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Hiring Summer Associates: 3 Mistakes to Avoid

Summer is fast approaching, and that means summer associate interviews are well underway.

Are you planning to hire an intern? Here are three mistakes to avoid so that you and the associate can both have a productive experience:

Mistake No. 1: Not Being Ethical.

Don't hire a summer associate unless you know that you'll be extending an offer later if she meets expectations. This isn't necessarily a matter of professional ethics, but rather personal ethics. If you waste your intern's summer, you're dealing a blow to her career before she even begins it; that's not fair and it won't reflect well on your firm, as Business Insider notes. If the associate is to be unpaid (not all law is BigLaw, after all), be sure to follow the Department of Labor's guidelines for unpaid interns.

3 Things Inventors Wish Their Patent Counsel Would Do

Here's something to know when you are working with inventors: they don't want to be there. Your typical engineer-inventors don't have a huge incentive to do the patent paperwork. It's the company that stands to make the big profit. For the inventors, it's little more than documentation.

Inventors are focused on the core business of the company. As company attorneys, it's our job to serve them, not the other way around. So here are three ways we can do that job better:

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.