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).

August 29, 2003

Ugly Pants Day

I'm wearing ugly pants today. They seemed like a good idea in the store but now I only wear them when all of my other pants are being dry cleaned.

But on the bright side, I am going to the U.S. Open tonight. So if you are watching it on TV and you see a guy there with really ugly pants, that's me.

The Bitch Committee

My law firm formed a committee to improve associate / partner relations.

The associates all vote for a few representatives who sit down once a month with the managing partners and discuss issues that associates have.
Sounds like a good idea in theory.

Here are some actual issues that the associates came up with for this month's meeting:
1. There is no longer Hazelnut coffee in the pantry [with the free coffee for all employees]. Why not?
2. We know the firm is looking to move to new and bigger office space, but many of us live on the West Side, so can we not move anywhere else?
3. The partners won that huge case that we took on contingency and made millions. How are they going to use this money to improve the firm?

This is the kind of shit that gives us associates a bad name.
Starting salary for an associate at my firm is well over 100 grand. Buy your own fucking hazelnut coffee. Buy a fucking Metrocard to commute to the east side.

And what the fuck are the associates doing with their salary to improve the firm? Shut the fuck up, whiners.

August 28, 2003

Not with a "Ph"

Yeah, I like to make fun of fat people on this blog. I don't make fun of other people's religions, races, or beliefs. But I am allowed to make fun of fat people. Most of them are responsible for their own condition. And I don't make fun of them nearly as much as CW.

I used to be fat. When I sat for the New York Bar Exam in 2001, I was a lardass. After the exam, I put down the cheeseburger and started running. I lost 42 pounds and now I watch what I eat so that I don't become a lardass again.

Fat people suck.

When a subway train pulls into my station in the morning, sometimes there are too many people for me to fit into the car and I have to wait for the next train. And without fail, there are always 2 or 3 incredibly fat people on the train (inevitably taking up 2 seats). Now if they lost some weight, I could have been on that train.

If there is a fire in my apartment building, it's going to take 5 or 10 firefighters to get the fat woman out who lives on my floor. That puts my life in danger as well as the lives of the firefighters.

Fat people have numerous health problems that put a strain on our health care system that is totally avoidable.

And once I went to McDonalds for breakfast at 11 on the dot. The fat guy in front of me got the last three (3) sausage mcmuffins, so I couldn't even have one. I had to settle for lunch.

My parents are both fat. Whenever I have dinner with them, I see them eating all kinds of garbage. Being fat causes so many health risks that it's like telling your loved ones "I'd rather eat this sausage than live longer to be with you."

Fat is something most people can control. Some people like being fat, and that's cool, but don't expect me to find you attractive. I may be the only one willing to say it, but nobody likes fat people.

August 27, 2003


Yesterday my firm won a pretty big case at the Fed. Cir., so we all went out for drinks last night.

I was on the 2 train on my way home around 9 when I spotted one of my high school crushes. In fact, I was standing right over her on the train. I realized that she had spotted me first because she was making a great effort to look away.

She must have gained 50 pounds. Her clothes looked like crap. She was wearing too much makeup and obviously was only coming to Manhattan for some event that she and her friends had tickets to.

I have lost weight since high school and I think that my fine work clothes accurately reflect my ludicrous salary.

I didn't say a word. No words were necessary.

August 26, 2003

Real Reality

It seems that I cannot go out to eat without sitting next to some idiots discussing the latest reality show. Loudly.

"I totally thought it was him."

"It's a shame because I really liked him."

"I could not believe she said that."

You people suck. How about discussing what is going on in your lives? Is your life that boring? I want to open a restaurant where talk of reality shows is strictly prohibited.

Let's get real people, that shit was no longer cool in '01.

August 25, 2003

That Smell

Central Park has a small loop of road dedicated to the horse carriages that carry tourists. My running path has overlapped with this section of road lately.

I packed my running shoes to go on vacation. It was only a four day vacation so I only packed one bag. And it was very nice running right near the beach as the sun came up in the morning.

What I didn't realize, however, is that my running shoes have a very strong odor of horse manure. It must be from the runoff on the street when it rains and the manure turns into a "horse soup."

The odor of my running shoes would not have been a huge problem if I didn't pack all of my clothes in the same bag.

So the first night we got to the beach house my parents rented, I changed into my good clothes to go out to dinner. But all my clothes smelled of horse.

I spent the entire first day wearing smelling of horse until I finally found a laundromat.

It wasn't pleasant.

August 21, 2003

Musical Chairs

They moved a new partner to my floor. His secretary came with him.

The seating arrangement at the secretarial station quickly turned into a bad LSAT (or SAT) question:

Marcy needs to sit closest to the partner she works for.

Stacey will not share a printer with Marcy because Marcy doesn't change the toner.

Ann will not sit within two seats of Stacey because she said that Stacey talks on the phone all the time and it distracts her.

Liz will sit anywhere but will not talk to Marcy because they haven't spoken since that incident at the typewriter two years ago.

Where is Marcy sitting?

Jersey YO
I'm off to the Jersey Shore for the next four days for my white trash vacation, I'll be back on Monday. Have a great weekend yo.

August 20, 2003

Straight to Hell

I just realized that I got up early this morning and forgot to turn off my alarm clock before I left the house.

I just became "that asshole downstairs who left his clock on and went to work."

I am going straight to hell.

Attorneys Suck

I went out drinking with work people last night. It always amazes me how attorneys are incapable of discussing anything but law. Work consumes them and they abandon their entire personality for the billable hour.

So we talked about summary judgment and motions to strike. I asked this guy what kind of car he drove and he talked about the Federal Circuit.

One senior associate was nice enough to bring up a research project I had done six months ago. He said I botched it. I actually never did it.

Sometimes senior attorneys will give the same assignment to two junior attorneys just to see who can finish it first. It's all this competitive bullshit we learned in law school. So this guy gave me and this girl the same assignment. I ignored the assignment and eventually she found the case. I like her a lot, and I think she has an actual chance of success in this profession whereas I do not. So I never did the assignment.

He was classy enough to bring it up in the bar last night. He said I had no research skills. He questioned my abilities as an attorney.

I just drank my cider and laughed it off. No more drinking with attorneys for me.

August 19, 2003

Willful Ignorance

Rapper's Delight is one of my favorite songs of all time. Not the three minute version, mind you, the full 15 minute version.

And yes, I have it on vinyl.

One of my favorite lines from the song was:
"As she traveled deeper inside the room
all the fellas checked out her wide Sassoon."

Because, you know, "I like big butts and I cannot lie."

But recently I heard a rapper make reference to this verse and I thought that he misquoted it. So for the first time, I went and looked at the lyrics on the Internet. According to the lyrics, he actually says "white Sassoon."

Ever find out the real words to a song and realize that you were happier with your own words?

August 18, 2003


Here, my friends, is why you and I suck.

The partner I do most of my work for got married yesterday.

He's in the office today.

I will never make partner.

Electric Avenue

The next person that says to me:
"You know, you don't really realize how dependent we are on electricity until it goes out."
is going to get a punch in the face.

Unless it's a really hot girl, then I'll totally agree.

August 15, 2003


4:20 pm - the IA leaves work and goes directly to Central Park. God gives me the afternoon off. The other attorneys stay in the building and wait for power to come back on so they can continue billing.

5:00 pm - the 19 year old kid with the ford explorer was a god, pulled over with his doors open - a crowd formed to listen to the news.

7:00 pm - NYPD on every corner, keeping everyone calm, doing a fantastic job - Captain with badge on chain around his neck directing traffic with Hawaiian shorts on.

8:30 pm - unknown crowds of people hanging out on the steps of their buildings with bottles of booze and red party cups, offering random passersby drinks with a big smile. Bars are packed; the Upper West Side becomes one huge block party.

9:30 pm - 20-something guy on 72nd and CPW- setting off fireworks- the crowd outside the high-rise building cheered.

9:45 pm - me standing on the corner, gazing up at the millions of stars - something I may never see again from the streets of Manhattan.

10:00 pm - fruit stand on 72nd and Columbus starts packing up, completely sold out of fruit for possibly the first time ever. CityPie continues to churn out pizza for the line of over 50 people; candles were lit on the counter. My respect for Gray's Papaya has diminished- it was closed early in the evening.

6:12 am - power goes back on. I turn on the TV and learn that the rest of Manhattan, including my office building, is still without power. My grandfather decides to travel to Manhattan today because he heard on the news that the buses were running for free.

10:30 am - I am headed back to the park for the day. Thank you Lord.

August 14, 2003


Ok, in order to put the whole "white trash" issue to rest once and for all, I dug up the following picture of ME, as a child, at Disney World, with Chip.

Please note the Schlitz T-shirt. Any questions?

Top Level

"This assignment is clearly not partner work.

"And it is way too unimportant to waste a paralegal's time.

"It's not crucial enough to bother my secretary.

"It's not urgent enough and doesn't demand enough brainpower to give to the homeless guy downstairs. After all, we don't want to bother him.

"It's not a "top level" assignment. It's not "meaningful." Otherwise, I'd give it to that stray dog that hangs around the building.

"I'll just give it to IA."

August 13, 2003

White Trash

I don't think my tattoo makes me white trash.

Over the weekend, my cousin J3 and I knocked on some guy's door to ask him how much he wanted for that '66 GTO in his driveway with the blue tarp over it, all broken windows, and two flat tires.

Not THAT makes me white trash.

August 12, 2003

Inked Up

When I was a child, my dad used to tell me that if I ever got a tattoo, he would burn it off me. He said if that didn't work, he would use a cheese grater.

So I got a tattoo.

I got the tattoo, an Irish band around my right biceps, in my first year of law school. I never told my dad. I haven't lived at home since then, so I figured I shouldn't disappoint him more than necessary. You know, MORE so.

My parents rented a beach house next week. They invited me down. I declined.

Then my mom, without my permission, told my dad about the tattoo.

Not only does this make me look like a sissy in front of everyone, but it pisses off my dad and now I've got to go talk to him about it ANYWAY.

So, what did he say to my mom when she told him?

"Tell him to buy a trailer and move in to the trailer park so he can be completely white trash."

Keep in mind that I am an attorney who lives on the Upper West Side. Some parents are never happy.

Should be a fun talk with the big man.

August 11, 2003


I learned two things this weekend:

1. Chinatown is very large and has lots of really cool shops off the beaten path where the tourists don't roam.

2. My DVD player ALSO plays VCDs, which is very good.

August 08, 2003

Patents For Dummies

I was in the recesses of the firm library today doing some obscure research when I spotted the pictured book: "Patent It Yourself."

I was appalled. I work at one of the best patent law firms in the country (arguably THE best). What the hell are we doing with that book? Those books are full of terrible advice that result in terrible, worthless patents.

It's like working in McDonalds and having a "Joy of Cooking" laying around. Or leaving a book entitled "How to Fly" in the cockpit of your airplane.

I am going to steal it next week before a client spots it.

Have a great weekend.

Nick Burns

I like to think that I avoid the arrogance and the attitude that come with the legal profession, but yesterday I lost it a little bit.

I sent an e-mail to tech support stating:
"I need a new mouse, thanks."

I got a call ten minutes later from tech support:

TS: "Hi, I got this e-mail about your mouse. What's the problem?"
IA: "I need a new mouse, I thought that was obvious from the e-mail."
TS: "What's wrong with it?"
IA: "What do you mean what's wrong with it? It's a fucking mouse, it only does ONE thing. Ok, let me put it like this: when I physically move the mouse on my desk, the little cursor on the screen doesn't move."
TS: "Ok, we'll get you a new mouse."

And the funny thing is, the tech support people at my firm are really friendly and extremely helpful, I was just in a terrible mood. I apologized to the guy when he came by with the mouse. He just laughed it off.

August 07, 2003

Sex With The Boogeyman

Sorry, I really have nothing to say. All I could think of was that title.

I hurt my leg pretty badly and I don't really know how. I don't even know what's wrong with it, except that I have this numbing pain running through my calf muscles on my left leg.

So after today I am officially removing the "training for '03" link on the side of this blog. It's over. I have been training for 7 months and then I wake up one day and I can't walk. It's been two weeks of not running and I haven't gotten any better.

There's always next year.

Now that I'm not running- I will fall back to my second love: binge drinking.

"Hello, Sam Adams? I'm in good shape and have too much money, can you come over and fix this for me?"

August 06, 2003

Communication is the Key

Partner walked into my office last night:

Partner: "What is this pile?"
IA: "The results of the search. The copy guy just brought them in, I haven't even looked at them yet."
Partner: "What does this term mean here?"
IA: "I don't know, I haven't even looked at it yet."
Partner: "When you read a document and you see a term you don't understand, you should look it up. That way, when I look at the document, you can explain it to me."
IA: "Ok."

August 05, 2003

Str8 Outta Compton

There is this guy in Compton who is suing us.

And I cannot stop making Eazy-E and NWA references in front of the the partners. It's going to get me fired.

"Yo Eazy, where are we taking this party?"

"Yo Eazy why you wear your pants like that?"
"Eazy access, baby."

My life has no meaning.

August 04, 2003

Smooth Criminal

Friday was the last day of work for the summer associates here. They're like summer interns but they don't do any work. They get paid $2400 a week (not a typo) and get taken out to fancy dinners and fancy lunches. It's how law firms recruit you before buying your soul.

Friday night I got into the elevator with one of the summer associates. We were both leaving for the night. He had a folder in his arms so I leaned over and looked in jokingly, asking if he was stealing office supplies on his last day.

Sure enough, there were 5 or 6 legal pads, 4 post-it note pads still wrapped, and a box of pens.

Now, it's not that my firm can't afford it. It's just that this guy was making $2400 a week and still found it necessary to steal some fucking pens.

And his stupidity was astounding. NOBODY steals office supplies on their last day- you're supposed to steal them the day before your last day so nobody notices. I can't work with an attorney that dumb.

So now I have to decide whether to go and report this asshole to the recruiting people. But I think that I should take care of this problem like a true attorney: don't snitch on him but make his life a living hell when he eventually comes to work for this firm.

August 02, 2003

Colorado Kool-Aid

I know this is uncool, but I like Coors Light.

It all started about two years ago when I was visiting my relatives in Ireland. I stepped into a pub with a few of my cousins who live in Donegal. I ordered a Guinness, they all ordered Coors Light. I was surprised, I said "You guys all drink Coors Light?" They said "Yeah, what's wrong with Coors Light?"

After doing a little "research," I noticed that Coors Light was on tap in almost every bar in Ireland. And all of the real Irish bars in Manhattan (not the faux Irish yuppie hangouts) have Coors Light on tap. I asked a pub owner in Dublin about it. He said that Coors Light was his best selling beer; only Americans on vacation order Guinness.

And when I really thought about it, nothing is wrong with Coors Light. It tastes good and it's a great summer beer. It reminds me of days when beer was still dangerous and illegal instead of a necessary medication.

So yeah, I just ordered a Coors Light. What's wrong with Coors Light?

August 01, 2003

Praise The Lord

Finishing a day with a hangover always feels good. It's like finishing an exam.

I was reading this really boring patent today and the mail guy came into my office. I told him I wasn't sure if this letter I was writing was legally correct.
He said "Hey, just sign it IA. Then nobody will care, right?"

I was shocked. I played dumb: "IA?"

He said "Yeah, that's my initials. So you know, they won't expect much."

A-ha. Have a good weekend all.

Today's Episode

In today's thrilling episode, our hero Hungover Man will attempt to review documents in a small room for 10 hours straight.

Will he stay awake?
Will his ears stop ringing?
Will he commit malpractice?
Will his boss notice that he looks like Gollum today?

Stay tuned, kids.


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).