What’s on the docket this week:
- Featured Story – 2021 Emoji Law Year-in-Review
- 🗄 IP/Transactional – Lululemon Mirroring Nike Leads to Patent Lawsuit
- 🤺 Litigation – Facebook is One Step Closer to Being Deemed an Illegal Monopoly
- 📲 Legaltech – Elevate Becomes The First Non-Lawyer Owned Company with Affiliated Law Firms in the U.S.
- 🔪 Criminal/Politics – Ivy League Sued for Price Fixing
- 💰 Finance/Econ/Regulatory – Government Losses on Student Debt Climb Above $100 Billion
- ⚖️ Ethics – Pro-tip: Refrain From Public Disdain During Conduct Hearings with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel
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Featured Story: 2020 Emoji Law Year-in-Review
For folks that don’t know, Eric Goldman, Associate Dean for Research and Professor of Law at Santa Clara University School of Law, maintains one of the best legal blogs on the intersection of law, tech, & marketing – aptly named the Technology & Marketing Law Blog. Professor Goldman covers a variety of topics, all of which are interesting, but many rely on him as the foremost expert on Emoji Law.
Which sounds :laughing:, but is already a complex area of law. Doubtful? Then look no further than Professor Goldman’s 2021 Emoji Law Year-in-Review.
A few highlights:
- “Sexual predation” (both solicitations of minors by adults and actual sexual abuse): 21 cases
- Employment discrimination: 19
- Murder: 9 (this is a noticeable increase from past years)
- Emoji variations expose fabricated evidence. Easily the most significant emoji law ruling of the year. A plaintiff presented evidence that she claimed was from her iPhone 5 (which can only run up to iOS10), but the actual emoji symbol depicted in the evidence was only available on iOS13 or higher. The court says simply: “This image is a fabrication.” Kudos to the defense team for their strong emoji forensics work
Lululemon Mirroring Nike Leads to Patent Lawsuit
Lululemon finds themselves caught in a lawsuit with Nike, where the company claims that Lululemon’s Mirror Home Gym and mobile app infringes on Nike’s patents for digital home exercise equipment. Nike’s lawsuit against Lululemon is one of many as the company works to protect its products from increasing competition within the home fitness industry. It will be interesting to see how Lululemon holds up against Nike’s robust portfolio of patents directed towards its digital sport innovation.
Facebook is One Step Closer to Being Deemed an Illegal Monopoly
A federal judge has ruled that the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) antitrust suit against Facebook may proceed, after the company lost the bid to get the case thrown out. The FTC is arguing that Facebook (now Meta) used a “buy and bury” strategy to stifle competition in the social networking space, and cites the company’s previous purchase of Instagram and WhatsApp as evidence. The scope of the case has prompted Congress to address various privacy and advertising concerns, showing that the public cares about these issues just as much as companies do.
Elevate Becomes The First Non-Lawyer Owned Company with Affiliated Law Firm in the U.S.
In August 2020, Arizona became the first state to eliminate the ban on non-lawyer ownership of law firms, creating far-reaching changes that could transform the public’s access to legal services. Following this change, the Arizona Supreme Court granted an alternative business structure license to law company Elevate, enabling Elevate and its affiliated law firm, ElevateNext, to operate as a single entity.
Ivy League Cartel Sued for Price-Fixing
16 of the wealthiest and most powerful academic institutions are finally being called out for their monopolistic practices and price-fixing tuition against low-income students in the admission process, which is the key gatekeeping mechanism designed to enhance prestige. This suit not only reveals how American universities favor the wealthy and powerful, but also how broken the system is. The result of this suit will shed light on how universities have organized their financing models towards flagrant abuses of market power, and hopefully, bring us a step closer to increased fairness and equity in the higher education system.
Government Losses on Student Debt Climb Above $100 Billion
Since the start of the pandemic, the pause in student debt repayment has cost the federal government more than $100 billion. When this report first came out, the Education Department was asked to release documents related to how the government calculates projected losses from students defaulting on their loans. The documents have yet to be released, adding to speculation that the methodology used in this particular report may not be the most accurate.
Pro-tip: Refrain From Public Disdain During Conduct Hearings with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel
Discipline: 1 year suspension
Until next week, adjourned.
p.s. – please send me your stories, news, & tips for inclusion in future editions [email protected]
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