News

Chatbot Allows Users to Sue Equifax Without Lawyer

Legal chatbot DoNotPay is now allowing users to file suits against credit-reporting agency Equifax, in light of last week’s news of a massive data breach, the ABA Journal reports. The online platform can help file negligence claims by walking users through a set of questions that generates a PDF they can file in small claims court. The service is free and available to the public in all 50 states. "It is particularly exciting that a lawyer is never needed in the process," Joshua Browder of DoNotPay said. "The class action lawsuit against the company will only give successful consumers around $500 (with the rest going to greedy lawyers in commissions). I hope that my product will replace those lawyers, and, with enough success, bankrupt Equifax.”

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Music Publishers File Lawsuit Against Spotify in Nashville

Seven independent music publishers sued Spotify in Nashville today for using songs without the appropriate licenses, The Tennessean reports. This is more legal trouble for Spotify, which already settled two similar lawsuits earlier this year. Both of those suits and this new one were filed by entertainment law attorney Richard Busch. The catalogs for the new plaintiffs are administered by the Tennessee-based Songwriters Guild of America.
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Inventor Business & Legal Bootcamp Set for Sept. 20

 
Save the date now for the upcoming Inventor Business & Legal Bootcamp on Sept. 20.
 
Because intellectual property ("IP") owned by individuals and small businesses is a key component and contributor to the Tennessee and U.S. economy, the Tennessee Bar Association will conduct an Inventor Legal & Business Bootcamp to educate all attendees about the legal and business aspects of Intellectual Property and its role in starting a business. This program is designed for those that create or own intellectual property (inventors, makers, artists, licensing organizations, etc.) and the attorneys that represent them.
 
Find out more or sign up for CLE credit on the CLE course detail page.
 
Immediately following the CLE program, join your fellow attendees for a light reception and connect with the panelists, attorneys, makers, inventors, entrepreneurs and community leaders. TBA staff will be on hand to share more information about the TBA patent pro bono program.
 
Please contact Jarod Word, Sections & Committees Coordinator with any future Section Connect ideas, or Legal Practice Tips you feel may be beneficial to other Section members.
 
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Inventor Legal and Business Boot Camp in Knoxville

See how inventors and lawyers interact and learn at this unique CLE held in Knoxville on Sept 20. Find out about TBA’s patent pro bono program and connect with panelists, attorneys, makers, inventors, entrepreneurs and community leaders during the reception.

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LAVPA Presents Inventor Legal & Business Bootcamp in Knoxville

Save The Date

LAVPA, the patent pro bono program of the Tennessee Bar Association, is joining forces with the Knoxville Business Support Network to present an Inventor Legal & Business Bootcamp for students, makers, inventors, artisans, small businesses and the attorneys who represent them. The program will feature attorneys, business representatives, professors, community business leaders and the director of the regional office of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The program will be held in Knoxville on Sept. 20, as part of Innov865 Start Up Week. The program will focus on the invention process, business organizations, business plans and investing, including crowdfunding. It is open to the public and free to attend. You may register through Eventbrite. Attorneys who want to receive CLE credit may register and pay for CLE through the TBA

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USPTO Regional Director to Conduct Roundtable in Nashville

Hope Shimabuku, the director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark's Texas Regional Office, will speak on “Patent Prosecution from the Examiner’s Side” at in Nashville on Tuesday from noon to 1:30 p.m. at Waller, Landsen Dortch & Davis LLP, 511 Union St. Lunch will be provided. Following her presentation, Shimabuku will meet from 1:30 to 2:15 p.m. with lawyers that have, or are interested in, participating in the TBA's Patent Pro Bono Program. This presentation and roundtable are co-sponsored by the Tennessee Bar Association Intellectual Property Law Section and Nashville Bar Association Intellectual Property Law Committee. If you wish to attend the main program with lunch, please RSVP to Jarod Word, TBA Sections and Committees Coordinator by noon (CST) on Monday.

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Roundtable Set with USPTO Regional Director

Hope Shimabuku, director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark's Regional Office in Texas, will speak on “Patent Prosecution from the Examiner’s Side” at an event next week in Nashville. Following her presentation, Shimabuku will meet with lawyers that have, or are interested in, participating in the TBA's Patent Pro Bono Program. Shimabuku would like feedback from those attorneys who have participated in the program to find out how her office can support the process. This presentation and roundtable are co-sponsored by the Tennessee Bar Association Intellectual Property Law Section and Nashville Bar Association Intellectual Property Law Committee. Details are as follows:
 
• Topic: “Patent Prosecution from the Examiner’s Side”
• Who: Director Shimabuku
• When: August 22, 12-1:30 pm, Central, lunch provided
• Topic: Patent Pro Bono Program
• Time: 1:30-2:15 pm Central
• Where: Waller, Landsen Dortch & Davis, 26th Fl. (511 Union St, Nashville, TN 37219)
 
If you wish to attend the main program with lunch, please notify Jarod Word, TBA Sections Coordinator by noon on Monday, Aug. 21.

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TBJ August Issue Features Fiction Contest Winners

The Journal has never published fiction before and certainly not an eerie story about an inmate who is the subject of an experimental drug program designed to keep him alive long enough to serve consecutive sentences -- 100 years for murder, in this case. But in its First Annual Fiction Competition, that's what the winning entry, "The Sentence," is about. It was written by Kristi Wilcox Arth, an attorney with Bradley in Nashville. D. Adam Moore, who is with Pinnacle Financial Partners in Knoxville, earned an Honorable Mention in the contest. Both stories are published in this issue. The submission period for next year's contest will be Jan. 12 through March 12, 2018, so start thinking about what you are going to write. Also in this issue, more fiction by lawyers and judges, as Reelfoot Killins’ by the Hon. Joe G. Riley is reviewed by Covington lawyer J. Houston Gordon.

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Nashville Music Publishers Sue Spotify Over Licensing

Two Nashville music publishers filed separate lawsuits yesterday against streaming service Spotify for failing to obtain the appropriate licenses for thousands of songs, The Tennessean reports. The publishers claim Spotify didn’t follow proper protocol and has been streaming the songs illegally. The plaintiffs are Bluewater Music Services, a publisher and music catalog administrator, and Bob Gaudio, a publisher and songwriter who penned hits for Frankie Valii and the Four Seasons.
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July Columns: Bitcoin, Temporary Insanity and the President's Tweets

Bitcoin is a virtual currency that appears to be favored by cybercriminals, Knoxville lawyer Wade Davies writes in his July Tennessee Bar Journal column. There are fascinating cases involving the use of Bitcoin, but because the cases were solved, Davies points out that "Bitcoin isn’t foolproof for the criminal." Chattanooga lawyer Russell Fowler writes about the first case of temporary insanity. He writes that the insanity defense is especially unpopular when it is based on so-called “temporary insanity.” But in the first case when this plea was used, "people rejoiced in the streets when the defendant was acquitted." Nashville lawyer Jim Thomas reviews Broken Scales: Reflections on Injustice, a book by Joel Cohen. Memphis and self-professed non-Tweeting lawyer Bill Haltom asks in his column, "should lawyers vet the president’s Tweets?"

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Modak-Truran Elected President of TIPLA

Nashville attorney Anita Modak-Truran has been elected president of the Tennessee Intellectual Property Lawyers Association (TIPLA). The organization is comprised of patent, trademark, and copyright attorneys who volunteer together to educate others on emerging trends and best practices within the industry. Modak-Truran is the head of the entertainment and media industry group at Butler Snow’s Nashville office.
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Item of Interest

Below is an article that was published in the the Disability Section Connect. We thought it had information that would be of interest to those of you in this section as well.  

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Journalist Must Admit to Embellishing Articles to Sue Over Infringement for Tupac Biopic

In order to sue a movie studio for copyright infringement, journalist Kevin Powell must admit that he embellished articles he wrote for Vibe magazine about the life of rapper Tupac Shakur without the late musician’s permission, The Hollywood Reporter reports. While true details about Shakur's life should be considered a part of the public domain, in a complaint filed in New York federal court on Friday, Powell admits to having made up a character that was based on a real-life figure in the rapper’s life. The suit alleges that the character, as well as other details from Powell’s articles, were lifted by Lionsgate Films for the Shakur biopic All Eyez on Me.
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SCOTUS Allows Band to Call Itself by Disparaging Name

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the Asian-American rock band The Slants, which had previously been denied a trademark by the U.S. Patent Office due to the disparaging nature of its moniker, NPR reports. The ruling could have major implications for other trademark cases and disputes, like the Washington Redskins football team. "The disparagement clause violates the First Amendment's Free Speech Clause," Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his opinion.
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SCOTUS Ruling on Printer Cartridges Has Major Retail Ramifications

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling on printer toner cartridges this week protects a consumer’s “right to tinker,” The Washington Post reports. The Court found that in Impression Products v. Lexmark, Lexmark’s patent rights on their toner cartridges were not violated by Impression Products refilling Lexmark cartridges at a cheaper price. The decision has implications for companies that try to use patent law to restrict what consumers can do with their products after purchase. 
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Burchett Confesses, Gets 4 Years Probation in Cyber-Attacks

Knox County’s former first lady confessed Thursday to cyber-harassing the cancer-stricken estranged wife of her millionaire beau, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel. Allison Burchett, 35, pleaded guilty in Knox County Criminal Court to six misdemeanor charges of unlawful access to computer accounts. She will serve no jail time, but will spend four years on probation.

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Survey: Lawyers Are Underperforming, Slow to Change

A recent survey of nearly 400 managing partners and chairs nationwide suggests that changes in the legal market are continuing to affect performance, Bloomberg Law reports. In response to survey questions posed by legal management consulting firm Altman Weil, 88 percent of respondents said they have chronically underperforming lawyers, 61 percent said overcapacity is diluting their profitability, and 65 percent said their partners resist most efforts to change how to they do business. This comes at a time when most (72 percent) law firm leaders said the pace of change in the legal industry will only continue to increase in the coming years. Join the TBA's Evolving Legal Market Discussion Forum to weigh in on this.

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Turn Your Expertise into a Magazine Article

It’s no surprise that some of the best articles in the Tennessee Bar Journal have come from TBA section members. Your membership in this section shows that you have a keen interest in trends, developments and case law in this practice area. Sharing this knowledge with your colleagues is one of the best traits of the profession.

How can you become a Journal author? Think of and refine your topic. It should be of interest to Tennessee lawyers, which is a broad criteria. This could mean you might explain a new state law, explain a complicated area of law, or take a larger issue and connect it to what it means for Tennessee attorneys and the justice system. Find a global issue within your particular experience or knowledge and tell about it and how it affects Tennessee law. Then take a look at the writer’s guidelines at http://www.tba.org/submit-an-article, which will tell you about length, notes and other details. Once it’s in the proper format, send it in! It goes to the editor, Suzanne Craig Robertson, who will then get it to the seven members of the Editorial Board for review.

If you are published, you may apply for CLE credit for your work under Supreme Court Rule 21 Section 4.07(b). For details on claiming the credit, check with the Commission on CLE & Specialization at http://www.cletn.com/.

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SCOTUS Limits Venue Shopping in Patent Cases

The U.S. Supreme Court today narrowed the locations where patent infringement lawsuits can be filed, the ABA Journal reports. The court found that a law authorizing patent suits to be filed in the district where the defendant “resides” was not supplanted by a general law that gives the word “resides” a broad meaning. The narrow definition requires patent suits filed under that prong of the venue statute to be filed in the state where the company is incorporated. The opinion in the unanimous decision was written by Justice Clarence Thomas.
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U.S. Judge Blocks DOJ Move Against Immigration Legal Aid

After the Justice Department attempted to stop a nonprofit from advising immigrants who cannot afford a lawyer, a federal judge granted the organization a temporary restraining order and issued an order to stop the department from taking similar actions against legal nonprofits, Reuters reports. The government had told the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project of Washington state that it could not advise people in immigration court without formally representing them. U.S. District Judge Richard Jones’ order prevents the department from enforcing the rule against legal nonprofits.
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TBA Convention in Kingsport is Just Around the Corner

Registration is open for the 2017 TBA Annual Convention. This years programming offers plenty of opportunities to make new friends and renew acquaintances with colleagues from across the state. The highlight comes Thursday night with the Kingsport Karnival at the downtown Farmers Market. Along with fabulous food and drink, there will be live music from two bands, an aerialist, juggler, magician, body and face painters, caricaturist and more. Plus, you'll have access to the fabulous Kingsport Carousel, the delightful project of community artisans. Special thanks to Eastman for support of this event! 

This years convention also offers 12 hours of CLE programming, highlighted by sessions on the Hatfields and McCoys, The Neuroscience of Decision-Making, and the popular Better Right Now wellness program. It is all set at the beautiful MeadowView Marriott Conference Resort & Convention Center. To receive the TBA $129 room rate, you must book your reservation by May 23. Book your room online now or call 423-578-6600.

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Call For Submissions — Law Practice Pointers

One of the benefits of being a TBA Section Member is having access to information from experienced practitioners to assist in your day-to-day practice. The sharing of this information amongst colleagues is one of the best traits of the profession. It is also a way of helping each other to maneuver the evolving legal market and strengthen your legal practice.

How can you help your fellow Section Members?  If you have some Law Practice Pointers you would like to share with your fellow section members, write an article between 300-500 words and submit it to the Section Coordinator for review and approval. These Law Practice Pointers can be related to a court opinion, piece of legislation, or current event or industry trend that affects the practice of law as it relates to the specific Section. The main requirement is to make sure the article gives lawyers practical tips, based on experience, to include in their day-to-day practice.

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Las Vegas Restaurant Sues Chattanooga Eatery for Trademark Infringement

The Las Vegas-based Heart Attack Grill is suing Chattanooga restaurant Heart Attack Shack for trademark infringement, Nooga.com reports. The suit was filed March 27 in the Middle District of Tennessee Court and alleges that the local spot was attempting to confuse customers into believing the Chattanooga location was somehow endorsed or related to the Las Vegas restaurant. 
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ABC to Hold Nashville Benefit

The Arts and Business Council will host a benefit on May 24 in Nashville, with proceeds going to the Volunteer Lawyers and Professionals for the Arts program. The evening will showcase music, dance, film and more from local artists, as well as a silent auction featuring items like co-writing sessions with Nashville songwriters. The event will take place at W.O. Smith Music School, 1125 8th Ave. South, from 6 – 9 p.m.
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Trump Names Federal Claims Chief Judge

The Trump administration announced the appointment of Susan G. Braden as Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims today. Braden has served on the court since 2003, when she was appointed by President George W. Bush. She has had a long career in intellectual property practice.
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