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For law firms looking for the next big lucrative niche practice area, cryptocurrency might just be it.

After all, your clients might just literally be creating money out of thin air, which means they should be able to pay the high price tags normally associated with niche practices. However, like everything else in this world, where there is reward, there is risk.

If you're planning on taking that risk on cryptocurrency clients, below you can find three tips on protecting those clients, yourself, and your other non-cryptocurrency clients.

With all the recent advancements in technology, and with how interconnected everyday life has become with tech, the question arises whether programmers need to be held ethically accountable for their actions, in the same way lawyers are.

Currently, there are no requirements that programmers who release code publicly, or for sale, be licensed by any sort of governing body that ensures the protection of the public. Sure, there are best practices, and there can definitely be criminal charges, civil lawsuits, and other consequences for a programmer's unethical conduct. But there's no malpractice claim for individuals to bring that have been harmed by a programmer's professional negligence, nor is there a governing body for individuals to complain to that could sanction a programmer and prevent them from releasing future negligent programs.

Zest Labs Sues Walmart Over Grocery Tech

Zest Labs has sued Walmart for allegedly stealing its technology to prolong the shelf life of fruits and vegetables.

After working with Walmart for years, the Silicon Valley company claims the Arkansas-based retailer developed a system that "looks, sounds, and functions" like its grocery-tracking technology. The agtech company wants $2 billion from Walmart in the lawsuit.

Meanwhile, Zest Labs announced a new plan to help Costco keep its food fresher. For grocery tech, it could be a bumper crop year.

In a recent report, one of the key members of the House Financial Services Committee, Bill Huizenga, explained that Congress needs to act to protect crypto investors.

But, according to Huizenga, how cryptocurrency will be classified by Congress is presenting a real challenge. He told Business Insider: "Everyone's trying to figure out whether it's fish or fowl. It turns out it might be a platypus. It's kind of an unknown, or something sort of in between. How do we deal with that?"

For small tech companies and startups, patent trolls are a serious problem.

The cost of defending one case can often dwarf the costs of settling several cases. The IPR process is good, but it's still not that cheap, and not always certain to work.

Also, when the patent trolls descend, it's not just one case. Often one patent troll will sue several companies using the same patent, and another common occurrence is seeing several trolls suing the same company over several different patents.

Below are three tips on how small tech companies and startups can fight off the patent trolls.

Is It Too Late to Stop 3D Printed Guns?

A federal judge ordered the Trump administration not to allow publication of blueprints to make 3D printed guns, but the order was far too late as a practical matter.

Defense Distributed first published blueprints for a printable gun in 2013, and they were downloaded 100,000 times before the federal government caught up with it. The company sued on First Amendment grounds, and the U.S. State Department settled by agreeing to let the publication go forward on Aug. 1.

Then eight states jumped in to stop it, prompting the temporary restraining order. But just like a bullet that has left the chamber, a 3D printed gun can't go back into the printer.

Apple Sued Over Siri's Commands -- Again

Apple gets sued all the time -- at least twice last month over Siri's voice commands.

In the latest lawsuit, a company is suing Apple over its patent for a "hands-free, voice-operated remote control transmitter" that is used to control appliances. In plain language, that would be Siri.

Apple fans are calling the plaintiff a "patent troll," although that name is reserved for those who buy patents just to sue over them. As for SpeakWare, it's a case of if it walks and talks like a duck it's a troll.

Some rideshare riders may prefer Lyft thanks to the friendlier corporate image the company has carefully cultivated.

But that image might be in jeopardy due to a recently filed patent infringement lawsuit claiming the company stole a university professor's patent to build their platform's core. The pink mustache can only carry the company so far, and if this suit is successful, it could spell disaster for the rideshare giant, or just a big ding in the pocketbook.

Native American Tribe Can't Use Sovereign Shield Against Patent Review

Once upon a time, Native American Indians won big time.

It wasn't at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, where General George Armstrong Custer learned that the native people were serious about protecting their property. It was last year, when the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe struck a deal with Allergan.

The pharma giant paid the tribe $17.75 million with a promise to pay $15 million annually for patent protection. The tribe was to use its sovereign immunity against inter partes reviews. It didn't work.

Ex-Apple Engineer Charged with Stealing Self-Driving Technology

Federal agents arrested an ex-Apple engineer as he was about to board a jet because he allegedly stole self-driving technology from the company.

Xiaolang Zhang, 33, was at the international airport in San Jose, California, when authorities caught up with him. He has been charged with one count of grand theft of trade secrets and faces up to 10 years in prison.

According to court records, Zhang told his employer he was leaving to be closer to his mother who was "in poor health" in China. It didn't help after he had to post $300,000 bail and wear an ankle monitor.