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Above the Law A Legal Web Site – News, Insights, and Opinions on Law Firms, Lawyers, Law School, Law Suits, Judges and Courts

  • The Reasonable Snooki Standard
    by Sean Carter on February 21, 2019 at 4:30 pm

    For a lawyer, what is a "reasonable" fee. […]

  • Which Biglaw Firms Are The Best For Startups?
    by Kathryn Rubino on February 21, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    The go-to legal advice for startups. […]

  • Are Robots Coming For Lawyers? Not Until They Can Translate Legalese
    by Stephen R. Williams on February 21, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    The fear of doomsday is misplaced. […]

  • Morning Docket: 02.21.19
    by Joe Patrice on February 21, 2019 at 1:18 pm

    * Accountants are the new bakers when it comes to discriminating against gay people. I guess this means tax prep is more a matter of artistic interpretation, which in fairness explains Amazon's tax bill last year. [Fox News]* Tesla GC self-driven back to Williams & Connolly after two months. [National Law Journal]* "Lawyer likens R. Kelly to Beethoven to explain studio move." Who can forget that "immortal beloved" letter about urolagnia? [Star Tribune]* A good look at the renewed effort to undermine the litigation finance business for doing the unconscionable and allowing regular folks to afford to bring meritorious claims against big companies. [CDR Magazine]* A call for law schools to be accredited based on post-graduation job prospects. It seems like a certain website's been calling for that for years now... []* Strip club copyright suits are the lucrative niche practice no one knows about. [Law360]* Rosen likely to succeed Rosenstein. [Courthouse News Service]* Direct call for quotas to improve Biglaw diversity -- for women anyway. [Legal Cheek […]

  • I’m Chilled — See Also
    by Elie Mystal on February 20, 2019 at 11:45 pm

    AND IT'S NOT BECAUSE OF THE SNOW: It's because of this MAGA teen lawsuit.2,000 PORN CASES IS PROBABLY TOO MANY: You'll go blind, don't ya know, and miss a deadline.FIRMS ARE NOT POSTING PICTURES OF THEIR PARTNERS: It helps when your goal is to hide your lack of diversity.PROTECT DEMOCRACY HAS A LOT OF WORK TO DO: A podcast about how democracy is failing, both here and around the world.FROM BIGLAW TO CHILDREN'S BOOKS: With a cameo from Kathryn's adorable niece. […]

LJN - Intellectual Property Strategist The newsletter publishing arm of ALM, publishers of The National Law Journal, The American Lawyer and legal newspapers of record throughout the U.S.

Planet Depos We Make It Happen

  • An Interview with Kaylee Lachmann, RPR
    by Planet Depos on February 12, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    A Planet Depos interview with brand-new court reporter, Kaylee Lachmann, RPR. Kaylee, can you tell us about your journey through court reporting school? After I graduated from college with a foreign language degree and realized it wasn’t doing much for me, I started working as a legal assistant. I was considering going to law school, […] The post An Interview with Kaylee Lachmann, RPR appeared first on Planet Depos. […]

  • The 2019 International Deposition Guide Is Now Available
    by Suzanne Quinson on January 30, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    Good news!  Planet Depos’ International Deposition Guide is rolling out, now in its fourth edition.  The 2019 guide has captivating new graphics, as you’ve come to expect every year. The post The 2019 International Deposition Guide Is Now Available appeared first on Planet Depos. […]

  • 7 Questions You Need to Ask Your Transcription Vendor
    by Daniel Malgran on January 2, 2019 at 6:45 pm

    Selecting a qualified transcription vendor can be a daunting task, especially when you’re counting on accuracy. These 7 questions should make you confident in your choice. The post 7 Questions You Need to Ask Your Transcription Vendor appeared first on Planet Depos. […]

  • Ringing in the New Year Throughout the World
    by Suzanne Quinson on December 19, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    The New Year is a time of looking ahead with hopes for good things to come and people wishing each other health, happiness and success in the coming year.  Festivities are varied, ranging from church services to fireworks, and sometimes include special meals or traditions.  Of course, Americans are familiar with the singing of Auld Lang Syne, the Scottish […] The post Ringing in the New Year Throughout the World appeared first on Planet Depos. […]

  • Holiday Traditions from Around the World
    by Vanessa Sanchez and Suzanne Quinson on December 5, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    There are many telltale signs of the holiday season creeping in. Colorful lights and decorations fill displays across town. Promotions for children’s toys are eye-catching, and the Salvation Army’s Santa Claus rings his cheery bells for all to hear. It feels like… the most wonderful time of the year! The holiday season is treasured all […] The post Holiday Traditions from Around the World appeared first on Planet Depos. […]

Director's Forum: A Blog from USPTO's Leadership Updates from America’s innovation agency

  • Talking IP in the Windy City: The push for innovation and effective IP protection
    by USPTO on February 6, 2019 at 7:58 pm

    Guest blog by Damian Porcari, Director of the Elijah J. McCoy Midwest Regional United States Patent and Trademark Office Innovation and the effective protection of intellectual property (IP) rights are vital to the economic health of communities across our country. This is especially so in the Midwest where, as regional director of the USPTO’s Elijah J. McCoy Midwest Regional Office in Detroit, I see the output of American entrepreneurs and inventors, and work with them to protect their valuable IP. As the USPTO’s newest regional director, I am making my way across the Midwest to engage with our key stakeholders, who include small business owners, independent inventors, entrepreneurs, and local officials, among others. In December, I met with various business groups and IP stakeholders when I joined several of the USPTO’s IP attachés as they conducted a series of outreach activities in the Chicago area. The IP attachés — who are diplomats currently posted to 10 U.S. embassies and consulates throughout the world — work to improve IP systems internationally to benefit U.S. stakeholders. They do this by working with foreign officials to address a wide variety of IP-related issues that arise in their respective regions, and by offering assistance to U.S. companies who encounter problems protecting their IP rights.Each year, the IP attachés travel home to the United States, as part of their ongoing effort both to learn about the concerns of inventors and businesses and to make them more aware of the international aspects of IP protection and the role of the IP attachés. In December, Chicago was one of their destinations, and I joined the attachés when they visited business incubator mHUB. The USPTO’s IP attachés during their visit to the United States in December 2018. Photo by Jay Premack/USPTO. Located at a former Motorola Mobility prototyping center, mHUB opened its doors in 2017 with help from private industry and the city of Chicago. It brings together a unique co-working community of product designers, developers, entrepreneurs, engineers, and manufacturers. According to mHUB’s lead for programming, Cynthia Macias, the facility works to foster connections: “At mHUB, we are focused on creating the conditions for product innovation to thrive. This includes reducing cost and barriers associated with entrepreneurship that prevent so many talented innovators from taking the leap. We foster connections between local manufacturers, university researchers, and the blooming entrepreneurial community of makers and innovators in the Midwest. This ecosystem ensures the Midwest region’s manufacturing industry continues to grow, lead, and reduce the cost and barriers to entry for physical product innovation.” One of the highlights of our visit was a presentation the IP attachés gave on the basics of protecting and enforcing one’s creations and inventions abroad, and a follow-up discussion which I joined regarding various aspects of innovation. Damian Porcari, Director of the USPTO’s Elijah J. McCoy Midwest Regional Office in Detroit, speaks at the Chicago incubator, mHUB, during a visit he and several of the USPTO’s IP attachés made to the facility on December 4, 2018. “The information our member companies gained from the IP attachés was extremely valuable and will help them understand the procedures to submit and process patents and trademarks in various regions around the world,” said Jenna Feldman, programs coordinator at mHUB. “Every participant has or will have a product that’ll be sold in at least one of the attachés’ markets, so they were able to seek answers most relevant to their business. In addition, the participants learned that the USPTO is more than just an entity, but a resource with a wide range of services to help entrepreneurs.” It was gratifying to hear that during its relatively short time in existence mHUB has already helped a number of companies achieve success. These include such innovators as Cast21, a developer of unique bone-mending aids that can replace casts; OrbitMuse, a platform for space entrepreneurship; and Guardhat, a smart hard-hat designed to protect workers in factories, plants, construction sites, oil rigs, and mines. The importance of IP to small innovative firms such as these cannot be understated: There is a large body of research showing that startup firms with patents, for example, are likelier to continue receiving venture capital funding, experience greater growth in employment and investor returns, and have a higher rate of firm survival. Our visit to mHUB underlined the critical role that the USPTO plays in supporting the efforts of these innovative startups, by helping them protect their valuable IP both here and abroad. Learn more about the USPTO’s IP Attaché Program. […]

  • USPTO releases 2018 Performance and Accountability Report
    by USPTO on January 31, 2019 at 4:50 pm

    Guest Blog by Chief Financial Officer Tony Scardino I’m pleased to announce that the USPTO has published its Performance and Accountability Report (PAR) for fiscal year (FY) 2018. The PAR serves as the USPTO’s annual report, similar to what private sector companies prepare for their shareholders. Each year the USPTO publishes this report to update the public on our performance and financial health. Our FY 2018 PAR charts the agency’s progress toward meeting goals outlined in our 2014-2018 Strategic Plan: optimizing patent quality and timeliness; optimizing trademark quality and timeliness; and providing domestic and global leadership to improve intellectual property policy, protection, and enforcement worldwide. In addition, the PAR provides information on the USPTO’s progress towards a broader management goal:  achieving organizational excellence.  These goals drive the quality and quantity of our service to intellectual property stakeholders over the last five years. Quote by President Abraham Lincoln on the patent system, as displayed on the Herbert C. Hoover federal building in Washington D.C., headquarters of the U.S. Department of Commerce While the PAR is a record of our achievements, it is also an honest discussion of the challenges we face as an agency moving forward under our new 2018-2022 Strategic Plan, which was published in November. We will continue efforts to issue predictable and reliable patents; continue implementation of the patent dispute resolution portions of the America Invents Act (AIA), including ensuring that procedures and standards are balanced and predictable; monitor and help address dynamic IP issues in Congress and the Courts; maintain the high and sustained trademark performance level in the face of significant trademark application growth rates; improve the customer experience and develop outreach at both headquarters and regional offices; expand on dissemination of data; maintain sustainable funding; and ensure our IT systems enable our nationwide workforce to serve our customers with a “24/7/365” operational capability. Here at the USPTO, we take pride in producing a PAR that meets the highest standards of transparency, quality, and accountability. The PAR contains a wealth of data and historical information of interest to our stakeholders, including data on patent and trademark examining activities, application filings, and agency staffing levels. This information is conveniently presented in the workload tables section at the end of the PAR. On the issue of financial performance, FY 2018 marks the 26th consecutive year that the USPTO’s financial statements have received an unmodified audit opinion. Our clean audit opinion gives the public independent assurance that the information presented in the agency’s financial statements is fairly presented and follows generally accepted accounting principles. The auditors did note a deficiency in our internal controls related to managing and configuring IT system access. We have already begun developing plans to address the auditor’s concerns. Despite this deficiency, the auditor found no material weaknesses in the USPTO’s internal controls, and no instances of non-compliance with laws and regulations affecting the financial statements. The PAR is a faithful snapshot of the USPTO’s FY 2018 performance. I hope you find value in this document, and that it allows you to glean greater insights into the agency’s activities and achievements. […]

  • A tribute to veterans
    by USPTO on November 20, 2018 at 12:14 am

    Blog by Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Andrei Iancu There are currently more than 20 million U.S. veterans, over 1.2 million men and women serving on active duty in our Armed Forces and another 800,000 in the reserves. Many millions more have served in uniform since the birth of our nation, in peacetime and war. Behind every one of them is a story – of struggle, perseverance, camaraderie, triumph, and sometimes even tragedy. At the USPTO, we are committed to working with veterans who are transitioning or have recently transitioned from active duty. One way we do this is through our highly successful Veteran Hiring Program. In fiscal year 2018, 8% of new patent examiner hires and 17% of all other new hires were veterans or transitioning service members. Since the program began in 2012, we’ve hired approximately 800 veterans or transitioning service members. Once at the USPTO, we continue to provide a support network through the USPTO Military Association, an affinity group comprised of veterans, spouses of veterans, and employees who support our veterans and those still serving in the reserves. Clockwise from top left: Keepsakes from USPTO employees Mary Capodice, Troy Tyler, Dean Dominique, and Cevilla Randle. Photos by Jay Premack/USPTO. At the end of October, we unveiled our Veterans Keepsake Project, a photography exhibit highlighting stories and keepsakes of military service from USPTO employees and their loved ones. The intention of this effort was to take something so large and important like the millions of veterans who have served and are serving our nation, and find the individual stories within. The end results are personal and emotional accounts from USPTO employees that foster a reverence for service and sacrifice. On November 8, Lieutenant General David Halverson, U.S. Army, Ret., gave remarks at the USPTO’s annual Veterans Day ceremony. Before the event began, we toured the exhibit, and in the process we met many of the subjects in the photographs. Lieutenant General Halverson remarked on the power of stories and shared one of his own. Lt. Gen. David Halverson speaks to USPTO employee Anthony Twitty about his keepsakes. Photo by Jay Premack/USPTO. After his parents had both passed, he read the letters his father had sent to his mother during World War II. “That was a whole different man than I had ever grown up with. He never talked about his experiences in the Pacific on the landing craft. He never talked about it being hit by a Kamakazi. He never talked about him with all of the beach heads he had to hit as a gunner as people went there for maybe the last time in their life - all scared, all not knowing - but he put that in words and thoughts of the commitment to the love of my mother, why he was fighting, and the hope that he had to come home.” I encourage everyone to stop by and view the Veterans Keepsake Project through December 3, located on the concourse level of the Madison building on the east side of the auditorium at our headquarters in Alexandria. If you are unable to come in person, you can also view the photographs on the Veterans Keepsake Project page of the USPTO website. Also featured at the USPTO is the Visionary Veterans® exhibit at the National Inventors Hall of Fame Museum, which commemorates the 100th anniversary of the United States entering World War I, focusing on stories of five WWI veterans responsible for innovations that continue to benefit our world. It is important to remember and tell the stories of those who serve and who have fallen. As Theodore Roosevelt said in 1910, “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.&rdquo […]

  • Passage of the Music Modernization Act
    by jabboud on November 8, 2018 at 7:45 pm

    Blog by Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO, Andrei Iancu The institutional knowledge of the USPTO spans beyond patents and trademarks and provides a resource to other government bodies on many aspects of intellectual property, such as music copyrights.   As part of our work here at the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) we also provide deep expertise that can help advise other government bodies on all aspects of intellectual property. As significant legislation was passed by Congress over the past few weeks on a host of IP issues, we stood ready to help and offer further guidance. First, on October 11, President Trump signed the Orrin G. Hatch-Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act. This bi-partisan bill passed both chambers of Congress unanimously. The new Act updates copyright law to reflect the realities of music licensing in the digital age and also seeks to adequately compensate legacy artists and music producers for the fruits of their labor. The law combines three separate music copyright bills: the Music Modernization Act (MMA), the Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service, and Important Contributions to Society (CLASSICS) Act, and the Allocation for Music Producers (AMP) Act. Title I, the Musical Works Modernization Act, creates a blanket license for the reproduction and distribution of musical works by digital music providers who engage in digital streaming, and creates a new entity to administer the license and distribute royalties. Title II, the CLASSICS Act, brings pre-1972 sound recordings into the federal copyright system. Before this legislation, performers like Smokey Robinson did not have to be compensated for performances of songs like “Shop Around” or “I Second that Emotion.” Finally, Title III, the AMP Act, helps to compensate music producers by codifying and improving an already existing process for royalty payments to be distributed. I was pleased to attend and represent the USPTO at the signing ceremony for this legislation developed during multiple sessions of Congress. Throughout its development, USPTO staff was able to contribute to make this landmark law a reality – among other things, providing technical assistance to Congress, facilitating public forums at which music stakeholders discussed marketplace challenges, and producing reports for the Department of Commerce that identified online licensing problems to be addressed. President Trump recently also signed legislation implementing the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled. The Marrakesh Treaty aims to reduce the global shortage of print materials in accessible formats for the many millions of Americans and others throughout the world who are blind or visually impaired. This Treaty meaningfully increases the number of books available to this under-served population. In addition to its work on MMA, the USPTO helped in negotiating the treaty in 2013 and then assisting with the drafting of legislation to implement its terms. Congratulations to the copyright community and all who have worked tirelessly for years on these significant accomplishments. […]

  • A look at our new homepage features
    by jabboud on October 24, 2018 at 9:38 pm

    A guest blog by USPTO's Chief Communications Officer Chris Shipp Our commitment to customer service includes having a user friendly and valuable website. To that end, you may have noticed the homepage has a new look and improved features. For starters, if you are one of the 20 percent of users who visit on a mobile device you should find the homepage easier to read and navigate.Of course, we didn’t stop at mobile compatibility. If you are an independent inventor, entrepreneur, or a junior attorney, our “New to IP” section is for you. It links to practical and important basic educational resources about the USPTO. For visitors who know exactly what they are looking for, we have expanded the “Quick Links” section and renamed it “Find it Fast.” This feature provides direct links to our most popular Patent and Trademark Tools. A “Find it Fast” button also appears at the top of every subpage. To me, the most exciting feature of the new homepage is the “Journeys of Innovation” section. Each month we will highlight a new innovator story there. Currently, we are featuring Steve Katsaros, an inventor who is changing lives in the developing world. “Journeys of Innovation” provides an inviting and inspiring starting point for the site. More importantly, it illuminates remarkable stories of American innovation and entrepreneurship.You will also find a variety of tabs to guide you toward the latest USPTO news and upcoming public events. The lower section of the page highlights other ways to interact with us. Some examples include the Director’s blog, upcoming events, and educational multimedia. You can subscribe to much of the content offered in these sections so you never miss an important update or event. We made these changes based on your feedback, with the needs of our many customers in mind. At the USPTO, we know that improvement is a continuous endeavor. So, I invite you to share your thoughts about the new homepage either below or directly to the Office of the Chief Communications Officer. […]

LJN - Internet Law & Strategy The newsletter publishing arm of ALM, publishers of The National Law Journal, The American Lawyer and legal newspapers of record throughout the U.S.

  • Sticking a Hand in the Internet Cookie Jar
    on February 1, 2019 at 5:17 am

    As convenient, useful and cool mobile technology and interconnected devices are, they come with risks that remain largely unseen or, worse, ignored. Some      &nbs […]

  • Cloudy With a Chance of IoT attacks: The Cybersecurity Forecast for 2019
    on January 1, 2019 at 5:19 am

    2018 was a trying year for the cybersecurity industry, with breaches increasing and showing no signs of slowing as we enter the New Year. 2019 will bring its own threats with the propagation of new technology — 5G and IoT — and their security vulnerabilities. However, there's also progress on the horizon, thanks to more stringent government regulation and increasing legal action.      &nbs […]

  • Making Sense of YouTube's Monetization Policies
    on January 1, 2019 at 5:07 am

    This article delves into YouTube's policies for channel monetization, explores the different streams of revenue an artist or creator may be entitled to receive for their works, and offer suggestions to indie creators and more established creators, so they can meet these new thresholds.      &nbs […]

  • Risks in Online Collection of Children's Data
    on January 1, 2019 at 5:05 am

    As convenient, useful and cool mobile technology and interconnected devices are, they come with risks that remain largely unseen or, worse, ignored. Some pose security risks and privacy risk, like those present in voice-activated devices — especially for children. For manufacturers, they also pose regulatory litigation and insurance risks, especially when children end up using their “smart products.      &nbs […]

  • Bit Parts
    on January 1, 2019 at 5:03 am

    Complaints to Amazon by TV Show Host and His Attorney Didn't Constitute DMCA NoticesNo Actual Malice by Defendants in Libel Suit over Composite Character in Film      &nbs […]