Thursday, August 14, 2008


Remember the Rambler? Trademark Board Does

Rambler_american_1stgeneration_blue Remember the Rambler? In the 1950s, it was a popular and inexpensive small car made by the Nash-Kelvinator Corp. When Nash become American Motors Corporation in 1954 and George Romney became the company's chairman, the Rambler line was expanded and the name became a brand. In 1963, the Rambler was Motor Trend Car of the Year. But in 1969, AMC discontinued the Rambler, and by 1987, AMC itself was no more, its assets acquired by Chrysler Corp. In the years since, Chrysler appeared to have abandoned the Rambler trademark. So Anthony S. Pimpo probably thought the road was clear for him to register the name for use in a business pertaining to automobiles and parts. Chrysler, however, thought otherwise, and the case made its way to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (Chrysler v. Pimpo).

At The TTABlog, John L. Welch explains that, in opposing Pimpo's application, Chrysler pointed to the automobile industry's occasional use of "heritage brands" to introduce new models. But the TTAB found that there was no evidence that Chrysler had plans to reintroduce the Rambler line. Chrysler fared no better with its argument that the Rambler name enjoys "residual goodwill," given its nearly four decades without using the name. With two strikes and no one on base, Chrysler finally managed to hit a home run on the issue of merchandise licensing under the Rambler name.The board ruled that Chrysler "has priority of use, at the very least with respect to key rings, calendars, decals, specification sheets and owner's manuals, all relating to Rambler automobiles."

Welch appears to find some irony in this outcome. "So there is not enough residual goodwill to avoid abandonment of the Rambler mark for automobiles, but there apparently is enough to cause consumers to associate ancillary goods with the old automobile," he writes. "I guess one can eat his cake and have it too."

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Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on August 13, 2008 at 12:47 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Vault Rankings Are In

Which law firms are thought to be the creme de la creme in terms of prestige? If you consider the answer to that question important, then the 2009 Vault law firm rankings are for you. Earlier this year, Vault surveyed nearly 19,000 associates at more than 167 large U.S. law firms and asked them to rank firms in terms of how prestigious it would be to work for them. The top five, all based in New York, showed no change from last year. Ranked first is Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, followed by Cravath, Swaine & Moore; Sullivan & Cromwell; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; and David Polk & Wardwell.

The Vault survey also ranks the 20 best law firms for quality of life, the 20 best for diversity, and the most prestigious firms as ranked by partners. For quality of life, Cleary Gottlieb and McKee Nelson are the top two, followed by Ropes & Gray, which was ranked 20th last year. For diversity, Cleary Gottlieb is again ranked first, moving up from the 13th spot last year, followed by Dickstein Shapiro and Hughes Hubbard & Reed. Of partners' prestige rankings, the top firm is Cravath, followed by Wachtell.

[Hat tip to Above the Law.]

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Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on August 13, 2008 at 12:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Lawyer With the Most Medals

Shannon_miller_large Swimmer Michael Phelps set a new record yesterday for career Olympic gold, but the athlete who holds the distinction of being the most decorated gymnast in U.S. history is also making nightly appearances in the television coverage from Beijing -- and this athlete is also a lawyer. She is Shannon Miller, and she is appearing not as a competitor but as an endorser, in this 30-second TV spot for allergy drug Claritin.

Miller calls herself "America's most decorated gymnast." She is a seven-time Olympic medalist -- including two gold medals in Atlanta in 1996 -- and nine-time world medalist. She has been inducted into seven halls of fame, including the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame, and is the only woman in any sport to be included twice in the United States Olympic Hall of Fame.

She also happens to be a 2007 graduate of Boston College Law School. Although a law school grad, Miller does not practice law. She spends her time as a motivational speaker, television host and sports broadcaster. She also oversees the Shannon Miller Foundation, dedicated to fighting childhood obesity. In an interview last year with LawCrossing, Miller said she never intended to practice law, but went to law school to equip herself with the knowledge of contracts and business that she needed to protect herself in her various other pursuits.

While Miller has no law office where you can book an appointment, you can schedule a cruise through the Caribbean with her. And that beats a deposition any day.

[Hat tip to Eagleionline.]

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Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on August 13, 2008 at 09:50 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

'Working Mother' Ranks Best Law Firms

Balance between their professional and personal lives remains elusive for many lawyers -- in particular for women. Forty-two percent of women lawyers leave the profession at some point in their careers, reports Working Mother magazine. So the firms that make up the magazine's 2008 list of the 50 Best Law Firms for Women deserve credit for allowing women lawyers greater flexibility without throwing them off the partnership track.

The magazine conducted the survey in cooperation with Flex-Time Lawyers LLC, a consulting firm that advises law firms on retention and promotion of women. Flex-Time founder Deborah Epstein Henry tells Rachel Breitman at The AmLaw Daily that the goal of the survey is to "arm firms with information so they can start improving their retention and promotion of women." The survey does not rank firms numerically, but instead highlights firms that have innovative programs or impressive track records.

But career counselor Stephen Seckler at the blog Counsel to Counsel cautions against reading too much into a firm's inclusion on the list. Individual attorneys' experiences within a firm may differ depending on where they work and what they do. "Over time, look for the firms that appear on these lists year after year," Seckler advises. "Appearing once means something. Appearing consistently is worth noting." And keep in mind that only 115 firms participated in this year's survey and just 85 in last year's, so the listings are constrained by the participants.

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Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on August 13

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