Blawg: Web Log Highlights Light Side of Intellectual Property Law
Price, Marie, THE JOURNAL RECORD
From "patent trolls" to the legal tussle over which city gets to call itself "Surf City USA," it's all fair fodder for PHOSITA, the award-winning law blog operated by members of an Oklahoma City law firm.
"What we wanted to do was not be a stuffy law newsletter or anything like that, but have a little bit more fun, and kind of use it to give a face to the types of people that work in our firm," said Doug Sorocco, a director and shareholder of Dunlap, Codding and Rogers.
Sorocco said those in the legal blogosphere tend to have a good sense of humor.
"The people who do it are usually a little irreverent, so it's kind of fun," he said.
About that name: In order to be patentable, an invention must not be obvious to a "person having ordinary skill in the art" (PHOSITA), or the field in which a person seeks to patent a particular invention.
Launched in January 2004, the PHOSITA blawg (law blog) was recently recognized as Best Group Blog by Lawyers in a Law Firm by Blawg Review. Last year, it was named Best Law Blog by Business Blogging Awards.
"I've been told that we're like the People Magazine of legal blogs," Sorocco said. "We want to provide information to folks. Yet we don't want to be just a tech newsletter or a legal newsletter, where it's this new rule or that new rule."
There are plenty of people who do those, he added.
"The things we have found from our readership is that they enjoy some of the intellectual property oddities that we pull up, or the weird things," Sorocco said.
Sorocco said an example of the latter might be choosing a trademark that means something obscene in a foreign language.
Then there is the protracted legal battle between the California cities of Huntington Beach and Santa Cruz over the right to use the term "Surf City USA" as a trademark - no, seriously.
"It's been very successful," Sorocco said of PHOSITA, which he said averages 20,000 to 25,000 contacts per week, including actual hits, e-mail viewers and those who subscribe to its RSS feed.
Sorocco said in blogging, "The concept is being involved in the conversation."
Operating a blawg has enabled Sorocco and the firm to network with many more colleagues and clients, and make more friends, than they could achieve through in-person contacts at conferences, meetings and the like.
"I meet everyone from the CEO of a Fortune 100 company down to an individual inventor in Hawaii," he said. "You never know who's going to e-mail you or ask you a question. And you just kind of keep that conversation going. …