May 9 roundup

  • Next sector for a boom in IP litigation: trade secrets? [Ike Brannon]
  • Creating split among federal appeals courts, Seventh Circuit rules auto-erotic asphyxiation falls under insurance policy exclusion for “self-inflicted injury.” [Volokh; Tran v. Minnesota Life Insurance Company] In its commentary, the Institute for Justice is willing to go there: “Will the Supreme Court resolve the split? Don’t hold your breath.”
  • “The county has assigned at least four prosecutors to handle the Bellevue cat case” as Miska, the most notorious cat in King County, Washington, lawyers up [KIRO, update]
  • I’m quoted in article on Supreme Court’s agreeing to consider whether 1964 ban on employment discrimination because of sex includes ban on transgender discrimination [Nicole Russell, Washington Examiner]
  • Federalist Society podcast on populist antitrust with Babette Boliek, Geoffrey Manne, William Rinehart, Hal Singer, and Joanna Tsai;
  • Did a mobile home park violate housing discrimination law by checking applicants’ lawful immigration status? Fourth Circuit ruling threatens to open “disparate-impact” floodgates Supreme Court warned of in earlier case [Ilya Shapiro and Nathan Harvey on Cato cert amicus in Waples Mobile Home Park v. de Reyes]


  • One complaint alleged the cat was ‘viscous’. I suggest the complainant chill out. That will generally make something solid.


  • “Next sector for a boom in IP litigation: trade secrets?”

    That would seem problematic. As I understand you can only sue people who have a contractual or other legal obligation to keep the secret and reveal it to a third party, you can’t sue the recipient, even if they pass it on. And once the secret is out of the bag, you lose even that going forward.

  • On the issue of trans rights: a huge can of worms is opened up by trans rights and employers. Trans people seem particularly prone to offense and lawsuits. The bathroom issue can be a big problem. Some work places have locker rooms and showers because they have gym facilities or their workplace requires it (dirty factory work). “Women” with a penis showering with female employees can be an explosive issue. As for pronouns, in a large company it is simply impossible for everyone to know about the trans individuals and their special pronouns, especially when it is claimed that these can change daily. Thus there is a gotcha due to lack of information. While there may not be many of them, their demands are so impossible and likely to cause problems (in the showers for example) that giving special rights is an invitation to abuse.

    The mobile home park as I understand it was trying to follow the law and prevent raids by ICE. Nothing like getting sued for following the law.

    • pronouns

      Some of the (non-trans) people I work with have ambiguous first names (i.e., a man named Nana). It is not uncommon for people who have never met them to use the wrong he vs. she pronouns when referring to them. As we’re not in California, it’s just a “whoops, sorry” and move on, but if it becomes an actual offense, like some want? Yeesh. And that’s without any trans or gender fluidity issues, let alone neologistic pronouns.