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).

October 31, 2003


Well my bloggy friends, the time has come for the IA to go to the BIG SHOW.

That's right- I'm going to trial.
No, not ON trial - TO trial.

Later today I'm leaving New York City and spending the next two weeks living in a hotel in some strange city while trying a patent case in front of a jury in Federal fucking court.

Yeah, I've been to court. I've argued motions. I've argued at settlement conferences. But this is fucking TRIAL. This is the BIG SHOW.

I know most of America is familiar with the "Law & Order" concept of law- all attorneys go to trial and most cases last about 56 minutes. But most attorneys never go to trial- even attorneys who practice civil litigation rarely actually get to trial. Many of the partners in my firm have never been to trial.

I haven't slept in two weeks because I'm so excited. Do you remember the last time you couldn't sleep because you were excited about anything? How about your JOB?

Get to Know the Dream Team:

The Don: He's been practicing law for 45 years, and he will not hesitate to tell you that. He's unconventional- he thinks outside the box. He's seen it all before. He was trying cases before I was even born. He comes up with theories that make no sense and somehow makes them work. He announced his retirement last week and this will be his final case. He has no hair.

The Underboss He's a senior partner who has tried a bunch of cases, and he knows the deal. He's won some and lost some. He's like your friend who is so friendly that you believe everything he says even though you don't know what the fuck he's talking about. He knows that you can succeed in life and still be decent to everyone- which is something I think most attorneys forget. One night while working late, he disappeared for 10 minutes and came back with a six pack of beer for the team. He has white hair.

The Capo He's a sixth year associate. He has to do most of the work. He's got bags under his eyes. He knows this case better than he knows his own mother. You ask him to pull out the document that says X and he'll find that shit. He's not excited about trial. He knows it will be good for his career but he also knows he isn't going to sleep for the next two weeks. Some gray is starting to show in his hair.

The Hitman Our hero, the IA. Responsibilities include writing motions, conducting research, going back to the hotel or war room to get documents, and throwing punches when necessary. So excited to go to trial, he don't give a fuck whether he wins or loses. While the others on the team were stressing, he went and bought a new pair of shoes this week. And his hair is fucking fantastic.

I pressed my suits, watered my orchid, and bought my girlfriend extra AA batteries.

Holy shit, ma- I'm going to trial.

October 30, 2003

Hear This, Fucko

I don't want weekend minutes, I don't want rollover minutes. I want to be treated like a human being by anyone that has anything to do with cell phones. If you work for verizon wireless, cingular, sprint pcs, nextel, or any of the others, I hope you have a really crappy dinner and don't get laid tonight.

Patent Snobbery

You probably don't think too much about that little ' key next to your enter key.

Patent attorneys use that key all the time. When submitting documents to a court, attorneys always refer to a patent by the last three digits; thus "U.S. Patent No. 6,329,919" becomes "the '919 patent."

Here's where the snobbery comes in.

Non-patent attorneys always use the ' that points inwards to the number. Real patent attorneys use the ' that points away from the number (also seen in "Toys 'R Us.") When we get a document that uses the wrong ', we just sigh and say "general practice attorneys should leave the patent work to the REAL patent attorneys."

Yeah, you're a snob about your job too, don't lie.

October 29, 2003

Early Man

I got in around 7:30 this morning. This, after leaving at 10 last night. I turned on all the lights on my floor, booted my computer and walked to the mens room. I was standing there, singing that Milkshake song. For those who don't know, the chorus goes:

"My milkshake brings all the boys in the yard
and they're like- it's better than yours
damn right, it's better than yours
I can teach you, but I have to charge."

Then I heard someone cough in one of the stalls.

D'oh!! What other psycho gets in to work at 7:30 am and DOESN'T TURN ON THE LIGHTS ON THE FLOOR?

October 28, 2003

All Quiet

The boss hasn't been in my office in 3 days. He told me that he doesn't want to bother me because this thing I'm writing is so important.

At first I felt flattered but now I'm mostly worried.

The Plan

The girlfriend's plan for last night:
1. romantic candlelight dinner at the Post House, a fancy steak house, her treat.

The IA's plan for last night:
1. buy the biggest bucket of chicken that Popeye's sells
2. buy a six pack of Rolling Rock
3. watch football

In the end, we went with my plan.

October 27, 2003

Birfdays Was The Worst Days

Today, I turn 27.

I was a difficult delivery. I had the umbilical cord wrapped around my neck. To this day, I think that I knew back then that it wasn't going to get any better and I was trying to end it before it started.

But I digress.

Here's what I want for my birthday:

Egg Nog.

Yeah, that's right. Fucking egg nog. That shit that comes in a carton blows. I want you to e-mail me your egg nog recipe. I've had good egg nog, I know it exists. It could have rum, it could have bourbon. It could be non-alcoholic. I just need a decent egg nog recipe. I know that Wegmans makes a decent egg nog but I don't live anywhere near a Wegmans.

Oh, and don't skimp on the heavy cream.

Now, holla at me.

Also, topless pictures are appreciated. Topless pictures of women are more appreciated.

October 26, 2003

Yankee Go Home

Yeah, the Yankees lost last night.

But at the end of the day, we're still New York City.

(editor's note: the Marlins have now won as many world championships as the Mets.)

October 25, 2003

Burn Baby Burn

This morning while making copies, I studied the employee bulletin board to pass the time. The "Fire Safety Notice" listed two "searchers" who are designated to search the floor in case of emergency.

Both of my floor's searchers were laid off more than a year ago. Should I be concerned?

The Rules

After deleting a more than few comments every day this week, I figured that now would be a good time to state the official comment / link policy of Patent Pending.

I link whoever I want. I occasionally link to myself (propers to the choppa). If you send me e-mails asking me to mention or link your friend's blog, you're wasting your time.

I delete comments whenever I feel like it. If you leave an anonymous comment, you are a loser with no acccountability and I will delete your comment.

It's my fucking blog. All you "Anonymous" haters can fuck off. Any problems, holla at me.

October 24, 2003

Criminal Injustice

[Smart bloggers avoid the intense issues, and I realize I may lose half my readership, but anger is a gift, so here goes:]

Dear Colorado:
Just because a woman enjoys sex does not mean you are entitled to rape her. By that logic, if you enjoy boxing at the gym and let people hit you (or you take kickboxing lessons), I can beat the shit out of you the next day. Her past sexual history is not relevant. If that shit comes in at trial, I want your entire judicial system burned to the ground.

Dear LA:
If you were one of the people who cheered for Kobe last night like he was god, I hope you burn in hell.

The Two Parners

I currently work for two partners.

One partner gives me serious work to do. This week I have written jury instructions and motions for this partner as well as conducted vast amounts of legal research. He asks me how I am in the morning and lets me make my own schedule.

The second partner I work for gives me different work. This week has has asked me to make copies on 3 different occassions, he has asked me to scan documents, and he had me sit in his office for a half an hour while he ate lunch and looked over the documents I copied. And it was tuna salad.

October 23, 2003

Mighty Mouse

This morning when I went to grab my daily Centrum, I accidentally dropped it and it went under the fridge.

The first thing I thought was "oh no, if a mouse got into my apartment, he would chew a little of that vitamin every day and then he'd become like a super mouse and take over my apartment and then kill me in my sleep with his super powers."

So yeah, I'm losing it.

October 22, 2003

Old Age

There is no doubt about it, I'm getting old. Latest sign: I let my subscription to Maxim lapse this month.

Don't get me wrong, I still like the breasts. But the jokes are the same every month and I just don't find it amusing any more.

My subscription list is now: Martha Stewart Everyday Food, The Wall Street Journal, the NY Times, 2600, Wired, and Cooks Illustrated. I read Harpers Week in Review online.

Old. Man.

October 21, 2003

Early Departure

I told the partner in charge that I have to leave early today. He asked what I was doing. I said, "I'm making a sweet potato pie." He said "I've been practicing law for 37 years, and I have never heard that reason. Good luck with the pie."

So yeah, I'm going home early today to make a pie. Have a lovely night.

Feel the Love

The partner asked me to send an e-mail to the client with certain information. He called 10 minutes later and asked why I didn't send it. I explained that I couldn't find my files anywhere and I didn't remember where I put them.

He replied "Oh, they're on my desk. I went through your office last night and took all your files. Come by and get them."

October 20, 2003

The Art of Compromise

My mother wants to go out to dinner for my birthday. I've been working late every night lately and told my mom that I really didn't have time. Crazy things are happening at work.

My dad called me this morning.

He spoke, as always, calmly are clearly. He said "Next weekend, we're taking you out to dinner. You're going. Call and make the reservation today. I don't care how much work you have, your mother is more important. Your mother told me she wants to go, and that's the end of it. I will come and physically drag you out of your office if I have to. Be there early."

Oh My Lord

If you have never been to a Jewish wedding on Long Island before, you really should go.

All I have to say is: I have never been cut in front of more times on a buffet line.

October 18, 2003


To all of the personal injury attorneys who took out full page ads in the newspapers today saying "We are very sorry for your injuries on the Staten Island Ferry but call us if you feel ANY PAIN at all or even if you were on that boat because you may feel pain at a later date:"

Burn in hell.

October 17, 2003

Now with Panini!

I'm so tired of these fucking yuppies with their panini. Fuck panini. Where the fuck was panini two years ago?

I'm going shove that Krups Panini Press right up your ass. Fuckhead.

I Love That Dirty Water

I wore a Boston Red Sox Jason Varitek shirt on the subway last night. Many comments were made. One man told me "You're going down, SON."

But I'm glad Boston lost. If they won, it wouldn't really be cool to like Boston anymore. The curse is part of the team. I admire the loyalty of the fans despite the Babe, Bucky, Buckner, Boone curse. Loyalty is hard to come by.

October 16, 2003

Big Time Attitude

The plan was to go to Sparks Steak House last night. We had a 7 reservation, and we arrived at 6:58. We gave our name, the guy said two minutes.

Five minutes later, a 300 pound goombah shows up with three gold chains, pinky rings, white t-shirt and shark skin suit. He hugs the guy, and gets his party of 3 seated right away.

Five minutes later, same scene with different greaseball.

At 7:15 we walked a few blocks to the new Ruth's Chris on second avenue and had a fantastic steak.

My date had an interesting point- NYC is famous for these restaurants that think they can treat you like shit because they're so famous. However, I personally don't shell out big time money unless I get some big time ass kissing.

So my experience with Sparks wasn't so great. It wasn't as bad as this guy's, but at least he had a steak.

October 15, 2003

Professional Courtesy

I was just on a conference call where the partner in charge of my case called the opposing counsel and said the following:

"I was hoping we could reschedule our conference call this afternoon concerning trial logistics because the fucking Cubs blew it last night and now the Yankees are on at 4."

Opposing counsel, despite being located in California, agreed to the postponement.


I have always liked a good July 4 bbq. My birthday is coming up in a few weeks. Christmas is nice.

But none of them even come close to today. Today, my friends, is Cash Money Day.

October 15 is greatest day of the year for me. It is the day when I get my first paycheck with my raise, my 401k is full for the year and I'm done paying social security taxes for the year. It's the perfect storm of cash flow. My new salary is $150,000 a year.

I discuss money often on this blog. That is because money rules every second of every day for an attorney- we have to bill money by time and we make money based on how much we bill. We get treated like garbage but we tolerate it because we need the money. Then eventually, when our loans are paid off, we've grown to love the money so we don't leave. We tie our self-worth into our salary and we develop a giant ego based on the money.

So today I will forget that I have over $90,000 in student loans left to pay. Today I will forget that I don't own a house or a car and my television is a mere 13 inches.

I'm going out tonight for a steak the size of a small man.

October 14, 2003


Law, like any other job, has its highs and lows. This morning I went to the Federal Courthouse in Manhattan and personally moved that two of my friends be admitted to the bar of the court. It was a high.

Speaking directly to a Federal Judge in a packed courtroom is not as easy as it looks. Even if you're brimming with blind confidence (bordering on sheer arrogance) like me.

Then I got back to the office and learned that the judge granted the motion we filed last week that I wrote part of. Yeah, I'm feeling pretty invincible right now.

I'll probably get hit by a bus on the way home tonight.

The Landlord

I know that attorneys must have their own level of hell, but wherever I end up, I'm sure it won't be nearly as hot as where they keep the landlords.

October 13, 2003

There is nothing like a bunch of attorneys arguing in front of one of the most prestigious courts in the nation about the meaning of the term "jack off."

Sadly, the link is work safe.

Justified Homicide

I wish there was a way to ensure that any girlfriend of mine who kills me could not be prosecuted. I wish I could sign a waiver or strike a deal with the district attorney.

Because seriously, I am an ass. I say the dumbest things and quite honestly I'm surprised I haven't been stabbed to death yet. I think this week's gem was "I wish Kim Possible were a real girl. She'd probably do some crazy shit in bed."

Yeah. Justified homicide.

Maybe we can create a jury consisting entirely of my ex-girlfriends. They would say "Oh, did he say something about Britney again? Yeah, I almost stabbed him, too. Not guilty."

October 10, 2003


When your friend says you've been in a bad mood all week, you ignore him.

But when three people in the past 2 hours agreed, it's hard to argue.


They Know the Score

I love the firm secretaries because they know what's going on. They know more about the inner working of the firm than anybody. They are actually very intimidating when you first start because they are so familiar with the patent process and you know nothing.

Last night, I talked to my boss's secretary.

Secretary: Whatever happened to that thing he wanted you to read by this Friday that was like 1500 pages?
IA: I told him I couldn't do it because of this other case I'm on. I told him I didn't have time. I also told him I didn't think it was humanly possible to review it in under a month.
Secretary: What did he say?
IA: He gave me an extra week to read it.
Secretary: Sweetie, just don't bring it up. He'll forget he gave it to you and he'll ask someone else to do it.

October 09, 2003

Intro Help

If you're about to record a rap cd and you need help with that irritating 30 second track that begins every cd, consider these tips:

1. Make sure to say your name at least 5 times. People who bought the cd may not know whose cd they bought.
2. Make sure to say where you're from. If you're from Westchester, say "New York." Similarly, Little Rock can be replaced with "Dirty South" and Boulder can be replaced with- well you're on your own there. Maybe you can just say "USA." The "Dirty Rockies" doesn't sound too badass.
3. Be sure to state the year. Because listensers need to know what year it is.
4. Your label is important. Especially if it's Bad Boy. You need to say your label 100 times.
5. Shouts to your crew are unacceptable. Save those for your irritating 30 second track at the end of the cd that nobody will ever hear because nobody listens to the entire cd.
6. Lastly, make sure to say how you do, such as "this is how we do" or "you know how we do."

October 08, 2003

He Didn't Read My Tips

Here is an excerpt from an interview I conducted today:

Candidate: "Well, my law school doesn't give out numbered grades or class ranks, but if it did, I would be ranked in the top ten."
IA: "Really? Well, this firm doesn't give out ranks, but if it did I would be the number one associate. And in fact, I'm also the number one person in this room. Sound good to you?"
Candidate: "Well, ok. I see your point."

Assumption of Competence

Last week the opposing party in a big case filed two motions which meant that we had to respond to both motions by yesterday. The partner asked me to write a section for one of them, and I did. I gave it to him for comments. He asked me to add another section, and I did. I even sneaked a Learned Hand quote in there to see what the partner would say.

And yesterday it was filed with the court without anyone having read it but me. That was the first time EVER that something I wrote on my own was filed with the court without anyone checking it over. It was a great show of confidence in my work.

So do you know how I feel today? That's right, I'm scared out of my mind.

October 07, 2003


I polished my desk at work last night.

A junior associate spends a lot of time waiting- especially at night. The other night I was waiting for a partner to fininsh a motion so that I could proofread it and add certain facts. I was looking at my desk and thinking "I bet this desk would look great with a little furniture polish." I have been trying to make my office more comfortable since I've been spending so much time in it.

So yesterday afternoon I went out and bought a tin of polish. And sure enough, I had some spare time.

My desk looks great- like a bowling alley. But I neglected to close my blinds so everyone in the building across the street from mine was probably wondering why some lunatic was polishing his desk at 10:45 pm. I'm off to google "crazy lawyer polish desk" and see if I can find a picture of me.

October 06, 2003


In case you were wondering, the answer to:
"What will happen when my looks fade?"
is NOT
"Then so will my love for you."

October 04, 2003

True Love

I hope I'm never the guy sitting in the diner reading the paper on Saturday morning with my wife while she reads a danielle steele book.

October 03, 2003

Stone Age

My parents don't have an answering machine. In fact, up until last year, they still had a rotary phone, but that's another story.

The lack of answering machine wouldn't be a bad thing ordinarily- but every time I get my mother on the phone, I hear "You never call."

So now, when you call and nobody answers, you have to write down the time you called. That way, when they inevitably say "you never call" you can look to your log and say "I tried to call you at 3:23 pm." You have to compile evidence.

The Hours

I've been working a lot of hours lately and haven't had a day off in a month. I thought I could handle it. I thought I was strong. I thought it had no effect on me.

Until this morning when I got out of the shower, filled my hands with shaving cream and proceeded to rub it in my hair as if it was gel.

But on the bright side, I got to take two showers.

October 02, 2003

Partner Wisdom

I just got on a great case with a great team- including an outstanding senior partner who is great to work with. So I should have lots of "Partner Wisdom" phrases for you in the next few weeks.

Today's Wisdom:
Senior Partner: "That's my strategy for the pre-trial conference. What do you think?"
IA: "Sounds great."
Senior Partner: "Yeah, I'm a senior partner, you'd say that even if it sucked. You're not stupid."
IA: "No, sir."


Lots of you future attorneys out there may be wondering:
"If I got on a case where I had to work at least 12 hours a day, seven days a week, how long would it take me to go from reasonably fit to enormous sack of rancid bacon fat?"

Two weeks.

October 01, 2003

Interview Tips Revisited

A candidate knew an attorney at my firm. She asked this attorney what I was like so that she could be well prepared for her interview with me.

The problem is, the attorney at my firm does not know me that well. So she told candidate that I was a big Notre Dame fan. I hate Notre Dame and don't follow college football.

So she came prepared to discuss only one thing: Notre Dame football. Nice try.

Time and Money

Today, I become a third year associate. My billable rate goes up to $230 per hour.

That means that although the content of this blog will continue to suck, the value of the time I waste writing it will be much greater.


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).