Miscellaneous

Boston Bar Association Interview/Profile

March 6, 2014

The Boston Bar Association has done a nice interview and profile of me on its blog, “Tipping the Scales.” Lee Gesmer is a founder and partner of Gesmer Updegrove LLP, a Boston-based firm formed in 1986 that focuses on the representation of technology companies and emerging businesses. Lee’s practice focuses on litigation in the areas of business and intellectual property law. He is a former Council member and former Co-Chair of the BBA Intellectual Property Section, as well as the Computer and Internet Law and Business Litigation Committees. 1. What inspired you to take the leap and start your own firm? My father owned his own business, and I worked for him summers in my teens. He taught me how important it is to work for yourself. He really believed America was the land of opportunity for people willing to take the risk of starting their own businesses. He embedded that idea in me at an impressionable age. When I graduated from law school, my plan was to work for a couple of good firms and get enough experience that I could start my own firm. Continue reading . . ..

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Mass Moca Loses to Büchel Under VARA

March 10, 2010

Nice post title, eh? Mass MoCA is the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art Foundation a contemporary art museum in North Adams, MA. Christoph Büchell is a Swiss “installation artist.” Think very large, very avant-garde. The New York Times describes his work “dense, fraught creations, which compress masses of material and objects into historically charged labyrinthine environments through which viewers walk, climb and crawl.” Wow. Sounds just right for good old, left-leaning western Mass. Not.

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Judge Young, Bulger/Flemmi and "The Government – Our Government"

February 2, 2010

U.S. Federal District Court Judge William Young has issued a lengthy decision, awarding $2.7 million in damages to the estates of three people murdered by James J. Bulger, Stephen J. Flemmi, and their associates.  Judge Young describes the story as “harrowing,” which may be an understatement. The key defendant in this case is the U.S. Government, which will foot the bill if the decision survives appeal. Here are some quotes, pulled from the opinion, which is linked in all of its gory detail at the bottom of this post.  Judge Young:inst Despite years of legal wrangling and an extensive factual record, at its core this is a very simple case. Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) agents actively protected a group of murderers from apprehension and prosecution in order to use them as informants against La Cosa Nostra. The agents did this over a span of nearly twenty years, despite being on notice that their informants were killers and would, and indeed did, continue to murder. . . . The FBI’s relationship with Flemmi dates back to 1964, when FBI agent H. Paul Rico opened Flemmi as an informant. Bulger was opened as an informant in 1971. Their recruitment as informants was not an accident. The FBI had made the prosecution of organized crime and La Cosa Nostra its top priority.  To that end, J. Edgar Hoover himself inaugurated the Top…

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The Boston Area Technology Sector is a Lot Like Silicon Valley/Santa Clara County …. Not.

January 22, 2010

A table from Branko Gerovac’s website, Empirical Reality compares the technology areas of Massachusetts and Silicon Valley The two areas are far more alike, on the statistical level, than I had realized.

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If the Feds Oppose Him, Tennenbaum (and Nesson) Must be Right! – Joel Fights Back

January 20, 2010

Joel’s last chance before Massachusetts Federal District Court Judge Gertner (“Joel Fights Back”) is his post-judgment motion to set aside or reduce the damages award against him on the grounds that the judgment is unconstitutional – after all, what government would punish a student to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars for a crummy mp3 download he could have purchased for less than a buck?  Ours, of course. Joel’s Harvard Prof. lawyers filed a motion – punitive and unconstitutional, said they. The DOJ disagrees.  Quite proper, say they, per brief below. It’s not for me to say, but I’m thinking that there are some pretty big egos on the defense side of this case.  Nothing wrong with that, of course ….. 😉 DOJ Tennenbaum Post-trial Brief

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BLS Discovery Pilot Project to Take on Electronic Discovery

December 8, 2009

Guest post by Gesmer Updegrove attorney Nancy Cremins. ______________________________ On December 1, 2009, the Massachusetts Superior Court announced the implementation of a Discovery Pilot Project in the Superior Court’s Business Litigation Session (BLS). A link to the press release announcement is here, and the text of the Project here. The BLS Discovery Pilot Project will be implemented on January 4, 2010 and was developed as the result of a joint effort of the BLS judges and the BLS Advisory Committee, in an effort to address the increasing burden and cost of civil pretrial discovery, particularly electronic discovery. The BLS Pilot Project incorporates some of the principles set forth in the March 2009 Final Report of the American College of Trial Lawyers Task Force on Discovery and the Institute for Advancement of the American Legal System, which (no surprise) found the civil justice system “in serious need of repair.” The guiding principal of the BLS Pilot Project is to tie the scope of discovery to the magnitude of the claims at issue. The BLS judges will work with the parties to determine the scope and timing of permitted pre-trial discovery, taking into consideration the needs of the case, the amount in controversy, the parties’ respective resources, and the complexity and importance of the issues at stake. In a move similar to the “automatic disclosure” that has been in effect in the…

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Westlaw, Lexis, Announce That They are Yielding to Google Scholar, Terminating Legal Search Service Effective Immediately

November 30, 2009

Just kidding, but Columbia Law School’s Altlaw, which I’ve used off and on, really is shutting down: Nov. 19, 2009.  Earlier this week, Google announced the addition of legal cases to Google Scholar. It’s good, very good. But you don’t have to take our word for it: try it out yourself. Everything we have done or planned to do with AltLaw, Google has does better. What else would you expect? Search is their core business; they have hundreds of brilliant engineers, a vast computing infrastructure, and billions of dollars invested in it. . . . Therefore, we are happy to announce that Project AltLaw (Phase One) is complete. We will continue to maintain the web site and search service for a few months, but we will not be adding new features or new content. AltLaw.org, in its current form, will shut down in early 2010.

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Aiding and Abetting Prostitution? Wa?! I’m an Internet Executive – I Sure Hope My Mom Doesn’t Read That!

May 21, 2009

“We opened an investigation at 5:01 on Friday, as promised. . . . We are preparing for a prosecution. We are investigating. We are moving forward. . . . . The #1 defendant is Mr. Jim Buckmaster, who is the man in charge of Craigslist.. . . . Craigslist is a big promoter and facilitator of prostitution.” South Carolina Attorney General, on Sunday, according to the Craigslist Blog. Hmmm, this is the kind of thing that is protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, assuming that the South Carolina AG is referring to third party postings.  Somehow I doubt that Mr. Buckmaster has become a South Carolina pimp. Apparently, law enforcement authorities in SC have been particularly aggressive in their comments about Craigslist. Why did Craigslist file this suit? The most obvious reason, from a semi-legal perspective, is to get into federal court in that state, rather than be subject to the whims of a state court judge that may not “get” the CDA. After all, SC is south of Mason Dixon, and these guys in California may have seen My Cousin Vinnie one time too many.  And, they be a little unclear on the geography of the American Southeast. Not to mention Easy Rider. The other reason may just be to fight publicity with publicity, rather than just sit around and take it. Whether a case like…

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Charlie Nesson on Second Life

May 1, 2009

Now that Prof. Charlie Nesson has grabbed a lot of attention with his defense in the RIAA v. Tenenbaum case, it may be worth recalling this video, which was posted on YouTube in August 2006.

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John Perry Barlow, Co-Founder of EFF, Poet, Musician, Lyricist for the Dead, Retired Wyoming Cattle Rancher and Public Intellectual . . .

April 11, 2009

has filed a most unusual “expert witness report” in the Tenenbaum case.  This will surely raise some novel admissibility issues under Daubert/FRE 702 standards.  And that, constant readers, is the understatement of the day.  More surprises to come from the Nesson/HLS defense team, I have no doubt.  

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Can I Say That? Based on the First Circuit’s Interpretation of a 1902 Law, Maybe Not

March 3, 2009

It’s perfectly monstrous the way people go about nowadays saying things against one, behind one’s back, that are absolutely true” Oscar Wilde “Gossip needn’t be false to be evil – there’s a lot of truth that shouldn’t be passed around.” Frank A Clark “The defendant in an action for writing or for publishing a libel may introduce in evidence the truth of the matter contained in the publication charged as libellous; and the truth shall be a justification unless actual malice is proved” Entire text of Mass. Generals Laws, Chapter 231, Section 92, enacted in 1902 —————————- “The truth is an absolute defense to a claim of defamation.”  This is something that all lawyers know, and we have told this to clients countless times.  However, we will have to temper this advice following a recent decision from the  First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.  The case, for reasons that should be apparent, is attracting a lot of attention. First the case, then the law, then a few brief observations. Facts of the Case Alan Noonan was an employee of Staples. After an investigation, Staples concluded that Noonan had padded his expense account, and terminated him for cause. The day after the termination a Staples executive sent the following email to 1500 Staples employees: It is with sincere regret that I must inform you of the termination of Alan Noonan’s employment…

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Patent Case Management Judicial Guide

February 18, 2009

A number of private-practice lawyers, along with an extensive Judicial Advisory Board, have published a Patent Case Management Judicial Guide. The document is labeled “draft,” but it appears final in most respects, and is freely available for use. Perhaps the authors are using the term “draft” in the same way that Google uses the term “beta” – even when the product is mature and in widespread use, the beta label remains. Although this 500-plus page document has not been formally adopted by the federal courts, it is likely to serve as an important procedural and substantive guide to federal judges, and therefore is well worth including in any patent litigation library, particularly if a party is before one of the advisory judges. The judges involved in the Advisory Board (a “who’s who” of patent judges) includes Judge Patti B. Saris in the District of Massachusetts. Link to the SSRN page here.

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