Interesting Bits of Law
"The law" is a big and complex thing (so at least some lawyers really do add value to society). Here are a few small bits of law that I find interesting for various reasons. This page is far from comprehensive; it's just a place for me to post statutes and cases that I am discussing on Usenet or in my blog, DTM :<|. With that caveat, enjoy!
- Hague Convention on Service Abroad of Judicial and Extra-Judicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters
- A&M Records v. Napster
- BMC Resources v. Paymentech: The court rejected the novel "divided infringement" theory of liability.
- E. Bement & Sons v. La Dow: The court discussed how the uncertainty of patent litigation significantly reduces the value of patents. In 1895!
- Cartoon Network v. CSC Holdings ("Cablevision"): Cablevision's remote-storage DVR does not directly infringe content providers' copyrights.
- Egyptian Goddess v. Swisa: The CAFC remade the law of design patent infringement (en banc).
- Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone Serivice Co.: Supreme Court explained the originality and authorship requirements for copyright protection.
- Forest Group v. Bon Tool: The CAFC held that the penalty for false marking is assessed on a per-article basis.
- International Seaway Trading v. Walgreens: In design patent cases, the ordinary observer test determines invalidity by anticipation (as well as infringement)
- KSR v. Teleflex: Supreme Court examines what it means for a patent to be "obvious" in light of the prior art and, therefore, invalid
- MGM Studios v. Grokster
- NTP v. Research in Motion: Activity outside the U.S. can avoid infringement of method claims in a U.S. patent, but system claims may still be infringed.
- Richardson v. Stanley Works: The Stepclaw & Fubar design patent case
- Trade-Mark Cases: Supreme Court held that a trademark is not "intellectual property" under federal law because Congress lacks the power to enact a trademark statute under Article 1, § 8, clause 8 of the Constitution
First Amendment Cases
- Edwards v. Aguillard: Supreme Court struck down Louisiana's "Creationism Act," which forbade the teaching of evolution in public elementary and secondary schools unless accompanied by instruction in the theory of "creation science."
- Everson v. Board of Education of the Township of Ewing: Supreme Court examined the constitutionality of state-sponsored bussing of children to private, religious schools
- Fair Housing Counsel v. Roommates.com: The 9th Circuit en banc held that CDA § 230 does not immunize Roommates.com from suit under the Fair Housing Act because Roommate.com's choice of questions in its online questionnaires had the effect of "inducing [users] to express illegal preferences" in their housing profiles (e.g., race, gender, marital status)
- Junger v. Daley: District Court finds that software code does not qualify as "speech" under the First Amendment
- Junger v. Daley: Sixth Circuit court of appeals reversed the District Court holding, finding that software code does qualify as "speech" under the First Amendment
- Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District: District Court found that intelligent design is not science
- Scopes v. State of Tennessee: The famous "monkey trial" case.
- Steve Jackson Games v. U.S. Secret Service: Illegal search & seizure of documents and computer equipment
- In rem cases: Odd and funny case names
- Allied Chemical v. Hess Tankship: "It was a dark and stormy night."
- Avista Management Inc. v. Wausau Underwriters Ins. Co.: Court orders attorneys to play Rock-Paper-Scissors
- Bell v. Feibush: California's theft statute provides a civil right of action for treble damages
- U.S. v. Boucher (Boucher 1): U.S. Magistrate Judge held that the 5th Amendment privilege requires that a criminal defendant may not be compelled to divulge a password for an encrypted hard drive
- U.S. v. Boucher (Boucher 2): U.S. District Judge overruled the Magistrate's ruling in Boucher 1
- Campbell v. HHS: The court discussed the reliability of Wikipedia articles as evidence in court
- Catholic Healthcare West v. CIGA: CIGA suffers a rare appellate defeat
- People v. Collins: The California Supreme Court addressed the use of mathematical evidence in court. "Mathematics, a veritable sorcerer in our computerized society, while assisting the trier of fact in the search for truth, must not cast a spell over him."
- Engblom v. Carey: A rare appellate opinion on personal rights arising out of the Third Amendment
- Hellar v. Bianco: Graffiti on the bathroom wall of a tavern can be defamatory, and the tavern may be liable for defamation if it fails to remove the graffiti.
- Ex Parte Jackson: Supreme Court recognized the secrecy of letters doctrine under the Fourth Amendment
- Lodi v. Lodi: "This case started when plaintiff Oreste Lodi sued himself in the Shasta County Superior Court."
- Hawkins v. McGee: The famous "hairy hand" case
- Kearney v. Solomon Smith Barney: California's Supreme Court applied California's law against recording phone calls without consent to a phone call placed from Georgia to a California resident, where Georgia's law would have permitted the recording
- KinderStart v. Google: Dismissal and denial of anti-SLAPP motion
- KinderStart v. Google: Court imposes Rule 11 sanctions against KinderStart's attorney for asserting allegations without a good-faith basis
- Nix v. Hedden: The Supreme Court held that a tomato is a vegetable, not a fruit
- Palsgraf v. Long Island R.R. Co.: Coincidences; but, unfortunately, no hilarity ensues
- Pineda v. Williams-Sonoma: A zip code is "personal identification information" under California's Song-Beverly Credit Card Act
- Stambovsky v. Ackley: Homeowner cultivated a public reputation that her house was haunted (apparently motivated by profit) by poltergeists but failed to disclose this "fact" when she sold the house. The buyer sued to rescind his contract to buy the house; the court held that the homeowner "is estopped to deny their existence and, as a matter of law, the house is haunted."
- United Novelty v. Daniels: The semi-famous "flaming rat" case.
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