Monday, November 30, 2009

Federal litigators -- weekends count starting tomorrow

As of today, when you have a time period that is less than 11 days, you do not count the intermediate weekends and holidays. So in the Middle District of Florida, where we have 10 days to respond to a motion, we do not count weekends or holidays in docketing our response date. Starting tomorrow, December 1, 2009, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure have been amended so intermediate weekends and holidays do count.

Fortunately, the Judges of the Middle District have amended the local rules to change various time periods, including the period for response to a motion. Instead of 10 days, each party opposing a motion will now have (starting tomorrow) 14 days to respond. Various other time periods have been adjusted in the local rules to reflect this change in the Federal Rules. Read the amendments to the local rules here. A brief summary of some of the changes is below:

EventRuleOld Time PeriodNew Time Period
Response to motion3.01(b)10 days14 days
Notice of deposition3.0210 days14 days
Final pretrial conference3.06(a)at least 20 days noticeat least 21 days notice
Pretrial statement3.06(c)3 days before pretrial conference7 days before pretrial conference
Removal of cases from state court4.02(c)10 days14 days
Temporary restraining order4.05(a)10 days14 days
Preliminary injunction notice4.06(a)5 days14 days
Preliminary injunction opposition papers4.06(b)(3)day preceding hearing7 days before the hearing
Objecting to Magistrate Judge's Reports and Recommendations6.02(a)10 days14 days
Designate a mediator9.04(a)(1)10 days14 days

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Time magazine's 50 best inventions of 2009

As we approach year-end, everyone begins posting their N best things of 2009. Each year, Time does precisely this for the best inventions. And their 50 best of 2009 are out here. Topping the list are NASA's Ares Rockets. "The space shuttle is a flying truck: fine for the lunch-bucket work of hauling cargo a couple of hundred miles into space, but nothing more...." The top 5 rounds out with (2) Tank-Bred Tuna, (3) the $10 million lightbulb, (4) the smart thermostat and (5) controller-free gaming. I had only intended on listing the top 5, but coming in at number 6 is teleportation. (How is teleportation only number 6?)

Time also published its list of the 5 worst inventions for 2009.

Monday, November 9, 2009

An update on Glenn Beck's domain name proceeding

Glenn Beck sought to terminate the domain name registration for Read about this dispute here.

Domain name disputes pursuant to the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution policy can (and regularly do) incorporate international legal principles. After the initial complaint and response, the domain name owner's attorney sent a letter to Glenn Beck's attorney, asking him to stipulate that the principles of the American First Amendment will govern this dispute. Specifically, the domain name owner asked Beck to stipulate to 2 things:

1. The Parties hereby stipulate that the U.S. Constitution, including (and especially) the First Amendment thereto should apply to these proceedings and should govern the Panel's decision in this case.

2. The Parties hereby stipulate that the Panel shall not enter a decision in this case that would be contrary to the protections afforded to American citizens under the First Amendment, regardless of any international principles previously adopted by other UDRP panels or other international bodies.
Soon after this proposal, Beck's attorney filed a supplemental brief explaining that Beck "is an ardent supporter of the First Amendment right to free speech" and that he did not institute this action to censor the domain name owner. Beck points to some of the domain owner's other sites which contain the same information, but without the use of the trademark "Glenn Beck" in their domain names.

The domain name owner responded, renewing his arguments that no common law trademark rights have been shown, and no confusion is evident. He further argues that the UDRP proceeding is not "joke court" and the fact that Beck does not find the joke funny is entirely irrelevant. "Glenn Beck's name is not sacred, and it may be uttered with either reverence or disdain. The only way that the Respondent may not use Mr. Beck's name is to confuse the public as to the source or origin of his website -- a sin that has not been committed here."

The Panel denied Beck's complaint. For Beck to prevail, he had to prove:
1) The domain name is identical or confusingly similar to Beck's trademark rights
2) The domain name owner has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
3) The domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Panel found that Beck provided substantial evidence that he has trademark rights in the mark "Glenn Beck." After noting that "even a moron in a hurry would not likely conclude" that Beck sponsored the offending domain, the Panel did find that the domain is confusingly similar with Beck's trademark.

Turning to the domain name owner's rights, the Panel found that the domain name owner is engaged in legitimate noncommercial or fair use of Beck's trademark. As such, there was no need for the Panel to address the bad faith element.

The lawyer who represented the domain name owner, Marc Randazza, also reports that the domain name owner, "Isaac Eiland-Hall voluntarily gives Beck the domain, saying 'point made, sir.'" Read Mr. Randazza's post here. The domain registrant's letter relinquishing the domain name to Beck can be found here.