Vt gov signs novel law against false patent claims

Vermont’s governor has signed the first-in-the-nation law aimed at protecting companies from so-called patent trolling — the practice of making deceptive claims of patent infringement in the hopes of collecting licensing or settlement money. The law, signed Wednesday by Gov. Peter Shumlin, allows courts to consider if a claim is deceptive and specifies other factors that can be considered as evidence. Courts can award damages or relief to Vermont companies wrongly pressured into paying licensing fees or a settlement, and the Vermont attorney general can conduct civil investigations and bring civil action against violators. Intellectual property law professor Eric Goldman of Santa Clara University in California said Vermont’s law is a novel approach but he said it’s unclear if Vermont has the authority to regulate patent activity. Via: Fox News Continue Reading

Ex-PSU prez seeks dismissal of criminal charges

Former Penn State President Graham Spanier has asked a county judge to throw out charges accusing him of helping cover up abuse allegations against former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Spanier’s lawyers filed the motion last week, citing his allegation that the university’s former top lawyer, Cynthia Baldwin, violated attorney-client confidentiality when she gave prosecutors information about him. He also argued that some of the charges were filed after the statute of limitations had run out. His attorney, Elizabeth Ainslie, said Wednesday the criminal case remains on hold while Spanier’s co-defendants, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, ask the state Supreme Court to review a recent decision by the grand jury judge that he did not have jurisdiction to throw out their charges. “We’re waiting for the Supreme Court to decide the issues that are very similar to our issues,” she said. Continue Reading

Surgeons remove tiger's basketball-sized hairball

It’s not unusual for a cat to get a hairball, but a 400-pound tiger needed help from veterinary surgeons in Florida when he couldn’t hack up a basketball-size hairball by himself. The 17-year-old tiger named Ty underwent the procedure Wednesday at a veterinary center in the Tampa Bay area community of Clearwater. Doctors said in a statement that they safely removed the 4-pound obstruction from Ty’s stomach. The tiger, which is cared for by Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation in Seminole, was brought to veterinarians after not eating for nearly two weeks. Doctors said they detected the hairball using a scope with a camera. Continue Reading

TAX

Iowa Senate Says “YES” to Property/Income Tax Cut

A plan to approve tax cuts for commercial property taxes and to reduce income taxes has been approved by the Iowa Senate. The Iowa legislature compromised today on the Republican-favored approach of rolling back commercial property tax rates by 10% over the next two years, along with a new tax credit for commercial property owners that was pushed by Democrats. The bill is now off to the House, which is Republican-led, and it’s expected to pass. Governor Terry Branstad said last week he would sign the plan as soon as it reaches his desk. Continue Reading

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UPDATE: Missing Girl’s Backpack Found

The backpack of 15 year old Kathlynn Shepard has been recovered by a search team of police and dogs. Another backpack was also found that belonged to the 12 year old girl who had escaped. The backpacks were found several miles south of a hog confinement where the girls were taken. Kathlynn Shepard and the 12 year old were abducted earlier this week while walking home from school in Dayton. The alleged kidnapper is 42 year old Michael Klunder, who was found dead of self inflicting injuries just hours after the 12 year old had escaped. Continue Reading

Arrest in latest anti-gay attack in New York City

A man has been arrested in connection with one of several anti-gay attacks in recent days in New York City. Police say Gornell Roman was charged Wednesday with assault and aggravated harassment, both as hate crimes. Roman is accused of yelling an anti-gay remark and attacking a drinking companion in Manhattan’s East Village on Monday. Roman and the victim, Dan Contarino, lived at a nearby homeless shelter. It was one of 2 anti-gay attacks authorities announced Tuesday following the killing of a gay man over the weekend. Continue Reading

Holy hammer! Man finds $100G comic book while remodeling Minnesota home

A home remodeler reportedly made the discovery of a lifetime while gutting a property in Minnesota: A 1938 comic book worth more than $100,000. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that David Gonzalez, 34, made the startling find amid old newspapers used to insulate a wall of a residence he was renovating in Elbow Lake, Minn. The Action Comics No. 1 issue, which features a new character named Superman hoisting a car above his head on its cover, has already attracted 31 bids in an online auction that runs through June 11, including one for $107,333. “I knew it was worth money,” the father of four told the newspaper. Continue Reading

Charity to help Cleveland kidnapping victims raises more than $650,000

The three women rescued after being held captive in a Cleveland house for about a decade say they are doing fine. That was the message in a letter released by their attorneys on Tuesday that also noted a charity fund to help the women has now raised more than $650,000. The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reports that attorneys who are representing Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight for free say the women are “happy and safe and continue to heal, a process that requires time and privacy.” They escaped from the home on Cleveland’s west side May 6. A former school bus driver, 52-year-old Ariel Castro, has been charged with three counts of rape and four counts of kidnapping, including Berry’s 6-year-old daughter fathered by Castro. Continue Reading

Teen pleads not guilty in deaths of Ohio brothers

A 17-year-old boy charged with killing two teenage brothers in northwest Ohio has pleaded not guilty. Michael Aaron Fay entered the pleas during an arraignment Tuesday in Putnam County Juvenile Court. He’s charged with delinquency in connection with aggravated murder. Fay is accused of killing 17-year-old Blake Romes and 14-year-old Blaine Romes in their Ottawa trailer May 9. An Amber Alert for all three teens was issued that day after the mother of the Romes teens discovered a gun and blood inside a trailer where the three boys lived with their mothers. Continue Reading