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Your In-House Interview -- Prepare Deeply

In-house counsel is not your typical job. You're a lawyer, but you're not working at a law firm: you're at a company that's focused on something else. In a way, you'll be both an insider and an outsider.

If that is exactly the job you want, how will you bridge that gap and show the interviewer you're the right person for the position? In Johnny Cochran's words, "preparation, preparation, preparation." And you might get some insights about yourself too.

For the past 13 years, InsideCounsel has hosted SuperConference, an event boasting experts speaking on panels, exhibitors and sponsors from leading technology providers and law firms, and draws more than 450 attendees ranging from in-house counsel to general counsel.

This year, the 14th Annual InsideCounsel SuperConference will take place from May 12-14, 2014 and will be in Chicago. Here are some details about the event, and why you should consider attending.

We've been hearing a lot of security data breaches lately -- some would say too much. From the Target and Neiman Marcus debacle to last week's Heartbleed bug, we now know why cybersecurity is on the minds of general counsel not just in the U.S., but worldwide.

Based on a recent district court decision, the data breach itself may be the least of a company's problem. What may be worse is not only the media and consumer fallout, but the possibility of FTC enforcement actions, and private litigation.

Please pass the Advil. 

When Congress enacted the America Invents Act in 2011, the USPTO was charged with designating four satellite office locations, and they chose: Detroit, Denver, Silicon Valley and Dallas. The Detroit office was successfully opened in July 2012, the Denver office is hiring, and the Dallas office has been operating out of a temporary space since 2013.

What's going on with the Silicon Valley office?

The USPTO's Silicon Valley satellite office is operating out of a less central temporary office, and is only staffed with a few Patent Trial and Appeal Board judges, according to Corporate Counsel. What's the hold up?

A few weeks ago, the Supreme Court decided a case that clarifies the pleading requirements for a plaintiff who makes a claim for false advertising under the Lanham Act. As the guardians of your company's intellectual property, knowing the new standard is paramount. Here's a breakdown of the Supreme Court's decision so you can determine whether to pursue, or defend, any federal false advertising claims.


Lexmark manufactures laser printers, and they are made to work only with Lexmark toner cartridges. An aftermarket has developed where third parties acquire, refurbish and resell Lexmark cartridges. To combat this, Lexmark developed a prebate program giving customers a discount up front, for the promise to return the cartridge to Lexmark, rather than a remanufacturer.

To ensure this, it created a microchip for the cartridges that would disable the cartridge once it was emptied. Static Control developed a microchip that mimicked Lexmark's; Lexmark distributed a letter to its customers saying that they were legally bound to return the cartridges to Lexmark, and sent a letter to remanufacturers saying it was illegal to sell refurbished cartridges, and that it was illegal to use Static Control's microchip.

If you've listened to, or read the news in the last day or so, then you've probably heard about Heartbleed a/k/a the biggest security flaw in years. The flaw is so bad, that one NPR commentator stated that it was like leaving your car door open with the keys in the ignition. That doesn't mean someone will actually get in your car and drive away -- but the vulnerability is there.

On Tuesday, the United State Department of Homeland Security released a statement warning about the Heartbleed vulnerability, along with information and instructions on how to deal with the problem.

If you want to know the technical aspects of the bug, The Washington Post has a good explanation of the Heartbleed security flaw. As in-house counsel, here's what you need to know: if your company's website takes payment, or passwords, you have a problem. Leave the technical details of Heartbleed to IT and let's start putting out that fire.

Disney is very protective of its marks, understandably so, and now it's most iconic mark is getting some competition and Disney is not standing for it. In this game of mouse and mouse, who will win?

Mouse v. Mau5

The other mouse is the mark representing DJ Joel Zimmerman's stage name Deadmau5 (pronounced "dead mouse"). Last year Deadmau5 filed an application to trademark a black mouse with large round ears, white eyes and white smile. Zimmerman plans to use the logo on a variety of products, everything from food items like coffee, to toys, leather goods, paper goods, electronic equipment, BMX bikes and entertainment services, reports Rolling Stone. Let's take a look at what all the fuss is about.

Did you hear the latest in corporate social media debacles? Cole Haan, purveyor of fine footwear, hosted a Pinterest contest that caught the attention of the Federal Trade Commission -- and not in a good way. Here's the low-down on what happened, and how to avoid making the same mistake that Cole Haan made:

The 'Wandering Sole' Contest

If you're not familiar with Pinterest, it's another form of social media where people essentially create online mood boards consisting of everything from recipes, to shoes, to home decor. Understandably, many brands' marketing departments have turned to Pinterest as a way to attract existing and new audiences.

If your company is on Facebook, and has a loyal following, it's quite possible that there are fan sites or Facebook fan pages on social media. According to Facebook's rules, fan sites are permitted so long as the brand's copyright is not infringed, doesn't "mislead others into thinking it is an official Page," and doesn't "speak in the voice of" the brand.

A Tale of Two Brands

In 2008, Coca-Cola learned that two of its fans created a Facebook fan page and had millions of "likes." Seeing this as an opportunity, Coke hired the two, giving them resources to build the page, and making their fan page the official fan page, reports Bloomberg.

Anno domini 2014. Some called it the year of "social media engagement." Others call it the Year of the Horse. And if you're general counsel for a university with an athletics department, it's going to be the year of pain.

For everyone else, it's just another year, with an endless list of tasks to complete. To make sure some of those tasks haven't slipped through the cracks, we thought we'd give you a few reminders. Think of this as a partial Q1 checklist, with the caveat that it's not industry specific. (A GC for a blossoming startup company has different "to dos" than a large bank's in house counselor, for example.)