: The Blawgraphy
Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

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Batman, Turkey Sues Over Unauthorized Use of Name

According to the Hurriyet Daily News, Real life Batman faces super test, there is a town in Turkey named Batman whose mayor is suing Chris Nolan, director of Batman Begins and the Dark Knight for some sort of name infringement, claiming rights to the royalties.

Although this might initially raise the specter for Nolan of being haled into some Turkish IP proceeding, it seems even their courts would recognize the silliness of the proceeding:

[T]he name of a local region cannot be registered as a brand name, said lawyer Vehbi Kahveci, head of the Intellectual and Industrial Property Rights Commission of the Istanbul Bar. Also having overseas clients, Kahveci said “Batman” and his image is registered all around the world. The Batman Municipality missed the period in which they could object to the registration decision for Batman’s name as a superhero, according to Kahveci.

Is homonym a defense to such an action, I wonder? At least some of Batman, Turkey’s former residents make more sympathetic potential plaintiffs:

Şafii Dağ, a former Batman resident, currently living in the Germany city of Wesel, is one of those citizens who cannot use Batman as a title for his business, according to the newspaper. “I named my two restaurants Batman. But six months ago, a team of employees from the production company of the movie Batman made me change the title. Telling them that Batman was the name of my hometown did not change anything,” Dağ said.

Molecule Identification Technique Promises to Identify Presence of Drugs, Explosives in Fingerprints

International Herald Tribune’s Fingerprint test tells much more than identity portrays a future with tools CSI has never dreamed of. Desorption Electrospray Ionization, or “Desi” uses mass spectrometry to identify molecules at a previously unheard of level of specificity.

In Cooks’ method, a tiny spray of electrically charged liquid – either water or water and alcohol – is sprayed on a tiny bit of the fingerprint. The droplets dissolve compounds in the fingerprints and splashes them off the surface into the analyzer. The liquid evaporates, and the electrical charge is transferred to the fingerprint molecules, which are then identified through mass spectrometry.

Although most of the ultimate goals of the product lay in medicine, researchers are targeting crime scene forensics as an early market.

Because the spatial resolution is on the order of the width of a human hair, the Desi technique did not just detect the presence of, for instance, cocaine on the surface, but literally showed a pattern of cocaine in the shape of the fingerprint, leaving no doubt who had left the cocaine behind.

The ability to make such strong but ultimately ambiguous inference – possession of a molecular amount of contraband doesn’t say much of anything about knowing or intentional possession, for instance and the costs of implementing the equipment and training investigators and trial experts for its actual use in cases may mean it won’t be seen in courtrooms any time soon. Still the potential is mind boggling.

Felony Vote Selling

With the attention vote swapping got in the last Presidential election, this probably seemed like the next logical step or a brilliant stroke of insight -

A Minnesota college student looking to profit off his political indifference has been charged with a felony for trying to sell his vote on the auction Web site eBay. The student, Max P. Sanders, 19, of Edina, was charged Thursday with one count of bribery, treating and soliciting, a felony under an 1893 Minnesota law that criminalizes the sale and purchase of votes.

In May Mr. Sanders set a minimum bid of $10 for his vote this November and offered to provide photographic documentation inside the booth.

Not so brilliant. Really worth pursuing criminal charges over though? The story provides some insight into how D.A.s mind operate.

The state law was actively enforced during Prohibition, when “people would go into bars and dig out drunks and give them a $20 and try to buy their vote,” said Mike Freeman, the Hennepin County attorney, who said he did not know of any other modern abuses.

“We’re not humorless in the county attorney’s office and we’re not in the horse-and-buggy age,” Mr. Freeman said, “but we decided it’s something we just couldn’t blow off. Sometimes in this business we need to make statements.”

Attending a Fourth of July parade, where he observed a veteran limping along the streets, reinforced his decision, said Mr. Freeman, who is a Vietnam veteran. “A lot of us served in the military trying to protect the right to vote,” he said. “This is serious stuff.”

The charge carries up to five years’ imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. Mr. Freeman said an “appropriate” penalty was more likely to entail community service, not jail time.

I’m not one to minimize the importance of ensuring the validity of our electoral system. Luckily for Sanders Freeman seems to have some sense of proportional punishment. Maybe he can raise some funds for a “get out the don’t-sell-your-vote” campaign by auctioning off Sanders’ soon to be acquired community service time.

New York Times: Offer of a Vote for Sale Draws Unwanted Attention

Learned Handmade Plates

Through Above the Law, I learned of Jose Klein’s Learned Handmade Plates, which are not only awesome but have perhaps the best product name I have ever heard. Each plate features one of Klein’s depictions of a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. They’re a little pricey for a law student budget but someday these plates will be mine.

Baylor 2Ls win World Hog Wrestling Championship

Sic ‘em indeed.

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