Dispatches From an Innovation Tour of India

February 5, 2009

If you’re fascinated with India, as I am, there’s an interesting series of articles described as an “innovation tour,” of India by Vinit Nijhawan, Executive-in-Residence in the Boston University School of Management. In a series of “dispatches” Nijhawan “takes readers on a journey, from New Delhi’s teeming cell phone (and cell phone unlocking) marketplace to Chandigarh, home to a great engineering college and a nascent life sciences industry forming . . . around agricultural products”, to quote from Xconomy. An introduction and links to the installments (five so far), can be accessed here.

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Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich Forgot This Important Rule of Discretion

December 12, 2008

“Never write if you can speak; never speak if you can whisper; never whisper if you can nod; and never nod if you can wink.” Martin Lomasney (1859-1933) Massachusetts State Senator, State Representative, Alderman and Ward Boss of Boston’s Ward Eight.

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Linux.com Interview of Andy Updgrove

November 15, 2008

  Linux.com, one of the leading open source software web sites, recently interviewed my partner, Andy Updegrove, and wrote a very complementary article (part of its Portrait Series). The article focuses on Andy’s involvement with open source software, and also touches on many highlights in Andy’s career, including the role he played in the creation of the MIT License in the early ’90’s (one of the first, and most popular open source software licenses). Andy had drafted that license for our client, the X Consortium, and it was only years later that he realized that the license had been adopted by many open source projects, eventually becoming known as the MIT License. The interview also includes his views on open source and open standards (where he has played a significant role), his work as counsel to the Linux Foundation, and several other highlights of his career. A link to the article is here.

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Judge Young on Employee Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims, Interference With Contract and Pleading

September 3, 2008

U.S. District Court Judge William Young’s recent decision in Talentburst, Inc. v. Collabera, Inc. is worth study. Talentburst is the former employer of Raj Pallerla. While employed by Talentburst, Pallerla signed a noncompete agreement with Talentburst. He then resigned and went to work for Collabera, Inc. For ease of reading I’ll refer to these three parties as Former Employer, New Employer and Employee. When the Former Employer discovered that its Employee had gone to work for New Employer, it pursued an unorthodox legal strategy: rather than sue the employee for breach of the noncompete agreement, it sued only the new employer, alleging that the New Employer had “aided and abetted” a breach of fiduciary duty by the Employee. It also claimed that by hiring the Employee the New Employer “interfered” with the noncompete contract. The case was filed in Massachusetts Superior Court, but the Former Employer was able to “remove” it to federal court (based on diversity jurisdiction). To the Former Employer’s misfortune, the case was drawn by Judge Young, who was almost certain to give the case closer scrutiny than it would have received in state court. The Former Employer filed a motion to dismiss, which is usually a long shot. However, Judge Young allowed the motion and dismissed the suit on the basis of the complaint alone. In his decision Judge Young reasoned that the Employee, who was…

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Jacobsen v. Katzer

August 22, 2008

“Trust me, this is huge.” Larry Lessig My partner Andy Updegrove has written a post discussing Jacobsen v. Katzer. In a nutshell, theCAFC upheld an open source copyright license, pointing to the work of Creative Commons and others. As Andy discusses, this is an important decision for the open source movement. Update: Here is a link to a thoughtful post discussing whether this decision might have the unexpected effect of tipping the scales (in favor of licensors) on the legal enforceability of license provisions prohibiting reverse engineering of software: Be Careful What You Wish For: How the Jacobsen v. Katzer Decision Could Hurt the Free Software Movement

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Charlie Could Not Get Off That Train ….

August 21, 2008

Let me tell you the story Of a man named Charlie On a tragic and fateful day He put ten cents in his pocket, Kissed his wife and family Went to ride on the MTA Charlie on the MTA (Jacqueline Steiner and Bess Lomax Hawes, 1949) _____________________ U.S. District Judge O’Toole has his hands full with this one. Here’s the quick and dirty: In 2006 the Boston MBTA released the “CharlieCard,” a passcard containing an integrated chip that allows riders of the “T” (the nation’s oldest subway) to store value for rides. Two weeks ago Anderson, Ryan and Chiesa, three MIT students, announced that they had hacked the CharlieCard, and would present their results at DEFCON 16, scheduled for August 8-10 in Las Vegas. Their presentation slides, titled “Anatomy of a Subway Hack” were published in advance of DEFCON. This upset the T, which filed suit in federal court in Boston on August 8th. What passes for legal fireworks ensued – the T’s complaint, along with other public pleadings in the case, are available on the Justia web site. Before filing suit the T reportedly asked the students not to disclose their research until the T had a chance to fix the security flaw. Apparently, the students and the T were unable reach agreement acceptable to the T. The T’s lawsuit sought a temporary restraining order (translation: an temporary emergency…

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Andy Updegrove on Appeals in the OOXML Standards Battle

August 6, 2008

If my partner Andy Updegrove (he’s the one on the right) is not the most knowledgeable lawyer on the planet about ODF/OOXML standard adoption issues (1,2,3), I would be more than a little surprised. Here is a Q & A with Andy that Redmond Developer News has published, where he discusses the ongoing appeals process related to these standards. A link to the article on scribd.com is below, and here is a link to the article online. If you know absolutely nothing about this controversy, click here to read several articles Andy has published on the topic. OOXML Q & A With Andy Updegrove – Upload a Document to Scribd Read this document on Scribd: OOXML Q & A With Andy Updegrove

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The Viacom/YouTube Privacy Stipulation

July 18, 2008

Viacom v Youtube Stipulation – Upload a Document to Scribd Read this document on Scribd: Viacom v Youtube Stipulation

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The Massachusetts Data Breach Notification Statute; Online Copyright Infringement

July 10, 2008

Spring 2008 Gesmer Updegrove Technology Law Bulletin – Upload a Document to Scribd Read this document on Scribd: Spring 2008 Gesmer Updegrove Technology Law Bulletin

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The Entwistle Trial

June 13, 2008

I would be remiss if I didn’t provide a link to the Boston Herald blog on the Entwistle case, which is being tried in Middlesex Superior Court in Massachusetts. The case has attracted international attention due to the horrific and gruesome facts of the case, and that the defendant, who is accused of the cold-blooded murder of his wife and infant daugher, is British. The Boston Herald is “live blogging” this trial.

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Important, If True …

June 11, 2008

The Massachusetts employment bar is abuzz with word that a Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) Commissioner has publically stated that the Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act (MMLA) will apply to new parents of either sex. This means that new fathers would be entitled to eight weeks of unpaid leave upon the birth or adoption of their child. (The MMLA applies to employers with six or more employees). This all unfolded in a strange manner, to say the very least. There has been no formal written announcement. The MCAD online regs have not been changed to include fathers. The underlying statute still refers only to “female employees”, and makes no mention of fathers. There has been no formal press release or request for comment or feedback from the Massachusetts business community. Legislation by adminstrative fiat. Apparently, the MCAD Commissioner announced this at a speaking event at a law firm in Boston in early June. His comments were confirmed in a follow-up interview by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, which quotes the Commissioner as follows: I’m not going to tell you how we are going to come out on every case, because it depends on the facts and circumstances presented,” he said. “But what we are saying is that if a man now walks in and makes a complaint, we are going to take that complaint and investigate it – which, yes, is something that…

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"Employee Non-Compete Agreements: Protecting Innovation or Stifling It?" – Harvard's Berkman Center to Debate Economic Implications of Noncompete Agreement

May 30, 2008

See Xconomy article here for details. Quoting from the article: Employee Non-Compete Agreements: Protecting Innovation or Stifling It? Thursday, June 19th, 3:00-7:00 pm Ames Courtroom, 2nd floor of Austin Hall, Harvard Law School There will be a panel discussion, followed by a cocktail reception. Anyone is free to attend. You just have to register by June 12 (a week before the event) by emailing your name, title and company to Amar Ashar at the Berkman Center: ashar@cyber.law.harvard.edu.

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