Ludicrous. Every time I see something on this case I am reminded of Todd Rundgren's album "Deface the Music" in which every single song directly cops the feel of a particular Beatles song. Each of Rundgren's songs is wholly original, while it's glaringly obvious which Beatles song it is modeled after.
With a title like Deface the Music, obviously he wasn't making a secret of it. The Beatles didn't sue... perhaps because it was homage? Perhaps because it's not copyright infringement.
I live very close to a University, which Yik Yak caters to, so I check the posts periodically. Platform and users are pretty good about weeding out high-schoolers, et al.
Yes, there are some offensive things said there; yes, perhaps even hate-crimey things said there. But, they get downvoted pretty quickly, and it only takes like 5 downvotes to disappear the post.
Like many platforms, it self-polices pretty well from what I have seen. Granted, this is California, not NC, but students are students, and tend to be from all over. So let the students decide what they think should not be on Yik Yak. They have the power to do so.
In CA, the issue of Employee v. Indy Contractor has tests that breed results all over the map. The bottom line query is who controls the manner and means of production. Factors to consider include the degree of control exercised by the company, whose equipment & offices, etc.
Here, the big tell for me is the IC's don't have to work at all if they don't want to (per my understanding). And it seems a thorny issue is that Uber/Lyft may set the prices, but are otherwise just the platform (unlike, say, a web developer who is an IC, but is still given specific tasks by the company, not third-party site users).
The public requests the service, the platform sends it out, a driver picks it up. That sounds like IC to me.
But ... then there is the fact that in many (other) legal contexts, the law is designed to weigh in favor of finding the party an employee (which makes sense as far as companies who regularly try to screw their workers with creative workarounds to making them employees).
Anyway, let's freaking hope they aren't found employees, as that would seem to set a dangerous precedent to online platforms in general.
NOTE: Robert Reich's story is a humanist piece about a normative world. It is about the way he thinks the law should be, not necessarily what it is.
When a coffee shop or somesuch wants my name so they can call it out when my order is ready, I tell them "Zeus."
I use "Jetson." They say, "Jenson?" "No, Jetson." "Johnson?" Then I get to act like I've had a lifetime of dealing with this, and slightly exasperated say, "JETSON ... like the cartoon." And by then they think I'm serious. Gotta maintain deadpan though.
Except ... my "home" burn phone is the original landline home number now piggy-backed on my biz VoIP acct, and we moved since then, so the number is tied to an old address, if at all, but not the biz address.
We've long referred to our home phone number as the burner. It's only used when signing up for things online or at stores, etc. where they want your phone #. So all the subsequent telemarketing calls go there and we don't bother to answer it at all.
I also have multiple burner email addresses, not directly tied to me, for use in querying sketchy businesses, etc.
None of them are temporary, but the word "burner" immediately gets the point across.
So we have a group of Techdirt writers -- who read, research, write about, and basically live with these issues all day every day -- discussing at length whether an article about banning hate speech is satire. Apparently still without consensus.
The general public is certainly less likely to spot the satire than this group of subject-matter educated writers. Therefore the article, spreading via its own controversy, is likely to breed more converts to the destruction of free speech than "ah-hahs" at its cleverness. The potential damage to freedoms is incalculable.
Looks like you're right that you don't have to be member of patent bar to litigate court cases involving patents.
Nonetheless, lawyers do have an ethical duty to only take cases they are competent to handle. If one were actually competent to litigate a patent case, one would think they could pass the patent bar, and as such, would.
From my frame of reference, non-patent attorneys don't touch patent issues. Because malpractice.
"Trial lawyers" are just a convenient scapegoat. They are a group that has been turned into an effective populist bad guy regardless of the situation.
Meanwhile, the actual patent bar is a tiny subset of the bar in general because it requires special extra credentials.
Agreed. As a business litigation attorney, I am a "trial lawyer" in the broad sense. The vast majority of trial lawyers, including myself, are not qualified to touch patent law. Further, the few patent attorneys I do know do not represent patent trolls. There are -- really, it's true -- actual inventors creating actual patentable products for market, and ethical patent attorneys out there to represent them.
Of course patent trolls suck, but semantically, "patent bar" is a more accurate description and doesn't drag unrelated good guys into it.
Re: I hate DHS and their actions, but these jerks aren't innocent, either...
Your position assumes that the panties were actually infringing -- even civilly, let alone criminally -- which has not been established. Would the panties have caused a likelihood of confusion as to the source of the product? Perhaps, but not established.
Regardless, this is clearly a homegrown smalltime operation, raising the question why this would be considered a criminal infringement, investigated on our dime. A Cease & Desist from the Royals would have done it.
For criminal infringement/counterfeiting, one needs a bit more than for civil infringement, e.g.:
The mark is "identical with, or substantially indistinguishable from" the genuine trademark. 18 U.S.C. § 2320 (d)(1)(a)(ii). This element assures that not every case of trademark infringement amounts to trademark counterfeiting. The "indistinguishable from" standard is to be interpreted on a case-by-case basis.
Also from the link: the mark has to be registered in the USPTO Principal Register. I did a quick search, and the "KC Royals" as well as "KC" marks are registered, of which the panties are not substantially similar in my view.
What I am looking at looks like a cheap copy. It is not necessarily "identical with or substantially indistinguishable" nor would it necessarily create likelihood of confusion. It is a poor case-study for criminal liability. Yet, here comes the DHS...
Oh, look ... the attorney has been practicing less than two years, and is already running his own law firm. That's reasonable. And surely not a recipe for problematic claims not based in reality... (calbar.ca.gov)
Guessing the attorney used his own Bar Number as a starting point for the damages, then scaled back to 250 for "reasonableness," then changed it to millions.
Re: Simple solution. Lower then speed limits and shorten the yellow light period
"...shorten the length of the yellow light (before it turns red)"
A personal injury attorney who takes an intersection collision case will often check the timing of the lights to see if there is a case against the City for negligently timed lights (for the deep pockets). 500ms yellows would be a good one. And the $ thus begins flowing the wrong direction (not to mention the needlessly dead people).