Latest & Greatest – Patent It Yourself: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Filing at the U.S. Patent Office

 By David Pressman and David E. Blau  Published by Nolo Press  KF 3144.6 .P74 2018

By David Pressman and David E. Blau

Published by Nolo Press

KF 3144.6 .P74 2018

Do you think that you’ve created the world’s greatest invention, the thing that will be talked about for ages to come? Or perhaps, it’s not something so grandiose, but nevertheless useful. At any rate, no matter the invention, you want to protect it or commercially market it. So, what can you do? A good place to start is Patent It Yourself: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Filing at the U.S. Patent Office. Now in its 19th edition, Patent It Yourself guides its readers through the patent process: from the patentability search through the preparation of the patent application to the filing of the necessary paperwork.

The book begins with an introduction to patents and the other types of intellectual property, such as trademarks, copyright, and trade secrets before moving onto the nuts and bolts of submitting an application for a patent. The authors, two patent attorneys, also present some questions to consider when filing for a patent or when thinking about filing for one: will the invention sell? Is it patentable? Is a patentability search necessary, and if so, how is it done? The authors also address issues that may arise after a patent is issued, such as supplemental applications; use, maintenance, and infringement; and ownership, assignment, and licensing of the invention.

Aside from the information contained in the text, there is a lot of useful information in the appendices:

  • a list of government publications and patent websites;

  • glossary of technical terms;

  • glossary of legal terms,

  • a quick-reference timing chart, and

  • forms.

There is also a Quick-Start Guide at the front that points readers to specific chapters depending on the task at hand. Before you send that application off to the Patent Office, be sure to have a look at Patent It Yourself: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Filing at the U.S. Patent Office. It can make the process much easier to navigate.

Wills and Probate Resource Month - October 2018

Wills and Probate Resources Book Graphic 2018.png

October is Wills and Probate Resource Month at the Harris County Law Library. All month long, you will find materials on wills, estate planning, and probate and trust administration on display in the Law Library and online.

Self-Help Guides from Nolo Press

Nolo’s Plan Your Estate is your go-to estate planning guide. With coverage of common estate planning goals, such as leaving property, providing for minors, planning for incapacity, avoiding probate, and reducing the estate tax, it is a go-to source for easy-to-understand estate planning information. Another useful Nolo resource is Estate Planning Basics. Both of these Nolo titles can be found in our Self-Help Collection in the Law Library. For assistance in finding these guides, please ask a member of the reference staff.

TexasLawHelp Wills & Estate Planning

TexasLawHelp.org is an incredibly useful online legal research tool for the general public. Take a look at their Wills & Estate Planning resources for information about filing a small estate affidavit, a transfer on death deed, or an affidavit of heirship. Also find a link to the Texas Probate Passport, a publication of the Texas Young Lawyer’s Association.

Harris County Law Library Research Guides

Visit our Research Guides page to download a free copy of our Probate, Trusts, and Estates Research Guide. This topical guide helps you quickly find the most practical resources available at the Law Library, including the Texas Probate System, a State Bar of Texas publication, and O’Connor’s Texas Probate Law Handbook (both of which are pictured above).Ask for these and other titles at the Law Library reference desk.

Register to vote... at your local public library

Register by October 9

Tomorrow, October 9, 2018, is the last day Texans can register to vote if they intend to cast a ballot on November 6, 2018 (per the Texas Secretary of State). If you’ve waited until the last minute, your local public libraries, including the Harris County Law Library, are here to help.

Texas Public Libraries = Voter Registration Agencies

Under the National Voter Rights Act of 1993, states can designate “voter registration agencies” to distribute and accept voter registration forms (see NVRA Q&A from the US Dept. of Justice). Texas has designated all public libraries as voter registration agencies in §20.001 of the Texas Election Code. That means you can find voter registration applications on hand at the Harris County Law Library and other libraries open to the public like Harris County Public Library. You can also complete and submit the form in your community at your local library, which makes it easy and convenient to get ready for election day on November 6, 2018.

Further Reading

Latest & Greatest – Legal Malpractice Insurance in One Hour for Lawyers

 By JoAnn L. Hathaway  Published by American Bar Association. Law Practice Division.  KF 313 .H38 2017

By JoAnn L. Hathaway

Published by American Bar Association. Law Practice Division.

KF 313 .H38 2017

Part of the popular In One Hour series published by the American Bar Association, Legal Malpractice Insurance in One Hour for Lawyers is a handy reference guide that sorts through the confusion surrounding lawyers professional liability (LPL) insurance. Author JoAnn Hathaway provides the information lawyers need to select the best LPL coverage for their practice. With this book, lawyers will learn about the costs involved in acquiring the insurance, the relevance of responses on the LPL insurance application, and the how-tos of choosing the right carrier. The author walks her readers through a “typical” LPL insurance policy and explains key provisions and endorsements. She also sheds some light on coverage limits and the practice of claims-made coverage. And what happens if you change firms or form a new one? Hathaway has some answers for you on that issue as well.

Before you purchase LPL insurance for your practice, have a look at Legal Malpractice Insurance in One Hour for Lawyers. One hour now can save you from lots of headaches later.

DMCA Handbook for Online Service Providers, Websites, and Copyright Owners

 By Connie J. Mabelson  Published by American Bar Association. Section of Intellectual Property Law.  KF 3030.1 .M33 2018

By Connie J. Mabelson

Published by American Bar Association. Section of Intellectual Property Law.

KF 3030.1 .M33 2018

Enacted in 1998 as the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Act, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) protects online service providers (OSPs) from contributory copyright infringement in connection with the transmitting, caching, storing, or indexing of online copyrighted content. Within the DMCA are four safe harbors that give immunity to OSPs from monetary damages resulting from copyright infringement. Of course, some things are easier said than done. That is where attorney Connie J. Mabelson and her book DMCA Handbook for Online Service Providers, Websites, and Copyright Owners come in to save the day. Mabelson explains all that OSPs need to know about acquiring the immunity and protection promised by the DMCA in the event that the OSP, either knowingly or unknowingly, transmitted, cached, stored, or indexed infringing content on its servers. She begins, though, with the basics. She defines an OSP and what qualifies as a service provider, whether it be a website, a search engine, or a host of other providers of online content. She then provides an overview of the content protected by copyright law, how such content can be infringed upon, specifically in an online environment, and the affirmative defenses that an alleged infringer may assert in a suit for copyright infringement.

Mabelson reminds us that OSPs can limit their liability for claims of contributory or vicarious copyright infringement through the application of the safe harbors set forth in the DMCA. These safe harbors exist for transmitting, caching, storing, and indexing online content. However, the safe harbors can only be used if the OSP is eligible and if the OSP followed the process specifically laid out in the DMCA, including the take-down process. The author also includes some sample forms, such as take-down notices and letters to alleged infringers.

Whether you are a website owner, copyright owner, or content creator, you will want to read DMCA Handbook for Online Service Providers, Websites, and Copyright Owners for a clearer understanding of the DMCA, its requirements, and its protections.

Hurricane Harvey Recovery Resources

On this day in 2017, Harris County was still reeling from the devastation caused by the worst flooding event in U.S. history. A year later, Hurricane Harvey's toll is still being felt throughout our community. That is why the Harris County Law Library remains committed to connecting those impacted with relevant information about resources and services to help with recovery. Visit our Harvey Recovery Resources page or visit our downtown Houston location to find information on legal helplines, referral services, and clinics that can help with the legal aspects of the recovery process.

Latest & Greatest – How to Build and Manage a Family Law Practice

 By Mark A. Chinn  Published by the American Bar Association, Section of Family Law, Law Practice Division  KF 300 .C455 2018

By Mark A. Chinn

Published by the American Bar Association, Section of Family Law, Law Practice Division

KF 300 .C455 2018

Author Mark Chinn, an attorney specializing in family law since 1988, notes in his book, How to Build and Manage a Family Law Practice, that family law is “one of the most unique and challenging specialties in law” because practitioners are required to know more than just the law; they must be litigators, accountants, and psychologists. He doesn’t say this to dissuade lawyers from taking on this specialty but rather to remind them how special and how personal this area of law is. Drawing on his own experience in starting a family law practice, Chinn encourages lawyers who are seeking to specialize in family law to set aside any fears and make the jump. To help those who are willing to take that leap, Chinn offers some practical advice about establishing a family law practice. He guides the reader through the initial tasks of starting out: dealing with the tangible items, i.e. location choice, furniture, equipment; establishing procedures for day-to-day and regular operations and customer service; marketing; and making decisions regarding staffing. He then moves onto the practicalities of maintaining and managing a law practice: fees and billing and managing cases, time, and finances.

When it comes to client relations, Chinn, however, takes a different tack. He discusses how to deal with clients from initial intake through trial preparation and addresses how to interact with them, stressing throughout that in many family law cases, the level of emotion involved increases, thereby making client interactions a bit more challenging and perhaps requiring a bit more counseling on the part of the lawyer. He also devotes a chapter to service and suggests ways for lawyers to become more service-oriented rather than results-oriented. Lastly, Chinn reminds lawyers that to be able to do one’s best, one must be healthy in mind, body, and spirit.

If you are considering a family law practice or even your own legal practice, consult How to Build and Manage a Family Law Practice first for some solid advice.

Legal History of Mexico: From the Era of Exploration of the New World to the Present

 By Francisco A. Avalos  Published by William S. Hein & Co., Inc.  KGF 292 .A93 2017

By Francisco A. Avalos

Published by William S. Hein & Co., Inc.

KGF 292 .A93 2017

Author Francisco A. Avalos, a retired law librarian and associate professor of legal research, set about compiling a comprehensive research guide for the legal and general history of Mexico in his book, Legal History of Mexico: From the Era of Exploration of the New World to the Present. He traces Mexico’s legal history beginning with the exploration, discovery, and conquest of the New World through the Aztec Empire to the current Mexican legal system with the Colonial Period of New Spain and the Mexican Revolution in between.

During the period of exploration, discovery, and conquest, legal principles were based primarily on papal bulls, proclamations issued by the Pope having legal and moral authority and allowing for the expansion of lands over which the Catholic faith would have domain. Because the actual conquest was a contractual relationship between the Spanish Crown and the explorer, conquistadors were required to follow a legal procedure established by the Crown prior to and during the undertaking of the conquest. When the conquistadors arrived in Mexico, namely Hernan Cortés, they found a civilization that already had a legal system in place. Many of the primary materials concerning the legal system of the Aztec Empire have been lost as are a lot of the details describing it. However, according to Avalos, much of the Aztec law was based on custom and tradition. Religion also played a large role in the legal system devised by the Aztecs, and, in the Aztec judiciary structure, religious courts had jurisdiction over all religious matters. The author examines in detail some substantive areas of Aztec law, including family law, property law, economic law, tax and tribute law, criminal law, treaty law, and the law of war. Other areas of interest discussed by the author is the Aztec social system, which was separated into classes, and the Aztec government, which was divided into two entities with the Emperor sitting at the head.

Avalos also focused on the legal history of New Spain, covering the period from the fall of the Aztec Empire (1522) to the independence of Mexico (1821). This period is characterized by the establishment of the government and judiciary by the Spanish Crown and the enactment of various laws, including the Laws of the Indies, a three-volume compilation divided into nine books and 218 titles. One of the unique laws to come out of this period was the Derecho Indiano, a combination of Castilian law and indigenous law that was meant to be the major source for public and administrative law in New Spain.

The author also discusses the legal systems and laws that arose during important parts of Mexican history, such as the Independence Period (1800-1821), the Reform Period (1857-1861), the Second Mexican Empire (1861-1867), the “Porfiriato” Period (1877-1911), the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920), and present day. He focuses on laws that were enacted during those specific periods and the legal and historical significance surrounding such laws and how the events occurring in those periods affected the laws that were enacted. For instance, the Reform Period, coming on the heels of Mexican independence, is historically significant because its laws formed the basis of the Mexican Constitution of 1857 and the current Mexican Constitution, which is that of 1917. Avalos also examines in detail the provisions of the Constitution of 1917, which was viewed as a document that would ignite and bring about social change.

Throughout history, the legal system of Mexico has undergone numerous changes. Avalos sets out to document these changes, from the legal system and government implemented by the Aztec Empire through its existence as New Spain to its tumultuous existence in the 20th Century. If you want to learn more about Mexico’s complex legal history, have a look at Legal History of Mexico: From the Era of Exploration of the New World to the Present.

 

Latest & Greatest – I Remember Atticus: Inspiring Stories Every Trial Lawyer Should Know

 By Jim M. Perdue  Published by Texas Bar Books  KF 8700 .P47 2004

By Jim M. Perdue

Published by Texas Bar Books

KF 8700 .P47 2004

Taking perhaps the most famous fictional lawyer as his inspiration and muse, author Jim M. Perdue weaves together true stories that inspire trial lawyers to strive toward the attributes that Atticus Finch embodies and become the type of lawyer who commits to his clients and sees that justice is done. Perdue divides his book, I Remember Atticus: Inspiring Stories Every Trial Lawyer Should Know, into five main sections, each focusing on a different quality: faith, freedom, equality, courage, and perseverance. Using the story of Susanna from the Book of Daniel as the basis for his discussion of faith, Perdue delves into the role that faith played in the modeling of the law and how justice is a product of faith. From the Ten Commandments to the parables of Jesus, Perdue points out the lessons and morals to have come from these laws and stories. For his chapter on freedom, the author relates the story of Edward Bushell, a juror on a case against William Penn and William Mead, who refused to be bullied into giving a verdict with which he did not agree. He and several jurors were subsequently jailed for their verdict. For equality, Perdue examines the Haywood trial, a case in which the general secretary of the Western Federation of Miners was accused of hiring a hitman to kill the former governor of Idaho and yet, despite the powerful forces against him, was found not guilty. Courage is exemplified by the story and trial of the so-called Scottsboro boys, African-American youths who were accused of raping two white women on a train in Alabama. Reverend Joseph DeLaine is the author’s inspiration for perseverance for his fight to achieve equal educational opportunities for African-American schoolchildren in Clarendon County, South Carolina. Rounding out his book, Perdue offers facts that every trial lawyer should know and describes how trial lawyers can frame their own stories.

Be inspired. Read this book.