June 2008

Important, If True …

by Lee Gesmer on 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.… Read the full article

Yesterday’s decision in Quanta Computer, Inc. v. LG Electronics, Inc. is linked below (via scribd.com, which I am becoming quite enamored of as a place in the “cloud” to hold and link to documents or embed them in a web site or blog).

This is a very technical case, and probably is of little interest to non-patent/licensing-professionals. The holding is as follows:

The authorized sale of an article that substantially emboides a patent exhausts the patent holder’s rights and prevetns the patent holder from invoking patent law to control postsale use of the article.

Layman’s translation: once you license a patent to someone, your rights in the patented product or method are “exhausted.” You are not entitled to demand a patent royalty from subsequent purchasers “downstream” from your customer. This is analogous to the “first sale” doctrine in copyright law.

In both cases (patent and copyright) the exception is that you are able to restrict downstream uses by contract with your purchaser or licensee.… Read the full article

Lawyerly Humor

by Lee Gesmer on June 9, 2008

I don’t think Letterman or Darrell Hammond have a lot to worry about, but it’s nice to see a lawyer making fun of himself once in a while.

Tom Goldstein: Hire Me For Your Supreme Court Case

Read the full article

The Agony of Inadvertant Disclosure

by Lee Gesmer on June 8, 2008

Sometimes being a lawyer is like being an airline pilot – hundreds of hours of tedium, interrupted by moments of sheer panic.

In the case of lawyers, the panic can hit from a number of sources: a missed court filing date or statute of limitations, the discovery during trial that your client has failed to produce key documents during discovery, the failure to discover a controlling legal precedent, the realization that a client has lied to you, or “inadvertant disclosure.”

To lawyers, the term “inadvertant disclosure” means that during discovery documents protected by attorney-client privilege or work-product immunity have been produced to the other side, by mistake. You (the disclosing attorney) usually learn of this when the opposing lawyer calls you up to gloat (under the guise of politely informing you of the incident, which is required under the ethical rules). It’s enough to ruin any lawyers day: you demand (or beg for) the return of the documents; the opposing lawyer refuses; you file a motion with the court asking for an order that the documents be returned to you (after that embarrassing call to your client); the other side opposes your motion; and finally, the judge writes a decision ruling one way or the other on your request for return, but in either case informing the world of what a sloppy or incompetent lawyer you were to have produced the documents in the first place.… Read the full article