November 2007

Are You Serious, Counselor?

by Lee Gesmer on November 29, 2007

One of the many oddities of the legal profession is that judges have to take truly bizarre allegations seriously, and use detailed legal logic to dismiss them. This is like watching Aristotle being forced to debate John Cleese during a Monty Python revival festival. You see this most often in pro se lawsuits brought by prison inmates who are challenging their convictions or treatment during incarceration. You see it a lot less often in the rarified world of intellectual property litigation. However, a case decided earlier this year is a good example of this in just that context.

Harding Earley (the Harding firm) is a law firm ouside Philadelphia. It defended a client in a case alleging trade secret misapropriation and trademark infringment, brought by Healthcare Advocates, Inc. However, by doing so the Harding firm itself attracted the wrath of Healthcare Advocates, and was sued by Healthcare for copyright infringment and various related claims.… Read the full article

SJC Briefs Available Online

by Lee Gesmer on November 26, 2007

Recently, I wrote an entry describing how ScotusBlog was making available online every brief filed in the Supreme Court (where the Court has accepted cert.). Now, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court is making all briefs filed in its cases availabe on the SJC website. These resources are a windfall to practitioners, who can study the research and arguments made by other attorneys, rather than tackling difficult legal issues cold. These resources (unimaginable in the pre-Internet age) can, if used properly, make practitioners both more efficient and more sophisticated in evaluating effective legal arguments.… Read the full article

Angel Financing Could Do With A Little Streamlining

by Lee Gesmer on November 15, 2007

Investments by angel groups have become too complicated. As groups get more aggressive in pursuing profits, and seek more protection against downside risk, their deals have become as complex as venture capital deals. This complexity costs time and money, reducing the benefit to both investors and companies. By streamlining the transaction structure, angel groups could simplify negotiations, shorten the time it takes to do a deal, reduce transaction costs, put more money to work building new companies and ultimately improve their own returns.

Click here to continue reading this article, by my partner Bill Contente, which was published in the November 9, 2007 issue of the Boston Business Journal.

And, as long as I’m shamelessly showing off all the brilliant people I’ve been able to surround myself with, here is an article recently published by my partner Andy Updegrove in the October 26, 2007 issue of Mass High Tech:

How often have you heard it said that “patents foster innovation?”

Read the full article

This quote, attributed to General Phillip Sheridan in 1868, describes how many patent defendants feel about Texas, and particularly Marshall, Texas, which has become a patent litigation black hole, sucking in unwilling defendants from around the nation.

A blog, titled the Patent Troll Tracker, closely follows events in Marshall. Here is an abbreviated excerpt from a recent post concerning patent litigation in Marshall:

This is really the year of the patent troll. Last year, approximately 6,000 defendants were sued nationwide in about 2,800 patent cases. This year, the 6,000th defendant was sued sometime in early October. With the number of cases up nationwide probably 5% over last year, we’re still projected for at least a 30% increase in the number of defendants sued. More on that data in a later post.

Why? It’s because of the numerous multi-defendant patent litigation cases being brought by non-practicing entities and patent trolls in the Eastern District of Texas.

Read the full article