Saturday, April 29, 2006

Lame Law School Pick-Up Lines: In this Episode, Trademarks

Not my best showing, but here are the first installment of this year's Finals Pick-Up Lines. Feel free to enjoy last year's as well as they are chock full of 1L goodness:1

"You have created a zone of natural expansion... in my jockey shorts."

"Your picture has become generic for 'hot.'"

"I was going to register the trademark HUGE for my *ahem*, but the application was denied because it was 'merely descriptive'"2

"Your trade dress looks smokin'... it would look even better crumpled up on my bedroom floor."

"I'd like to penetrate your market."

"Your aesthetic functionality makes it impossible for other girls to compete in the market for my heart."

"Does Angelina Jolie know you're infringing on her persona? Becuase there's a liklihood of confusion that you're as hot as her."

1 I am still particularly fond of "Hey baby... I want to put us in horizontal privity of estate."
2If you don't know trademark law, I assure you this is funny... well, maybe not "assure." Basically, the gist is if a mark is actually dscriptive of the product it is attached to (in the pick-up line, it would be my junk), then it is not protectable. I guess if you have to explain the joke it isn't that funny.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Some Advice

If you are doing something that will be judged or "graded," perhaps some kind of writing assignment, a "petition" if you will, to get onto some kind of law school publication, or "journal," I highly recommend that you NOT do something that pisses off the people grade that writing assignment.

Unfortunately, this advice was not spawned out of my imagingation, but rather came from a 1L who really is pissing me off. I won't give you any details, because I don't really want to out this guy just because he has made me (and my petition co-chair, and the Law Review EIC) angry, but they were sufficiently stupid and immature (in my opinion) to cause me to write this post.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Petition Mailing Arrangements

If you are a 1L or a 2L planning on petitioning for Minnesota journals and you want to have the petition mailed to you, don't forget:


So, if you will be petitioning, but will be out of town and don't want to have to pick up the petition (and thus start your clock running) before you leave, you MUST make mailing arrangements by Friday, April 28. This includes:2
1) Getting an envelope large enough for the petition to be mailed in (a #12 envelope from the West Bank Skyway Post Office is the right size)
2) Going over to the West Bank Skyway Post Office (between Willey and Blegen Halls) to get the Example Law School Petition weighed, and buying the applicable postage to wherever you want the petition mailed
3) Bringing the envelope, with the correct postage attached and the enveloped addressed, to the Law Review Office
4)Sign in on the desk in the Law Review office and give your self-addressed, postage-paid envelope to the secretary.

Failure to follow these instructions TO THE LETTER3 will result in you NOT receiving a petition, and thus NOT being able to join a journal.

And since I know not all the 1Ls and 2Ls read this blog (like they should... that's a bad 1L!), so those of you who do, please remind your friends.4

OK, rant over.

1Yes, this week... like, BY FRIDAY.
2Forgive me for writing this out like you are a four-year-old, but no-one is going to tell me "I didn't know how to do it!" No Mercy! No Exceptions!
3Unless I misspelled something, in which case failure to follow these instructions TO THE LETTER THAT IT SHOULD BE
4Whether to remind your enemies is up to you.

How Do 3Ls Do It?

I have almost no motivation to study. I go through the motions because I have so many finals (so many, in fact, that every time I tell people how many, they responde "Why did you do that to yourself?"1). My level of apathy is the highest it has EVER been, and I can only imagine that it will be increased ten-fold by this time next year. This leads me, inescabably, to the following question. How the f&@$ do 3L law students actually study for exams?

I have my own theories as to the answer:
Theory #1: They don't - My guess is that many 3Ls are so close to the light at the end of the tunnel that they are blinded by it and are too busy squinting to study.

Theory #2: They don't care - If my apathy level is at an all-time high of 143 (shattering last spring's previous personal best of 98), I'm guessing the average 3L apathy is somewhere in the neighborhood of 32,456,987,923.2

Or, what I feel is the best, Super Theory: Both Theory #1 and Theory #2.

Still, I'm fucking amazed.

1The number of finals, by the way, is 5. The reason I "did this to myself" is because I decided to take a sucky semester this Spring so I could take a lighter load next year with more seminars. We'll see if it was wise after grades come out.
2Give or take a few dozen million.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Results Are In

23 University of Minnesota Law students were polled, and 23 University of Minnesota Law students agreed: Lottery results (for class registration) are in. Once again, I must ask myself "Did I win?" Here are my results:1

Criminal Procedure - Reitz, MTW 10:10-11 - I signed up for this class mostly because of the rave reviews by 1L who have him for Crim Law this semester (honestly, you'd think the firsties want to have his intellectual babies the way they rave about him... and apparently his mythical height2 adds to the crush). I may also substitute Antitrust for this class, since my Patents professor has said several times that you "Have to take Antitrust!"

Statutory Interpretation - Chen, MTW 11:15-12:10 - The only class I really wanted. Supposedly very educational, and actually fun. Let's hope the hype isn't misleading, like it was for Brokeback.

Art of Appellate Advocacy Seminar - Short, M 3:30-5:30 - I don't know if this class is worth it... but most importantly, it is a seminar, so in theory there is no final.

Trial Practice - The Unknown Professor, M 6-9 pm - The only other class that I actually wanted, mostly because I thought it would be fun to play Perry Mason for a semester. Class 'til 9 pm will suck, but whadda ya gonna do?

Patent Prosecution Seminar - Sieffert, T 3:30-5:30 - I may drop this, but it will be difficult to drop it since I can get an A without much effort (and probably a fairly easy A+ if the professors give A+'s) because I am already a practicing patent agent, and have done a lot of patent preparation and prosecution already.

Intellectual Property Transactions Seminar - Adelman, Th 3:30-5:30 - The last of my triumvirate of seminars. Probably an important course to take as a future IP attorney.

This schedule will definitely change, because this schedule has already resulted in 15 credits not including the 3 credits I will get for law review next fall... and there is no way I am taking 18 credits. I have three options I am considering right now to finalize my scheduled:
Option 1: Drop Crim Pro and keep everything else. This will leave me with 15 total credits with law review, and I will only need to take 12 credits in the spring to graduate.
Option 2: Keep Crim Pro (or substitute Antitrust for Crim Pro) and drop one of my seminars (probably Patent Prosecution). This will leave me with 16 credits in the fall, and only 11 more credits needed to graduate (which require permission from the Administration to take less than a full load, but would be totally worth it).
Option 3: Keep Crim Pro (or substitute Antitrust) and drop two of my seminars (probably Patent Prosecution and Art of Appellate Advocacy). This would leave me with 14 credits for next fall, and 13 credits needed to graduate. This is probably my least likely option... but maybe.

Any thoughts?

P.S.I'm finally getting around to studying for finals, so Pick-up lines will be coming soon!

1 One student, after asking "Are you talking about Prof. Reitz?" exclaimed "I know Prof. Reitz! He goes about 7 feet 3 inches, weighs about 637 pounds. To Prof. Reitz!!!" the student then proceeded to chug some scotch. It was weird.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Come Drink On Us*

All you 1Ls and 2Ls who are interested in writing onto the Minnesota Law Review next year should come to a place where the beer will flow like wine. Where citecheckers instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. I'm talking about a little place called Auerbach. Today at 3:30. Come eat cheese and crackers and drink beer.

There you can ask questions about the journal. Or, if you are more presumptious, whether the rumor is true that after a hectic, thirty-hour citechecking session, yours truly danced across the tables of law review office singing "Butterfly Kisses" while flapping my sweatshirt like butterfly wings.1

* Not literally.
1No comment. But even if it were true, which I'm not saying it is, such conduct would be totally justified by the subject of the citecheck assignment (substantive due process) and the unbelievable amount of Laffy Taffy consumed. And I sooo totally would *not* sing "Butterfly Kisses." I sang... I mean, *would* sing a medly of great songs with the word "fly" in it. i.e. "Fly Away" by Lenny Kravitz, "I Believe I Can Fly" by R. Kelly, "Learn to Fly" by Foo Fighters, "I'm Flying" from Peter Pan... that kind of thing. Ahem.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

"The Butter of the Poor"

In patents, we are reading Vitamin Technologists, Inc. v. Wisconsin Alumni Research Found. (WARF), a case where the fact which seems to sway the court is that the patent holder (essentially the University of Wisconsin) is not allowing its patent (a process which causes yeast in dairy products to produce vitamin D) to be used on margarine.

"Why does this matter?" you ask.

Well, I'm glad you asked, ficticious inquirer. Because, dear reader, vitamin D cures rickets (or more precisely, Rickets is caused by vitamin D deficiency), and because in the 1940s (when this case was decided), Rickets was most prevalent in the lower class, referred to in a very un-PC way by the court as "the poor."

"OK, but where is the connection to margarine?"

Again, excellent question, my non-existant friend. Because, margarine, or "oleomargarine" as the court calls it, is "one of the foods of the poor"1 and better yet "the butter of the poor." The court also seems swayed by the fact that that patent is held by a university in Wisconsin, "a state of powerful vested interests in dairy enterprises" where the state legislature loves "imposing heavy restrictions upon the competition of oleomargarine with butter."2

Yep, this case was decided on whether Badger U. can keep poor people from eating Rickets-free fake butter. An actual, for real decision of a United States Court of Appeals came down to FAKE BUTTER and RICKETS.

This case, and an invention I wrote about earlier, are two of the reasons why I love patent law.

Update: OK, I should really read cases more carefully before I post about them. Apparently all the great fake-butter language was just pointless dicta to a much more mundane invalidity-of-the-patent holding. This was still kind of extraordinary in that the court intentionally went out of its way to write a shit-load of dicta about FAKE BUTTER and RICKETS.

1 When I read "food of the poor" I immediately pictured poor, homeless or orphaned children (like Tiny Tim or Oliver Twist) sitting down to eat a big tub of Parkay. "You can't eat your pudding if you don't eat your oleo! How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your oleo!"
2 I could not make up this kind of language.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Defense to Charge of Run-On Sentencing: "The Supreme Court Does It"

I assure you that I am still alive, but working on the petition for all the ickle firsties trying to write-on to the journals and family stuff for Easter has sucked up all my time that isn't being spent studying. But, in an effort to do something other than studying, I offer you the following defense to a charge of excessive run-on sentences:1 "The Supreme Court of the United States does it . . . I can too!"

As an example, I offer into Evidence the case of United Drug Co. v. Theodore Rectanus Co.2 (kindly provided by my Trademarks casebook). In that case, the Court kindly summerized the holding of the Court of Appeals in the following sentence:
The Circuit Court of Appeals held that in view of the fact that Rectanus had used the mark for a long period of years in entire ignorance of Mrs. Regis' remedy or of her trade-mark, had expended money in making his mark well known, and had established a considerable though local business under it in Louisville and vicinity, while on the other hand during the same long period Mrs. Regis had done nothing, either by sales agencies or by advertising, to make her medicine or its mark known outside of the New England States, saving sporadic sales in territory adjacent to those States, and had made no effort whatever to extend the trade to Kentucky, she and her successors were bound to know that, misled by their silence and inaction, others might act, as Rectanus and his successors did act, upon the assumption that the field was open, and therefore were estopped to ask for an injunction against the continued use of the mark in Louisville and vicinity by the Rectanus Company.3
Quite the moutful, eh? As if that weren't bad enough, the Court later "succintly" stated its holding, again in a single sentence, thusly:
Mrs. Regis and her firm, having during a long period of years confined their use of the "Rex" mark to a limited territory wholly remote from that in controversy, must be held to have taken the risk that some innocent party might in the meantime hit upon the same mark, apply it to goods of similar character, and expend money and effort in building up a trade under it; and since it appears that Rectanus in good faith, and without notice of any prior use by others, selected and used the "Rex" mark, and by the expenditure of money and effort succeeded in building up a local but valuable trade under it in Louisville and vicinity before petitioner entered that field, so that "Rex" had come to be recognized there as the "trade signature" of Rectanus and of respondent as his successor, petitioner is estopped to set up their continued use of the mark in that territory as an infringement of the Regis trade-mark.4
What a great example of legal writing that is. Remind me to submit a conclusion sentence like that in every piece of legal writing I ever do.

1 Which is an obsession of my Note & Comment editors which is surpassed only by their hatred of the Passive Voice, even if the voice is not passive and the sentence does not "run on" beyond two lines. But I digress.
2 248 U.S. 90 (1918). Incidentally, Rectanus is one of the funniest party names I've seen all year. I mean come on, it has the major part of the word "Rectum" in it, and the word "anus" too. And that is some guy's last name. That guy would have been teased in my elementary school.
3 Id. at 96 (describing the holding of the Sixth Circuit using as many f&*king words as possible).
4 Id. at 103 (are you KIDDING ME?)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Home Opener

Sure, my team sucks (1-5 baby!), but as I have mentioned before, the Twins hold a special place in my heart, even in the sucky years. And, today is the Home Opener at the wonderful stadium that the Twins play in (a.k.a. the Metrodome, or Twinkydome if you are an old, crusty White Sox announcer who still insists on being called "Hawk").1 We're having beer and hot dogs in the law library, and at least for the lunch hour, all will seem almost normal in the world.

1People like the Hawk love to disparage the Metrodome, but no matter what the critics say, the Twins still play in one of the best football stadiums in Major League Baseball

Sunday, April 09, 2006

"Race" for Justice - An Unreasonable Embarrassment

I ran in the Race for Justice this morning, which is a 5K charity run which provides for student loan repayment for those students who want to practice public interest law, but wouldn't be able to because their crippling student loans coupled with the paltry salaries these types of jobs tend to pay. Of course, I wasn't really running the race to "help people." No, I was running it to beat people in a race (not all the people, but at least a respectable number.)

But sadly, me "winning" the race... or even "finishing respectably," was not in the cards this year. Instead, I was utterly embarrassed by my poor showing. Well, maybe not "utterly embarrassed - I did turn in a "decent" time - but my visions of glory certainly were not realized.

I started out strong at a good pace. But, it became clear that my month of inactivity since the musical has not done well for my personal physical fitness. Slowly, but surely, people began to pass me. I would have been OK with this, because most of the people that were passing me early on seemed to be in good shape, so I could easily justify it: "They just run regularly. I'd be able to take 'em if I had been running regularly too." However, as the torrent of my tormentors began to pick up, this excuse could no longer cut it. First, it was the little junior high girls who had come to run with their lawyer parents. *Ouch* Then, it was the people running with their dogs. *OUCH* But then, the most painful of all, the dads passed me who were pushing baby strollers while they were having a casual conversation with their baby-pushing friends. *OUCH* It's like they were just out for a leisurely stroll. Man, I suck.

I thought I'd do something "good." I thought I'd help out Loan Repayment Assistance Program so that hippy-type people could do good, honest legal work while I suckled at the teat of my corporate overlords. But alas, it ended in shame for this lowly blogger. *Sigh*

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Now Available Through iTORT

The T.O.R.T. producers have been kind enough to record a soundtrack from this years musical and create mp3s of all the songs, available here. The sound quality pretty much sucks when you are trying to listen to us lowly chorus members (unlike we are good enough to have a solo line with a microphone), but it's still nice to hear some of the songs.

I particularly love "I Feel Shitty" - (which starts immediately after a student gives a particular bad answer in class and the professor asks "How do you feel about your answer know?") and "No 1L, No Cry" when it talks about The Case of the Thorns.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Why, Oh Why Do I Do This To Myself?

You'd think I'd learn from my three previous semesters of law school... but, ONCE AGAIN, I have less than a month until finals, and I haven't even STARTED outlining. For at least one class, I don't need to outline, but for my other four I may be screwed. This should be fun.

In short, if you are a 1L looking to me for advice,1 if you haven't started outlining, you are up a smelly creek without that crucial paddle. If you have your outlines up-to-date and are ready for finals, I hate you and hope you die a slow, painful death immediately after your last final so that as you lay dying in pain you will say to yourself "I wish I had had more fun like Unreasonable Man."2

1 You should really stop that... I clearly don't know what I'm doing
2 This happend twice last year... seriously, people talk about me all the time as they are about to die from exam-induced dysphoria.