Prof. Irina Manta’s ‘Judging Similarity’ Highlighted by Rebecca Tushnet’s 43(B)log

June 20th, 2014

Professor Irina D. Manta’s co-authored paper “Judging Similarity” (with Shyamkrishna Balganesh and Tess Wilkinson‐Ryan) was highlighted by the popular IP blog Rebecca Tushnet’s 43(B)log on April 7, 2014.

Read the full blog post.

Read Professor Manta’s paper.

Prof. Irina Manta Explains Impact of Redskins’ Trademark Ruling for The Wall Street Journal’s Risk & Compliance Journal Blog

June 19th, 2014

The Morning Risk Report: Redskins’ Ruling Could Spur Trademark Scrutiny
By Samuel Rubenfeld
The Wall Street Journal
June 19, 2014


Experts told Risk & Compliance Journal that the patent office’s decision had wide legal precedent. “It has always been well-established law that certain kinds of trademarks can be struck down later,” said Irina Manta, an associate professor at Hofstra School of Law who teaches classes on intellectual property. “The principle isn’t new; it’s going to happen again.” (Ms. Manta noted that she worked for a few months as a summer associate on an amicus brief related to the case.) The legal precedent underpinning the case doesn’t just concern disparaging based on race, she said; it also covers trademarks that attacked religious groups, for example. “Even if the case has not necessarily moved the substantive law by a lot, the fact that it was highly publicized could encourage public interest organizations and individuals to pursue more claims against trademarks they view as disparaging,” she said.

Read the full post (subscription required).

Prof. Ronald Colombo Comments in Wall Street Journal Story on Activist Investor William Ackman’s Joint Bid With Valeant for Allergan

June 17th, 2014

In Botox Alliance, Ackman and Valeant Navigated Maze of Rules
Unusual Partnership Was Crafted to Heed Rules on Insider Trading
By Liz Hoffman
The Wall Street Journal
April 22, 2014


Activist investor William Ackman had a big secret when he began amassing a $4 billion stake in Allergan Inc. AGN +0.83% : He was planning to team up with Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. VRX.T +0.08% on a bid for the Botox maker.

In striking their unusual alliance, Mr. Ackman and Valeant worked to navigate a maze of federal regulations that govern the flow of market-moving information and aim to keep investors from profiting on things they know that others don't, according to people familiar with their efforts.

The negotiations and the timing of Mr. Ackman's stock purchases were heavily vetted by lawyers to ensure they didn't trip over federal securities laws, according to people familiar with the discussions. ...

Mr. Ackman's joint bid with Valeant lays out a legal template for what experts say could be an increasingly common type of deal, combining the strategic drive of a corporate acquirer with the boardroom wedge provided by an activist investor. It comes as activists are shedding their outsider status, giving rise to concerns over how they share and receive market tips. ...

Mr. Ackman knew of the impending offer for Allergan and has engineered an exit—he plans to sell his Allergan shares into Valeant’s bid. Securities-law experts say the moves don’t appear to violate insider-trading or disclosure laws.

Insider-trading violations, for example, only occur if there has been a breach of duty. Valeant told Mr. Ackman of its plans for Allergan willingly and incorporated his share buying into its strategy.

“Mr. Ackman has been given this information with the expectation he will trade on it,” said Ronald Colombo, who teaches securities law at Hofstra University. “He’s not breaching a duty to anybody.”

Read the full article (subscription required).

Prof. Vern R. Walker Presents at SPLeT-2014

June 13th, 2014

Professor Vern R. Walker was invited to make a presentation on “The Vaccine/Injury Project (V/IP) Corpus” at the 5th Workshop on Semantic Processing of Legal Texts (SPLeT-2014).

The workshop was held as part of the 9th Language Resources and Evaluation Conference (LREC 2014), which met in Reykjavik, Iceland, May 26-31, 2014. Professor Walker made the presentation by Skype.

The SPLeT workshops have been a venue where researchers from the Computational Linguistics and Artificial Intelligence and Law communities meet, exchange information, compare perspectives and share experiences and concerns on the topic of legal knowledge extraction and management, with particular emphasis on the semantic processing of legal texts.

View the LREC 2014 website.

Prof. Eric Freedman's Letter to the Editor on the Lawless Incarceration of Prisoners at Guantánamo Bay Published by The New York Times

June 13th, 2014

Eric M. Freedman, the Siggi B. Wilzig Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Rights, and attorney Brian E. Foster, who represent many detainees at Guantánamo Bay, responded in a letter to the editor of The New York Times to the op-ed “A View From Gitmo,” by Ramzi Kassem.

In his piece, Kassem (an associate professor of law at the City University of New York who directs the Immigrant and Non-Citizen Rights Clinic, which represents prisoners at Guantánamo Bay and elsewhere) analyzes the national debate around the exchange of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five Afghans imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay.

Kassem writes, “To [the Guantánamo inmates’] mind, before debating the finer point of whether the transfer of the five Afghans adhered to the law, the American public should ask if the detention and abuse at Guantánamo Bay of hundreds — without charge, fair process or the protections of the Geneva Conventions — were lawful in the first place.”

In their letter, Professor Freedman and Foster take up the question “How many of the 149 prisoners at Guantánamo Bay are incarcerated lawlessly?” and “tally” the different reasons for the incarcerations.

Their conclusion: “There is no reckoning by which this tally is consistent with the rule of law.”

The letter appears in the print edition on June 12, 2014, with the headline “Prisoners at Guantánamo: A Tally of 149 Cases.”

Read the full letter.

Prof. Vern R. Walker Helps Organize First ACL Workshop on Argumentation Mining

June 13th, 2014

Professor Vern R. Walker is a member of the Organizing Committee for the First Workshop on Argumentation Mining, to be part of the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL), to be held in Baltimore, Maryland, on June 26, 2014. The entire Annual Meeting meets June 22-27.

Computational linguistics is the scientific study of language from a computational perspective, attempting to provide computational models of various kinds of linguistic phenomena.

The work of computational linguists is incorporated into many working systems today, including speech recognition systems, text-to-speech synthesizers, automated voice-response systems, Web search engines, text editors, and language instruction materials, to name just a few.

Argumentation Mining is the application area in which systems are designed to identify argument-related sentences in documents, to extract argument structures from such sentences, to use these data to discover patterns of successful and unsuccessful arguments, and to assist users in formulating new arguments.

View the ACL2014 conference website.

Prof. Norman Silber Speaks at Conference on Student Loans and Financial Literacy at Fordham Law School

June 13th, 2014

On June 9, 2014, Professor Norman I. Silber spoke as part of a panel at the conference “Student Loans: Don’t Major in Debt” at Fordham Law School.

The conference was sponsored by the Coalition for Debtor Education.

Prof. Susan Fortney Organizes Conference on the Ethical Infrastructure and Culture of Law Firms, Writes Foreword for Related Hofstra Law Review Symposium Issue

June 9th, 2014

The Hofstra Law Review published a symposium issue with articles from the 2013 Conference on the Ethical Infrastructure and Culture of Law Firms.

Susan Fortney, the Howard Lichtenstein Distinguished Professor of Legal Ethics, organized the conference and wrote the Foreword, “Thinking Systematically about Law Firm Ethics.”

Read the articles.

Prof. Susan Fortney Presents at 3rd Middle East Regional Conference on Clinical Legal Education

June 9th, 2014

On May 26-27, 2014, Susan Fortney, the Howard Lichtenstein Distinguished Professor of Legal Ethics, participated in the Third Middle East Regional Conference on Clinical Legal Education in Istanbul, Turkey.

She made two presentations, one related to teaching legal ethics in clinics and the other related to developing a Model Legal Ethics Code for Middle Eastern countries.

Prof. Susan Fortney Appointed to New York City Bar Association Committee on International Law Practice

June 9th, 2014

Susan Fortney, the Howard Lichtenstein Distinguished Professor of Legal Ethics, has been appointed to the New York City Bar Association Committee on International Law Practice.