patent pending

"A 'patent pending' notice gives one no knowledge whatsoever."
State Indus., Inc. v. A.O. Smith Corp., 751 F.2d 1226, 1236 (Fed. Cir. 1985).

July 31, 2003


I am in a dusty old abandoned file room today doing document review. For you non-attorneys, that means: "Read every page in these 13 boxes and make a note if any of them are relevant. Oh, and we need it by Monday. Oh, and if you miss anything, even one page, you're fired."

I took my laptop and managed to find a network connection. I closed the door 5 minutes ago to make a phone call. When I tried to open it, I realized that it had wedged shut.

So I'm stuck in the file room with no way out. I just sent an e-mail to office services asking them to come and open the door. I hope those guys didn't leave early today.

At what point do I start eating the documents for food? I'll have to find some non-relevant ones.

Downward Spiral

Here's how yesterday went:
9:00 am Contemplating leaving for the day.
10:00 am Contemplating quitting my job.
12:00 pm Contemplating leaving the profession and becoming a monk.
4:00 pm Contemplating suicide.
7:00 pm Contemplating mass killing spree.
10:00 pm Contemplating mass killing spree followed by suicide.
12:20 am Realized that technically, it's pay day. Checked bank account online. Felt much better about life.

July 30, 2003

Take That, Clint!

Another reason why I love this city:
New York City has NO country music radio station.

The Truth-Teller

The sage of my life is, of course, the coffee guy in the cart on the corner.

CG: "Hey, how you doin today?"
IA: "Today will be bad. I will just keep working and shut my mouth."
CG: "Hey, who's gonna listen to you anyway?"

Yeah, he's got a good point.

July 29, 2003

Clients Respect Me

On the phone with big client today, 3 people from his company and 2 attorneys from my firm:

Client: "What do you call the lady who answers your phone?"
Partner: "She's my secretary."
Client: "Oh, we call them admins in our workplace."
IA: "If it makes you feel any better, you can call me whatever you like."
Client: "That goes without saying."

Future IAs

You may have missed your train this morning. Your coffee may have been too sweet. Maybe you got caught in the rain without an umbrella.

But you are having a better day than thousands upon thousands of people who are sitting for Day 1 of the bar exam today.

I remember sitting down on the first day and forgetting how to spell "plaintiff." I remember seeing people before the exam that you spent years with and not saying hello because both of you were so crazy.

I remember spending time during the exam thinking of other careers to pursue. None of them were realistic: "Yeah, I could be a dairy farmer. There's no exam to be a dairy farmer right?"

I remember having Mountain Dew and a Snickers bar for lunch. That night, the only meal I had between Day 1 and Day 2: whiskey.

And now, some nights when I'm sitting at my desk at midnight making revisions to the revisions of the revisions to some irrelevant document that nobody will ever read, I wonder what would have happened if I didn't pass.

I guess there's always that dairy farm. Good luck everybody.

July 28, 2003


I may be closer to my mom than most people.

IA: "I've got to go, I'm going to a gay party tonight for some guy I work with."
Mom: "Are you gay now? You'd be a great gay guy, you cook and clean and you're thin."
IA: "Yeah, but I'd have to buy all new porn. And I can't really afford that."
Mom: "Is that a lot of money? What do you have- those 'girls gone bad' videos?"
IA: "No, other stuff. And yeah, it would be a lot of money."
Mom: "Ok, well have a good time at your party."

July 27, 2003


Sorry D, I wanted to go meet your friend from Boston who was in town.

Sorry N, I wanted to go to that fundraiser for your theater company.

Sorry G, I wanted to get dinner with you and your girl.

But there was a Bruce Lee marathon on AMC last night and I just bought a whole box of Fla-Vor-Ice.

July 25, 2003

No Comment

In 8th grade, everyone got little autograph books. It was cool, I guess, to have everyone in the class sign your book.

Most people didn't like me for being such a smart ass. And I didn't like most people so it worked out just fine. But they needed my signature for their little book.

So I wrote "No Comment" and signed my name in most books.

It pissed people off. But after a while, everybody knew what I was going to write. And I bet some people still remember that. I don't remember any of the bullshit written in my little book.

I guess most people knew even back then that I would go on to be an asshole attorney.

I changed commenting systems today. I lost all of your comments. I'm sorry but it had to be done. But thanks for reading, thanks for commenting, and don't think I don't appreciate it.

The Older Brother

The older brother lives by himself in a big house. He has a lot of parties, barbeques, and spontaneous beer festivals.

He called me today to tell me about a BBQ he's having tonight. He's a very social guy and everybody loves him but planning is not his strong point.

IA: "So what can I bring?"
LMan: "Don't worry about it. Teddy's getting a keg and I still have lots of food left over from the last BBQ."
IA: "Dude, that was July 4th."
*long pause*
LMan: "Yeah, so?"

Have a great weekend all.

My Autograph?

I sent some documents to an attorney in Brazil who is helping us obtain a US Patent for a client in Brazil. I said in the letter "Please have the documents entitled 'Oath and Declaration' and 'Assignment' signed by the inventor. Please have the document entitled 'Power of Attorney' signed by the CEO of Company X."

All three documents came back signed by the Brazilian attorney. It's good to know that attorney arrogance knows no nationality.

July 24, 2003

The color printers in the copy room are for company use only. Please refrain from using these printers for anything other than work purposes.

Because some associate may be working very late one night and while he's waiting for a partner to call him back, he may see that you printed 4 copies of this picture and accidentally left them on the printer. He may also think it's really funny to put the picture on the Internet.

The Tip System

I gave my cab driver a huge tip this morning and it got me thinking about my tip system.

Going through red lights is always plus one buck.
Giving another driver the finger or yelling at another driver- plus one buck.
Yelling at cops is plus two bucks. I've seen this numerous times.
Taking a stupid route is minus one buck.
Stopping at a yellow light is minus one buck.
Talking to me is minus one buck.
Not using deodorant is minus one buck.
Speeding is plus one buck.
Driving on the curb is plus one buck.
Pointing out scantily clad women (this HAS happened to me) is plus one buck.
And of course, cutting off long lines of traffic is always plus one buck.

The cab driver I had this morning was incredible- he went through every red light, must have hit 70 mph on 5th avenue, and gave some other guy the finger. I gave him a ludicrous tip and he smiled a big smile. God bless NYC.

July 23, 2003


I have a cold. I also twisted my ankle trying to avoid a car on Monday so I haven't been able to run for two days. I'm not in a good mood.

I have done nothing but go home early from work and sleep for the past two days.

You know when you're washing your cereal bowl in the bathroom sink because the kitchen sink is full of dishes you don't want to do you need to make some changes in your life.

July 22, 2003

Separated at Birth

A secretary today who is over sixty years old told me that I look exactly like Nicholas Cage.

It's an interesting comment because he isn't really an attractive man, nor is he unattractive.

I mean, you would never tell someone that they looked exactly like Oprah, even if they really did.

I was pretty stunned. I've never had anyone tell me that I looked like a celebrity. My reply was "So, do you find Nicholas Cage sexy?"

She giggled. I think she needs to get her eyes checked. And I'll never know what you think because the comments never work and I need to switch to a new system.

Choose Your Weapon

There is a scaffolding on my apartment building. The landlord is having the exterior sandblasted. It's not too bad actually, he was really cool about it and they did a good job of setting it up.

But it got me thinking about weapons. What if somebody climbs into my apartment in the middle of the night while I'm sleeping? What do I reach for?

I looked around. The chef's knife is the obvious choice. And yeah, I have a sheleleigh hanging by the door. But after some thought, I left my 10" cast iron frying pan near the bed.

Go ahead- go for the knife. You feel lucky?

July 21, 2003

Trust Me with Your Intellectual Property

I was putting a new fitted sheet on my bed this morning.

Now, I can understand how it takes you two tries to get it right. It's hard to tell which way that sheet goes without putting it on the bed. Two attempts- you try one way, and if that doesn't work, then it obviously MUST go the other way, right? Just rotate it 90 degrees right?

It took me three.

July 18, 2003

Revenge of SpongeBob

A file was missing. Partner guy made me e-mail 5 people every day for 2 weeks to ask them to check their area for it.

People were getting irritated.

So today this paralegal e-mails me back "I DONT HAVE THIS FILE STOP ASKING ME."

I have never met this paralegal, so I figured I would stroll by and apologize for the botheration.

I went by, introduced myself, and she scowled at me. I said "I came by to apologize- I'm really sorry that I've been harassing you about the file. It's just that partner guy has been harassing me to harass everyone and you know how he can be."

She was really nice. We talked for a minute or two.

Then I noticed a picture on her wall that was obviously drawn by a small child. It was in crayon and it was a drawing of a square figure with short stick legs and arms. I said "Hey, is that a drawing of SpongeBob?"

She replied "No, that is a picture that my daughter drew. It's me. It was her first drawing ever."

I said "Oh. Well, for the record, I don't think you look anything like SpongeBob."

When I got back to my desk, I had an e-mail from her saying "I will remember that you called me SpongeBob."

Then, miraculously, the missing file was found.

Have a good weekend all.

PR Remembers

You really haven't lived life until you eat an entire bag of Pepperidge Farm cookies in one sitting. Actually, in about 5 minutes.


July 17, 2003

Borrow THIS

I was walking through Times Square at lunch today with my friend when this attractive young girl comes up us crying, and says "Please let me borrow your phone for one second PLEASE!!! It's an EMERGENCY!!!"

I said I didn't have one because I don't like drama, but much to my astonishment my friend handed hers over.

The girl dialed a number like LIGHTNING, stopped crying immediately and then said "Hey... how's it going.. so what's up?"

I grabbed the phone out of her hand (and may have broken a finger of hers in the process) while she cried at me to let go.

Nice scam. She even blocked the call history. To my friend's defense, she's not from New York. I can smell these things a mile away.

I got back to work and spent ten minutes washing my hands. I STILL smell like cheap perfume. I hope that jackass goes straight to hell.

One of Many

I was talking to a friend last night who is getting married next month.

Guy: "I'm just a little scared, you know?"
IA: "Well, is she the one?"
Guy: "Give me a fucking break. I'm 37 years old, there have been like 12 'the one's."

July 16, 2003

Let It Go

See, I wrote this document and you reviewed it. You marked it up with some changes and I went in and made your changes.

And that was cool.

But then you marked it up again. So I made the changes again. Then you reviewed it again and marked it up again.

Look, it's good. Let it go. We need to send it out.

Because if we don't send it out today, and I'm here explaining it to you until 10 pm again, I'm going to kill you.

We Are Screwed

I was talking to my brother last night about the economy.

IA: "I registered to vote today."
TMan: "Did you vote last year?"
IA: "No, and now I'm broke."

July 15, 2003

China Fun!

Yeah, your local Chinese restaurant may have good Kung Pao, but mine has the best egg rolls on earth AND they sent me a letter of apology because their phones were not working one night last week.

It was even signed by the "Managerment."

Good on Paper Guy

Unfaithful was on tv last night. If you haven't seen it, avoid at all costs. It's the most depressing movie of all time.

Maybe that's just my impression because I am, and always have been, Good On Paper Guy. I went to good schools. I speak well. I make a lot of money, I cook, I clean, I am still close to my family, I don't drink to excess that often and I jog 5 days a week. Your parents will love me. I will bring you flowers and take care of you when you're sick. And I'll seem like a good idea until 2 months into the relationship when you start crying from boredom.

In Sex and The City, Carrie says that Good On Paper Guy always gets dumped for some guy with tattoos who rides a motorcycle.

In Quick Change, Geena Davis says "There's the kind of guy you're crazy about and the kind of guy you marry. You can never have both."

Unfaithful only confirmed my fears that Good on Paper Guy has no chance. That hot boy with the French accent will always win because he doesn't have to pay your bills or meet your family.

I mean, if Richard Gere couldn't keep a woman, what chance do I have?

July 14, 2003

Partner Wisdom

A senior partner came by my office today. He's in his seventies but still practicing full time. I really like the guy and think he's a great source of wisdom.

Partner: "So you're one of those guys who crosses out the days on the calendar. I used to do that too when I was young and hated my job."
IA: "That's a terrible thing to assume about me."
Partner: "I don't give a fuck if you hate your job, as long as you're good at it. It's a job. In my day, nobody had this crazy notion that you have to love your job. It's a fucking job, you're supposed to hate it. Anyway, I think you do good work around here, so I don't care. Now let's talk about that report."

What can I say? He's argued in front of the Supreme Court TWICE. That's a lot for a patent lawyer.

It Takes One

The girlfriend was out of town this weekend. I chose not to follow ceedub's "beer-in-one-hand-yourself-in-other" method of dealing with single life and instead, here is a complete list of what I did over the weekend:

1. I baked that cake. It's a Nigella Lawson recipe from the times, strawberries over a pastry creme on top of a sponge cake.
2. I ate entire said cake.

It was a great weekend.

July 11, 2003

Paul and Me

I was a Suave Strawberry Shampoo man. I used Suave Strawberry every day of my life from the time I was old enough to pick out my own shampoo until third year of law school. I loved Suave Strawberry.

Then they stopped making it. I was heartbroken. They started making some shit called "Fresh Mountain Strawberry." I had to find a new shampoo. And in case you didn't know, men HATE change in the personal hygiene area.

I ended up with Paul Mitchell's Baby Don't Cry. It's high quality and it smells nice.

I buy my shampoo in the same store all the time. Last night I went in there and it was nowhere to be found. I panicked. Are they discontinuing my shampoo? Do I have to change again?

So I did what any rational man would do. I went to another store down the street and bought every bottle of the stuff that they had. Now I have like a 5 year supply. It was over forty dollars worth of shampoo. Hopefully I'll die before I run out.

Paul Mitchell's web page states that they still make Baby Don't Cry. So maybe I overreacted. But, you know, you can't be too sure.

I may not be able to afford a hot meal this weekend but my hair will smell nice.

So yeah, I'm a gaybo.


Big respeck to Fragrant Lotus who has decided to call it quits.

Her blog was hilarious and quite insightful. And as one of my fellow attorneys, she always had funny things to say about the world of NYC Law.

She'll be missed. Good Luck and thanks for taking some time to share with the class.

Home Remedy

I was talking to the girlfriend last night:
Me: "Hey, how's that girlfriend of yours who just got married?"
She: "Good, but her husband has erectile dysfuntion and pops Viagra like crazy."
Me: "I had a friend who had ED. They prescribed Slim-Fast for his girlfriend."
She: "You're such an asshole."

July 10, 2003

Not Cool

Last night in Starbucks, after ordering a Frappachino:
Guy: "You want me to cut down the straw?"
Me: "What?"
Guy: "Some people think the straw is too long so I cut it down if you like."
Me: "No, that's ok- I like it long and uncut."
Guy: "Yes sir."
Me: "How often do you hear that joke?"
Guy: "All the time sir."
Me: "So I'm not cool."
Guy: "No sir."

July 09, 2003

My Job is Cooler Than Yours

I spent all day yesterday and some of last night reading various patents for paper towel dispensers.

I've been doing a lot of these "freedom to operate" searches where a client comes to us with their new product and asks us to review related patents to make sure they won't get sued when their new product comes out.

Today - a mop. I'm not kidding. Life is good.

July 08, 2003

The Mango Guy

You ever have a conversation with a person who is speaking the same language as you and not understand a word he says?

I started buying a mango every morning from the fruit guy across the street. I've tried to talk to this guy a few times but he has such a thick accent I just smile and nod. I have probably agreed to wash his car or marry his daughter without even knowing it.

I'll just keep smiling. He has really good mangoes.

My father once said to me "I'm at the point now where I don't understand most of the English that is spoken in this country."

July 07, 2003

Little IA's Running Around

I met a guy last week who's name was "Lordunique" and it got me thinking about names.

If my first child is a boy, I'm naming him "Jerk."

Who's going to make fun of that name? You can say to him, "hey, come here JERK!" and it's not an insult because that's his name.

Plus, I'm not setting up unrealistic goals for him. It's not like naming your kid "Lawyer" (as in Lawyer Malloy) or "Learned" (as in Learned Hand).
All he has to do is grow up to be a Jerk. It's expected of him. And with my genes, he won't have a choice anyway.

Maybe his middle name will be "Off."

July 04, 2003

How did Narcissus die?

I was waiting to cross the street this morning on my way home from a long run. I felt great. Shirt off, I was looking at my reflection in the window of Starbucks.

Then I noticed the young girl inside that thought I was checking her out.

Sorry about that. But what I was really thinking was:
"Fuck, MY body is a wonderland."

July 03, 2003

Potato Salad

My mom makes the potato salad.

That's just the way it goes. My mom always makes the potato salad for every barbeque. It's expected. It's actually very good. But whenever you go to a BBQ where my family is invited, you know there will be potato salad.

I had a drink with my brother and his new girlfriend last night. She said she's going to make the potato salad for the July 4th bbq. I told her she was way out of line. She said "Well, tell your mom that I'm making it. And even if she does make it, we'll just have a lot of potato salad."

Oh no.

I called my mom to report on the situation and I said "Mom, maybe we can let her make it because she's new to the family."
My mother said, "you tell that bitch that if she brings potato salad, I will never speak to her again and she has no chance of joining this family."

July 02, 2003

I am the Law!

I stole this guy's tomato last night.

I was on line at the grocery store and this old man starts tearing into the cashier. He said, "NO, first you put my things into the bag, and then I give you the money. Do you understand that? Make sure you double bag it. Can you handle that?"

He was buying a bag of salad, some pears, and two tomatoes. Double bag?

So when she was bagging it I reached over and grabbed one of his tomatoes. I just held it against my side. He didn't notice.

Then, since I bag my own groceries, I put it in there. So that motherfucker bought me a tomato.

And I don't even like tomatoes.

July 01, 2003

Employees Must Wash Hands

I used to work with a guy who would NEVER eat from hot dog stands, fruit stands, or any other stand on city streets. He would say to me: "Where do those guys wash their hands? Where do they go to the bathroom? Where are those carts stored at night and what animals live there?"

Yesterday I stepped out of the office around 4 just to get a breath of air. The guy at the fruit stand on the corner had no customers because there's nobody on the street at 4 pm. He was picking his nose.

It wasn't even like a quick pick or a scratch. He was all the way in there.

So, yeah- wash your fruit.


The life of the IA, comprising:
residing in Manhattan;
practicing law;
deep frying things;
and generally living for your amusement.

Amy C.
CW (hiatus)
JR (vacation)
Scott S.

Secondary Sources
Me Head
Cooking for Losers


Statement of Law

"[T]he 'warning' of impending patent issuance, whether by a 'patent pending' marking or by direct information from the patentee, imposes no liability but is simply a cautionary notice of a possible future event." Nat'l Presto Indus., Inc. v. West Bend Co., 76 F.3d 1185, 1196 (Fed. Cir. 1996).

"This is a case where there was no real defense so attorneys for the Defendant had no choice but to fight every inch of the way. Objections, motions, and obfuscation was the defense. It was the only defense possible. Truth was the enemy. Stalingrad was saved by the Russians in World War II by literally wearing out the Germans, and this type of defense by lawyers in the last half of the last century came to be known as the Stalingrad defense. Wear the opponents out. Fight for every step. However, the Plaintiff's attorneys brought every possible action under multiple states laws and under federal law that could possibly apply and the battle became irreconcilable. Thus, rancor and accusations became the byword. This is not to indicate that the attorneys defending or prosecuting the case violated any rules of ethical conduct. However, fighting on ridiculous matters became paramount. This in turn caused undue rancor. Argumentum ad Hominum became the key and flavored the entire case and continues to do so." X-It Prods., LLC v. Walter Kidde Portable Equip., Inc., 227 F. Supp. 2d 494, 549 (E.D. Va. 2002).

"This case therefore illustrates the mischief and misery that can accompany the over enforcement of patents rights." Rite-Hite Corp. v. Kelley Co., 56 F.3d 1538, 1577 (Fed. Cir. 1995).