* LawLawLaw 2007-01-17

Technology, Law, Baseball, and Rock ‘n’ Roll.

* Introduction Stuff

This newsletter is Erik’s opinion, not the opinion of Clock Tower Law Group. Thickly settled <https://www.giantpeople.com/206.html>.

I admit it. I love my job. I love working with smart clients and their cool products and services. I love using patent and trademark law to help them grow their businesses. I love testing and leveraging the latest technologies. I love the science of marketing. I love the challenge of running a growing business. And lately, I really love LinkedIn for keeping in touch with folks who move more frequently than I update my address book. So if you’re not already connected with me, feel free to link up with LinkedIn.

* Client Stuff

Clock Tower Law Group’s clients range in size from a sole proprietor to a publicly traded company. Here’s what some of them are up to.

Vegas.com Chooses SiteSpect For Website Testing (2006-11-22)

Remix Media Network (2006-12-04)
Remix Media, a division of Right Media, operates one of the largest online ad networks for advertisers with direct response goals. By utilizing dynamic pricing across an auction-based platform, Remix Media empowers online marketers to achieve superior campaign performance and run successful campaigns that generate online transactions, revenues, conversions and qualified leads.

Multiple Sclerosis News Website Upgrade (2007-01-12)
The Accelerated Cure Project has updated its popular MSNews website/weblog.

* Law Stuff

I recently wrote a series of articles about the four types of trademarks that Clock Tower Law Group handles most frequently:
1. Slogans and Taglines <https://www.giantpeople.com/620.html>
2. Logos <https://www.giantpeople.com/665.html>
3. Company Names and Nicknames <https://www.giantpeople.com/631.html>
4. Product Names and Service Names <https://www.giantpeople.com/664.html>

In related news, Volkswagen’s trademarks are insanely (and I mean that in a good way) thorough, covering nearly all classes of goods and services.

Boilerplate Claim Published In Patent Application (2006-11-02)
This was obviously a mistake: “9. The method of providing user interface displays in an image forming apparatus which is really a bogus claim included amongst real claims, and which should be removed before filing; wherein the claim is included to determine if the inventor actually read the claims and the inventor should instruct the attorneys to remove the claim.”

Sun Open-Sources Java Under The GPL (2006-11-14)
Sun Microsystems, a public company with a market cap of over $20 billion, decided to release Java under the GPL. Raise your hand if you think that Sun can afford this move. I think this is news, just not huge news. Sun is the corporate power behind OpenOffice.org. Many large technology companies, who do not rely on software sales alone, support open source products because it is in their best financial interests.

Microsoft Does A Deal With Novell’s Suse Linux (2006-11-03)
Microsoft’s market cap is over $300 billion. Novell’s market cap is about $2 billion. Open source for fun and profit.

GAMESTUDIO Trademark Not Merely Descriptive (2006-11-28)
I usually agree with John L. Welch’s excellent summaries of United States Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) decisions, but in this case, I disagree. John thinks that GAMESTUDIO is descriptive. A question: what is GAMESTUDIO? Do you know? If not, then it is not descriptive. Here’s another: COFFEECUP. If COFFEECUP is a trademark for a company selling coffee cups, then it is descriptive. I don’t know what a “game studio” is. Here’s the answer: GAMESTUDIO is an on-line simulated securities exchange game. That certainly wasn’t obvious to me. A good trademark should not describe the product/service to which it is attached. GAMESTUDIO does not, and I believe that the TTAB ruled correctly.

Supreme Court Poised To Clarify “Obviousness” In Patent Law (2009-11-29)
My law school professor, mentor, and advisor David Gregory used to define what “the law” is more or less as follows: “What district courts say is not the law. What appellate courts say is not the law. What dissenting opinions say is not the law. The law is what the Supreme Court, in its majority opinion, says that it is.” He went on to say that in his constitutional law class, we would read the constitution, Supreme Court decisions (majority decisions only) about the constitution, and we would read all of them. It was enlightening. I would add that oral arguments are also not the law. In patent law, the USPTO, CAFC (patent appeals court), and the USPTO have, throughout history, disagreed about what patent law is. Dennis Crouch summarizes oral arguments for the upcoming KSR v. Teleflex case and how it might change “the law.”

Easy To Infringe (2006-12-05)
Patents should be written so that lay people and judges can understand them. Put another way, patents should be written so that they are easy to infringe. It does a company no good to own a patent that does not clearly describe, in plain English, how to make and use the invention, because nobody can tell if it is being infringed! The more likely your patent is to be infringed, the more potentially valuable it is.

Google Patent Search (2006-12-14)
Google announced that it has added over seven million patents to its database. While this is certainly good news, conducting a patent search on Google (while certainly better than nothing) may give the searcher a false sense of security. Google’s database does not currently include published patent application (see link below), foreign patent documents, and other important data sources. At Clock Tower Law Group, we outsource patent searching (which is a black art) to a large DC-based search firm. They search, we analyze the results, and then we make a recommendation.

* Technology Stuff

Social Networking For College Grads (2006-11-28)
My friend Brian announced the launch of wis.dm, which he describes as follows: “Young people leaving college and entering the professional world are fluent in social community, but many find that the identity they’ve built online doesn’t represent them well to potential employers and colleagues. Where MySpace and FaceBook represent their weekend personalities well, wis.dm will help them present their Monday to Friday selves.”

Trying FeedBurner Again (2006-11-30)
I have decided to outsource my weblog’s feed to FeedBurner with the goal of learning more about my audience and improving my weblog. In other words, I’ve decided that FeedBurner’s advantages outweigh its disadvantages.

Hubspot: Unfair Advantage For Small Businesses (2006-12-08)
I’ve been testing Hubspot, a platform that seeks to close the loop on paid search, organic search, blogging, and web publishing. More or less. They say that “the internet gives every small business owner the most unfair competitive advantage they will likely ever have in their entire careers.”

Zombies, Botnets, and Spam (2007-01-07)
Your computer may be compromised and contributing to the spam problem. This is a class-action lawsuit (against Microsoft) waiting to happen.

Apple Announces AppleTV and iPhone (2007-01-10)
And changed its name to Apple Inc.

* Baseball Stuff

Japanese Pitching Star Daisuke Matsuzaka Signs With Red Sox (2006-12-14)
Sometimes one deal can make a season. In this off-season, the Red Sox made the biggest deal in recent memory, signing “Dice-K” (or “D-Mat” – take your pick) Matsuzaka to a six-year $52 million deal. In case you missed it, he was the MVP of last year’s World Baseball Classic. There was other Red Sox news, but this is the real story of the upcoming 2007 season.

* Rock ‘n’ Roll Stuff

DRM Is Dying, DRM Is Alive And Well (2007-01-14)
Everybody says that DRM is dying. Maybe it is. But Apple’s iTunes music store still sells a gazillion DRM-encumbered tracks every day. I don’t really care about that. I do the burn-rip CD cycle every 20 songs or so, which adds about $0.10/song to my cost. My complaint is the quality of the file to begin with. Apple’s 128 Kbps files are not CD-quality audio, and I can hear the difference. I suspect you can do if you test it accurately. So my main method for acquiring MP3s is to buy CDs and rip ’em at 256 Kbps (VBR).
It’s The Metadata, Stupid <https://www.giantpeople.com/589.html>

VHS Pronounced Dead (2006-11-17)
I know, it’s not technically “rock ‘n’ roll,” but it is “entertainment technology” of sorts.

Daughtry: Fans Love It, Critics Hate It (2006-11-21)
Fourth-place American Idol contestant Chris Daughtry’s CD “Daughtry” (named for the band of the same name, which is his last name – I know, it’s confusing) is loved by fans, hated by critics.

2006 Music Sales Statistics (2007-01-15)
Digital track sales were up 65%, digital album sales were up 101%, total album sales were down 4.9%.

* Cool, Fun, And Funny Stuff

Jeremy Zawodny: Good Crockpot Chili Recipes (2006-11-12)

Star Wars As A Silent Film (2006-12-08)

One Sig File To Rule Them All (2006-12-29)

Bizarre Microsoft Zune Ad (2007-01-01)

RedStreet Website Relaunched (2007-01-01)
Historic website documents the finest of the first law firm websites.

Podcasting Is So Easy, I Don’t Know Why Everyone Doesn’t Do It (2007-01-15)