SPSS Inc. v. Nie, No. 08 C 66 (N.D. Ill.) (Darrah, Jr.).
The parties recently settled this trademark dispute shortly before trial. For more on the parties’ history and the settlement, click here for Chicago Tribune reporter and Chicago Law blogger Ameet Sachdev’s reporting on the case in the Tribune, and click here for more coverage of the case in the Blog’s archives.

Continue Reading Parties Settle Trademark Dispute on Eve of Trial

Here are several stories and updates, as well as a new IP blog:
At Patently-O, Dennis Crouch covers the Federal Circuit decision in the appeal from the Northern District of Illinois case SourceOne Global Partners, LLC v. KGK Synergize, Inc. — Click here for Crouch’s post on the appeal and here for my post on the underlying decision.
The latest installment of Doug Lichtman’s IP Colloquium is available — click here to listen. Lichtman and his guests from Microsoft, Paramount Pictures and MySpace discuss the protection of content in the digital age. As always, it is an excellent listen and CLE credit is available.
Seattle Trademark Lawyer Michael Atkins has another great post up about Olympic trademarks, this time featuring an article that ran in the Chicago Tribune (here) and LA Times (here) quoting both Atkins and me.
California attorney and mediator Erica Bristol has started the IP Watchtower blog. The blog covers all facets of intellectual property and the initial posts suggest it will be a great read. I have added it to my feed reader.

Continue Reading IP News Shorts

Congratulations to Sharon Barner, a Chicagoan and the head of Foley & Lardner’s IP practice. Barner has been nominated to become the next Deputy Director of the Patent & Trademark Office. Based upon reputation and my limited contact with Barner, including among others speaking on a panel at Northwestern with her, the administration made an excellent choice. For more on the nomination, check out Patently-O and Chicago Law.

Continue Reading Chicagoan to Become Deputy Director of the Patent Office

Illinois’s senior senator Dick Durbin recently sent President Obama the names of seven nominees to fill three vacancies on the Northern District of Illinois bench. The nominees are AUSA Edmond Chang, Illinois appellate Judge Sharon Coleman, Magistrate Judge Susan Cox (click here to read about Judge Cox’s IP opinions in the Blog’s archives), Thomas Durkin, Gary Feinerman, Mary Rowland and Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez (click here to read about Judge Valdez’s IP opinions in the Blog’s archives).
Here are biographies of each nominee from Senator Durbin’s press release:
Chang has served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Illinois since 1999, and he is currently the chief of appeals. He previously worked as an associate at Sidley Austin, and as a judicial law clerk to Judge Marvin Aspen in the Northern District of Illinois and Judge James Ryan on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. He has served as an adjunct professor at Northwestern University law school, where he graduated with honors and served on the law review. He lives in Northbrook.
Coleman is a judge on the Illinois Appellate Court, following her election in 2008. She served as a judge on the Circuit Court of Cook County from 1996 to 2008. Before that, she was a supervisor in the Cook County state’s attorney’s office and an assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Illinois. She has served on the boards of numerous bar associations and public interest organizations. She is a graduate of Washington University law school in St. Louis, and she lives in Chicago.
Cox has been a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the Northern District of Illinois since 2007. She previously worked as a litigator at several Chicago law firms, as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Illinois, and as a judicial law clerk to Judge Wayne Andersen in that district. Judge Cox has served on the boards of many bar associations and public interest organizations. She has taught as an adjunct professor at DePaul University law school, and she is a graduate of Boston University law school, where she served on the law review. Judge Cox lives in LaGrange.
Durkin has been a partner at Mayer Brown since 1993 and was the chair of the firm’s pro bono committee for nearly a decade. He previously served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Illinois for over twelve years. He served as a judicial law clerk to Judge Stanley Roszkowski in the Northern District of Illinois. He is a graduate of DePaul University law school, where he has taught as an adjunct professor. Durkin lives in Downers Grove.
Feinerman has been a partner at Sidley Austin since 2007. From 2003 to 2007, he served as Illinois’s solicitor general, and before that he was a partner at Mayer Brown. He has argued numerous cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and Illinois Supreme Court. He served as a judicial law clerk to Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge Joel Flaum on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in Chicago. He has served on numerous boards and is the president of the Appellate Lawyers Association of Illinois. He graduated from Stanford Law School and lives in Winnetka.
Rowland is a partner at the Chicago law firm of Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, where she has worked since 2000. From 1990 to 2000, she worked at the Federal Defender Program in Chicago, including five years as the chief appellate attorney. She has served on numerous boards. She was a judicial law clerk to Judge Julian Cook in the Eastern District of Michigan, and she is a graduate of the University of Chicago law school. Rowland lives in Oak Park.
Valdez has been a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the Northern District of Illinois since 2005. From 1992 to 2005, she was the Chicago regional counsel and staff attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Prior to that, she worked as a Deputy Federal Public Defender in California. She has served on many boards. She is a graduate of the University of California-Hastings law school, and she lives in Western Springs.
A hat tip to Ameet Sachdev at the Chicago Tribune’s Chicago Law Blog for identifying this story last week.

Continue Reading Senator Durbin Sends Northern District Judicial Nominees List to President Obama

Here are a few stories that do not warrant a full post:
* The mainstream media and the blogosphere are buzzing with predictions of who is on President Obama’s shortlist for replacing Justice Souter The Northern District’s Judge Castillo and the Seventh Circuit’s Judge Wood are both making many of the lists — check out one list at the Daily Writ. Both excellent choices. Over the weekend, the Chicago Tribune ran a story about a local expectation that someone connected to the University of Chicago would be appointed to the Supreme Court during the Obama presidency. I also wonder if the Northern District’s Judge St. Eve is or should be on some shortlists.
* Ronald Slusky is bringing his two-day patent claim drafting seminar to Chicago May 19-20. Slusky promises to teach “a comprehensive approach to analyzing inventions and capturing them in a sophisticated set of patent claims. Through this interactive seminar, participants will enhance their skills in a classroom setting.” I have not attended Slusky’s seminar myself, so I cannot speak to its value, but it definitely looks interesting.
* Last week the House held hearings about the Patent Reform Act. Check out some commentary on the hearings at Patently-O.
* I got out of the habit of posting each week’s Blawg Review, but last week’s was both too good and too unique to pass up. Blawg Review #209 is up at John Hochfelder’s New York Injury Cases Blog (another LexBlog site) — read it here. Hochfelder tells the moving story of his father’s life, the life of an American hero. Blawg Review #210 is also available at the China Law Blog — click here to read it. It is also an excellent Review based loosely on the 90th anniversary of China’s May 4th Movement.

Continue Reading Patent News: Patent Reform & Supreme Court Shortlist

The Chicago Tribune had two interesting legal stories earlier this week:
The Tribune’s Jamie Herzlich wrote a good article explaining the basics of trademarks, including why and how to file them — click here for the article. It is a great first resource for anyone looking at trademarks for the first time.
The Tribune’s Ann Therese Palmer wrote about and interviewed Pedro DeJesus, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Tampico Beverages, a Chicago-based company that is the leading refrigerated juice drink manufacturer — click here for the article. DeJesus, a former associate at DLA predecessor Piper Rudnick, does not appear to have an IP focus. But his story captured my attention, probably because, like me, he went to law school focused on public interest law, but ended up entering and enjoying commercial legal services. It is especially worth a read for current and aspiring law students. I echo Judge Castillo’s advice to DeJesus that anyone planning to do public interest law would benefit from some big firm experience. Big firms provide exposure to many facets of the law, including exciting public interest opportunities.

Continue Reading Tribune on IP & Law

According to Chief Judge Holderman during the annual state of the Northern District speech, the state of the Northern District is “good” — click here for the Northern District’s statement regarding the speech. The Northern District was briefly at full capacity, between Judge Dow’s appointment to the Northern District and Judge Filip’s resignation to join the Department of Justice. Other highlights of the presentation included:
The Northern District remains in the top ten districts in terms of median time to civil case disposition at 6.2 months.
Magistrate Judges Brown and Mahoney were reappointed to additional eight year terms; and
The Northern District’s 2007 civil case load remained nearly constant, falling only .5% from its 2006 level.
The Northern District’s steady civil case load is especially impressive in light of the Seventh Circuit’s reduced case load in 2007. The Chicago Tribune’s Ameet Sachdev reported — click here for the story — that the Seventh Circuit’s Chief Judge Easterbrook, during his state of the Seventh Circuit speech, reported that the Seventh Circuit’s case load dropped 10% for the second year in a row. Sachdev noted that federal appellate court case loads had averaged a 5% drop per year since 2000. And Easterbrook explained the Seventh Circuit’s 10% drop for 2007 as based upon two primary factors:
The Seventh Circuit’s district courts saw an overall 6% drop in their case loads; and
The Seventh Circuit’s preference for bright line rules over totality of the circumstance tests made it easier for entities to settle their disputes, saying:
Rules make it easier for private parties to avoid litigation, or settle their disputes, without asking for appellate evaluation in every case.

Continue Reading State of the Northern District is “Good”

In Sunday’s Chicago Tribune, Josh Noel reported on the town of Cicero’s efforts to identify the creators of two MySpace pages containing false and allegedly defamatory statements about Cicero Town President Larry Dominick and claiming to be authored by him– click here for the story. The incident and Noel’s story raise questions about the problems with the anonymity of the internet that are equally interesting and difficult. Noel talked to me about the difficulties of policing social networking sites for the story. Here are my quotes:
“There’s an element of this we just have to live with,” said Dave Donoghue, an attorney with DLA Piper who specializes in intellectual property litigation. “It’s impossible to have large-scale social networking sites, which people clearly want, without having some risk of this.”
Greater policing of social networking sites would be impractical, Donoghue said, comparing it to air travel.
“To make air travel 100 percent safe, the background checks and checks of personal possessions of each individual getting on an airplane would be so cumbersome, time consuming and expensive, it would make air travel impractical,” he said. “There has to be a balance.”

Continue Reading Identity Theft: The Perils of Social Networking Sites

The Chicago Sun-Times has begun live blogging the R. Kelly trial in Cook County state court at its new blog the Kelly Chronicles. As with the Chicago Tribune’s Rezko trial blog, Rezko Gavel to Gavel, the Kelly Chronicles is not IP-related. But regardless of the legal claims, trial blogs are a great way to get a non-legal perspective on a trial from start to finish. Fortunately for Chicago-area litigators and litigants, the Chicago papers have begun actively live-blogging local trials which should provide a wealth of this kind of information.

Continue Reading Chicago Litigation News: New Chicago Trial Blog