A friend recently showed me a ridiculous article that RBS posted on its website last year. (Please see The five trends shaping Germany to 2030.)
That post isn’t ridiculous because of the article’s content. It is ridiculous because the disclaimer RBS provided following that article, at 994 words, is almost twice as long as the article, itself!
RBS Disclaimer Details
Furthermore, if one reads the mind-numbing disclaimer word-by-word, one finds some interesting content.
Do you wonder why lawyers often have a bad reputation? If so, consider the ridiculous Yelp lawsuit alleging that Yelp’s reviewers are employees of the company.
Yelp is an online review site and local business search service. Consumers are encouraged to write reviews of, and rate their satisfaction with, various products and services.
Historically, controversies have concerned whether Yelp punishes businesses for not advertising on the site (which Yelp denies). More recently, business owners have complained about Yelp’s automated tools for removing false or inappropriate (e.g., paid) reviews based on unpublished criteria.
Chubby Checker (real name Ernest Evans) – the singer famous for The Twist dance craze in the 1960s – and certain corporations that he controls have filed a lawsuit against Hewlett-Packard Company and Palm, Inc. The suit concerns a no-longer-available app named “The Chubby Checker”.
The app purported to allow women to calculate the size of a man’s penis based on his shoe size. According to webOS Nation, the app was downloaded only 84 times before it was removed in September 2012. Yet press reports state that the plaintiffs are seeking damages of $500 million for trademark infringement and unfair competition!
With this post I am inaugurating a new feature that I expect will appear from time to time: Ridiculous contract provisions that I have run across. Today’s post is based on an agreement that I recently reviewed for a client.
The agreement provides standard terms and conditions by which a large utility in the Eastern United States works with its suppliers of products and services. The sentence in question says:
No change, amendment or modification of any of the provisions of this Contract will be binding unless in writing that identifies itself as an amendment to this Contract and that is issued by Company.
In other words, the Company apparently believes that the only requirement for an amendment should be that the Company issued it – irrespective of whether the supplier agrees to the change! Enough said….
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Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law? +1 510 547-0545? dana [at] danashultz [dot] com
This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer directly.
Twice during the past week clients have asked me to review (someone else’s) nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) that contain a stupid provision of a type that I had not seen for years. That provision is as follows:
RECIPIENT shall not be liable for inadvertent disclosure or use of CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION nor for unauthorized disclosure or use by persons who are or who have been in its employ or with whom it has contracted provided that it uses the same degree of care in safeguarding such CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION as it uses for its own CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION of like importance.
I consider the provision stupid for the following reasons:
An acquaintance recently showed be one of the worst contracts I have ever seen – one of the worst in the sense of unfair and unbalanced, and perhaps even unconscionable.
The company in question provides contract personnel for IT projects. Here is the agreement that candidates have to sign to be proposed for a client’s project [emphasis added]:
Today a client received an e-mail bounce-back from Spam Arrest, which provides a challenge-response system to stop automated junk mail. The first time a sender sends e-mail to a protected recipient, the sender must follow a link in the bounce-back message to a web page where, following user entry of a one-time verification code, the sender is identified as a legitimate e-mail sender.
During the past several years I have gone through the Spam Arrest verification process a few times and never thought much of it. But when I followed the link in the client’s e-mail, I saw something that, to the best of my knowledge, I had never seen before: the Sender Agreement reproduced toward the end of this post.