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Stephan Kinsella is a patent attorney in Houston, Texas.

(Looking for my libertarian publications? Email me for the link.)

Email: Stephan -at- KinsellaLaw dot com



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    "Sir, I have found you an argument; but I am not obliged to find you an understanding."
    --Samuel Johnson

    "No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money."
    --Samuel Johnson

    "Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur" (Anything said in Latin sounds profound)

    "How can the great suck of self ever hope to be a fat cat dozing in the sun?"
    --Walker Percy

    "A Volvo is a beautifully engineered, well-built statement that the owner has the soul of a dung beetle."
    --Fred Reed

    "The total complex of the rules according to which those at the helm employ compulsion and coercion is called law. Yet the characteristic feature of the state is not these rules, as such, but the application or threat of violence."
    --Ludwig von Mises, Omnipotent Government

    "No socialist author ever gave a thought to the possibility that the abstract entity which he wants to vest with unlimited power—whether it is called humanity, society, nation, state, or government—could act in a way of which he himself disapproves."
    --Ludwig von Mises, Human Action

    "I never knew anyone who collected anything who was good for anything else."

    "The matter does not appear to me now as it appears to have appeared to me then."
    --Baron Bramwell, in Andrews v. Styrap (Ex. 1872) 26 L.T.R. (N.S.) 704, 706

    " Reunions are for losers.."
    --Tom DiLorenzo.

    ...and my favorite: "A working wife is worth three rent houses."
    --J. Lanier Yeates


    KinsellaLaw Web Log


    Friday, January 25, 2008


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    Friday, September 14, 2007

    Plug (In) for a Buddy--contact management software:

    My friend Misty Khan has a good interview on Startup Houston about her company, Advena Artemis, and the launch of her software, HuntressPro. It's an Outlook Add-in for sales contact management. It "provides contact management functionality such as call lists, referral source tracking and sales activity reporting". Up to now she's being doing customized versions of Huntress for customers, and is now releasing a downloadable software package with various optional plug-ins specific to various industries (e.g., for realtors). I know several customers of her earlier customized version in Houston and they all seem happy with it. (Competing products include ACT, etc., but Huntress has some advantages over it.) I've begun to experiment with it myself even though I'm not in sales, because it will be useful for some of the legal treatise editing work I do where I need to routinely contact or "touch" dozens of authors around the world for different phases of the publishing (initial contact; followup for due dates, etc.).

    Still, though I'm finding a way to use it for my own non-sales need, HuntressPro is ideal for salespeople and sales teams who want to manage their follow-ups, contact information and sales activities directly from Outlook. It basically turns Outlook into a proper contact management software (what some people call "Customer Relationship Management," or CRM). I highly recommend any sales professionals give this a gander.

    If any of you know any salespeople or companies with sales forces that might benefit from this, feel free to pass this on. Check out the interview for more info.

    Wednesday, August 08, 2007

    Hoffman Review of Rubins-Kinsella International Law Book:

    Latest review of my 2005 book International Investment, Political Risk, and Dispute Resolution: A Practitioner's Guide, by Anne Hoffman, an international commercial and investment arbitration attorney with Python & Peter:

    Book review

    [by: Anne K. Hoffmann, Python & Peter; forthcoming in Arbitration International N° 3, 2007]

    International Investment, Political Risk and Dispute Resolution – A Practitioner’s Guide by Noah Rubins and N. Stephan Kinsella. Published by Oceana Publications, a Division of Oxford University Press (2005), 769 pp. Price £90 [$155], ISBN 0-379-21522-5

    The proliferation of arbitration proceedings conducted on the basis of BITs, and in particular the auspices of ICSID, naturally led to an increase of publications addressing this issue and the changing landscape of arbitration over the last years. Books dealing with this issue are often commentaries, basic introductions to the procedure of investment arbitration or reviews of investment awards.

    The present book is different. It integrates the important issue of dispute resolution into the broader scope of international investment, explains the risks, in particular the political risk, associated with international investment and the legal framework of investment protection at large. It thus broadens the perspective of the reader and allows him to see beyond the everyday issues of the interpretation of the effect of an umbrella clause or the meaning of fair and equitable treatment in a BIT by placing these specific issues into a broader context and showing their interaction with others.
    The book commences by analysing the role and effect of foreign direct investment on the global economy of the modern world. Thereafter, it is composed of three parts. Part I deals with the assessment and pre-investment management of political risk. Part II addresses the international law framework of investment protection and political risk and part III covers the issue of dispute resolution and political risk. Each of these three parts is subdivided into chapters and sub-chapters. When reading the first part, the reader, inter alia, is introduced to the various types of political risk and their measurement, is shown features which will help minimising the political risk, such as stabilisation and arbitration clauses as well as clauses guiding tribunals with regard to damages and interest rates. Lastly, he is familiarised with the various types of investment insurances existing. In part II, the authors explain the international law framework of investment protection and political risk, i.e. issues of international law in general, of state sovereignty, state responsibility and state immunity. The authors address the remedies for both states and investors under international law and their prerequisites before shedding some light on history and development of the customary international law of expropriation and investment protection, and thus those today often-used terms like indirect and creeping expropriation or national treatment. Finally, they deal with the substantive law of contemporary international investment protection. The lawyer who deals with investment arbitration will be familiar with this chapter as here – after introducing the network of modern bilateral and multilateral treaties – investment standards such as prohibition of expropriation without compensation, fair and equitable treatment, full protection and security, the umbrella clause, compensation methods etc. and their application are discussed. Lastly, in part III, the reader will be introduced to the jurisdictional particularities of investment arbitration, such as nationality requirements, exhaustion of local remedies or “forks in the road”, to the various arbitration rules relevant in this context as well as some of their prominent features. In the final chapters, the authors address the rather seldomly discussed topic of conciliation of investment disputes as well as the intervention of states in investment disputes. At the back, the book contains a variety of useful appendices, e.g. bilateral investment treaties of selected countries, an OPIC insurance contract, the Washington Convention as well as a compilation of online resources.

    Thus, the first part of the book focuses mainly upon “practical” issues, namely on identifying political risk and reducing the chance that these risks will materialise. The second part addresses first general legal issues relevant to investments before focusing upon dispute resolution. It therefore is both a useful practical guide and competent source for newcomers and experienced practitioners alike in relation to international law and investment treaty arbitration where it explains general principles as well as concrete case law which has developed over the past years. Naturally, the book addresses the main cases which had an impact upon a certain issue, but will not discuss all cases decided in the context of investment arbitration – it is not a case commentary. Nevertheless, it contains vast footnotes which permit the interested reader to follow up on certain problems easily. At the same time, it explains to the practitioner less familiar with the running of an international arbitration proceeding the necessary steps from the notification of a dispute up to oral argument, including the difficult situation of the defaulting party – all of this with a view to the specificities of an ICSID arbitration and easier to access as other writings on this topic.

    This book is not a lightweight and does not make for good bedtime-reading. Not being a classic law book, it is a guide which should find its place on the shelf of the person dealing with foreign investment who is interested to explore the various aspects of foreign investment and political risk in their broader context and with a particular emphasis on the legal aspects of this field. This will include, but not be limited to, the issue of dispute resolution. It is thereby well-suited for beginners in the area of investment arbitration attempting to find their way around a relatively new area of law as it covers the relevant issues comprehensively without getting lost in a degree of detail which will be the next step on the ladder of investment protection.

    The authors described their goal as to write a guide which would “enable the investor to appreciate the risks associated with government interference in property rights, to minimize those risks and deal effectively with their consequences. But we also hope to promote understanding within host governments about investors’ expectations and concerns, to allow them to avoid conflict and maximize the benefits of foreign direct investment for their countries and constituencies.” The authors succeeded and thereby made a valuable contribution to exploring this topic.


    Lakatos-Legal Information Alert Review of Rubins-Kinsella International Law Book:

    Yet another recent review/comment of my 2005 book International Investment, Political Risk, and Dispute Resolution: A Practitioner's Guide, by Holly A. Lakatos, Director of Public Services, Chicago-Kent College of Law Library, from the March 1, 2006 Legal Information Alert. The blurb used by the publisher is:
    An important resource for anyone who is trying to understand the uncertain balance between the needs of sovereign governments, the interests of investors, and international law constraints... This book is an excellent reference work and should be included in any library that claims to have a 'good' international business collection.
    The full review is appended below (PDF version):
    International Investment, Political Risk, and Dispute Resolution: A Practitioner's Guide. (Book review)

    Publication: Legal Information Alert

    Publication Date: 03/01/2006

    Author: Lakatos, Holly A.

    International Investment, Political Risk, and Dispute Resolution: A Practitioner's Guide. Noah Rubins & N. Stephan Kinsella. 2005. Oceana Publications, Inc. Hardcover. 769p. ISBN: 0-379-21522-5. $150.

    [Note: This is an updated and expanded version of Protecting Foreign Investment Under International Law: Legal Aspects of Political Risk, Paul Comeaux & N. Stephan Kinsella (Dobbs Ferry, New York: Oceana Publications, 1997), ISBN: 0-379-21371-0448.]

    Today's business lawyers need to have an awareness of political risk along with a firm foundation in international law in order to advise clients engaged in direct investments within developing nations. There is an uncertain balance among the needs of sovereign governments, the interests of investors, and international law constraints and anyone participating in such ventures must take this into consideration. International Investment, Political Risk, and Dispute Resolution is an important resource for anyone who is trying to understand that uncertain balance.

    Divided into three parts, the authors of this guide provide methods by which attorneys may proactively minimize the exposure and effects of political risk at every step of the investment life cycle. They cover the issues from pre-investment management to the conciliation of investment disputes.

    In part 1, the authors broadly divide political risk into seven different categories (expropriation, nationalization, and confiscation; regulatory interference; currency risk; civil disturbance; breach of state contracts; corruption; and trade restrictions) and discusses strategies for the "Assessment and Pre-investment Management of Political Risk." Part 2 is intended to establish. "The International Framework of Investment Protection and Political Risk," and here the authors trace the history and development of the customary international law of expropriation and investment protection. In part 3, they concentrate on "Dispute Resolution and Political Risk" and outline the arbitration procedure including how to establish arbitral jurisdiction.

    The appendixes are substantial and include sample agreements, treaties, country risk reports, and a list of online resources. A Table of Authorities contains a valuable supplemental reading list of books and articles on the topic. Both the table of contents and the index are well thought-out and provide helpful access points to the information to be found in this book.

    In the introduction, the authors claim that the book was written for a wide audience and that it will appeal to lawyers and non-lawyers alike. I cannot imagine any non-lawyer finding this book useful, especially since it does not contain a glossary. In addition, it is formatted as if it were a really, really long law review article with substantial footnotes on every page. Practicing attorneys, however, should find this guide accessible and easy to use. Law students will also find this guide useful as a supplement to any international business course.

    The differences between the previous version and this one are substantial enough to warrant purchasing this new work. Though most of the same topics are covered, the new version covers them in much more depth. As an introduction to the topic, this book is an excellent reference work and should be included in any library that claims to have a "good" international business collection.

    Holly A. Lakatos, Director of Public Services,
    Illinois Institute of Technololgy,
    Chicago-Kent College of Law Library

    COPYRIGHT 2006 Alert Publications, Inc.

    Thursday, May 03, 2007


    Friday, April 06, 2007

    NSK Interview on Patents, by Taylor Conant:

    NSK Interview on Patents, by Taylor Conant

    Tuesday, March 20, 2007

    Tukulov Review of Rubins-Kinsella International Law Book:

    Latest comments on of my book International Investment, Political Risk, and Dispute Resolution: A Practitioner's Guide published in late 2005, by Kazakh attorney Bakhyt Tukulov (Legal Department, (K’Cell) "GSM Kazakhstan OJSC "Kazakhtelecom" LLP) (from an email by Tukulov to my co-author Noah Rubins):
    I’d like to again thank you for the book, as now, upon completion, I understand the real value it has. I’d advise it to anybody, who has basic understanding of and interested in arbitration, I’d definitely advise it to foreign businessmen; moreover, valuable citations and references to sources found in the book can help if deeper research of certain aspect is necessary.

    The book is also very useful for its annexes as a reader can easily locate certain provisions in relevant convention and to grasp it easily. I’d say this book may easily serve as a handbook to practicing lawyers.

    Another fact is that by means of this book I got considerably familiar with basics of customary international law (mainly of ICSID framework). International law has always seemed to me like vacuum to some extent as in University we have studied conventional international law only.

    Saturday, February 17, 2007

    Dundas Review of Rubins-Kinsella International Law Book:

    Latest review of my book International Investment, Political Risk, and Dispute Resolution: A Practitioner's Guide published in late 2005, by the well-known English practitioner/arbitrator Hew R. Dundas, in Arbitration: The International Journal of Arbitration, Mediation and Dispute Management, the journal of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators:
    "Oh No – not another book on investment arbitration!" might be one's first response but, if so, a wrong one; while "I couldn't put it down" is a time-honoured publisher's cliché, it genuinely applies to this book. The book is a collaboration between a well-known international arbitration lawyer (Rubins) and the General Counsel (Kinsella) of [AOI, a laser manufacturer], and therefore avoids the tendency dryness that can infect some over-specialist academic tomes. It is in three parts (i) Assessment and Pre-Investment Management of Political Risk (ii) The International Law Framework of Investment Protection and Political Risk and (iii) Dispute Resolution – these three parts total 442 pages; there are also extensive (300 pages) appendices (see below) and a reasonably-comprehensive index Your reviewer has approached this book wearing two main alternating hats: first, that of an international arbitrator closely involved with the investment arbitration world and, secondly, that of the former Head of Legal and Group Insurance Manager (including Political Risk) of a large oil company. So far as this book is concerned, both hats are very comfortable. Part I is, perhaps for the specialist, sometimes a little too general but this is reflected in the wide range of matters covered, typically in a succinct and clear style so that even in specialist areas your reviewer welcomed the authors' analysis since, as a minimum, it helps the reader reassess his/her thoughts and priorities; for example, the list of definitions (at page 34ff) of BT/BOT/BLT/BOO/BOOT/BTO is useful clarification. The authors' analysis (page 53ff) of stabilisation clauses proved most welcomely succinct with a clarity and precision sadly lacking in a recent (and turgid) PhD thesis on this topic for which your reviewer was External Examiner.

    Part II changes up a gear and includes some excellent material e.g. a thorough yet succinct section on the nationality of claims (135ff), and an interesting analysis of arbitral decisions (250ff). Part III is, so far as arbitration and dispute resolution are concerned, and quite properly in context, focussed wholly on investment and other international arbitration issues including 56 pages on procedure forming a compact and useful summary. There is also a useful 40-page chapter on conciliation including even a section on Med-Arb. Part III continues in that higher gear with interesting sections on "Preliminary Treaty Concerns" (272ff), "Problem Areas" (297ff) and "Challenge of Awards" (353ff); these were a pleasure to read. Throughout the book, the materials are well-integrated and very much up-to-date as subscribers to OGEMID will recognise (but note that the authors' preface is dated August 2005 and the book published in 2005) Too many arbitration textbooks reproduce the same materials leading to much unnecessary duplication (the Arbitration Act 1996, ICC Rules, LCIA Rules etc etc appear far too often). This book includes materials I do not otherwise possess including the OPIC Contract of Insurance, the MIGA Contract of Guarantee, even a private insurance contract and the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (USA). The Washington Convention (1965), the UNCITRAL Model Law (1985) and the UNCITRAL Rules (1976) reappear as in so many texts. Most of these are easily available on the ICSID and UNCITRAL websites so a single page of URLs would be a more constructive approach. Importantly, there is an extensive and valuable list of book/article sources, such list not being otherwise readily available; you reviewer notes for the record that he discovered he had been cited only after completing this review ! The book reads well as regards literary style, generally easy on the eye and not overusing jargon; key issues are generally well-explained and, perhaps, we see the benefits of the collaboration between in-house Counsel and a practising lawyer at the sharp edge of modern developments. In conclusion, this book is valuable in its own right but, at a mere £90, must be considered a bargain.

    Friday, January 12, 2007

    Kinsella Oxford University Press Books:

    Since the purchase of my publisher, Oceana Publications, by Oxford University Press in late 2005, Oxford has assumed various Oceana titles I authored or edit, and seems to have finally added them to its print and online catalogs, e.g.:

    Tuesday, January 02, 2007

    Kinsella, Block, Tinsley on Exclusionary Rule:

    Just uploaded: my article In Defense of Evidence and Against the Exclusionary Rule: A Libertarian Approach, co-authored with Pat Tinsley and Walter Block, published in the Southern University Law Review.

    Saturday, November 11, 2006

    de Gramont Blurb on Rubins-Kinsella International Law Book:

    Latest blurb on my book International Investment, Political Risk, and Dispute Resolution: A Practitioner's Guide published last year:

    I've been reading through your book International Investment, Political Risk and Dispute Resolution. It is a remarkably helpful, well-written, and well-researched work. It is quite scholarly and at the same time a thoroughly practical and useful guide."
    --Alexandre de Gramont, Crowell & Moring LLP

    Tuesday, November 07, 2006

    Reengineering the Patent Examination Process: Two Suggestions:

    Re my previous post about suggestions to eliminate substantive patent examination, I was just made aware of D.C. Toedt, "Reengineering the Patent Examination Process: Two Suggestions," 81 J. Pat. & Trademark Off. Soc'y 462 (1999). This is based on Toedt's suggestion in 1994 "that the PTO steal two ideas from the SEC:
    • Suggestion 1: create a convertible "low end" patent (CLEP)
    • Suggestion 2: conduct examinations as administrative trials.
    Check it out. Email me with any comments.

    Monday, November 06, 2006


    Interesting article in a Malaysian/Singaporean IP firm newsletter (it appears in the Q1/2006 issue of Henry Goh Intellectual Property Updates:

    by Dave A. Wyatt

    In recent years, there has been talk of a crisis in the patenting system worldwide. This reflects a concern over growth in the numbers of patent applications being filed and lengthening delays by patent offices in processing the applications through to grant.

    Even the patent offices of countries that have traditionally been seen as relatively fast are slowing down under the sheer volume of work. A 2005 survey by the US-based Intellectual Property Owners Association showed that two-thirds of respondents expected the patent granting process in the United States to take longer over the next three years.

    People unfamiliar with the world of patents are always surprised that it takes a period of years for a patent to be granted. The principal reason for this delay is the process of substantive examination under which the patentability of the invention is checked by a technicallyqualified examiner.

    The reaction of the major patent offices of the world has been to recruit and train ever more examiners, increase sharing and recognition of each other's work, as well as to impose fees that penalize lengthy applications.

    Malaysia has not escaped criticism for its delay in examining patent applications, either. It has been proposed that a further 500 patent examiners be recruited to add to the existing 42. However, the author submits that this will not solve the problem locally because of the way examination is currently done in Malaysia for most applications.

    Instead, a more radical proposal is made. Do we need substantive examination as a pre-condition for grant of every patent? There are already countries such as France and South Africa whose patent systems do not provide for it. Instead, substantive examination could be made compulsory only prior to starting an infringement action or even sending a preliminary warning letter. A provision under which the Registrar of Patents and third parties could require an application to be examined may also be included.

    The grant of an examined patent is never a guarantee of its validity. However, many patented inventions are not commercially exploited and even less are litigated. So, is it not logical that the expense and time of substantive examination be reserved for those that really matter?
    Permalink Free Online Backup Service:

    Just an FYI--for anyone who does not have a good backup service for their computer documents and files: there's a great service i've been using --I have struggled with good backup solutions for a long time. I have tried several. A few months back I stumbled across which I tried and love. It's an online backup service, and does 2GB of storage FREE. It is very cool; seems to work seemlessly, and without error. I set it to backup a few times a day. The first time it backs up, it might take a day or more; but after that, each backup is incremental so it's pretty fast. I use it at home, and also at work. For work I purchased the $4.95/month version which gives you like 30GB or something like that. For home I just use the free version. Actually you get an extra 250MB (a quarter of a GB) of space for every person you refer--I have done this and now have over 5GB of space. In fact if you sign up using someone else's referral link, you start out with 2.25GB instead of 2GB. If you want to try it for backup purposes, click on my referral link ( to get 2.25GB (instead of just 2.0GB) free space. I've done a few sample backups just to test it (and one time to recover a file I had accidentally deleted), and it worked great. Highly recommended.

    Tuesday, October 10, 2006

    IP and Patent Law Guide - WIki:

    As some of you may know, I have for some time maintained a web page with Intellectual Property, Patent, and Law Resources.

    I have moved the content of these resources to a wiki so that other members of the patent community can help collaborate to improve this list of resources. Members may join and participate in editing the wiki, add links, fix links, upload files, and join our discussions.

    Instructions are provided below (also available here).

    If you forget the link, I have registered and which both point to the page above.


    The Intellectual Property, Patent, and Law Resources previously shown below has been moved to a PatentLawPractice wiki at Wikispaces.

    Members of the patent and IP law community are encouraged to help improve it. To do this, first, join Wikispaces then join the PatentLawPractice Wiki.

    The wiki is designed for the patent bar and IP law community--practicing IP attorneys or patent agents, and, on a limited basis, others with special familiarity with IP law practice.

    (IP practitioners who have not yet members are also encouraged to join the PatentLawPractice Yahoo Group listserv.)

    Contact me with any questions.

    N. Stephan Kinsella
    General Counsel
    Applied Optoelectronics, Inc.

    Monday, October 09, 2006

    "Go Left, he said": How Jeff Tucker Saved My Life:

    Or at least, my arm. I've noted before his nuggets of wisdom--his Rules of Thumb for Living. The lates
    t concerns mouse usage.

    I've always had a bit of skepticism about people who whined about "carpal tunnel" syndrome. But over the last year my right arm has gotten worse and
    worse, from typing and mouse manipulation. Jeff told me to switch to my left arm for mouse usage. I briefly tried it, about 6 months ago, and gave up. But the problem got worse; Jeff told me again recently to switch to the left hand, and that his switch was one of the best things he's ever done. So the last few days I've tried it, and have largely switched. At first I would give up and switch to the "good" hand when I got frustrated. But now I'm almost exclusively left-hand mouse. Still slower, and it's frustrating, but already I'm feeling better. And one advantage: your right hand can do the arrow keys while left can do mouse at same time. Jeff: I love you, man!!!

    Update: Jeff also highly recommends this task chair.

    Followup: some replies:
    If you ever get tired of using the mouse with your left hand, I would suggest a different solution that worked for me. Try a wireless optical or laser mouse, and use it on a book or other surface that you can put on your lap. This way you can keep your arm at your side and your hand resting comfortably on your lap. I used to get pain in my right arm, and this solution made it go away in about a week. Just a suggestion.
    Use two mice, and make your right-hand one a rollerball.

    Thursday, October 05, 2006

    Happ Review of Rubins-Kinsella International Law Book:

    Re my book International Investment, Political Risk, and Dispute Resolution: A Practitioner's Guide published last year--I just received the first book review, which was done by Dr. Richard Happ (other reviews). Excerpt:
    a classical treatise. ... It is noteworthy and commendable that--unlike so many other contemporary writers--the authors try to give a neutral and unbiased overview over diverging awards and disputed issues. ... It is a timely book. In their introduction, the authors state: 'we hope to provide the non-specialist lawyer, business person, or government official with the tools necessary to understand the international law of investment and its relationship to political risk'. They have managed to do so, and done even more. First, they successfully combined what would be three separate books (on structuring of investment, international law on investment protection and dispute settlement) in their own right. Second, they provide a coherent and--despite the necessary brevity--in-depth discussion of all relevant issues. Even minor points such as pre-dispute settlement negotiations, or the problem of pre-investment expenditures as investments, are dealt with comprehensively.... In doing so, the authors never become lost in academic debate, but always keep the perspective of the practitioner. These features make the book not only an excellent introduction and comprehensive overview about the state of the law of investment protection, but also a valuable reference tool for anyone experienced in the field. It is to be recommended to anyone who wishes to gain an insight into the topics under discussion or only needs a reference guide to current law and practice. The quality of the analysis ensures that the book will not lose its value even if the law continues to develop. For both academics and practitioners active in investment arbitration, it must be considered indispensable. .... These books [IIPR plus a casebook on foreign investment disputes] are like sea chart maps which allow the reader to navigate on the vast sea of information constituted by papers, awards and court cases during the last 100 years. Even the experienced sailor will and should not leave harbour without such sea charts.

    Monday, September 18, 2006

    The 46 Best-ever Freeware Utilities:

    The 46 Best-ever Freeware Utilities

    Monday, July 31, 2006

    Patent Rights Web Poll:

    On an email list I posted the following:
    It seems to me that many small/medium companies live in fear of a big patent lawsuit. Even if they had their own IP, I suspect many companies would gladly give up forever their right to sue for patent infringement, in exchange for some kind of immunity from patent liability--at least, if they could eliminate the threat of an injunction, so that the worst penalty they might face is some kind of mandatory royalty. Surely IBM et al. would not take this deal, but I bet a lot of other companies would. What do you think?

    Second, in view of this, does this mean there is some kind of market for a service that would let a bunch of companies get together and "pool" their IP and have some kind of agreement (a) never to sue each other; (b) to have access to this pool of patents to countersue any company that sues any of the members.
    This post drew some interest so I am doing a simple webpoll. I think the results might be interesting.

    Patent Rights

    Would you give up your right to sue others for patent infringement in exchange for immunity from all patent lawsuits?



    Wednesday, January 25, 2006

    Patent and IP Law Blogs and Email Discussion Lists:

    The following is a collection of sources of updates on patent law/patent cases. Please email me any suggestions; will be later added to my IP Links Page. (Stephen Nipper provided me with many of these links.)

    Email distribution lists and Blogs (blogs can be subscribed to via aggregators such as Sharpreader; most also offer email subscription)
    Email discussion/news lists/discussion fora
    IP Podcasts
    • There are/were some, but I have not been able to find any I like yet or that are regularly updated.

    Monday, January 09, 2006

    Kudos on Kinsella International Investment Book:

    Recent endorsements of my latest book, International Investment, Political Risk, and Dispute Resolution: A Practitioner's Guide (Oxford/Oceana 2005), co-authored with Noah Rubins (available at
    "The book is a tour de force. Rubins & Kinsella have written a first-rate study of one of the most vital areas of international law today. Notwithstanding its subtitle ("A Practitioner's Guide"), scholars as well as practicing attorneys will find this an invaluable guide to understanding the multifaceted adjudicatory regime for cross-border investment disputes."
    --William W. Park, R. Gordon Butler Scholar in International Law and Professor of Law, Boston University School of Law; General Editor, Arbitration International; Counsel to Ropes & Gray; former Vice-President, London Court of International Arbitration; publications include the casebook International Commercial Arbitration; International Chamber of Commerce Arbitration (3rd ed.); International Forum Selection; Income Tax Treaty Arbitration; and Arbitration of International Business Disputes: Studies in Law and Practice.
    "This book is comprehensive, well-written, and balanced. An admirable mixture of learned commentary and primary documents, it is portable, authoritative, and up-to-date. It is a distinctive and well-organized addition to exisiting reference works and will be of great value to practioners and academics who seek a dependable, balanced treatment of a range of legal and practical questions affecting foreign direct investment and dispute resolution."
    --Jack J. Coe, Jr., Professor of Law, Pepperdine University School of Law; author, Protecting Against the Expropriation Risk in Investing Aboard (Matthew Bender 1993); International Commercial Arbitration--American Principles and Practice (1997); NAFTA Chapter 11 Reports (with Brower and Dodge); vice-chairman, International Commercial Arbitration Committee, ABA International Law Section.
    "This book provides an excellent account of how legal techniques can be used to provide significant protections to foreign investment. Its comprehensive coverage, clarity of expression, and useful appendices will prove invaluable to the busy lawyer. It is one of those rare books that is valuable not only for practice but also for the law classroom."
    --Dan Sarooshi, Herbert Smith Associate Professor of International Law, University of Oxford; Barrister, London; author of International Organizations And Their Exercise Of Sovereign Powers and The United Nations and the Development of Collective Security: The Delegation by the UN Security Council of Its Chapter VII Powers.

    Tuesday, December 06, 2005

    Great PodCast:

    TWiT: This Week in Technology.

    Monday, September 12, 2005

    Email Reminders:

    Neat free website that emails you reminders for birthdays and other events: Anyone know of any others, send 'em on.

    Thursday, September 08, 2005

    On Lawyers as Commodities:

    In the September 2005 issue of Corporate Legal Times, a piece called "Bidding Wars" profiles GE's recent move to reduce the number of outside law firms it uses from 500 down to 94. The first cut was based on quality; this reduced the number of law firms to 200. Then they cut based on RFPs and references from other clients, leaving them with 142 firms. Then they cut down to 94 firms based on cost--they made the law firms place bids in an auction type process. The reaction from the law firms was a bit amusing:
    "An auction is a great way to buy pencils," says John Marzulli, a partner at Shearman & Sterling, one of GE's preferred M&A counsel. "It doesn't seem to me to be the best way to select your counsel for a complex multibillion-dollar acquisition. We like being part of their network, but we didn't enjoy the selection process."
    I bet not.

    Tuesday, September 06, 2005

    New Rouge:

    As I previously noted on the blog, an emerging nickname for Baton Rouge is "New Rouge," because of the huge number of New Orleans residents moving there in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. See, e.g., Capital city struggling with inflow (Sept. 3, 2005, Houston Chronicle). I've just registered and am temporarily pointing it to


    Also--as noted here, Houston--currently home of an estimated 150,000 of Katrina evacuees--stands to gain big from the hit felt by New Orleans.

    Wednesday, July 06, 2005

    IP Humor:

    IP Funny -- Intellectual Property Humor -- new blog.

    Thursday, June 16, 2005

    Essential Free Windows Software List:

    Useful list: David Veksler's Essential Free Windows Software List

    Friday, June 10, 2005

    Latest book--International Investment, Political Risk, and Dispute Resolution: A Practitioner's Guide:

    I've just received the brochure for my latest legal treatise, International Investment, Political Risk, and Dispute Resolution: A Practitioner's Guide, published by Oceana Publications, a Division of Oxford University Press, and coming out sometime in the next few weeks. Co-authored with prominent international arbitration attorney Noah D. Rubins, of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in Paris (France, that is, for those of you in Rio Linda), this book is a successor to my 1997 Oceana monograph Protecting Foreign Investment Under International Law: Legal Aspects of Political Risk.

    Thursday, June 09, 2005

    Review: Yeates's new lawyer-military-terrorism thriller:

    Bay of One Hundred Fires by J. Lanier Yeates, Brazos Valley Press, 256 pp, 2004, $24.95
    Reviewed by N. Stephan Kinsella

    For readers looking for the next Tom Clancy or John Grisham, or for the perfect beach novel for 2005, the new thriller by first-time novelist and prominent Houston lawyer Lanier Yeates is for you. Bay of One Hundred Fires is an intriguing blend of geopolitical intrigue, Naval intelligence, high-tech weaponry and colorful Southern culture. Scenes replete with local color carry the reader from antebellum homes along the Mississippi River to storied venues in New Orleans, including a charitable gala at Audubon Park, aptly called the Zoo-to-Do, and dinner at the famed Rex Room at Antoine’s in the French Quarter.

    Bay is a lawyer-military-terrorism thriller centered on an imaginative and interesting terrorist attack on America. The tale begins, innocently enough, at the modest home of a Cuban family of four in the picturesque city by Cienfuegos Bay—the Bay of One Hundred Fires. The stage for intrigue and action is set when the father and son, while fishing in a remote spot in the bay, are strafed by a Cuban MiG because the Cuban government thinks they might have seen something they are not supposed to see. And that could threaten a clandestine operation at the big base near Cienfuegos, where a suspiciously enormous low-flying transport aircraft frequently arrives near a supposedly abandoned nuclear power plant.

    While the father is killed, the son, Juan, is rescued by a US Navy chief petty officer sailing from Guantanamo Bay to Pensacola. Juan, a reserve Cuban Naval officer, is handed over to interrogators at the Office of Naval Intelligence, who, along with the CIA, quickly become interested upon hearing his description of the aircraft.

    The focus then shifts to the other major characters and plot threads—Bay is Clancyesque with its multiple, converging plot lines and characters—including Juan’s beautiful sister, Marilisa, a Press Attache for the Cuban National Sports Authority, stationed in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Navy Lieutenant Commander Fletcher Smith. Smith, in Halifax during a port visit by his ship, the nuclear-powered guided-missile cruiser USS California, ends up meeting Marilisa, who has just learned of her father’s death. With emotions running high, Smith and Marilisa quickly become lovers. Other key characters include maverick CIA analysts, a self-made oil explorer and Hoss Mueller, Captain of the California.

    The story centers on an alliance between a Cuban dictator, a new despot in Venezuela, and Middle Eastern terrorists, funded by Arabian oil profits and employing rogue scientists to develop horrible weapons to be deployed to the alliance’s enemy states around the world. The Cuban dictator’s facilities and fleet of nuclear missile firing submarines play a key role in this scheme. (Yeates amusingly refuses to refer to certain distasteful characters by name: Castro is sarcastically referred to as “El Presidente”; the Clinton administration is only referred to as the “previous” administration, and so forth.)

    Without giving too much of the plot away, one of the novel’s most imaginative evil schemes can be touched on—a plan involving used automobile tires impregnated with deadly Sarin gas to cause unprecedented carnage at a southern university sporting event where alert scientists at the university race against time to stay one step ahead of the deadly scheme. Bay also spins an intriguing possibility as to what Saddam Hussein might have done with the deadly weapons many believed he had—send them to Castro by way of Syria just before the American-led coalition invasion of Iraq. The nuclear material could then be processed in Cuba and sent to Venezuela where it would be developed into nuclear weapons for distribution to a global terrorist network. Also part of the scheme are submarines at a secret base at Cienfuegos, bought by the North Koreans from the bankrupted ex-Soviet republics, to be armed with nuclear missiles.

    As the multilayered novel unfolds and the nefarious schemes of the worldwide network of terrorists is revealed, US Naval Intelligence works to unravel these mysteries stemming from Juan’s revelations. The California and its crew are central to the response provided by US intelligence.

    Interestingly, Yeates, a graduate of Louisiana State University and LSU Law School, served in the Navy during the '70s and actually served aboard the real USS California, as a member of its first crew. Some of the ideas for this book arose when, while the California was stationed in Guantanamo Bay for refresher training, Yeates heard from public media sources about the Soviet base at Cienfuegos. It was during the early 70’s that terrorism was becoming recognized more and more as a serous threat, and thus it was coming to the fore in international relations. By the mid-1980’s, terrorism was quite prevalent as the Cold War wound down at the end of the decade with the self-demise of the Evil Empire – so labeled by President Ronald Reagan. Therefore, for the early 70’s, Yeates is a member that generation of Americans who served on active duty with the Navy during the Vietnam War. This generation included John McCain, John O’Neill – and, of course, John Kerry.

    Yeates was at the helm when the California went to sea for the first time in 1974, and again in 1998 when it sailed to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard to be scrapped. Yeates’s military experience and obvious mastery of military technology and operations infuses the novel with a sense of realism not usually seen in somewhat fantastically premised thrillers. I became fascinated by Yeates’s diverse development of his characters, and his minute detail in describing Halifax and New Orleans, including the romantic ambience of their top-of-the-line hotels and restaurants. He spun an incredibly entwined drama around a sinister plot portending dire apocalypse. His writings are deeply imaginative as he spins a tale of intrigue and fictional action. Nevertheless, he subtly, and perhaps somewhat subliminally, posits a penetrating view of what he believes to be the primary threat to our national security in the 21st century, to wit: world-wide terrorism.

    In sum, Yeates's first novel is an absorbing page-turner—one that takes today's headlines and turns up the octane to deliver a frighteningly realistic geopolitical thriller that cannot be put down. The fascinating descriptions of military technology and operations as well as political and legal maneuvering, colorful characters and background, and the deft, sure prose of Bay of One Hundred Fires will leave the reader wanting more. This novel promises great things to come by this impressive new author.

    * * *

    N. Stephan Kinsella is General Counsel of Applied Optoelectronics in Houston and author of International Investment, Political Risk, And Dispute Resolution: A Practitioner's Guide and Digest of Commercial Laws of the World.

    Thursday, June 02, 2005

    Intravaginal stimulation apparatus:

    Interesting patent, No. 6,899,671 (PDF version can be obtained here). No comment necessary.

    Tuesday, April 12, 2005

    Google calculator and constants:

    By accident, I discovered that if you type "e" into Google, the Google calculator is invoked and shows you e = 2.71828183, the transcendental number that is the base of the natural log. I've also found that it will pop out answers for pi, k (the Boltzmann constant), c (speed of light), and h (Planck's constant).

    You can also type in calculations such as 700*55.31 to use Google as a calculator.

    Saturday, March 26, 2005

    Confessions of a Law School A**hole:

    Going paperless, scanning and chunking, I came across this oldie but goodie from a patent lawyer buddy of mine, Steve Mendelsohn.

    Friday, March 25, 2005

    Re: "Doctor" Lawyer?:

    Previously I whined (2) about lawyers using the title "Dr." simply because they have a JD degree. As I noted,
    More annoying than "attorney-at-law" is the practice of some attorneys of using the title "Doctor." Although there is apparently some dispute over this, I view it as misleading, cheesy, unseemly, and self-embarrassing for a lawyer to refer to himself as "Doctor" such-and-such. In addition, the law degree is usually a Juris Doctor (J.D.), yet many lawyers insist on calling it a a "Juris Doctorate", I suppose out of ignorance or to make it sound more impressive. (Note: a few law schools apparently do use "Juris Doctorate" on their diplomas—improperly, in my view.)
    Some dude alerted me to this May 2004 opinion of the Professional Ethics Committee of the Supreme Court of Texas, which considers the question,
    May a lawyer use, in connection with his or her name, the titles "Doctor," "Dr.," "Doctor of Jurisprudence," or "J.D." in social and professional communications?
    The Committee says that previously, in 1968, the Committed "issued an opinion concluding that a lawyer in most circumstances could not ethically use titles such as "Doctor," "Dr.," or "J.D." "... orally or in writing, professional or otherwise ...." because such use was self-laudation prohibited by Texas Canon 24 ...." In other words, you couldn't say "Dr. Kinsella" because it was too crass.

    But now that the bar approves legal specialization and lawyer advertising, "the stated basis for Opinion 344 no longer exists." So, calling yourself "Dr." might still be crass and it might still "tend[] to lower the tone of the profession," but this is simply no longer prohibited.

    The Committee goes on to ask whether the use of Dr. as a title for a lawyer is contrary to rules "that prohibit any form of communication that is false or misleading." The Committee concludes that
    the use of the title "Dr.," "Doctor," "J.D." or "Doctor of Jurisprudence" is not, in itself, prohibited as constituting a false or misleading communication. The Committee recognizes that other professions, such as educators, economists and social scientists, traditionally use title "Dr." in their professional names to denote a level of advanced education and not to imply formal medical training. There is no reason in these circumstances to prohibit lawyers with a Juris Doctor or Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from indicating the advanced level of their education.
    They do say that in some contexts--e.g., where a lawyer is advertising "for legal services in connection with medical malpractice", then the use of the title "Dr." might be misleading if it implies that the lawyer is a medical doctor. But in general, since the lawyer does have a Juris Doctor, and since most people would not think "Dr. Smith" implies an M.D. (since many non-M.D.'s, such as Ph.D.'s, are referred to as "Doctor"), it is not misleading for a lawyer to use the title Doctor.

    Now, I do not disagree with this. I still believe it is cheesy, unseemly, self-embarrassing, pompous, and pathetic--it is just that these things are not prohibited by lawyers' ethical rules, nor should they be. I suppose I agree that it is not misleading; when I said previously I think it's misleading, I meant that I believe it implies the lawyer has a post-JD degree--a "real" legal doctorate. The Committee apparently did not consider this possible issue, but whether "Dr." is misleading in implying medical specialty.

    Thursday, March 17, 2005

    communications problem:

    I recall we had this problem in one of my electrical engineering courses, studying packet communications between computers. Unfortunately, I've forgotten the answer and it's driven me nuts for years. If anyone knows, email me.

    You have 2 armies, on opposite hilltops. They are allied against an enemy army in the valley between them. Sometimes the 2 armies send runners to send messages to each other. The runners sometimes get killed--say, 1% of the time. So you can't be 100% sure a message makes it to the recipient.

    Now say they 2 armies can defeat the enemy if they attack togehter, but if attacking alone, eihter one will lose. Army 1 wants to attack at sunrise. So they send a runner to 2. But the dilemma is, Army 1 needs to get a message back knowing Army 2 got the message and will attack too. Army 1 can't assume 2 gets the message since the runner might be killed.

    Now Army 2, even if it gets the first message, and wants to attack, wants to be sure 1 got the reply, so 2 does not attack alone.

    The question was: is it possible to arrange a communication scheme, given a less than 100% chance of message success, so that they can both attack?

    It seems to me NO, but I wonder. It seems to me that to attack you have to have 100% certainty your message made it, and so does the other guy. This must be impossible. You can have an arbitrarily high confidence if you do enough handshaking, I suppose, but you can never be sure. Anyone know if I'm right?

    Sunday, March 06, 2005

    There's No Such Thing as a Free Patent:

    My latest IP article: There's No Such Thing as a Free Patent,, Mar. 7, 2004.

    Wednesday, March 02, 2005

    Daddy's Latest Patent:

    6,859,481: Optically-pumped multiple-quantum well active region with improved distribution of optical pumping power.

    Friday, February 25, 2005


    test ignore

    Thursday, February 24, 2005

    Re: "Doctor" Lawyer?:

    Some email from an old post about lawyers using the title "doctor":

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Stephan Kinsella []
    Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2005 11:20 AM
    To: 'David Janson'
    Subject: RE: Sorry-JD
    Importance: High

    Thanks for your comments.

    Some of your points are good ones; some of my arguments are kind of silly, like the "doctor doctor" one. However, your extended argument is futile; it's like trying to argue a word "should" have a certain defintion; but it does not work this way; words DO have certain meanings by common usage and convention. Likewise, no matter what you say, it is just "not done" to call a lawyer a doctor. If any lawyer calls himself a doctor he is just an insecure, pretentious weirdo, in my view. PhD's can barely get away with it; medical doctors are the common usage. But JD--no way.

    I agree w/ you that many PhD's now are a joke, but that is a sign of the times. Just b/c you can get a PhD in stupid things now does not mean that law ought to just be folded into the word.

    It's just not gonna happen.

    " The Supreme Court of Texas has said a lawyer can use the title "Doctor""

    Where is this? I would be curious to see it.

    " You say you consider it vain and even embarrassing for a lawyer to use the term "Doctor". You have your opinion,"

    Correct. It's my view. It still is.

    " and thats great, but
    I on the other hand DO THINK the profession needs the recoginition it deserves."

    Oh, I don't. Lawyers are by and large pretentious assholes, don't you agree?

    " I am sure you have noticed all the garbage which is said about lawyers being unethical, and that they are liars who only want money."

    That is true for some of them; but I don't think it's really the main problem. the main problem is they are greedy, selfish, workaholic bullies. Lots of them, anyway.

    " I dont know about you, but I do not like the jokes and the stereotypes."

    Honestly, I don't really care. I have thick skin. Being a libertarian makes you develop one!

    "This profession was a noble one, and people like you help to take that away."

    This is unfair. I'm a good attorney--a competent and honest and decent and nice one. Just because I *recognize* the current disrepute into which laywers *have fallen*--due to the actions of the slimes and jerks--does not mean it's my fault. You are blaming the messenger.

    " The jokes and stereotypes are usually by ignorant people who dont know anything about the profession or how the legal system works, the difficulties a lawyer faces, and the ethics involved. Lawyers in fact need to be pretty strict in their ethics or they can easily be disbarred due to the strict ethical rules they must follow."

    Yes, I do agree with this. I often tell people lawyers are much more ethical than they realize; and also, much of the bad rap lawyers get is because clients are pigheaded and insiste on suing etc., even when the lawyer tries to talk them out of it. I do not disagree with you at all. But I think there is nothing wrong with jokes and stereotypes; this is natural and normal human behavior.

    " I am not saying lawyers should be able to be called
    doctor just because the profession needs the respect;
    I am saying they can be called doctors because they do
    have doctorates,"

    Law degrees say "Juris doctor", not "juris doctorate", I believe. I don't think they are doctorates. A long time ago it was an LL.B. Just because the decided to change the NAME of the degree does not all of a sudden make it a doctorate. That's my view. Anywya, it does not matter. Any lawyer who calls himself "Doctor" sounds like a pretentious fop. Do you not agree with it?

    " and collaterally, the profession
    certainly could use the bolster in respect which MAY
    come from it. "

    I really do not know why people say this. What do you mean the profession "needs" a bostering of respect...? Why? Do we need more money? or what? What exactly are you saying? I am serious, I am not being combative. I don't know what you mean. Are you saying lawyers are miserable because of this... that we don't attract enough potential law students? That we have a shortage of lawyers? What?

    " A JD is a degree which is conferred after a B.A.
    Yes, a BA in anything, but as noted, one can obtain
    doctorates in many fields without undergraduate
    training in the same field. Maybe you are not proud
    of the school you went to and/or the education you
    received. Unlike you, I am, and I dont consider it to
    be vain or embarrassing. Just as any other person who
    has a doctorate is not considered vain when he uses
    the term "doctor", neither should a lawyer. "

    I'm proud of it, sure. But I realize I had a lot of idiots as fellow calssmates. What do you call someoen who graduates at the bottom of his class in law school? A: a lawyer.

    I know that my degree in EE was mcuh more difficult. You have to be pretty sharp to get that. Law is not that special. Lawyers want to be seen as special.

    " A JD is not obtained more easily than a PH.D., or
    more easily than most other doctorates for that
    matter. Not that a JD is terribly hard to get, but
    neither are many doctorates."

    You could be right... but I think it's easy to just put your 3 years in and get a JD. A PhD is different. but they are being diluted now, I agree.

    " As far as lawyers "vain
    attempt" to garner recognition, as a lawyer, you
    should support such efforts, and recognize the
    advanced education of a J.D."

    Why? Seriously, why should we support efforts to gain recognition? What is the reason yo usay this, what is the purpose of it? Why is there a glaring need? PLease explian to me where you are coming from.

    " If not, do us all a
    favor and pursue something else. (Talk about vain! YOU
    have a picture of yourself on your site which one can
    click on for it to be greatly enlarged! Thats
    funny!!!) "

    come on, don't get silly or personal. Why would I do you afavor and pursue something else? I'm a good attorney ,an excellent one. Why would I muzzle myself and keep my opinions to myself? FUrther, it's not vain to have my PR pic up there, I write a lot and often publishers want to see a high-res portrait, so it's available. It's not vain at all. I am not good looking enough to be vain!

    Best, Stephan

    -----Original Message-----
    From: David Janson []
    Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2005 11:00 AM
    Subject: Sorry-JD

    A J.D. is defined as being a professional doctoral degree/doctorate, similar to a M.D. Just as Medical Doctors can use the term Doctor, therefore, a lawyer who has been conferred a JD can also use such a title.

    You ask if a person who has a JD and subsequently
    obtains a SJD is a "Doctor Doctor". Umm, NO, he is
    still addressed as "Doctor", just as a person with a
    JD and and MD or a person with two Ph.D.s is still
    called "Doctor". You obviously dont call a person
    with two Doctorates, whether they are Ph.D.s or
    whatever, "Doctor Doctor". I submit, therefore, that
    your question on that matter is a silly one.
    You also indicate that since a lawyer can have an
    undergrad degree in anything, he should not be able
    to indicate that he has a doctorate (as if to say
    other doctorates necessitate undergrad training in a
    discipline related to the doctoral discipline). Here
    too, you are ignorant. As a former academic advisor,
    I can assure you there are many fields one can pursue
    and obtain a doctorate in (and use the title "Doctor") regardless of his undergrad degree; business is one of them. One need not have a BBA to obtain either an MBA or to go directly into a DBA or Ph.D. program in business.
    In addition, hours required toward the JD and Ph.D.
    and other doctorates are similar. As you know, JDs
    take 15 or so hrs a semester, while other grad
    students consider 9 hrs full time study. As for the
    doctoral dissertation, many doctoral programs do not
    require one, such as the DBA (Doctor of Business
    Administration) for one.
    The Supreme Court of Texas has said a lawyer can use
    the title "Doctor". You say you consider it vain and
    even embarrassing for a lawyer to use the term
    "Doctor". You have your opinion, and thats great, but
    I on the other hand DO THINK the profession needs the recoginition it deserves. I am sure you have noticed all the garbage which is said about lawyers being unethical, and that they are liars who only want money. I dont know about you, but I do not like the jokes and the stereotypes. This profession was a noble one, and people like you help to take that away. The jokes and stereotypes are usually by ignorant people who dont know anything about the profession or how the legal system works, the difficulties a lawyer faces, and the ethics involved. Lawyers in fact need to be pretty strict in their ethics or they can easily be disbarred due to the strict ethical rules they must follow.
    I am not saying lawyers should be able to be called
    doctor just because the profession needs the respect;
    I am saying they can be called doctors because they do
    have doctorates, and collaterally, the profession
    certainly could use the bolster in respect which MAY
    come from it.
    A JD is a degree which is conferred after a B.A.
    Yes, a BA in anything, but as noted, one can obtain
    doctorates in many fields without undergraduate
    training in the same field. Maybe you are not proud
    of the school you went to and/or the education you
    received. Unlike you, I am, and I dont consider it to
    be vain or embarrassing. Just as any other person who
    has a doctorate is not considered vain when he uses
    the term "doctor", neither should a lawyer.
    A JD is not obtained more easily than a PH.D., or
    more easily than most other doctorates for that
    matter. Not that a JD is terribly hard to get, but
    neither are many doctorates. As far as lawyers "vain
    attempt" to garner recognition, as a lawyer, you
    should support such efforts, and recognize the
    advanced education of a J.D. If not, do us all a
    favor and pursue something else. (Talk about vain! YOU
    have a picture of yourself on your site which one can
    click on for it to be greatly enlarged! Thats
    Perhaps youll consider putting this on your site to
    show both sides.

    Respectfully and Sincerely,
    David Jansen, J.D.

    Friday, February 18, 2005

    Trademark Scams:

    I received this official-looking $1450 "invoice" the other day. I have a European trademark registration pending so at first glance thought I owed this. But looking further, it's just some stupid scam. Amazing. I bet lots of legal departments just pay it.

    Sunday, February 06, 2005


    And fight the PC police--


    Professor Hans-Hermann Hoppe is under attack by the PC police. As suggested by David Beito, all scholars and academics in favor of academic freedom, and all lovers of liberty and Hoppe's supporters are urged to follow Beito's suggestions to help support Hoppe and the cause of academic freedom. Contact info for people to email/fax (here).

    In addition to Beito's suggestions, publicity from the likes of Ann Coulter, David Horowitz, O'Reilly, Hannity & Colmes, Rush Limbaugh, Drudge can only help. Write them too...

    Friday, December 10, 2004

    Socialism and Economic Calculation:

    Recently found this oldie but goodie: my Economic Calculation Under Socialism, Appendix I to Protecting Foreign Investment Under International Law: Legal Aspects of Political Risk (1997).

    Thursday, December 02, 2004

    Cold Callers:

    I hate cold callers and people who waste my time. My employer's web site does not list my phone number. That's on purpose. People whom I have not given my direct dial number have to call the main number and ask the receptionist for me. So when the receptionist wants to patch a call through, I know it's almost always a cold caller.

    Today she says a guy named "Mo" is calling for me. Red flag#1. I know no Mo, so red flag #2. Usually I tell her to put them to my voicemail, but the name "Mo" intrigued me and I was feeling in a mood to mess with a cold coller. I tell her to patch him through.

    Mo--he does not give his last name, red flag #3--is some broker for some "patent technology acquisition" group (I forget the name). He wants to know if we have an interest in buying a patent on photonic integrated circuits. Now we make lasers, not PICs. Another red flag.

    Curious, I ask him how much they are selling the patent for. He says it has 61 claims and that there is an offer on it already--setting me up for a high number--then says probably only $120K or so, which is not really that high.

    I say, well, what's the patent number? He says he does not have it and I can hear him flipping papers looking for it. He asks me if that's public information. I.e., if he can find the number is it okay to give it to me. This loser i s asking me for legal advice. So I'm already getting irritated. Why would you call someone to offer to sell a patent but not know the patent number. So it's clear to me that Arab-accented Mo (probably Mohammed) is just trying to put a deal together. Some stupid broker. Probably unknown to the seller as well as me.

    My time already wasted, I decide to eff with him. I ask him why he thinks this would be useful for us. He says he knows we bought an external-cavity laser patent recently, so thought we might want this. This makes no sense. I ask, is there an existing infringer? Do we infringe? Does it cover some practical invention?

    He says yes, it covers a practical application and can "help us." I say, "help us how? We make lasers." He says, "yeah, it does that."

    "Does what?" I ask. "Makes lasers," he replies.

    "I don't think so," I say. "How does an integrated circuit make a laser?"

    "Well, the laser goes in it," he tries to clarify. I say, "I don't think you understand this technology. That's okay if you don't, but just say so." He gets pissed saying, his Arab accent getting thicker, "You are being rude sir. I have an engineering degree from CalTech and have been in this field for 25 years!" I say, "Well, a photonic integrated circuit does not make lasers, I know that," and he says, "I went to CalTech" and I reply, "Well, that's certainly very impressive, but you don't know the patent number, you don't know how this applies to our business, you seem to think PICs 'make' lasers, which they don't--all you seem to know is we make lasers and recently bought a laser patent." He finally loses his patience, and proclaims, "You are rude sir! Rude rude rude! You are a f***ing a**hole!"

    Well, at least I didn't call him to waste his time.

    Thursday, November 11, 2004

    Law Firm Blogs and RSS Feeds:

    Interesting article-- Wall Sreeet Journal RSS feeds signal quick adoption of blogs & RSS for large law firms . The cutting-edge firms will be the first to have blogs and RSS feeds. I tried a few medium/large size and techlaw firms I know, and none of them have feeds yet. Anyone know of a list of good law firm feeds? See also Tom Mighell's 2003 lawyer blog predictions and other articles here.

    Useful law news feeds that one can subscribe to (with a good news aggregator such as SharpReader) include and LLRX; see also this guide, RSS News Feeds for Law.

    Coda: Nipper writes:

    The blogs I read (most of which are IP) can be found here: From there you can extract the RSS feeds. OR, I you could import my OPML file (a file of RSS feeds that can be imported into your preferred news aggregator): You could import the OPML file into your news aggregator and then delete the non-IP blogs I read.... You could also view that knj file (it is XML) and extract the RSS Feeds...

    As for blog aggregators, I use NewsGator for Outlook ( when at work and Kinja ( when on the road/at home.

    Stephen M. Nipper, The Invent Blog


    To the Bloglet subscribers to my site--Bloglet is old tech. I now have a site feed, which you can subscribe to with any RSS or Atom feed news aggregator. I highly recommend you unsubscribe from Bloglet and instead use some aggregator, such as SharpReader, which is great. Get an aggregator and subscribe to my Atom feed, the link to which is here:

    Wednesday, November 10, 2004


    After this post, the old RSS feed will be deleted. THE NEW FEED IS AN ATOM FEED: Please subscribe to this instead the old RSS feed.

    Causation, Aggression, the Law, and Reinach:

    Latest article: Causation and Aggression) (co-authored with Patrick Tinsley), in The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, vol. 7, no. 4 (winter 2004): 97-112, a special Reinach symposium issue (based on the Reinach and Rothbard: An International Symposium, Ludwig von Mises Institute, Auburn, Alabama, March 29-30, 2001).

    Thursday, November 04, 2004

    Free Things I Can't Do Without:

    • FireFox browser. Much better than Internet Explorer. Rarely crashes; faster; has tabbed browsing.
    • The Google Toolbar (or, for FireFox, the GoogleBar).
    • Google Desktop search. This is just fantastic: google indexes emails, Word files and other documents on your computer and instantly shows results when you do a google search.
    • SharpReader: a great RSS feed aggregator. How did I live without it?

    And most of these, the indefatigable Jeff Tucker told me about! Also increasingly useful: Skype, with its free Internet telephony; and AIM, which also now has Internet telephony and even video (which I have not tried yet).

    Thursday, October 21, 2004

    McDermott Review of Political Risk:

    Recently found a copy of a review by Peter McDermott of my 1997 book Protecting Foreign Investment Under International Law: Legal Aspects of Political Risk. Other reviews here.

    A revised version forthcoming in early 2005 is International Investment Political Risk and Dispute Resolution: A Practitioner’s Guide.

    Tuesday, October 19, 2004

    Online Contract Formation--Amazon Reviews Needed!:

    I mentioned previously my latest book, Online Contract Formation, published a couple months ago. It provides practical advice about legal issues related to formation of contracts through online means, from a multi-jurisdictional perspective.

    Amazon is now carrying it. I need some reviews. A few readers should post some short reviews. I suggested on smart-ass one to a friend, "If I were interested in the law of online contract formation from a multi-jurisdictional perspective, this is the book I would get."


    While you're at it--do a favor for 3 buddies, and plug their books also on Amazon:

    Friday, October 15, 2004


    Daddy needs a gmail invite. Please send to: stephan -at- kinsellalaw dot com.

    Friday, September 24, 2004

    Acrobat Sucks:

    It is mind-boggling that there is not an easy way to convert a huge, memory-sucking color-scanned PDF file into a black and white file.

    Tuesday, September 21, 2004

    Jurisdiction Stripping Discussion:

    More to come later. For now--see Sandefur's post.

    Tuesday, September 14, 2004

    Scan to PDF:

    I need some help/advice from any tech/geeks out there. I am going paperless and scanning lots of paper documents into PDF files.

    I have a Visioneer scanner. It sucks, but still. I use it with Adobe Acrobat 6.0 (which also sucks, like all things hardware and software) to scan lots of documents into PDF. This is very slow. The worst thing is it invokes the PaperPort 8.0 Scan Manager, which is slow, and also, it pops up a damned scan manager screen every time it scans the next page. I can get nothing done on my PC when it's scanning, it ties up the whole GD screen.

    I want a better way to simply scan documents into PDF. Faster, and does it in background. And works with my stupid Visioneer scanner. I think I only need better software/driver. I was thinking of buying PaperPort 9.0 Deluxe. I don't care about its ability to do document management but I want a simple, easy, fast way to use my scanner to create PDF files, in the background. Is that too much to ask?

    Any advice or recos from geeks out there would be appreciated. Please don't tell me to get a new scanner or mail the docs to Thailand to do it on the cheap. Don't fight the hypo, people.

    Saturday, August 28, 2004

    BugMeNot!: Compulsory Web Registration.

    Friday, August 27, 2004

    How to Write Contracts:

    A few useful works:


    More on humorous voicemails:

    Following up on recent posts about humorous voicemails and emails, here's another humorous voicemail. The story behind the voicemail is explained here, and in the letter below.

    Mr. Kinsella:
    I stumbled over this website courtesy of an article about the
    recent humorous voicemail and couldn't resist writing you to share something amusing that happened to our company.

    Our Austin-based company, Despair Inc., produces cynical humor products- including parodies of motivational posters
    called Demotivators.

    Anyway, our logo features the :-( emoticon--which we
    obviously did not invent but nevertheless submitted a trademark request for to the USPTO.

    To our surprise (and our IP lawyer's amazement), we received a
    trademark for the symbol in printed matter class of goods.
    As a joke, we wrote a fake press release about how--in light of our trademark on the :-( symbol--we planned to sue several million individuals who had used the symbol in email of late.
    It was mostly meant as a rip on frivolous IP lawsuits. But
    because of some clumsy reporting and overzealous netizens, it ended up becoming a gigantic outrage to many thousands of people who missed the joke.

    The most amusing contact we received came in the form of a late-night voicemail from someone who sounded very drunk. The voicemail is linked in the page above. It is expletive-laden and frequently incoherent--but provoked gales of laughter and ultimately, the desire to share the joke with others.

    We bleeped out the expletives--as we're a pretty family-friendly
    website--but even without them, it's a very amusing and
    confusing listen, though admittedly, for a somewhat select audience.

    Hope you enjoy it.
    Justin Sewell
    Despair, Inc.


    Thursday, August 26, 2004

    Bay of One Hundred Fires:

    Bay of One Hundred Fires, the new novel by retired Houston attorney (and my former mentor) J. Lanier Yeates, is "a frighteningly realistic geopolitical thriller that cannot be put down." Or so says one distinguished commentator--namely yours truly, who was lucky enough to read it in manuscript form.

    In addition to being an attorney, "On active duty in the United States Navy during the Vietnam years, J. Lanier Yeates served aboard the guided-missile destroyer, USS Mitscher before joining the pre-commissioning unit of the nuclear-powered cruiser, USS California, where he supervised the installation of the ship's hightech, long-range, air-search radar system." Order your copy today--!

    In Bay of One Hundred Fires, author J. Lanier Yeates weaves a chilling tale of what Saddam Hussein might have done with the deadly weapons many believed he had. [A] poor Cuban family from Cienfuegos is swept into a battle between the Navy and a global terror network. To complement its firepower and 21st century technology, the Navy calls on a young lieutenant commander and maverick CIA analysts.

    The Navy has one more weapon to leverage its powerful assets: Hoss Mueller, the skipper of the re-born USS California.

    Coda: More info in this press release.


    Best Website in the World:!

    Wednesday, August 25, 2004

    Lawyers and Summer Associates:

    Re recent posts about humorous lawyer voicemails, I was reminded of this story: Elite Firm Summer Associate Sends E-Mail Boasting Of Laziness to Partners.

    Re: Associate's Foulmouthed Voicemail Makes the Rounds on the Internet:

    Re my previous post, Chicago Sun-Times reporter Eric Herman has picked this up story and is running with it, in F-bomb-dropping attorney gets worldwide notoriety.

    Coda: others have picked it up too, including this one from The Chicagoist, Lawyers Drop F-Bombs?, which includes some decent gossip about the "victim" and interestingly, some off the cuff defenses of the angry attorney. Another discussion forum is on MyShingle.