Quote of the Day - I've gone from being a data maven to a weatherman, ... Just to think that before today, I didn't know what an 'eye-wall replacement cycle' was.
MIPTC Posting On Political Mavens Site
MIPTC has been invited, along with almost 200 other bloggers, to post on the Political Mavens website. Some of the more prominent posters include George Will, Cokie Roberts, Ed Koch, Dave Barry, Mitch Albom, Bill O'Rielly, and many others you'll probably recognize.
According to the head maven, Binyamin Jolkovsky, Political Mavens ranks in the top 10% most-visited sites on the web. MIPTC will continue right here, so you don't need to change channels, but a quick view of our sister site will expand your horizons.
US Patent Holders Can't Use US Courts To Enforce Foreign Patents
Many EU countries and patent holders outside the US breathed a sigh of relief earlier this week because of something that didn't happen. The United States Federal Court of Appeals decided not to decide.
Foreign patents, that is.
It seems that Jan K. Voda, M.D. wanted to enforce three Angioplasty guide catheter patents granted by the USPTO to him. He brought suit against Cordis Corporation, a medical device manufacturer in Oklahoma. Voda also alleged that Cordis was selling the catheter in foreign countries and those sales violated foreign patents that Voda held.
Since Voda was already in US District Court in Oklahoma over his three US patents, he figured that he might as well get two for one: he asked the Court to assume supplemental jurisdiction over the foreign patents. That court let him try, but the US Federal Court of Appeals reversed that decision.
Trouble is, there are several foreign conventions and provisions in US law that require us to respect their laws and them to respect ours. The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property requires the signatory countries to maintain the independence of each others' patent systems.
It worked. US patent holders can't litigate foreign patents in US courts, but will have to go to the foreign country where the patent is being infringed. It should work in reverse, too.
Maybe we need an international patent court?
Can You Truly Be Anonymous?
The Internet provides a perhaps comfortable feeling that you can sit in front of your computer monitor and no one will ever find out who you are. Feelings aside, the assumption is far from the truth. Your particular computer is identified by its own IP (Internet Protocol) address. Sure, sophisticated users can attempt to spoof IP addresses, but nothing truly works to hide your identity.
Even aside from the technological issues, Internet users have used monikers and other "anonymous" names to hide their identity. For the most part, those attempts don't work, either.
Anonymity is sometimes troubling to those who are attacked anonymously on various websites and chat rooms, and at least one of those individuals took steps to "out" the anonymous attacker. In Teaneck, New Jersey, a firefighter and the town council had a long-running, 10-year litigation battle over alleged civil rights violations. While the town council and the firefighter fought it out in the court, a second battleground emerged on a locally popular website, http://www.nj.com/.
The barbs hurled back and fourth involved the firefighter, William Brennan, and an anonymous "AntiBrennan," who called Brennan a "litigation terrorist," a "pathetic psychopath" and a "paranoid-delusional, over-paid-under-worked sicko." Brennan responded, calling AntiBrennan "another anonymous coward" and a "hateful beast."
But it didn't end there. Brennan sent a subpoena to nj.com, and found out that AntiBrennan was actually Teaneck Township Council Member Michael Gallucci. Once exposed, however, the tables turned, and Gallucci was called on to resign his position on the Council and ultimately (and allegedly) so ridiculed that he sold his house at a loss and moved out of town.
Some view the case as a test of whether Internet users will be able to sit behind their monitor and remain anonymous. Maybe they should just write a book, instead.
Check That Credit Card Recepit - You Could Be Sued
Under the Federal Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, cash register receipts cannot display either the expiration date or more than the last five digits of a customer's credit card number. The law went into effect at the end of last year in December 2006, but applies only to registers in use before January 1, 2005. Credit card machines produced after that date had to be in immediate compliance.
So, now's a good time to check your credit card receipts because nearly forty-five lawsuits have been filed in and around Los Angeles County, California, alleging violations of the Act. Penalties range up to $1,000 per incident, and the suits can be filed as class actions, multiplying the penalties dramatically.
Lawyers who filed the suits chose California because of a favorable interpretation of the Act by the Ninth Circuit, which view noncompliance as "reckless disregard" of the Act, while other circuit courts require a much higher standard of proof of intentional and knowing violations. In any event, the split between the circuit courts should be resolved shortly, with a ruling pending in two cases consolidated before the U.S. Supreme Court: Safeco Insurance Co. of America v. Charles Burr and GEICO General Insurance Co. v. Ajene Edo, that highlight these two, conflicting results.
In the meantime, however, business owners would be wise to check their credit card machines and reprogram them, if necessary.
Lawyer to Lawyer Smokes Out The Latest Supreme Court Punitive Damages Ruling
In the recent case, Philip Morris USA v. Williams, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the corporate giant in a punitive damage suit. On Lawyer 2 Lawyer, we will discuss the power of the tobacco industry and big business, the Supreme Court justices and this controversial ruling.
Join me and my fellow Law.com blogger and co-host and Bob Ambrogi as we once again turn to experts Michael Gerhardt, professor of law at UNC School of Law, J. David Prince, professor of law at the William Mitchell College of Law and Mark Gottlieb, Executive Director of the Public Health Advocacy Institute at Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, to discuss this ruling. Don't miss it!
Why Does E-discovery Matter?
Let's say you own a radio station in Florida, and let's call it WTKE, for example. Back in 2003, you sign an agreement to sell your radio station to a company we'll call Quantum Communications. As part of that agreement, you promise not to continue to shop your radio station for sale. You agree to sell your radio station to Quantum for $3,000,000.
It takes awhile for the sale to go through, but while it is in process, Quantum gets wind that you may be trying to sell your radio station to someone else, let's say a company called Cumulus Media, so they sue you. Quantum also alleges that you're doing everything possible to stymie the sale of your radio station. You deny everything.
Once the lawsuit starts, Quantum's lawyers request copies of your computer's hard drive, and all the emails that are on it. They apparently get nowhere. Undeterred, Quantum's lawyers subpoena the hard drive of the president of Cumulus, which contain a series of emails between you and Cumulus's president.
On that hard drive, Quantum finds a series of email that appear to show you were trying to sell your radio station to Cumulus for $3,750,000.
Quantum gets this E-discovery evidence in front of the judge, who orders you to sell your radio station to Quantum for the originally agreed-upon purchase price of $3M, and issues a scathing ruling about your denial of violating the agreement and misleading the court.
Guess who's going to get to pay Quantum's attorneys fees?
E-discovery Battles And Consequences Come Home To Roost For New York Company In Bankruptcy
A company formerly known as NTL, Inc. (now known by the more familiar Virgin label of Virgin Media, Inc.) got itself into hot water recently by failing to preserve e-mails of 44 of its top executives and directors in securities litigation. When it was first sued, the company issued a document preservation order to its employees. Later, however, the company went into bankruptcy and was purchased by NTL Europe, Inc.
It took some time for the new company to let the Court know of the merger, and the judge was none to happy about the delay, especially when he discovered that the purchaser had failed to retain all of NTL, Inc.'s e-mails.
When they discovered the lapse in document preservation protocol, the plaintiffs in the securities litigation against NTL, Inc. sought an order from the judge for a finding of an adverse inference and payment of their attorneys fees. The "adverse inference" can be quite damning at trial. Essentially, when plaintiffs try to present evidence on a point essential to their case and can't because the document has been destroyed, the jury can infer that the evidence would have been adverse to NTL, Inc., and adopt the plaintiff's reasonable interpretation of what the document would have said.
It's almost a free pass for plaintiffs, and a warning for companies in the process of buying other companies: preserve what you're buying, or you'll pay for it later.
What's Your View Of TV Legal News Coverage? Tune In For An Update
If you have an opinion about television legal news coverage, then you'll want to be aware of this excoriating piece on Nancy Grace's handling of the Duke Lacrosse team and an alleged rape case, tellingly titled: Graceless.
MIPTC has an opinion about Nancy's show, which I've not kept to myself, and which has been mirrored by the Eleventh Circuit's review of Nancy Grace's behavior as a Fulton County District Attorney's Office prosecutor. The Court found that she "played fast and loose with her ethical duties" under the Constitution.
Her television coverage has been no different.