News

Tennessee AG Joins Settlement with Neiman Marcus Over Data Breach

Following a 2013 database breach, Neiman Marcus Group LLC has agreed to pay a $1.5 million settlement to resolve an investigation with 43 states and the District of Columbia, including Tennessee. According to a release from Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery, of the 370,000 payment cards that were compromised in the breach, 1,896 were determined to be associated with Tennessee consumers. Tennessee’s share of the settlement funds is $28,659.04.
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Blog Reviews Most Important Legal Tech Developments in 2018

LawSitesBlog.com has published a roundup of the 20 most important legal tech developments in the past year, eschewing the traditional Top 10 list due to the overwhelming number of significant changes. Included on the list were analytics becoming an essential part of the legal practice, investments in legal tech topping $1 billion, the end of Avvo and the new American Bar Association rule emphasizing the duty of lawyers to be up-to-date on legal technology.
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First Copyrighted Works in 20 Years to Enter Public Domain

At midnight on New Year’s Eve, all works first published in the United States in 1923 will enter the public domain, The Smithsonian Magazine reports. It has been 21 years since the last mass expiration of copyright in the U.S. The last one — in 1998, when 1922 slipped its copyright bond — predated Google. The more than two decade delay was due to lobbying from Disney in the 90's, when it fought to stop the expiration of the copyright on Mickey Mouse, who was born in 1928 and was expected to enter the public domain in 2004. Mickey is now protected until 2024.
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Regular Memphis Pro Bono Clinic Has Served 12K Since Inception

Since its beginnings over a decade ago, a Memphis-area pro bono legal clinic has gone on to serve roughly 12,000 individuals in need, The Daily Memphian reports. The Saturday Legal Clinic, sponsored by Memphis Area Legal Services (MALS) and the Memphis Bar Association, has been held at the Benjamin L. Hooks Library once a month since November 2006. Firms and associations work to promote the event to ensure that 30 to 40 attorneys attend each month.
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Amazon Sued Over Trademark, Patent Infringement

Williams-Sonoma filed suit last week against Amazon, The Washington Post reports. The complaint alleges that Amazon is selling unauthorized Williams-Sonoma merchandise, and it is claiming that Amazon engaged in widespread copying of furniture designs. Knockoff products sold and marketed by Amazon itself have been labeled as “by Williams-Sonoma “or “Best-selling products from Williams-Sonoma.” Additionally, Amazon’s home goods brand Rivet is selling products with similar design, name and marketing as products from West Elm, a Williams-Sonoma owned company. The company is seeking damages of up to $2 million per counterfeit item being sold by Amazon.

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Disney Faces Backlash to 'Hakuna Matata' Trademark

An online petition accusing Disney of cultural appropriation for trademarking the Swahili phrase “hakuna matata” is gaining traction, The Telegraph reports. More than 60,000 people have signed the petition, which was started by a Zimbabwean activist. Disney first applied to trademark the phrase in 1994 but was not granted rights until 2003. The trademark is still active, but it does not give the Hollywood studio the right to sue people for using the phrase in speech. The controversy began last month when a founder of a Kenyan intellectual property law firm wrote an article in a Kenyan newspaper. She cited the phrase as an example of “pilferage of African culture.” Disney is set to release a highly anticipated remake of the film next year featuring Beyonce and Chiwetel Ejiofor’s voices.

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Court Solicits Comments on Rule Change for Professional Privilege Tax Payments

The Tennessee Supreme Court is soliciting comments on a proposed rule change that would make delinquent professional privilege tax fees payable via an online portal and remove the requirement of a Privilege Tax Delinquency Notice to be sent via mail, requiring only an email notice. The deadline for submitting written comments is Feb. 4. Written comments may be emailed to appellatecourtclerk@tncourts.gov or mailed to James M. Hivner, Clerk, Re: Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 9, section 26 Tennessee Appellate Courts, 100 Supreme Court Building, 401 7th Avenue North, Nashville, Tennessee 37219-1407.
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Law Tech Blast: Feb. 15, 2019

Discover the newest technology for your law practice and law office at this year's Law Tech Blast on Feb. 15! This is a free program available to all practicing lawyers. The flexible open house format allows you to create your own schedule. You can attend CLE sessions, enter to win prizes, network with attendees, visit with sponsors and interact with speakers. Take as many or as few CLE hours as you need. Only those seeking to be awarded CLE Credit will be charged. The registration desk will be open all day, so you can come and go for the hours you need when it is convenient for you. Attendees can earn up to 6.5 hours of Dual CLE credit.

FREE SIGN UP: Sign up now so we know you are coming.

  • You will only pay for the hours you wish to be awarded CLE credit.
  • Programming will be available throughout the day with dual credit hours available.
  • The registration desk will also be open all day.
CLE TOPICS:
  • GDPR, Cloud and Technological Competency
  • The Bill and Phil Tech Show
  • Best Practices: Information Security for Firms
  • Judicial Panel: Technology in the Courtroom
  • Preparing for eDiscovery Before Litigation 

ATTEND TO WIN: Attendees will have a chance to win prizes, including a hot, new tech product. The tech prize drawing will be held at the 10:30 a.m. break. Must be present to win.

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Give the Gift of TBA Membership

Give yourself (or a friend) the gift that keeps giving — one-year of unlimited access to professional development opportunities and a number of programs and services designed to help you become a better practitioner. Founded in 1881, the Tennessee Bar Association is dedicated to enhancing fellowship among members of the state's legal community. Oh, and did we mention some of the benefits? Earn three pre-paid credits to use on any live or online course featured in the 12-days of CLE. Join now!

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Amazon Announces Newly Developed Medical Record Mining Software

Amazon on Tuesday announced that it has launched a project to mine data from electronic medical records, allowing developers to “process unstructured medical text and identify information such as patient diagnosis, treatments, dosages, symptoms and signs, and more," CNBC reports. This is the latest move regarding Amazon’s foray into health care, after news in June that the company had been working on the ‘Hera’ project, developing software intended for insurance companies that can fill in gaps in data when doctors neglect to fully document an office visit. The company also confirmed another project in cooperation with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to use newly developed tools to analyze its data sets in efforts to prevent or cure cancer.

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G20 Summit will Focus on Intellectual Property

The Group of 20 Summit starts today in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and President Trump and President Xi Jinping of China are expected to discuss trade, intellectual property and the theft of American technology, The New York Times reports. The Trump administration has accused China of stealing American technology on numerous occasions. However, the article points out that these accusations are offensive to the Chinese and may be a barrier for accomplishing a trade deal at the summit. The administration and American companies have expressed distaste for several Chinese trade requirements, including joint venture requirements for American companies wanting to do business in China, requirements of foreign-owned research companies being built in China and a compulsory certification program for foreign products. All of these policies put sensitive American technology at risk for replication and theft. In response to the Chinese appropriating American technology, President Trump has imposed significant tariffs on over $200 billion of Chinese goods. China has eased joint venture requirements in some sectors and is implementing a new intellectual property appeals court system to remedy some of the foreign concerns regarding trade secrets.   

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U.S. Lawsuit on Cannabis Patent Will Set Industry Precedent

The first U.S. lawsuit surrounding a patent on marijuana is working its way through the courts, Reuters reports. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is issuing more patents each year containing the word cannabis or marijuana in their summaries; however, the ability for the patent to hold up in court is still in question.  Patent litigation and issues over licensing fees are likely to increase with the entrance of business-oriented players. The result of the lawsuit will impact how major players in the industry view the potential to use patents as a business tactic.  

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Celtics Player Faces Lawsuit for ‘Scream’ Mask Use

Eastern Unlimited has sued Boston Celtics point guard Terry Rozier for copyright and trademark infringement, Forbes reports. Rozier, nicknamed Scary Terry, sold merchandise featuring a cartoon image of himself wearing the white mask from the “Scream” horror films. Eastern Unlimited holds the copyright and trademark registrations and negotiated licenses for the mask to appear in the film series. The company filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York and is requesting an injunction to stop Rozier’s use of the mask image on merchandise. The company is seeking damages for trademark infringement, trademark counterfeiting and trademark dilution as well as attorney costs.

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Board of Law Examiners Holds Deans' Summit in Nashville

Law school deans from across the state recently gathered in Nashville for the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners’ 2018 Deans’ Summit. The summit, which included deans from most of Tennessee's law schools, featured presentations and discussions on a range of topics, from law student wellness, to innovations at Tennessee law schools, to the state’s recent adoption of the Uniform Bar Exam. Other parts of the program took the form of an open discussion between members of the board and the deans. 
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December CLE in 6 Cities

TBA offers CLE in six locations during December. See offerings in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville, Johnson City and Jackson. Find last-minute by the hour through Dec. 31 or take any of the TBA's online CLE packages.
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Court Lifts Block on Sales of Generic Suboxone Film

A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday lifted a preliminary injunction blocking the sale of a generic version of the Indivior Plc opioid treatment Suboxone Film, Reuters reports. The generic was produced by India-based drug manufacturer Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories. Suboxone Film is a drug that is dissolved under the tongue. It helps drug users beat their addiction to opioids.  Eighty percent of UK-based Indivior’s revenue is generated from Suboxone. The company says that it plans to pursue ongoing U.S. patent litigation aimed at blocking the sale of Dr. Reddy’s generic version.

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American Airlines Logo Gets Copyright Review Following Lawsuit

Following a major rebranding, American Airlines introduced a new logo in 2013, however, the U.S. Copyright Office has rejected the company’s request for copyright registration of the logo on three separate occasions, the Los Angeles Times reports. The dispute focuses on whether the logo is creative enough to be considered original. After the third rejection, American Airlines filed a lawsuit against the head of the agency. The suit was dropped following a recent announcement that the office would reconsider its rejection of the logo.

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Forbes: Facebook Files Algorithm Patent to Predict Who You Live With

A patent filed by Facebook in May was made public this week, Forbes reports. The patent uses an algorithm to determine who lives with whom based on tags, hashtags and facial recognition software. The article states the most important factor determining household data will be the use of a shared IP device in the household from multiple user sign-ins. The information will be used for ad targeting. Members of the same household will view the same ads, and advertisers will be able to track the performance of ads across households.

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Mark Your Calendars!

U.S. Supreme Court Dismisses Appeal Regarding Real Estate Search Patents

The U.S. Supreme Court earlier this month shot down a petition related to the ruling of a Federal Circuit Court regarding Real Estate Alliance Ltd.’s (REAL) search patents, according to Inman.com. The ruling affirms a Feb. 1 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that its real estate search tools are not, in fact, patent eligible. The dispute arose in 2007 when Move Inc. filed a lawsuit against REAL seeking a declaratory judgment that the patents were invalid.

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Tackle All Your CLE for the Year at Fall Fast Track on Friday

Emerging technology is revolutionizing the way we practice law — from document automation to using artificial intelligence research tools to assist with briefs, memos and complaints. We want to ensure that you stay on the cutting edge of today’s legal landscape. At the Fall FastTrack in Nashville, you will have the opportunity to tackle all of your CLE requirements for the year while learning from seasoned professionals on how to leverage technology, allowing solos and small firm practitioners to compete with the big boys.
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Volunteers Needed for Free Legal Clinic for Artists in Nashville

The Arts & Business Council is hosting a free legal clinic for artists at the Shelby Community Center in Nashville, 401 S. 20th Street on Nov. 8 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Those who wish to volunteer for this Pro Bono Entertainment Law Clinic should email vlpa@vlpanashville.org or call 615-460-8274.

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Court Rules Georgia Annotated Code Cannot Be Copyrighted

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled on Oct. 19 that the Georgia official annotated state code is not copyrightable and belongs in the public domain, The ABA Journal reports. In its ruling, the three-judge 11th Circuit panel said that the annotations belong to the people of Georgia and cannot be copyrighted. The case dates to 2013, when open records advocate Carl Malamud purchased the entire code, scanned each page, and put the contents on his website. The state sued for copyright infringement in 2015.
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Basic Tech Checklist for Firms

Law firms attempting to stay competitive and state-of-the-art need to consistently evaluate their use of technology. In addition to staying competitive, technological competency is required. In 2017, the Tennessee Supreme Court amended Rule 8 of the Rules of Professional Responsibility to include this obligation. Above the Law presents a simple and straightforward tech checklist for law firms or lawyers seeking guidance in this area.   

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PTO Working on Rule Requiring U.S. Attorney for Foreign Trademark Applications

The Patent and Trademark Office is currently working on a new rule requiring foreign trademark applicants to have a U.S.-licensed attorney, Bloomberg Law reports. It plans to release a proposal next month and seek comments on it until Feb. 2019. This new rule could be rolled out as early as July 2019. The office reports a 1,100 percent increase in trademark applications from China over the past five years. The agency director hopes this new requirement will cut down on potential fraudulent foreign trademark applications.

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