Articles Posted in October, 2011


Jack-o-latern - Image via WikipediaYou know I love Halloween, right? Last year I wrote about selling haunted houses. This year it’s Halloween IP. We have two suits queued up in Dockets regarding trademark of Halloween Haunted House brands. It’s time for some trademark awesomeness: who owns the right to scary names?

First up with Happy Halloween, Inc. [seriously] v. Screams, LLC [no, seriously]. Both parties run haunted houses in Texas. According to the complaint, Happy Halloween, Inc. had hosted a website at for 14 years. Screams, LLC, filed an action to transfer that domain, alleging cyber-squatting and trademark violation. Screams LLC registered the mark “Screams” with the USPTO. The registration was filed on July 15, 1996, and its first use in commerce is listed as May 18, 1996. Happy Halloween registered the domain name on January 22, 1997, according to the complaint. So, while Screams was technically first, it’s sat on this for 14 years with no action  — laches, anyone? Happy Halloween claims that the term “screams” is a “generic term characteristic of the Halloween season.” It denies that it is cybersquatting, and considering the facts, that seems pretty clear.

Posted in: Legal News
Tagged: halloween


On Monday, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit extended its decision to keep sealed the videos from Perry v. Schwarzenegger (the federal trial on California’s same-sex marriage initiative, Proposition 8).

Posted in: Laws, Legal News


It’s the fifth anniversary of Open Access Week and I thought I’d pull together some resources to mark the occasion for folks who might be interested in learning more about its impact on legal scholarship and free law. (NB: Hat tips to Sara Glassmeyer, Rob Richards and our peeps at Legal Research Plus!)


An interesting copyright suit has come across the wires:  Astrolable, Inc. v. Arthur David Olson and Paul Eggert. The complaint alleges that Defendants infringed on the Plaintiff’s copyright assignment to historical time zone information with their Timezone (tz or zoneinfo) database. The Timezone database, also called the Olson Database, is a library of historical timezone information. It is intended primarily for use with computer systems, notably UNIX (from which Mac OS X is derived). That means that time zone information for computers running UNIX and Mac comes from this library, which is included in the operating system.

The tz database was originally compiled by Arthur David Olson at the NIH, and has been edited and maintained by Paul Eggert at UCLA. Olson and Eggert are the named defendants in this complaint. The database was housed on NIH servers until the complaint at issue was filed. ICANN has since taken over the database. This suit is important because UNIX systems rely on updates to the tzdatabase to run time zone information. The complaint was filed by Astrolabe, Inc., a company that sells astrology software. Astrolabe asserts that it is the copyright assignee for the ACS Atlas. It appears that the heart of the complaint is that defendants used ACS’ historical time zone data to populate the tz database.


You hope that your computer is secure. Your clients depend on it, and your law firm’s insurance carrier prefers it.

An unsettling discovery by Stanford University computer science student Feross Aboukhadijeh, however, could test that theory. He says that that a malicious website using Adobe Flash, when combined with ‘Clickjacking,’ could actually turn your webcam and microphone on without you knowing it.

Creepy, eh?

Posted in: Privacy, Technology
Tagged: adobe, flash, webcam


Here is a rundown of September’s highest scoring lawyers on Justia Legal Answers, along with a look at which Onward blog and Facebook posts readers viewed the most.

Justia Legal Answers’ Top 10 Legal Answerers for September 2011

  1. Jon Matthew Martinez, 850 points, 17 answers
  2. David Philip Shapiro, Esq., 500 points, 10 answers
  3. J. Richard Kulerski, Esq., 380 points, 8 answers
  4. Brian F. LaBovick Esq., 340 points, 8 answers
  5. Herbert G. Farber Esq., 326 points, 10 answers
  6. Andrew John Hawes, 280 points, 6 answers
  7. Anthony J. Pietrafesa, 280 points, 6 answers
  8. Mark A. Siesel, 250 points, 5 answers
  9. Robert Neal Katz, 250 points, 5 answers
  10. Mark Steven Humphreys, 200 points, 4 answers

Posted in: Justia News


My first hands-on experience with a personal computer was when my parents brought home an Apple II Plus. That computer and its sibling, the Apple IIe, introduced our family to the unbounded world of word processing, spreadsheets and, of course, games. These computers also launched my lifelong appreciation of and affection for Apple products. From PowerBook to MacBook Pro, and iPod to iPhone and iPad, a pantheon of insanely great Apple products has delighted me over the years.

Posted in: Technology
Tagged: Apple, Steve Jobs


The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected California company Grant Media’s recent trademark application for the phrase ‘Casey Anthony.’

Yes, that Casey Anthony: the Florida mother whom a jury acquitted of murdering her young daughter Caylee Anthony. The trial received an enormous amount of media attention on the Web, television, and in print media.

Exactly why did they USPTO reject Grant Media’s application?

Justia read the papers on file with the agency to find out, and we wanted you to see for yourself.


Earlier this month, the California Legislature passed SB 185. If signed by Governor Brown, the bill would add a section to California Education Code Section 66205 allowing the University of California (UC) and the California State University (CSU) to consider certain factors in admissions, “so long as no preference is given.”

UC Comprehensive Review

Currently, the UC considers 14 academic and personal factors in its admissions process. Known as the comprehensive review, this process ranks students based on the following factors:

  • GPA in A-G courses.
  • ACT or SAT scores.
  • Electives.
  • Honors and AP courses.
  • Class rank.
  • Senior-year program.
  • “Quality of their academic performance relative to the educational opportunities available in their high school.”
  • Outstanding academic performance.
  • Outstanding work in special projects.
  • “Recent, marked improvement in academic performance.”
  • Special talents, skills, or leadership experience.
  • Completion of special projects.
  • “Academic accomplishments in light of a student’s life experiences and special circumstances.”
  • Location of a student’s secondary school and residence.

SB 185 Factors

Under SB 185, when “attempting to obtain educational benefit through the recruitment of a multifactored, diverse student body,” the UC may consider these additional factors:

  • race,
  • gender,
  • ethnicity,
  • national origin,
  • geographic origin, and
  • household income.

Posted in: Legal News