recent case, the Honorable Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen seems to deal with overly competitive parties and lawyers not inclined toward collaboration; in the recent decision in Progressive Casualty Insurance v. Delaney, 2014 WL 2112927 (D. Nev. May 20, 2014).

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “In ESI Discovery: Are keywords, concepts and other searches simply antiques?”

n Automated Solutions Corp. v. Paragon Data Systems, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 11918 (6th Cir. June 25, 2014), the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit provided a close examination of the standards required for the imposition of severe sanctions for failing to preserve evidence. The case involved a dispute between two software companies over the development of software code. Essentially, the plaintiff Automated Solutions (“Automated”) accused Paragon Data Systems (“Paragon”) of utilizing Automated’s code to develop a competing software program. Automated filed a motion for sanctions seeking a default judgment against Paragon for Paragon’s failure to preserve a server and two hard drives utilized in the development of the competing software as well as computer backup tapes. The district court concluded that Paragon was negligent in failing to preserve the materials, but that there was no evidence indicating that Paragon acted with any willful or malicious behavior. Instead of imposing sanctions, the court indicated that it would consider the issuance of an adverse inference instruction against Paragon at trial. After Paragon prevailed on summary judgment, Automated appealed to the Sixth Circuit.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Sixth Circuit Analyzes Standards for Sanctions for Failing to Preserve Evidence”


High five! Foreclosures! Woo!

Back in 2011, a Buffalo, New York, foreclosure law firm — a foreclosure mill, if you will — was caught in a very embarrassing predicament. Some of its employees decided that for their Halloween costumes, they’d dress up like people who had lost their homes in the foreclosure process. The story made the New York Times, and the public reveled in all of the sheer schadenfreude.

Today, we’ve got another foreclosure mill for you to point and laugh at. It seems that this firm’s building was foreclosed upon, and now it’s facing eviction from the office where its employees once billed up to $100,000 for throwing people out of their homes.

Karma is real, people…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Foreclosure Law Firm Facing Eviction From Office Because Karma Is A Bitch”

The Friday before the long Memorial Day weekend is either a desert of regulatory activity or – as last week – a cornucopia in need of distillation. Three highlights warrant note, though many rules were published, placed on inspection, or otherwise released. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) electric distribution pricing rule while the United States District Court for the District of Columbia vacated a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) orphan drug pricing rule. Look now for the next round of economic mischief by regulation in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under-the-radar release of the Spring 2014 Unified Agenda. And lest we forget ….

Electric Power Sales: The D.C. Circuit vacated as ultra vires a FERC final rule incentivizing retail customers to reduce electricity consumption when economically efficient because the rule exceeded FERC’s statutory authority to regulate wholesale and interstate electricity distribution by regulating intra-state retail sales – the province of state public utility commissions (PUCs) – in Electric Power Supply Assoc. v. FERC.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Regulatory Review: Electric Power Sales; Orphan Drugs Other Uses; Spring 2014 Unified Agenda & Memorial Day, 2014″

Last month, I wrote about the Department of Justice’s case against Nicholas Slatten, a Blackwater employee who was being prosecuted — along with other members of Blackwater’s Raven 23 team — for a shooting incident in Iraq.

As one FBI Agent is reported to have described it, the shooting was “[t]he My Lai massacre of Iraq.”

That’s a really good sound bite. Nice work FBI!

DOJ brought charges based on the shooting against Slatten, which were dismissed by the court because, basically, DOJ failed to notice that the statute of limitations was running against Slatten after a dismissal of his case.

As the New York Times recently described it,

the government suffered another self-inflicted setback in April when a federal appeals court ruled that the prosecution had missed a deadline and allowed the statute of limitations to expire against a second contractor, Nicholas A. Slatten, a former Army sniper from Tennessee who investigators believe fired the first shots in Nisour Square. A judge then dismissed the case against Mr. Slatten.

(for more on this, see last month’s column on the case)

And, of course, the legal fire fight continues . . .

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Vindictive Prosecution Motion in the Continuing Saga of Nicholas Slatten”

Perhaps the single most underappreciated problem with the practice of law is the physical discomfort that comes from sitting for 10 to 12 hours each day.

If you’re like me, your problems begin within just a few hours of getting settled at your desk. As early as mid-morning, you start to experience a dull ache between your shoulder blades.  By lunchtime, this ache has turned into a throbbing pain that is creeping up your mid-back and into your shoulders and neck.  Next thing you know, it has engulfed your entire upper body, and by the time you’re ready to leave for the day, it has even spread to your lower extremities.  After limping your way home, things have gotten so bad that you have no choice but to curl up in fetal position and have a good cry.  Sound familiar?

If so, I have good and bad news for you.  First, for the bad news: from an anatomical perspective, your pain is inevitable.  Indeed, as it probably has become obvious to you, the human body is not meant to sit in a chair all day…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Does Your Desk Job Hurt? How To Prevent Pain Associated With Sitting”

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Go ahead and queue up the Luther Vandross, because we’ve reached the thrilling conclusion of our annual ATL March Madness.

Our newly expanded tournament pitted 32 teams in the hunt to be declared the law firm with the brightest future. After a string of close calls and upsets, it came down to second-seeded Paul, Weiss against fourth-seeded Gibson Dunn, the spunky underdog who’d knocked off the overall top seed Wachtell.

So who won?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL March Madness: The Law Firm With the Brightest Future — Champion”

Ed. note: This post appears courtesy of our friends at Techdirt. We’ll be sharing law-related posts from Techdirt from time to time in these pages.

Last night, former President Bill Clinton joined Stephen Colbert on his TV show, The Colbert Report. As many people have noted, at the very end of the program, Colbert told Clinton that he had taken the liberty of signing him up for a Twitter account, since Clinton does not currently use Twitter (he joked that he was afraid no one would reply to his tweets). The Twitter account is @PrezBillyJeff, and Colbert sent Clinton’s first tweet live while on the air. If you’re in the US or the one or two other places that Hulu actually works, you can see the exchange below (if you’re elsewhere, blame Viacom for being stupid):

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Did Stephen Colbert And President Bill Clinton Violate The CFAA?”

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