Friday, February 14, 2014

SUPPORT CHRIS' KICKSTARTER FOR THE BEER SCHOLAR STUDY GUIDES FOR THE CICERONE PROGRAM EXAMS!

I launched a KickStarter to help raise money for an initial print run of study guides for the Certified Beer Server and the Certified Cicerone exams. For all the information you need about the study guides, check out this Beer Scholar FAQ page.  After only a day and a half it's nearly 50% funded!

If you're a beer geek and want to raise your game by taking the Certified Beer Server or Certified Cicerone exams, pick up a copy during the KickStarter while they're less expensive.

If you know any beer geeks who may be interested, please let them know about it or link it on your social media sites.

Every little bit of spreading the word helps. Thank you!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Chris is a Certified Cicerone and is now working as a beer consultant!

It's been a few years since we arrived in San Francisco! After working for several years as an attorney, I'm excited to announce that I've made the move into the beer business.

Since 2009 I've explored the growing craft beer scene in the US in a deep way, learning about the industry and making contacts all over California and beyond. I also started homebrewing in 2009, I love the the community of people around the hobby. Obviously, I learned a ton about beer this way and have become a beer judge thanks to the knowledge I gained about beer styles and brewing technique.

I launched the San Francisco Homebrewers Guild in February of 2012. I have served as the President of the SFHG for 2012 and 2013. Only a year and a half after launching the Guild, we have over 130 annual-dues-paying members, hold monthly meetings at Anchor Brewing, and organize four BJCP-AHA registered homebrew competitions per year on top of plenty of other events including Homebrew Shares and brewery tours.

I earned my Certified Cicerone® status in 2013 by passing the rigorous Certified Cicerone test. The Cicerone program tests knowledge of beer styles and history, beer off flavors and how they come about, food and beer pairing, properly running and cleaning tap systems, and proper beer service. A high level of beer knowledge is required to pass. There is only one higher level in the Cicerone program, that of Master Cicerone, of which there are currently only seven. I will be preparing for the Master Cicerone test over the coming years.

I celebrated earning my Certified Cicerone status by taking a three week trip to two of my favorite beer (and whiskey) producing countries - Scotland and Belgium! Here are some pics from my beer travel adventures to Scotland and Belgium. Prior to that huge European beer trip, I went on a week-long road trip down the coast of California to visit breweries. Ultimately, the trip ended with a massive two day bottle share with friends in San Diego, which included some of the greatest and rarest beer on Earth, plus the 7th Annual Stone Sour Fest.

I recently launched a new website to make folks aware of my availability for beer consulting services: Chris Cohen, Cicerone. I am highly qualified to help bars and restaurants that want to take the beer programs to the next level by helping them put together a great beer list and by training their staff in proper beer service. I am also available to help with setting up beer dinners and other fun beer tasting events. I am based in San Francisco but am available for travel.

Please don't be shy about getting in touch, I can talk about beer all day!


Monday, July 14, 2008

Road trip!!!!!

Hey everyone, I have a new blog for anyone who is interested: The Massive Roadtrip

My fiance and I are leaving New York and moving out west, but we're doing a huge roadtrip on our way out there! Come with us via our blog!

UPDATE 2009: We've made it to San Fran, moved right in and made ourselves at home. We love it out here, come visit us! Go to the link above to see some pics from our first months out here.

Steamboat Springs, CO

Monday, July 16, 2007

Life goes on

This is just a 7/2007 update on what's happening with me --

It's been awhile since I've posted. I just haven't been in the IP blogging mood for a long long time. I still follow IP happenings, just not blogging it.

In more exciting news, it seeems that I'm going to be moving to San Fran in 2008 and I also recently got engaged to my girlfriend of 5 years. Exciting stuff!

So all in all, life is going on and going on well.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The PTO allows trademark for "Dykes on Bikes"



Good stuff.

The US patent office has reversed position and approved a request to let a lesbian San Francisco motorcycle club trademark the name "Dykes on Bikes," the office confirmed.

"The original reaction of the examiner was to reject it because he considered the term (dykes) disparaging," Brigid Quinn of the US patent office told AFP.

"The applicant got lots of evidence, from everyone from lawyers to academics, that the term wasn't considered disparaging in the lesbian community."

An examiner approved the Dykes on Bikes trademark on December 5, Quinn said. After the decision is formally published, opponents will have 30 days to argue against finalizing the decision, according to Quinn.

Dykes on Bikes has led every Gay Pride Parade in San Francisco since the first procession some 30 years ago.

AFP: Lesbian motorcycle brigade to get 'Dykes on Bikes' trademark

Flat Foldable Batteries



It's been awhile since I posted about new tech, but this is really cool. It sounds like some cyberpunk William Gibson or Neal Stephenson. I'm all for some clothes that compute and whatnot.

The possibilities for NEC's 'flattery' - as we like to call it - are endless. Smartcards have been touted as an obvious use, but it would fit in nicely with the idea of intelligent paper too. Before long, you might be rolling up your Powerpoint presentation and handing out your interactive business cards.

There are no official plans to use it in any products yet, but NEC has promised to 'carry out aggressive research and development' to enhance the performance and make it a commericial reality.

Stuff Article.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

BAR/BRI & Kaplan Sued Under Antitrust Law over Secret Agreements

Bar/Bri & Kaplan have been sued under antitrust laws for having a secret agreement to stay out of each others markets so that they could overcharge for their product. Anyone who's ever taken Bar/Bri knows they paid far too much.

LawCrossing Article: BAR/BRI And Kaplan Class Action:

A complaint filed against BAR/BRI bar review and the West Publishing Corporation and Kaplan, Inc., in Los Angeles, claims more than 300,000 lawyers and law students were each charged an estimated $1,000 extra for bar review courses.

The April 29 lawsuit against the country's biggest bar exam and LSAT preparation companies, filed as a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, alleges that BAR/BRI and test-preparation company Kaplan, Inc., agreed to illegally dividing the LSAT and bar exam test-preparation market.

The suit claims that under the alleged agreement, BAR/BRI withdrew from the LSAT preparation business and Kaplan agreed not to enter the bar-review course market. The complaint charges that "without substantial competition, BAR/BRI's net prices per student then increased substantially in most states." It claims that from 1997 to the present, Kaplan and BAR/BRI "have concealed their conspiracy to divide the market." The lawsuit claims BAR/BRI students were overcharged about $300 million since August 1997 and said customers may deserve $1,000 each in refunds.

"I do think it's curious that there's a single dominant provider nationwide," said Eric Goldman, a law professor at Marquette University Law School. "There's no indicia that the bar exam-preparation market is a natural monopoly, and most other test-prep areas have competition. So why is there only one dominant vendor in the bar exam-preparation area?"
...
"[BAR/BRI] seems to be the school-sanctioned choice, and I don't know anyone who has signed up for another method," said Oskin.
...
Rod Borlase is an attorney-mediator and said law students have been easy targets for exploitation because they often buy into the intense competitive nature of law school and of bar- and other prep courses.

"Practice aids throughout law school, particularly first year, then bar review courses after graduation—it's just one blood-sucking vulture after another," said Borlase. "On the other hand, I wouldn't want to take a bar exam without a review course, although I know some who have successfully."

New Legislation Proposed to Limit Access to Violent Video Games



No one wants kids of 16 and under playing games like Grand Theft Auto -- that's why the ESRB rates the games, so that parents can determine which ones they want to purchase for their kids. With all the problems in this country and with our foriegn adventuring, it's a shame to see top Dems wasting their time on this crap, similar laws have already been ruled a violation of the First Amendment in several states:

Senator Hillary Clinton and former vice presidential nominee Joseph Lieberman meanwhile launched new legislation intended to protect kids from graphic, violent and sexual material on their game consoles.

The National Institute on Media and the Family said in its annual report that video game retailors had failed to honor promises to safeguard children from violent and sexual content in new generation video games.

"There has been significant industry progress and reforms over the last decade, but ever more violent and sadistic games are still ending up in the hands of children," said the institute's president David Walsh.
Hillary Clinton targets new rise in video game violence

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Prior Restraint in the UK: Editors who Publish Leaked Doc Re Bombing Al Jazeera will be Prosecuted



The UK is threatening major newspapers with a lawsuit over a story concerning a leaked document in which the UK and US Govts discuss whether to bomb the offices of the Al Jazeera newspaper. This would probably be an unacceptable example of a prior restraint in the US, despite the probability that the document is slightly damaging to national security. It's a fact that the UK isn't as serious about US style free speech -- this is evident when you consider the UK defamation laws, which are much easier to sue successfully under than in the US. Perhaps prior restraint is another example of difference in free speech in the UK and US. The lesson for Bush and Blair here -- don't record embarrassing ideas like this in leakable meeting minutes.

UK Times Online: Editors are threatened over TV station bombing claim

NEWSPAPERS editors were threatened with prosecution under the Official Secrets Act last night if they published details of a conversation between Tony Blair and George Bush in which the President is alleged to have suggested bombing al-Jazeera, the Arab news network. Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney-General, informed newspapers editors including that of The Times that “publication of a document that has been unlawfully disclosed by a Crown servant could be in breach of Section 5 of the Official Secrets Act.”

The Blair Government has obtained court injunctions against newspapers before but it has never prosecuted editors for publishing the contents of leaked documents.

Under a front-page headline “Bush plot to bomb his ally” in the Daily Mirror yesterday, a secret minute of the conversation in April 2004 records the President allegedly suggesting that he would like to bomb the channel’s studios in Doha, capital of Qatar. Richard Wallace, the Editor of the Daily Mirror, said last night: “We made No 10 fully aware of the intention to publish and were given ‘no comment’ officially or unofficially. Suddenly 24 hours later we are threatened under Section 5.”

Very smooth guys. Winning over those hearts and minds like crazy aren't you?

Strange Sign Posting re Tourists Buying Fakes on Canal St in NYC


Gothamist readers are making some funny comments on it.

We spotted this sign on Wooster near Canal Street, close to where all the vendors are selling bootleg Prada bags and illicit DVDs. The sign seems a little low-production value for the Motion Picture Association of America-- so we're curious who is behind it. Any ideas?
Check it out here, thanks Gothamist.

Monday, November 28, 2005

SCOTUS to hear eBay appeal re when injuctions for patent infringement are warranted

The Supreme's are going to take a look at patent warehousing and when injunctions for infringement are appropriate. I'm not very knowledgeable about patent law, but I know there is lots of discussion among patent-types concerning how patents are being used offensively in an unfair manner -- some companies register patents soley to possess the rights to the technology and then sue companies that use similar technology. This is how I understand it: when a court decides an injunction against a potential infringer is warranted that infringer is essentially hostage to the claimant if the technology is necessary to their business model, leading to big payouts in cases where the infringement is not always clear.

WaPo: Supreme Court Will Hear eBay Appeal

The U.S. Supreme Court said on Monday that it would consider an appeal by online auctioneer eBay Inc. in a case that could determine when it is appropriate to grant an injunction against a patent infringer.
...
Experts said the case would give the Supreme Court a chance to define when an injunction should apply and comes as the patent community is debating to what extent patent holders who do not intend to practice their inventions should be allowed to extract profitable licenses from others.
...
The eBay case has attracted interest among those who believe it has become too easy to hold businesses hostage through patent suits.

A group of 35 patent law professors filed a friend of the court brief arguing that an entitlement to an injunction allows unscrupulous patent owners to threaten products that are predominantly noninfringing. A computer chip, they noted, may include 5,000 different inventions.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

67% Bar Exam Pass Rate in NY State

NewsDay.com article:

More than 6,800 candidates passed the state bar examination in July, the state Board of Law Examiners said Thursday.

Out of 10,171 candidates who took the test on July 26 and July 27, 6,805 passed. That's a 67 percent pass rate. The candidates who passed the exam still have to apply to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court to be licensed to practice law.

New York, with 142,538 resident or active lawyers as of Dec. 31, 2004, had the most of any state in the country. California was second with 139,371 and Texas was third with 69,405, according to the American Bar Association.


A list of those who passed can be found at the following link. Below is a blurb from NYBarExam.org:

The New York State Board of Law Examiners has completed grading the papers written by applicants for admission to the Bar at the examination held on July 26-27, 2005. The Board examined 10,175 candidates for the July 2005 bar examination, the most that it has ever examined for an administration of the bar examination. Of the 10,175 candidates examined, 6,809 passed the examination for an overall pass rate of 67%.

Of the 8,609 applicants taking the examination for the first time, 6,537 passed for an overall first time pass rate of 76%. Of the 8,000 graduates of an ABA approved law school who took the examination, 6,090 passed for a pass rate of 76.1%. 7,152 of the graduates of an ABA approved law school took the examination for the first time, and 5,914 passed for a pass rate of 83%.

Of the 6,809 applicants who passed the examination, 5,728 were certified for admission to the Appellate Division. These applicants who were certified for admission must appear before the Committee on Character and Fitness appointed by the Appellate Division in each Judicial District of the State to be examined as to his or her character and fitness. The remaining 1,081 candidates who were successful on the bar examination will be certified for admission upon receipt by the Board of proof that they have successfully completed the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination as required by the Rules of the New York State Court of Appeals for the Admission of Attorneys and Counselors at law.


Random factoid:
27 "Cohens" passed all together (and 3 "Cohns"), so I'm in good company on that count. :)
I saw 11 "Changs" and 14 "Chens" nearby, but I'd guess that "Cohen" is the 'most passingest' name in NY.
Oh...no wait...there's 31 "Smiths." Pooh on them and their most common of names. :)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Passed the New York Bar Exam!!

The title of the post pretty much sums it up -- I found out this morning that I passed the New York State Bar Exam!

I am certainly relieved. I should also note that so far everyone I've spoken to has reported that they also passed (including my girlfriend, for those who know us personally). In general, Cardozo has a pretty high passing rate, approaching 90% I believe, which is not bad at all as the NYS bar is supposed to be one of the most difficult. Thank god I don't have to go through that again...at least no time soon.

Tonight...bottoms UP!

Here's my thoughts (ok, rant) on the bar exam in a former post.

PI litigators moving into IP

Here's an interesting article concerning PI trial attorneys who are trying to break into the IP biz. Apparently, with all the ongoing 'tort reform,' the booming IP market is looking better and better to attorneys.

...in Texas, particularly in East Texas towns like Marshall and Tyler and Longview, a lot of firms want to do what The Roth Law Firm has done: transition from personal injury work -- in steady decline since the Texas legislature got serious about tort reform -- to intellectual property work, where business is booming. And one place it is booming in particular is Marshall, home of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The Marshall court has a reputation for speedy litigation; a judge -- T. John Ward -- with a fondness for patent cases; and what a lot of lawyers on both sides of the aisle say are plaintiff-friendly juries. Not surprisingly, plaintiffs are flocking to Marshall...

"It's a very logical transition," says Frank Branson, who heads a nine-lawyer personal injury firm in Dallas. "IP and product liability and medical malpractice all involve complex theories that you have to break down into layman's language." While Branson has yet to land a patent suit, he has been positioning his firm to make it more patent-litigation friendly.
...
While the transition from PI to IP may seem natural, it's also risky, and perhaps not quite as lucrative as budding patent litigators -- no doubt with visions of multimillion-dollar contingency wins -- may think. IP contingency work can be hard to come by. The Roth Firm, for example, represents plaintiffs in just 20 percent to 30 percent of its IP docket, which currently stands at 32 cases; the firm mainly defends patent infringement suits at an hourly rate. At $500 an hour, it's safe and steady work, but it's not a gold mine. It certainly hasn't been lucrative enough for the firm to scrap its personal injury practice.
...
What the patent work has done, however, is keep The Roth Firm's revenue steady in the wake of tort reform. While it now has just one or two medical malpractice cases pending at any given time, its patent docket has tripled since 2001.

For a lot of plaintiffs lawyers, the transition to IP work can't come soon enough. Legislation passed in 2003 in Texas capped pain and suffering awards in medical malpractice cases at $250,000. "Many of the people who have done medical malpractice in the past are now unwilling to do it," says Eduardo Rodriguez, president of the State Bar of Texas. "It's not unusual for a med mal case to cost $300,000 and up. People are not willing to spend that if there is no potential to have a fairly big recovery." Smith says that med mal filings are down 90 percent in Texas since the legislation went into effect.

Prof. Susan Crawford nominated to Board of ICANN

Congratulations to my former Professor at the Cardozo School of Law, Susan Crawford, for being nominated to the board of ICANN! They couldn't have chosen a more knowledgeable, intelligent, and personable candidate. Best of luck to Susan in her new role.

Here's a snip from the ICANN press release:

After a thorough period of outreach, consultation, recruitment, and evaluation, the Nominating Committee (NomCom) of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced today its final selection of four 'slates' of Nominees for four of ICANN's leadership bodies: the Board of Directors, the Council of the Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO), the Council of the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) and the Interim At Large Advisory Committee (ALAC). The Nominees will join the already seated members of these bodies on 4 December 2005 at the conclusion of the Annual General Meeting of the ICANN in Vancouver, Canada.

ICANN is a not-for--profit organization responsible for coordinating the global Internet's systems of unique identifiers, including the systems of domain names and numeric addresses that are used to reach all computers on the Internet. ICANN's mission is to ensure the stable and secure operation of these unique identifier systems, which are vital to the Internet's operation. In addition, ICANN coordinates policy development related to these technical functions.

"We are pleased that excellent candidates from all five geographic regions participated in this third NomCom process," said Nominating Committee Chair and spokesperson George Sadowsky. "Such participation reflects the Internet community's considerable reserve of talent, experience, and willingness to undertake these volunteer leadership roles essential to ICANN's evolution and continued technical coordination on behalf of the entire global Internet user community."

The Nominees:

ICANN Board

Njeri Rionge (Kenya, Africa)

Susan Crawford (USA, North America)

Terms: Conclusion of ICANN Annual Meeting for 2005 until conclusion of ICANN Annual Meeting for 2008

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