PTO’S IMMORTAL INVENTORS
Oh, those “inventive” folks over at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office! To capture the imaginations of young inventors (and future patent holders), the office has created its inaugural series of USPTO Trading Cards. The cards feature caricatures, bios and the inventions of nine notable inventors.
There is Luther Burbank, who developed the Burbank potato, and George Washington Carver, who invented a crop-rotation method and 325 different uses for extra peanuts, from cooking oil to printer’s ink.
Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Edison have their own cards. And, immortalized on the 10th card is none other than David Kappos, a noninventor, but, nevertheless, director of the USPTO since 2009.
See the collectibles at: http://tinyurl.com/d24evgt. — Marcia Coyle
SISTER’S VISIT TO LAWYER CAUSES MEDIA FRENZY
The whole world got a glimpse inside the Washington home of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan tax partner Stephen Kranz last week, but the attention likely was unwanted. The national media surrounded his Mt. Pleasant neighborhood home on the night of November 13, looking for his sister, Paula Broadwell, who had suddenly become part of the nation’s biggest news story.
Broadwell had not been seen in public since CIA director David Petraeus resigned four days earlier, citing an FBI investigation that revealed he had an affair with Broadwell, his biographer for a book called All In: The Education of General David Petraeus. Broadwell’s driver’s license had been found in Rock Creek Park, leading to speculation she was staying with her brother.
During the media stakeout, an Associated Press photographer took a photograph through the kitchen window of Kranz’s home that revealed tan walls and Broadwell, wearing a maroon sweater and drinking wine. It was the first time Broadwell was photographed since the scandal broke. Kranz, a member of Sutherland’s tax practice, did not return a request for comment. According to the firm’s website, he served as general counsel to a D.C. nonprofit called the Council on State Taxation before joining the firm. — Todd Ruger
Should prosecutors be punished when they withhold evidence on the ground that it isn’t material, when in fact it would affect the outcome of the case? Last week, a panel of attorneys, including former prosecutors, debated the topic at a Federalist Society conference. “So what happens if you’re the prosecutor and they discover this, and they don’t turn it over? Well, you could get promoted, as the Justice Department does with several of these people,” said Ronald Rotunda, who teaches at Chapman University School of Law. Kenneth Wainstein, a partner at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, said discovery violations will never be completely eliminated. “I think what should be done is exactly what the Justice Department has announced doing and has been doing for the last few years — put a policy in place that tells prosecutors that they have to turn over anything that’s potentially favorable to the defense, regardless of materiality.” James Dunlop, a counsel to Jones Day, said lawyers on both sides develop muscle memories that can influence how they act. He said it’s important to have a “careful” standard when it comes to imposing discipline in misconduct cases. — Don Tartaglione
When John Quarles Jr. passed away on October 29, the environmental bar lost an accomplished practitioner. The Morgan, Lewis & Bockius partner and former chairman of the firm retired in 2006, but his legacy is still felt there. Michael Steinberg, senior counsel to the firm, reflected on the time he shared with Quarles. “John was that unique thing among industry lawyers at the time, someone who was widely respected and admired both in the industry and the government,” Steinberg said. “He was in a position to come forward with solutions that people could consider seriously. He was not shy about criticizing the government when they went too far but was sympathetic to their objectives and sensitive to the issues.” Quarles first joined Morgan Lewis in 1977, having already served in the U.S. Department of the Interior. He helped in the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970 and in the development of the Superfund Settlement Project. Steinberg recalled Quarles using a dictaphone to dictate a 50-page brief that required little editing after it was transcribed. “The mental discipline and the intellect to be able to do that — he was a brilliant man,” Steinberg said. — Matthew Huisman
Anyone hoping for a public airing in court over who was to blame (and how much) for a fatal June 22, 2009, crash of two Metro trains in Northeast Washington will have to keep waiting. On November 12, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton filed an order indicating that two personal injury cases related to the crash had settled, meaning a trial scheduled for November 27 would be canceled. News of the settlement came soon after Walton approved a settlement in one of two remaining wrongful death cases. The crash killed nine people and wounded dozens — as of now, all but one of the wrongful death cases have settled, as have the majority of personal injury cases. Eight new personal injury cases were filed this year, but a trial in those cases won’t take place until at least June 2013, if they even go to trial. A trial date hasn’t been set for the final wrongful death case. — Zoe Tillman
The American Association for Justice has launched its Take Justice Back campaign with a new website, www.takejusticeback.com, meant to spark a grassroots movement. Christopher Scholl, the AAJ’s communications director, said people are still unaware that their civil justice rights are under attack. “The truth of the story has been buried under a mountain of distortion by so called tort reformers,” he said. The website includes stories of people who have been injured because of the negligence of big corporations. AAJ, the trial lawyers’ D.C. trade group, has been at war for decades with groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over a range of civil litigation issues, including business groups’ efforts to cap punitive damages in civil suits and to disallow class actions. — Don Tartaglione
For former U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner David Kessler, an American Jewish Committee luncheon honoring Patton Boggs partner Stuart Pape in Washington last week was his chance to put a decadeslong dispute with his wife to rest. “Paulette claims that Stuart looks like somebody,” Kessler told Pape’s friends, family members and colleagues at the Four Seasons Hotel to see Pape receive the Judge Learned Hand Award, the committee’s top accolade for lawyers. After some guesses from the crowd, a picture of Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler appeared on the screen behind Kessler, and the room erupted into laughter. “The FDA must have approved a new drug for giving people a sense of humor,” Pape said later. Pape, Patton’s managing partner from 1996 to 2010, has focused his career on matters related to the FDA and other health and safety agencies. Prior to joining the firm, he served with the FDA. — Andrew Ramonas