Wednesday, July 02, 2014

          Thinkers & Doers: July 2, 2014

          UC Hastings people in the news and making moves.
          Sample alt tag.

          Rory Little

          Professor Rory Little (@rorylittle) spoke with KCBS, ABC, and KQED’s Forum about the U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down abortion free speech “buffer zones.” Little compiles a roundup each year of the highlights of each Supreme Court term. You can see the interviews, and read his update here, and media analysis here.

          Robin C. Feldman

          Professor Robin Feldman (@RobinCFeldman) was quoted in a California Lawyer magazine cover story on the latest litigation models used by patent trolls. Congressional reform aimed at curbing the behavior has had mixed results, at best.

          Robin C. Feldman"With the collapse of the Senate bill, companies large and small are at the mercy of patent trolls," said Feldman, director of the Institute for Innovation Law at UC Hastings. "It is essentially open season on American companies." Read more of the article here.

          Feldman was also quoted in Intellectual Property Watch on the Alice v. CLS Bank decision from the U.S. Supreme Court. “This is one of the most important intellectual property decisions of recent memory,” Feldman said. “This will cast doubt on a wide swath of patents that have been granted, particularly many of the software patents that have been plaguing society.” Read more here (subscription required).

          Feldman was also quoted in Information Week on the case. "The Court sent a strong message with the Alice decision. Courts should ask first, what is the 'inventive concept' and is it simply an abstract idea? If it is an abstract idea, what have you added to transform it into something patentable? With the Alice patent, the Court held that the steps added were just well known routine processes. Many, many patents are drafted in the manner of the Alice patents. The question is whether the lower courts and the USPTO will pay attention. I suspect there will be cases ahead in which the Supreme Court says, 'We meant what we said.'" Read more here.

          John Leshy

          Professor John Leshy was on KQED talking about the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal Monday to take up the case of a Marin County oyster farm facing eviction from the Point Reyes National Seashore.

          Leshy said the lease has terminated, and the operation will have to move. The only option the Drakes Bay Oyster Co. has would be to petition Congress to change the law, but the odds of success there are slim, Leshy said. Read more, and hear Leshy’s analysis, here.

          Joel Paul

          Professor Joel Paul spoke with KGO radio about the impacts of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Hobby Lobby on contraception and corporate personhood.

          Dorit Reiss

          Professor Dorit Reiss (@doritmi) published a blog post on Daily Kos about the effect of the Hobby Lobby case in closely held corporations whose owners do not believe in vaccinating children.

          Reiss wrote: “We may see an employer corporation try to argue that its plan need not cover vaccination because of religious objection. I would not expect such a suit to successful: the Court implied that vaccination is a more clearly compelling interest (highlighting the short shrift it gives to Dorit Reisswomen’s access to contraceptives), there are not a lot of religions with strong opposition to vaccination, and as the Court pointed out, unlike contraceptives most plans already covered vaccines, out of the insurer’s sheer self-interest: it’s much cheaper to pay for the vaccine than for the disease. But an attempt could be made.” Read more here.

          She had an additional post on Daily Kos about the desirability of allowing teenagers to choose if they want to be vaccinated against HPV, a sexually transmitted disease, without their parents’ knowledge or consent. Read more here.

          George Bisharat

          Professor George Bisharat had an opinion piece published by McClatchy-Tribune News Service on efforts by President Barack Obama to bring U.S. combat troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

          While laudable, Bisharat warned against further military intervention in Iraq, now wracked by the military success of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a Sunni insurgent group, to take back part of Iraq. Read more here.

          Elizabeth L. Hillman

          Provost & Academic Dean Elizabeth L. Hillman spoke with TBS eFM’s “This Morning” radio program in Seoul on the similarities between a recent rampage of a South Korean military sergeant, who killed five of his comrades, and shootings on U.S. bases.

          Hillman said there is often concern about the accused’s competence to stand trial and assist in their own defense. Hillman said those with mental disorders typically are not subject to the death penalty. Listen to the full discussion here.

          Joan C. Williams

          Distinguished Professor Joan C. Williams’ (@JoanCWilliams) work with the Center for WorkLife Law was cited in a Chicago Tribune piece in which the writer criticized American companies that don’t offer flexibility and other accommodations, particularly in a society in people of every faith and Joan C. Williamspolitical stripe speak of “the family” as sacrosanct. Read more here.

          Williams was also quoted in a story in the San Jose Mercury News about how Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer was criticized for keeping advertising executives waiting for two hours after she fell asleep, making her late for a client dinner.

          The story is unfair, agreed Williams, co-author of a new book, "What Works for Women at Work." Williams said the episode seems a classic example of how male and female executives are treated differently because of gender bias. "He's busy, she's highhanded. He's assertive, she's aggressive," said Williams. "She was late to a meeting -- hello?" Read more here.

          Brian Pascal

          Research Fellow Brian Pascal, who studies privacy for UC Hastings’ Institute for Innovation Law, spoke with CNET about revelations Facebook manipulated its news feed to study how users’ social media posts affect people's emotions. The disclosure prompted fresh criticism of Facebook, Brian Pascalwhich has not been transparent in its privacy policies and use agreements.

          "There is no word in any privacy policy that is not there for a reason. If something is missing, then it's missing for a reason," said Pascal. He added that while there may or may not be a "practical impact" by Facebook's specific policy phrasing, "it's certainly interesting."

          "It's one thing for Facebook to A/B test some advertising structure," he said, referring to internal tests that websites frequently conduct to determine what resonates with visitors -- some people see one set of ads, some see another. "It's another to tweak their news feed to manipulate [users'] emotional state." Read more here.

          Joe Cotchett

          Joe Cotchett ’64 is at the heart of securities derivatives litigation The Recorder summed up this way: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

          In exchange for freeing Hewlett-Packard, which acquired British software firm Autonomy in 2011, and its officers from claims they ignored red flags in Autonomy's accounting and hid warning signs from shareholders, plaintiffs attorneys at Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy and Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd have agreed to team up with HP to go after former Autonomy executives. HP wrote off $8.8 billion from the bungled acquisition. Read the full story here.

          William Faulkner

          McManis & Faulker, a San Jose firm founded by William Faulkner ’78, was named the top small company workplace for 2014 by the Bay Area News Group.

          Julie Pearl

          Julie Pearl ’87 spoke with Law Technology News about how small firms using sophisticated technology can compete with large law firms. The article was based on a presentation Pearl gave to at LegalTech, a law conference in Southern California.

          In addition to her law firm, Pearl Law Group, Pearl runs a separate technology company that creates apps and other technologies to help lawyers automate repetitive tasks to bring down costs for their clients and provide quality control. Within three years of opening her shop, she developed ImmigrationTracker software, a management system that is widely used, even by her competitors, she notes. Read more here.

          Rochelle Nelson

          Rochelle Nelson ’87 was named the new executive director of Congregation Netivot Shalom in Berkeley.

          Rob Black

          Rob Black ‘02, senior director of community relations at PG&E, was named to the board of SFMade, a nonprofit that supports local manufacturing.

          Vien Truong

          Vien TruongVien Truong ’06 of the Greenlining Institute published an article in the Harvard CRCL Law Review on a California law she helped pass, SB535. The law requires that 25% of cap-and-trade funds, which generated about $1 billion in state revenue, be spent on project that benefit disadvantaged communities. Truong leads Greenlining’s Environmental Equity team. You can read her article here.

          Micah Schwartzbach

          Micah Schwartzbach ’06 published a piece in the San Francisco and Los Angeles Daily Journals on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling striking down warrantless searches of mobile phones. Read his piece here (subscription required).


          UC Hastings’ Medical-Legal Partnership for Seniors was highlighted in a story in Medical Xpress on the best ways to care for the burgeoning population of older adults. The story noted the partnership, part of the collaboration between UCSF and UC Hastings, is one of just a few programs nationwide that provide health-related legal assistance to seniors. Read more here.

          Read more Thinkers & Doers here. Know someone who should be in Thinkers & Doers? Send your story tips here.

          --July 2, 2014

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