Patent Humor: A Method of Tilting A Head to Indicate Confusion


See above for illustration accompanying an issued patent for A Method of Tilting A Head to Indicate Confusion.

This method is routinely employed and likely infringed by most law students when first confronted with Fed. R. Civ. P. 19(a) and 19(b) regarding Joinder of Required Parties, as amply illustrated by the appropriately numbered illustrations above.

Note for example the bugged-out eyes and pupil dilation occurring upon exposure to Rule 19(a) governing necessary and feasible persons to be joined, which leads to an almost canine-like confused tilt of the head upon turning to Rule 19(b), which determines whether the court should dismiss the civil action for non-joinder.

Be warned: it should be noted that the patent’s claims are not limited to law students, or for that matter, humans. It is unlikely, of course, that family members or house pets would be willing to endure explanations of Rule 19; nonetheless, the patent’s claims are sufficiently broad to include grandparents and German Shepherds.

Um, just kidding. Nobody would ever file such an absurd patent.

Graphic via Context-Free Patent Art. Cross-posted to Infoglut Tumblr.

AALS on the 75th anniversary of the FRCP

At the annual meeting of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS), the highlight so far has been a spirited panel on the 75th anniversary of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Yes, I know that this statement may be yawn-inducing for those who are not court or procedure geeks.) The All-Star panel was moderated by legal legend Arthur Miller and included Justice Antonin Scalia.

I’ll post more when I have access to a computer (I’m blogging from the iPhone app). But for now suffice it to say that it was amazing to watch Miller and the panel skewer the court for some of its very questionable recent procedure decisions, particularly Iqbal (pleading).

Cross-posted on Infoglut Tumblr.

Washington Declaration on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest

Despite the slings and arrows of Hurricane Irene hitting Washington a week ago, the recent Global Congress on Intellectual Property Law and the Public Interest has produced an important document calling for more transparency and public participation in the crafting of IP law.The Washington Declaration on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest is an important step in the fight for the public interest and against governments that have been co-opted by copyright and patent owners. Truly a global effort, the Global Congress included over 180 experts from 35 countries in six continents and was held (during Irene!) at American University Washington College of Law.

As argued in my recent article on private copyright enforcement and feedback loops, a deficit of transparency and public participation in private copyright enforcement has fostered gross overreach by copyright owners. A recent example of copyright overreach is amply demonstrated by the so-called Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which was negotiated secretly and addresses far more than mere “counterfeiting.” (See here for a law professors’ letter I’ve signed against ACTA.)

It’s good to see such concerns echoed in the Congress’ just-released Declaration. For example:

International intellectual property policy making should be conducted through mechanisms of transparency and openness that encourage broad public participation. New rules should be made within the existing forums responsible for intellectual property policy, where both developed and developing countries have full representation, and where the texts of and forums for considering proposals are open. All new international intellectual property standards must be subject to democratic checks and balances, including domestic legislative approval and opportunities for judicial review.

Along similar lines, the Declaration calls excessive IP enforcement out to task, noting that “Government and private IP enforcement are commandeering greater social resources in order to impose stricter penalties than ever before, with fewer safeguards and less procedural fairness.” The Declaration contains many other important ideas, such as making sure that new IP protections are rooted in transparent research that demonstrates the need for new IP rights, including addressing the fact that fair uses and other IP limitations also generate economic value. Other important mentions are the importance of libraries and archives, strengthening IP exceptions, rejuvenating notice-based formalities, and much more.

I’d go on, but instead you should read the full document at Even better, sign it. (I did: I’m # 95.).

Finding me online

For new STU students, welcome to law school!  I can be found online through a variety of mechanisms.

Course pages are run through Lexis Blackboard,   You’ll need a Lexis ID to enroll, which will be provided to you at school.  In the meantime, the syllabus and first assignment for Civil Procedure I can be found here

This site, digital garbage, is my blog on law and technology, popular culture, photography, and whatever.  I also maintain a home page is at  I post frequently to Twitter and Flickr, and much less frequently, to YouTube.

CLE vs. Blackberrys

At Legal Blog Watch, Carolyn Elefant writes about mandatory CLEs:

From my perspective, mandatory CLE is a waste of time: Lawyers who want to stay at the top of their game will always take courses and read articles to stay current in their field, while those who have no interest in improving will take a nap or tap away on their BlackBerrys during a CLE program.

I couldn’t agree more.  I’ve attended CLEs and served as a presenter.  I’ve found most of them to be a waste of time.  As a prof and a lawyer interested in cyberlaw, I spend a huge amount of time keeping up with the law.  Frustratingly, my state of licensure (Pennsylvania) doesn’t think that law teaching should satisfy CLE requirements.  Whatever!  Considering that I’ve prepped more new courses than I’d care to admit, that’s ridiculous.