Oracle v. Google Resources Page (pinned)

by Lee Gesmer on November 17, 2019

Click here to access my Resources Page on Oracle v. Google, currently pending before the Supreme Court.… Read the full article

Oracle v. Google In a Nutshell

by Lee Gesmer on December 6, 2019

Oracle v. Google In a Nutshell

Oracle’s copyright case against Google has dragged on for nine years. The case has generated multiple federal district court trials and appellate decisions. Hundreds of thousands of words have been written on the case. Academic careers have been built on it (OK, I’m exaggerating, but not by much).

Now that the case is before the Supreme Court a new, even larger audience wants to understand it. However, few people want to struggle through the lengthy court decisions or law review articles.

Here is my summary of the issues in the case in a nutshell. Almost all jargon and many details omitted. 

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First Issue – copyrightability. Oracle owns the Java programming language. Part of Java is an application programming interface (“the Java API”). These are pre-written programs that allow programmers to perform common programming tasks. When Google built its Android smartphone operating system it copied verbatim a significant portion (over 11,000 lines) of the Java API.Read the full article

Supreme Court Will Decide if “generic.com” Trademarks Are Entitled to Trademark Protection

Have you ever used the website booking.com to make a hotel reservation? If you are familiar with this site and I asked whether you thought BOOKING.COM is a brand name or a generic term, what would you say? Odds are you’d say it is a brand name – 75% of people surveyed thought so.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (the USPTO) doesn’t challenge those survey results. However, it doesn’t think BOOKING.COM is entitled to trademark registration. It concluded that BOOKING is generic for an online hotel reservation service, and adding a top-level domain name (“.com” in this case) doesn’t change that, irrespective of survey results showing that consumers view it as a brand.

The owner of the trademark, Booking.com B.V. (“Booking”), appealed, and after grinding its way through the USPTO and the courts for eight years this dispute has arrived at the U.S. Supreme Court.

The issue presented to the Court is this: you can’t register (or enforce) a generic trademark.Read the full article

Dirty Politics – How is This Like Lawyering?

by Lee Gesmer on October 12, 2019

“When they go low, we go high” Michelle Obama

“You can’t waller with the pigs and not get dirtyAnon

As I’ve watched the political events of the last few years I’ve heard each side argue that their side needs to “fight dirty” to match the tactics of the opposing party. 

I’m not going to voice an opinion on the political issues raised by these arguments, but I’ve learned one thing from personal experience: if you are an ethical litigator you are likely to be faced with a similar personal challenge at some point during your career. Sooner or later, and probably more than once, you’ll have a case where opposing counsel behaves borderline unethically, or even over the line. The list of ways in which a lawyer can skirt the rules to do this are countless. If you’re on the receiving end it can be upsetting and infuriating.

You, as the ethical lawyer, can’t change your opponent’s conduct.Read the full article