Recently the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued a warning to all trademark applicants regarding “Non-USPTO Solicitations that Resemble Official USPTO Communications.” The trademark office warned that companies not affiliated with the USPTO were using the USPTO database to find and locate new trademark applicants and are sending out notices that resembled an official notice.
Last week, I gave a presentation for Sterling Educational Services in Huntsville. In attendance were attorneys and HR professionals. The topic was Social Media and the impact it has in the workplace. During my research and preparation, I came across a number of interesting items.
I read a fascinating series of posts this week by Forbes journalist, Kashmir Hill, who first wrote on Monday morning about a recent study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology. That study asked HR professionals to view the Facebook pages of hundreds of college students and rate their employability based on what was contained on those pages.
This employer seemed to be doing everything right. It had a detailed computer usage policy notifying employees they had no expectation of privacy in connection with their emails sent over the employer’s computer network. After the employer’s food service director went out on extended leave, the food service department became overwhelmed, so a supervisor asked his assistant to check the director’s work computer for emails to make sure that orders and previously booked special events did not fall through the cracks.
Since Rush Limbaugh called Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute” on his show following her testiomony before congress, advertisers have backed away from his program as quick as they possibly can. These may not, however, be the only financial ramifications Limbaugh faces as our guest on LXBN TV explains that, if Sandra Fluke were to file it, she’d have a very reasonable case against Limbaugh for defamation.
A group of nine scientists and doctors recently sued the US government claiming that their personal Gmail accounts were under federal surveillance which led to harassment or dismissal for Food & Drug Administration (FDA) employees who were whistleblowers. The Washington Post reported that the FDA:
In January, we wrote that Irving Picard, the Trustee attempting to claw back money for Madoff victims, filed a motion for partial summary judgment, seeking a determination that the Mets owners (“Wilpon”) obtained approximately $83 million in fictitious profits and therefore must pay this money back to the Trustee as a matter of law.
Apple is announcing the iPad 3 today, and given that it’s probably going to dominate the news cycle, I decided I should join in the hype. Don’t get me wrong, the iPad is great, and I use mine very day. People use iPads to fly airplanes, play instruments, avoid getting lost by using the sun as a compass, helps doctors care for patients. Did I mention that you can use it to fly an airplane?
I read the stories every day: some small business, often a local restaurant or a similar “mom and pop” operation, gets sued or tagged by the Department of Labor for failing to pay minimum wages and overtime to employees. Here’s just one example. I have worked with a fair number of small and midsize businesses.
The National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA) is currently lobbying Congress in support of two bills aimed at allowing debtors to discharge private student loans during bankruptcy. Each bill seeks to amend the current federal Bankruptcy Code to allow debtors to discharge student loan debt made by private lenders. The bills do not affect federal student loans.