Corporate Governance – New SRO Standards

Corporate Governance – New SRO Standards

TheCorporateCounsel.net Blog aka known as Broc Romanek’s Blog has been posting on corporate governance and has a November 19, 2003 posting entitled: “What to Disclose under the New SRO Standards”.

For an informative October 27, 2003 discussion of SRO’s (self-regulatory organizations) by Rachel McTague and the Securities Regulation & Law Report at BNA’s Corporate Law & Business Professional Information Center see her article here.

The background for the new standards can be read at the March 26, 2003 statement by SEC Chairman William H. Donaldson entitled “Letter to Exchange Officers Regarding SRO Corporate Governance“, where Donaldson writes:

Self-regulatory organizations play a critical role as standard setters for issuing companies, operators of trading markets, and front-line regulators of securities firms. At the urging of the SEC, two of the self-regulatory organizations, the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ have both proposed new corporate governance listing standards for publicly traded companies, and the SEC continues to help them harmonize their proposals to the extent possible.

As Broc notes, Donaldson then also has delivered a later speech concerning corporate governance.

Particularly of interest to corporate lawyers are the future corporate governance webcasts which are discussed at Broc Romanek’s Blog. The links to GreatGovernance.com are also useful.

Eolas Patent to be Reviewed

Eolas Patent to be Reviewed

The Eolas Patent is to be reviewed by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

See the CNET article of November 11, 2003 by Paul Festa, Staff Writer, CNET News.com.

Eolas Patent 5,838,906 at the USPTO

One can access the record of this patent at the USPTO website by entering the Patent Nr. 5,838,906 in the appropriate search box which gives, inter alia, the following results:

Application Number – 08/324,443 Customer Number: –

Filing or 371(c) Date: 10-17-1994 Status: Patented Case

Application Type: Utility Status Date: 10-13-1998

Examiner Name: DINH, DUNG C Location: –

Group Art Unit: 2756 Location Date: 11-10-2003

Confirmation Number: 5163 Earliest Publication No: –

Attorney Docket Number: 02307553 Earliest Publication Date: –

Class/ Sub-Class: 395/200.32 Patent Number: 5,838,906

First Named Inventor: MICHAEL D. DOYLE, ALAMEDA, CA (US) Issue Date of Patent: 11-17-1998

Eolas Patent 5,838,906 at the USPTO – File History

File Contents History

Number Date Contents Description

57 11-05-2003 Application scanned in CRU and can be accessed by the REPS system in the Public Search Room

56 10-30-2003 Record a Petition Decision of Granted for Commissioner-Initiated Reexam Rroceeding [Note of LawPundit: This in part mistyped garbled text in a case of this importance does not inspire confidence in the USPTO]

55 10-30-2003 Petition Entered

54 02-23-2001 Termination of Official Search

53 02-23-2001 Case Found

52 02-23-2001 Official Search Conducted

51 02-23-2001 Case Reported Lost

50 11-17-1998 Recordation of Patent Grant Mailed

49 10-13-1998 Weekly Patent Issue Receipt

48 07-13-1998 Weekly Patent Issue Receipt

47 04-07-1998 Mailroom Date of Issue Fee Payment

46 06-11-1998 Drawing(s) Processing Completed

45 06-02-1998 Drawing(s) Matched to Application

44 05-06-1998 Application Received to Match Drawing(s)

43 04-15-1998 Power to Make Copies and/or Inspect

42 04-09-1998 Application Ordered to Match Drawing(s)

41 04-09-1998 Drawing(s) Received at Publications

40 04-07-1998 Mailroom Date of Drawing(s)

39 10-31-1997 Miscellaneous Incoming Letter

38 11-07-1994 Information Disclosure Statement (IDS) Filed

37 03-30-1998 Mail Notice of Allowance

36 03-30-1998 Notice of Allowance Data Verification Completed

35 01-27-1998 Examiner Interview Summary Record (PTOL – 413)

34 03-30-1998 Notice of Allowability

33 03-02-1998 Notice of Appeal Filed

32 03-02-1998 Request for Extension of Time – Granted

31 01-22-1998 Date Forwarded to Examiner

30 12-29-1997 Amendment after Final Rejection

29 12-29-1997 Supplemental Papers – Oath or Declaration

28 12-29-1997 Request for Extension of Time – Granted

27 11-06-1997 Examiner Interview Summary Record (PTOL – 413)

26 11-06-1997 Examiner Interview Summary Record (PTOL – 413)

25 08-25-1997 Mail Final Rejection (PTOL – 326)

24 08-22-1997 Final Rejection

23 06-19-1997 Date Forwarded to Examiner

22 06-05-1997 Response after Non-Final Action

21 03-26-1997 Mail Non-Final Rejection

20 03-21-1997 Non-Final Rejection

19 02-24-1997 Examiner Interview Summary Record (PTOL – 413)

18 02-20-1997 Date Forwarded to Examiner

17 02-19-1997 Amendment after Final Rejection

16 01-24-1997 Mail Final Rejection (PTOL – 326)

15 01-23-1997 Final Rejection

14 01-08-1997 Date Forwarded to Examiner

13 01-08-1997 Amendment after Final Rejection

12 01-08-1997 Affidavit(s) (Rule 131 or 132) or Exhibit(s) Received

11 12-13-1996 Mail Final Rejection (PTOL – 326)

10 12-12-1996 Final Rejection

9 10-09-1996 Date Forwarded to Examiner

8 08-09-1996 Response after Non-Final Action

7 05-06-1996 Mail Non-Final Rejection

6 05-03-1996 Non-Final Rejection

5 04-08-1996 Case Docketed to Examiner in GAU

4 03-24-1995 Case Docketed to Examiner in GAU

3 03-14-1995 Application Captured on Microfilm

2 12-30-1994 Application Is Now Complete

1 11-18-1994 Incomplete Application under Rule 53(b) – Filing Date Assigned

Eolas Patent 5,838,906 at the USPTO – Abstract

Clicking the button “Published Documents” at that same page gives, inter alia, the following text:

“United States Patent 5,838,906

Doyle , et al. November 17, 1998

——————————————————————————–

Distributed hypermedia method for automatically invoking external application providing interaction and display of embedded objects within a hypermedia document

Abstract [of the Patent]

A system allowing a user of a browser program on a computer connected to an open distributed hypermedia system to access and execute an embedded program object. The program object is embedded into a hypermedia document much like data objects. The user may select the program object from the screen. Once selected the program object executes on the user’s (client) computer or may execute on a remote server or additional remote computers in a distributed processing arrangement. After launching the program object, the user is able to interact with the object as the invention provides for ongoing interprocess communication between the application object (program) and the browser program. One application of the embedded program object allows a user to view large and complex multi-dimensional objects from within the browser’s window. The user can manipulate a control panel to change the viewpoint used to view the image. The invention allows a program to execute on a remote server or other computers to calculate the viewing transformations and send frame data to the client computer thus providing the user of the client computer with interactive features and allowing the user to have access to greater computing power than may be available at the user’s client computer.”

[Eolas Patent 5,838,906 at the USPTO – Summary of the Invention]

“SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a method for running embedded program objects in a computer network environment. The method includes the steps of providing at least one client workstation and one network server coupled to the network environment where the network environment is a distributed hypermedia environment; displaying, on the client workstation, a portion of a hypermedia document received over the network from the server, where the hypermedia document includes an embedded controllable application; and interactively controlling the embedded controllable application from the client workstation via communication sent over the distributed hypermedia environment.

The present invention allows a user at a client computer connected to a network to locate, retrieve and manipulate objects in an interactive way. The invention not only allows the user to use a hypermedia format to locate and retrieve program objects, but also allows the user to interact with an application program located at a remote computer. Interprocess communication between the hypermedia browser and the embedded application program is ongoing after the program object has been launched. The user is able to use a vast amount of computing power beyond that which is contained in the user’s client computer.

In one application, high resolution three dimensional images are processed in a distributed manner by several computers located remotely from the user’s client computer. This amounts to providing parallel distributed processing for tasks such as volume rendering or three dimensional image transformation and display. Also, the user is able to rotate, scale and otherwise reposition the viewpoint with respect to these images without exiting the hypermedia browser software. The control and interaction of viewing the image may be provided within the same window that the browser is using assuming the environment is a “windowing” environment. The viewing transformation and volume rendering calculations may be performed by remote distributed computer systems.

Once an image representing a new viewpoint is computed the frame image is transmitted over the network to the user’s client computer where it is displayed at a designated position within a hypermedia document. By transmitting only enough information to update the image, the need for a high bandwidth data connection is reduced. Compression can be used to further reduce the bandwidth requirements for data transmission.

Other applications of the invention are possible. For example, the user can operate a spreadsheet program that is being executed by one or more other computer systems connected via the network to the user’s client computer. Once the spreadsheet program has calculated results, the results may be sent over the network to the user’s client computer for display to the user. In this way, computer systems located remotely on the network can be used to provide the computing power that may be required for certain tasks and to reduce the data bandwidth by only transmitting results of the computations.

Table II, below, shows an example of an HTML tag format used by the present invention to embed a link to an application program within a hypermedia document.

TABLE II

______________________________________

“<"EMBED

TYPE = “type”

HREF = “href”

WIDTH = width

HEIGHT = height

“>” [parentheses around the arrows added by LawPundit to disable this command in this posting]

______________________________________”

In any case, that gives an overview of the “invention”. Were the patent laws intended to apply to these kinds of patent claims? Has anything really been “invented”? Or is this patent an anomalistic anachronism of outdated patent laws?

Further Citations to the Eolas Patent

Further citations to the Eolas patent are:

via moreover.com at InternetLawWeb, the USPTO decision to review the patent was reported by BeSpacific

E-Week “Eolas Remains Confident in Face of Patent Re-examination” by Matt Hicks, November 12, 2003

Electric News Net, “US Patent Office will review Eolas claim”, by The Register, November 13, 2003

Seattle Times, ” ‘Outcry’ from Internet community triggers rare patent review”, by Jonathan Krim, The Washington Post

BizReport, “Patent Office Reviews Disputed Web Patent”, November 13, 2003

SunSpot.net, “U.S. reconsiders 1998 patent critics say could hamper Web”, November 14, 2003

CBSNews, “Internet Patent In Dispute”, November 12, 2003

Law and the Advantages of Blogs

Law and The Advantages of Blogs

Bag and Baggage – Denise Howell, appellate and intellectual property lawyer has a November 7, 2003 posting entitled “What Has Your Blawg Done For You, Your Clients, Your Profession, Lately?”

Here is an excerpt…

“One of the biggest benefits I derive from Bag and Baggage, and people are constantly surprised by this, is the way it keeps me informed … I’ve found blogs to be incomparably more effective at keeping me up to speed on developments (societal, business, and legal) … than the combination of newsletters, newspapers, magazines, and CLE events which used to serve this function….”

Read the whole posting here.

Stars Stones Scholars : The Decipherment of the Megaliths as an Ancient Survey of the Earth by Astronomy

Stars Stones Scholars : The Decipherment of the Megaliths as an Ancient Survey of the Earth by Astronomy

THE LAW PUNDIT at LAWPUNDIT

What does the Law Pundit do when not teaching law, writing law-related dictionaries, quilling the LawPundit or playing a rule-conforming game of golf?

THE “LAWLESS” FIELD OF ANCIENT HISTORY

The Law Pundit studies ancient history, a seemingly “lawless” scholarly area which has been wrongfully ignored by the men of the law for far too long. After all, the major primary written sources of man’s ancient cultures are LEGAL TEXTS, e.g. the Tablets of Ebla, the Code of Hammurabi, or yes, even the Commandments of the Bible – there are of course many more than ten laws in the Books of Moses, but you do have to READ and KNOW the Bible to find this out, which, apparently, the men who have a fixation on the Ten Commandments, have apparently never done.

THE BIBLE and the LAW

As stated at the previous link:

“The Bible chapter that contains the Ten Commandments (Exodus) follows the recitation of the Commandments with a complete set of legal rules, which are based on the “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” legal philosophy of Hammurabi’s Code. ” [emphasis added]

Did you know that many basic precepts of our modern laws are found in those Biblical legal rules, as these FOLLOW (at Exodus 22) the Ten Commandments (i.e. “laws” at Exodus 20) in the Books of Moses?

Open your Bible and take a look.

Biblical sources are full of law.

THE ABANDONMENT OF THE ROOTS OF LAW by the MEN OF THE LAW

Through the abandonment of the field of ancient history – which is rightly the realm of the men of the law – to non-legal minds, this field has since been misappropriated by the archaeologists and related professions, none of which formally studies either Law, Evidence or the Scientific Method in their education – and, frankly, their often faulty work and publications – often based on hearsay or even less probative evidence than that – greatly manifest these shortcomings.

Stars Stones Scholars : The Decipherment of the Megaliths as an Ancient Survey of the Earth by Astronomy

In this regard, the Law Pundit’s new book just appeared as Stars Stones Scholars : The Decipherment of the Megaliths as an Ancient Survey of the Earth by Astronomy. We clear up some major errors in this area of scholarship – and hopefully, point things the right way. Ancient history is NOT a discipline which the men of the law should leave entirely to the digging professions or to the religious fanatics – we see every day in our current events what disasters this can lead to.

LexiLine : The History of Civilization and Law

We note in closing that The Law Pundit also hosts a list on the history of civilization.

Only when law is understood in its historical context, in its entire spectrum of development from mankind’s first glimmerings concerning natural law and the order of the universe – which, according to Bertrand Russell, is a process that began initially with astronomy and man’s observation of the order of the spheres – only then, can we fully understand the field of law as it is today.

Or, as I always ask, it is fine to believe in God, but where do we get the idea that God is in heaven and not elsewhere?

Justice Scalia – the Infant Terrible of the US Supreme Court?

Justice Scalia – the Infant Terrible of the US Supreme Court?

Via the Curmudgeonly Clerk and Crooked Timber, we are directed to a Slate article by Dahlia Lithwick at Scaliapalooza – The Supreme Court’s pocket Jeremiah. The article has some very strong opinions on the personal behavior of US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Everyone has to Play by the Rules – Particularly Justices

I myself am ambivalent about Justice Scalia’s person – he has to decide himself how he thinks that a Supreme Court Justice should behave – if he acts improperly, the world about him and his peers will always exert their pound of flesh for his improprieties – articles such as those by Lithwick are one price you have to pay.

Of course, once you rise to a high position in society, you have little choice but to play by the rules, or you pay the consequences down the road. After all, a judge makes his living by requiring OTHERS to play by the rules – that is his profession, so he has no choice but to temper his own behavior to serve as a model for those who must abide by his dictates. Judges who show no respect for the law, and this means the opinions handed down by their predecessors, can hardly expect anyone to show respect for THEIR legal opinions, can they?

Judge Learned Hand – Herbert Packer – Gerald Gunther

During my student days, when I was the student assistant for Herbert Packer at Stanford Law School, my first task was to devise a system of organization for the private collection of papers of Judge Billings Learned Hand, which had been entrusted to Packer for research purposes. (This collection later went to the late Professor Gerald Gunther after Packer’s untimely death, and resulted in a book Gunther published by the Harvard University Press entitled Learned Hand: The Man and the Judge.)

I recall one handwritten note made by Judge Learned Hand to his colleague Judge Clark on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals – it was a custom of the 2nd Circuit to exchange written memos on cases being decided – which went something like this (I paraphrase since I no longer have the original text): “You probably wonder why I spend all of this time dealing with the precedents of former cases, weighing and sifting, even though we have decided to overrule these precedents in the instant case. This is of eminent importance, but you will never learn this from me, never from me!” It was an exasperated Learned Hand who apparently was trying to get his fellow judge to understand that respect had to be paid to the case law that was in force prior to their decision, but he was apparently making little headway with Judge Clark.

Even a Justice is but a Cog in the Wheel

On this score, I am afraid that Justice Scalia might be the subject of the same wrath of Judge Learned Hand, and rightly so, for the reasons given above. What Justice Scalia or for that matter ANY Justice of the Supreme Court thinks as a judge is only one small cog in the giant wheel of American jurisprudence that has been turning long before these Justices and will turn long after them. So no Justice should overestimate his own importance on the continuous spectrum of the American legal system. He or she, as we all, has a JOB to do.

Liberty Lies in the Hearts of Men – not in Law Cases

In this regard, one of my favorite quotes from Judge Learned Hand is this, from the Yale Alumni Magazine on June 6, 1941:

“I often wonder whether we do not rest our hopes too much upon

constitutions, upon laws, and upon courts. These are false hopes;

believe me, these are false hopes. Liberty lies in the hearts of men

and women, when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can

save it; no constitution, no court, no law can even do much to help it.

While it lies there it needs no constitution, no law, no court to save

it…”

One of my great concerns about America and the world is precisely this “liberty” in the hearts of men. In America itself, many god-fearing men and women, nothing wrong with being god-fearing, have however lost this “liberty in their hearts” and want to force THEIR religion upon others – upon the children of others through the force of “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, upon their brethren by placing Biblical monuments such as the Ten Commandments in government places. On the other side of the world, other men and women, who have also lost this “liberty in their hearts” want to force THEIR religion upon the rest of world by terror. I have nothing in common with this type of religious tyrrany. This not the “liberty in the hearts of men” which makes great nations – rather, the forcing of YOUR religion upon others is merely fascism in disguise, and nothing more.

We must recall that America was founded by religious groups who left England so that they could practice religion the way THEY wanted to practice it, and not the way someone else told them to do it. It is something we should not forget. When foreign religions threaten our own religious freedoms, these religions should expect to be destroyed, without shedding a tear. But we should not threaten our own religious freedoms ourselves.

Oral Argument and Verbal Brow-Beating

In closing, I note that Lithwick in her article as cited above, makes the following observation about Justice Scalia: “There is a didactic quality to Scalia’s performance on the bench–a sense in which he uses oral argument merely to lecture and browbeat his brethren–that is hard to escape.”

But of course, this merely confirms what I wrote previously about questions raised by judges in oral argument as a method of either verbal attack (on those disfavored) or verbal assistance (to those favored ).

What is a Supreme Court Justice’s Job?

If I may offer a comment generally: some Justices may think that their JOB is merely to decide cases – but this of course would be false. Sometimes, it is not even that important what decision is made – but it has to be made in accordance with the principle of the rule of law. Throughout the history of mankind, “judges” have been the last repository of civilization and reason – we merely have to look in the Bible for periods when “Judges” had to rule, because the rulers and/or the people they ruled had lost their reasoned senses. Hence, “all judges” including the Supreme Court Justices are subject to a higher standard of behavior than any other branch of government – and this is something which should be apparent in their personal acts and demeanor. Either this, or they are in the wrong job.

The US Constitution – of Inequities and Education

The US Constitution and the Inequities of our Day

Via Lessig,
The Stanford Daily Online Edition has an October 20, 2003 article by Whitney Sado & Camille Ricketts, which reports on a law panel held at Stanford Law School.

The law panel included US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, Law School Dean Kathleen Sullivan, Law Profs. Pamela Karlan and Lawrence Lessig, as well as History Prof. Jack Rakove, all of whom have written about the US Constitution and Constitutional Law.

ARE WE BLIND?

The Stanford Daily Online article states:

“In discussing Brown and the preceding Plessy vs. Ferguson case, which set the foundation for the “separate but equal” doctrine, [US Supreme Court Justice] Kennedy added, ” ‘We are blind to the inequities of our own times.’

My comment here

is that NOT EVERYBODY is blind to the inequities of their own time.

However, it is undoubted that many people surely ARE blind to these inequities, not just in the political and legal sphere, but in all fields of human endeavor, including education and science.

Why is that?

Is it true that men are only moved when they are pushed?

Is it true that men are only moved when they are pushed hard?

Or is it just mass ignorance?

WHO IS KNOWLEDGEABLE ABOUT THE US CONSTITUTION?

In that same Stanford Daily Online article, Kennedy is reported as saying:

“A democracy will fail if there isn’t a will to uphold its universal values…. It requires people to be interested and knowledgeable about the Constitution.”

Agreed. Agreed.

So, perhaps MORE should be done in the schools to get the students – as future citizens – to UNDERSTAND their Constitution and perhaps LESS should be done to force things such as the indoctrinational Pledge of Allegiance down their throats or to force the placement of some devout man’s personal religious symbols such as the Ten Commandments in our schools or office buildings.

Many in our nation have their “priority wires” crossed.

How about making a test of the understanding of the U.S. Constitution a prerequisite for getting into college?

That would be a start.

See ETS on the Issues for more on educational tests.

The Other Side of Patents

Via LawMeme – The Forgotten Inventor of Surround Sound, Steven Wu points us to a November 2, 2003 article by Dave Scheiber in the St. Petersburg Times entitled “Sound Recognition“.

The author of the article, Dave Scheiber, is the cousin of Peter Scheiber, who is the inventor of “quadrophonic sound”, and his article relates the trials and tribulations of his cousin in the patent law and litigation world.

As I understand that article, Scheiber was too much his own lawyer and did not properly bring in the right legal professionals to protect his interests as an inventor. His experiences are a lesson to every prospective inventor. If you DO make a signficant discovery capable of patentability, get the best patent lawyer you can find and recognize that while you may be an expert in YOUR chosen field, you are not an expert in the law. Scheiber simply made too many legal and negotiation-related mistakes along the way and now has been left holding an empty bag. But it appears to be his own fault, not a fault of the law.