October 2006

I quote from News.com on September 28th:

Cuban, co-founder of HDNet and owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, also said YouTube would eventually be “sued into oblivion” because of copyright violations.

“They are just breaking the law,” Cuban told a group of advertisers in New York. “The only reason it hasn’t been sued yet is because there is nobody with big money to sue.”

* * *

Cuban said “anyone who buys that (YouTube) is a moron” because of potential lawsuits from copyright violations.

“There is a reason they haven’t yet gone public, they haven’t sold. It’s because they are going to be toasted,” said Cuban, who has sold start-ups to Yahoo and CompuServe.

The outspoken (to put it mildly) Cuban, billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks and Chairman of HDTV cable network has repeated this message loudly and often, both before and after Google’s $1.6 billion purchase offer to YouTube.… Read the full article

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

by Lee Gesmer on October 19, 2006

I’ve been meaning to post some statistics reported by Price Waterhouse Coopers at the MCLE 9th Annual Intellectual Property Conference earlier this year. PWC has done a rigorous study of patent and trademark cases in the Federal District Courts and at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) over the last 25 years. A few highlights and trends:

  • In 2005, 4% of patent cases and 1.5% of trademark cases went through trial. (Presumably the balance were resolved via settlement or summary judgment).
  • Juries award more damages in patent cases than bench trials. On the other hand, bench trials are more popular in trademark cases.
  • The CAFC is a tough court: only 30% of damage awards are affirmed by the CAFC.
  • Patent damage awards far exceed trademark damage awards.
  • Patent awards’ fastest growth has been in the computer business services and electronics components sectors.
  • Reasonable royalties (rather than lost profits) has become the most frequent measure of damages awarded in patent cases.
Read the full article

Project Posner

by Lee Gesmer on October 13, 2006

Tim Wu and Stuart Sierra, a Columbia Law School professor and web designer respectively, have launched Project Posner, a web site offering unheard of access to Judge Richard A. Posner‘s legal opinions, in searchable format. And yes, the creators — who are certainly not alone in this view — pronounce that “Richard Posner is probably the greatest living American jurist.”

If, however, you still find yourself wondering: why should I care?, Project Posner has you covered. Project Posner offers the following explanation for its existence:

… While Posner’s books and popular writings are easily available to the public, his opinions are difficult or expensive for the public to access, let alone search. This site, for the first time, collects almost all of his opinions in a single searchable and easily readable database.

For lawyers and those interested in law, Posner’s opinions have a particular substantive value. One thing that distinguishes the opinions is the effort to try and get at why a given law actually exists, and an effort to try and make sense of the law.

Read the full article

We repeat this bumper sticker joke meaning no disrespect for U.S. District Court Judge Robert E. Keeton, who has retired at age 86 after 27 years on the federal bench. His retirement was effective September 8, 2006. You can find a link to the official announcement here.

Since being appointed to the bench in 1979, Judge Keeton presided over a number of significant cases, including a groundbreaking software copyright case involving Lotus 1-2-3 and the prosecution of political activist Lyndon LaRouche for conspiracy, mail fraud and tax evasion. He was also the trial judge who set aside the perjury conviction of Boston Police Officer Kenneth Conley – a decision that was upheld by the Federal Court of Appeals. Judge Keeton, a Harvard law professor, wrote extensively on various legal topics and was influential in the creation and adoption of the federal civil and criminal rules of procedure.

At age 86, Judge Keeton was the oldest member of the federal court in Massachusetts.… Read the full article