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Aubergines 2014


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Features Real-Time Video Streaming

GoPro, schmopro. Listen to this.

giroptic360Our client GIROPTIC, www.Giroptic.com, based in Lille, France, recently completed a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign that initially sought to raise only $150,000. But due to a wildly enthusiastic backer response, it was able to reach that goal on the very first day of its 45-day campaign.

Did GIROPTIC take its Kickstarter money and run? No way! It boldly raised its goal to $500,000 (called “stretch goals” in crowdfunding parlance), and then that goal was reached in only five days.

This brave doubling-down repeated itself three more times, resulting in a total raise of $1,419,068 in 45 days, for an ultimate result that was 946% of GIROPTIC’S humble initial goal. The phone has been ringing off the hook ever since at GIROPTIC’S modest headquarters in the Euratechnologies Business Cluster in Lille.

Richard Ollier, GIROPTIC’S CEO-Founder, when asked if the huge success broke any Kickstarter records, modestly admitted “I was told by Kickstarter it is the most successful campaign ever by a French company, which makes me very proud. I look forward to shipping our cameras by Christmas to our many wonderful and extremely supportive backers, and to filling the many additional orders that are pouring in. C’est incroyable!

Want to know more about the 360cam? Click here.




See Our Article Appearing In The Daily Journal.

There’s been no shortage recently of both interesting and bizarre cases about CEO misconduct and debatable conduct in the corporate sector. On June 24, 2014 Tom French’s article on this topic appeared in The Daily Journal, a statewide daily newspaper serving California’s lawyers, judges, law professors, legislators and others. It examines five of these cases and discusses the Board of Directors’ widely varying responses in each.

Click here to read article.




International Corporate Lawyer
She’s Fluent in Urdu, Zulu and Yoga

Fatima Jafri’s academic and professional focus is on international law, entrepreneurship, and emerging companies. Fatima completed her undergraduate degree at Trinity College, majoring in International Relations and Economics. She holds a Master’s Degree from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, in International Economics and Negotiations, and a J.D. from Northeastern School of Law. 

Fatima has experience working and advising early stage startups on incorporation, employment agreements, securities regulations and other legal matters.

Most recently, Fatima worked at Kiva Microfunds, where she focused on international lending laws and financial regulations for micro-finance institutions. She previously worked at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office in the felony unit and at the Southern District Court of New York for Judge Ronald Ellis. She has also worked at the United States Department of Commerce in the Commercial Law Development Program, focusing on economic development and technology transfer in the Middle East and South Asia.

Fatima is a yoga/Pilates enthusiast who loves traveling, reading and taking black and white photography. And she is fluent in Urdu. (We made up the Zulu part.)

You can contact Fatima at fatima@sffwlaw.com and 508.259.3906.



Domestic and International Corporate Counselling,
Intellectual Property, Customer Agreements
Comprise Her Core Competencies

Patricia Wyrod has joined us on a project basis to support the firm’s technology practice. Patricia has advised Silicon Valley technology companies for 15 years. Her past roles include associate general counsel at Silver Spring Networks which IPO’d in 2013 (2008-2013). Silver Spring’s revenue grew from $17M to $305M and staff grew 700% in this period.

She also acted as interim general counsel at Virgin American Airlines (2006) and was Vice President, Legal at SPL WorldGroup, an enterprise software company acquired by Oracle (2000-2005). In these roles Patricia provided day-to-day legal advice for all of the legal issues arising at these fast growing companies, including negotiating complex software and hardware sales contracts, launching strategic partnership programs, corporate governance, global expansion, data privacy, network security, litigation management and employment law.

Patricia’s undergraduate and law degrees are both from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. After law school she completed an advanced law degree program in European Union law in Brugge, Belgium, where she her studies focused on the impact of moules frites on the development of a single European currency.

She started her career at Dewey Ballantine LLP in Los Angeles, where she was able to put her French language skills to work reviewing a vast quantity of documents binding Credit Lyonnais Banque, investor Kirk Kerkorian and MGM Studios.

We also note that Patricia’s somewhat unusual surname, Wyrod, can be anagrammed to produce “rowdy” and “wordy”. To our knowledge, though, she is neither.

You can contact Patricia at patricia@sffwlaw.com and 415.503.3134




Even though most Silicon Valley law firms and businesses long ago shifted their policies to allow website photos and office dress codes for their key personnel sans cravat, virtually no progress in this area has been made in the courtrooms of California virtually since our nation’s founding. While it is no longer mandatory in most courtrooms that a two-piece suit and tie always be worn by male lawyers, precious little other changes have occurred since colonial times. This has occasionally gotten lawyers who litigate into hot water when they dared to deviate from court room dress codes.

A trial lawyer in Dallas, Texas who was recovering from serious knee surgery that involved an anti-swelling ice pack and drainage tubes attached to his leg, recently learned this the hard way. The lawyer couldn’t slip his suit trousers over this contraption, but he found out that his knee-length walking shorts worked. So off he went to court to argue a motion, wearing his shorts, a dress shirt, tie and blazer. He looked great. From the knees up.

So when the lawyer was first spotted by presiding Judge Etta Mullin, she immediately ordered the lawyer out of the courtroom, without further discussion or delay. When he showed up again the next day, she ordered him out again.

Did the thwarted barrister challenge Judge Mullin’s order? Is the Pope Catholic? A claim is already in the works asserting violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act, and for violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Sixth Amendment (right to counsel).

This one seems like a slam dunk for the lawyer. But let’s remember this: It’s Texas.



Atherton: A Bit Dull of Late

The Town of Atherton’s police blotter has been relatively free this summer of the quirky calls typically made by its well-heeled residents who often demand what is little more than high-touch around-the-clock concierge service. We’re not sure if the slowdown is due to the elevated profile Atherton’s police department was given when Aubergines first began its coverage, which was soon followed by the celebrity gossip sites Gawker.com and Valleywag.com. We suspect that the police department is now being much more selective about documenting its goofier blotter entries in order to avoid the snickers and guffaws that inevitably follow.

Los Altos: Movin’ On Up

The Town of Los Altos, plagued for decades by its sleepy and somewhat boring reputation, has been a veritable hotbed of news activity lately, reflective perhaps of the increasing number of resident billionaires who have found its downtown area’s relatively recent rise in cuteness irresistible.

We’ll leave those frisky billionaires in peace for now, but a 53-year-old Los Altos housewife probably won’t be enjoying any peaceful downtown Los Altos cruising for a while. She received a minimum 11 year jail sentence after her conviction in state court earlier this month for premeditated attempted murder (she kept a murder to-do list) of her husband. She used a stun-gun and a knife while he sat working at his desk in his office.

The wife first tried to disable her husband by shooting him with the stun-gun, then proceeded to stab him once in the neck, carving a deep cut from ear to ear, and then hacked him in the back, puncturing his lung. His survival has been described as nothing short of a miracle. She apparently had sheathed herself in bubble wrap, then donned a mechanic’s jump suit as she mounted her violent attack, thinking, the prosecutor argued, that this garb would somehow protect her from any injury during the bloody melee.

The wife pleaded insanity as her principal defense, but just had to throw in post-traumatic stress disorder for good measure. All defenses were roundly rejected by the jury, which took into account evidence that her truck was found to be loaded with three gallons of gasoline and oily rags, and that the couple was in the midst of a contentious divorce and custody proceeding (hence, the stress). Her murder to-do list, in addition to bubble wrap, listed disabling fire alarms. This prompted the prosecutor to point out the distinct possibility of a plan to burn down their home, a motive stemming from a $2,000,000 life insurance policy she held on her hubby.

If there are any lessons to be learned here, they might be to (i) one should consider whether obsessive list-making might in some cases pose a serious downside risk; and (ii) when considering dangerous missions, one should try not to get duct tape and a flak jacket confused with bubble wrap and a jump suit.

Breaking Afterword: Immediately following his wife’s conviction, the husband and his construction company, asserting that the broad publicity from the murder attempt had effectively prevented the prospect of ever getting any new business, have now sued the wife for breach of her corporate fiduciary duty to the company, attempted murder, assault and battery. They claim an unspecified amount of damages.

We admire the creativity of hubby’s counsel in seeking damages for breach of corporate fiduciary duty (and also note what must have been remarkable restraint on the husband’s part to not claim damages from his own PTSD), but we can’t help but wonder how this legal theory will fare. We think it might be a first where an attempted murder – or any murder, for that matter – is liked to in a corporate fiduciary breach case.

Stay tuned for what some are calling “Bubble Wrap Murder: The Sequel.”



From an extremely trusted source, we have just learned that a Russian vodka bottle washed up recently on the shore of Romania’s popular Black Sea resort, Costinesti Beach. A crumpled and vodka-soaked note with this message was found inside:


Our sources report that the note was immediately put on eBay for $10,000 by an optimistic Romanian beach-goer. It stayed there for a full 15 minutes before the CIA and the NSA ordered its take-down and then confiscated the note from its owner using a drone. No information was provided as to whether a call was made.




Aubergines is a quarterly review of borderline-authentic news which publishes about twice per year. Nothing contained in Aubergines may be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Don’t even think about suing us. What few assets we have are securely lodged in the island nation of The Cook Islands, which does not recognize and will not enforce judgments rendered by the United States, or any jurisdiction for that matter. If you are fond of reading materials where annoying words like milieu, ennui, micro-aggression, selfie or meme are in frequent use, you won’t be happy here. And while there are widely reported accounts that regularly reading Aubergines will result in lowering blood pressure, arresting male pattern baldness, reversing gluten and lactose intolerance, relieving menstrual cramps, toenail fungus or chronic bed-wetting, stopping stammering, thwarting incontinence or impotence or curing of annoying tics, Chron’s disease or Hashimoto’s Syndrome, no such guarantee or warranty of any kind is applicable. All rights are waived in perpetuity and forever thereafter. No representations or warranties, express, implied, inferred or deferred, shall apply whatsoever. This disclaimer is fully valid and enforceable even in jurisdictions where it might otherwise be invalid, including outer space and beyond.