Web week

The Lawyer‘s Web Week is a weekly commentary on legal activity on the web. This includes an overview of the best of the week’s blogs. If you want to direct us to useful links, email webweek@thelawyer.com.

Traffic congestion
Video site YouTube is facing IP problems from all sides. Already accused of being responsible for its users uploading illegal video content that breaches copyright, it has now been sued by the Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment Corp for stealing its name.

Universal Tube’s website – www.utube.com – has received a flood of hits from people looking for YouTube, which is really not that hard to spell.

The Wall Street Journal’s law blog (http://blogs.wsj.com/law) picked out the salient points from Universal Tube’s court documents:”Due to the confusion in the minds of consumers, the spillover of nuisance traffic to plaintiff’s neighbouring website at utube.com has destroyed the value of plaintiff’s trademark and internet property, repeatedly caused the shutdown of plaintiff’s website, increased plaintiff’s internet costs by thousands of dollars a month, and damaged the plaintiff’s good reputation.”

The plaintiff is not at all happy. A little ungrateful perhaps – most site owners would be grateful for the extra traffic. According to The Wall Street Journal, the company got 68 million hits on its site in August.

Dirty Dillon
Among the “isn’t Sun wonderful” fluff that dominates the postings of Sun Microsystems counsel Mike Dillon at blogs. sun.com/dillon was this gem: “I’m frequently asked what skills are necessary to be a successful in-house attorney at a public and global company like Sun. My stock response is that you need to be a good business partner and attorney (obvious), have a heavy dependency on caffeine and the ability to channel ‘Clint’ during stressful situations.”

To channel ‘Clint’? The handy link on ‘Clint’ took us to a biography of Clint Eastwood, leaving us to imagine Dillon confronting rivals with gun at hip. “Go ahead punk…”.

School’s out as dumber
There’s a blog for everything these days. Webweek stumbled across a site noting conversations overheard in a law school. Appropriately named ‘Overheard in Law School’ (http://over heardinlawschool.blogspot.com/) it paints a rather worrying picture of the future of the US legal profession. The following conversation is just one example:”Law student 1 – What is legal tender?Law student 2 – It’s when you develop a special kind of relationship with your lawyer…

Law student 3 – It’s when you start spooning.

Law student 4 – What about illegal tender?Law student 2 – That’s when you start spooning with the other guy’s lawyer…

Law student 1 – It’s like ex parte tender…”

The acoustics at this law school must be near perfect, as even professors cannot keep their conversations from appearing in the blog:”Professor 1 – What do you teach?Professor 2 – Oh, well, idiots mostly.”

Montana proves the stereotype
And for those that enjoy reading about the outrageous inventions granted a patent in the US, Webweek brings you an update from Patently Silly (www.patentlysilly.com).

Unlikely to make it into mass production any time soon is the “Homunculus Constructed from Common Rubberbands”, filed by Steven Read from Montana.

The Patently Silly blog describes this as “fitting squarely in the ‘Why in the world would anyone seek patent protection on this thing?’ camp, is this delightfully odd, rubberband creation. Part Gumby, part Egyptian mummy, the more I look at it the more I am drawn in to its quirky oddness.”

Still, we won’t be laughing once the homunculus becomes this Christmas’s must-have. Although Read might want to work on the name.

Lone inventors are not the only ones to make it into the blog – global tech companies are also featured. The blog has revealed a patent for the “method of karaoke storage on a wireless communications device”. This indispensable device was invented by Sony Ericsson.1.Slaughters’ pay rises: the full details2.Top City firms win ‘gay-friendly’ status3.UK’s richest lawyer gets off ABH charge4.Thirty leave Freshfields’ partnership5. Law Soc M&S conflict probe: Freshfields’ O’Brien and Jones to face tribunal6.Law firm merger frenzy continues in the US7.Jones Day‘s first victory destroys Botox patent8.Latham promotes 26, but just one in London9. London wins a quarter of Cleary’s partner promotions10. Halifax teams with Hammonds Direct for legal launch