Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Apple expert witness coined 'feminazi' term to disparage committed feminists, testified for Apple yesterday against Ericsson in U.S. International Trade Commission

Yesterday was Day Two of two Ericsson-Apple courtroom clashes that started on Monday.

In the Eastern District of Texas, most of the day was spent on testimony by Ericsson's Chief Intellectual Property Officer Christina Petersson. First she was examined by her lead counsel, Theodore "Ted" Stevenson III of Alston & Bird, then cross-examined by Wilmer Hale's Joseph J. "Joe" Mueller, again by Mr. Stevenson on redirect and finally by Mr. Mueller on recross. That's what I gathered from Judge Gilstrap's minutes. I don't know what was said. I remember her as a witness who came across as trustworthy, knowledgeable, and fairly balanced in the FTC v. Qualcomm case in the recording that the FTC played in support of its case.

In the United States International Trade Commission (USITC, or just ITC), a U.S. trade agency (thus based in Washington, D.C.) with quasi-judicial powers (in particular, it can impose import bans on patent-infringing products), Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Monica Bhattacharyya is presiding over a case in which Apple wants to win an import ban on Ericsson base stations and has already heard some Apple witnesses. One of the expert witnesses who testified on Apple's behalf yesterday is Clemson University professor of economics Thomas W. Hazlett. He specializes in telecommunications and served as the Federal Communication Commission's chief economist from 1991 to 1992. But it was not his work on telecoms matters that earned him an entry in The Oxford Dictionary of American Political Slang:

Mr. Hazlett is "credited" for having coined the term "feminazi"--a portmanteau of "feminist" and "Nazi" that according to the dictionary refers to "a committed feminist or a strong-willed woman"--that was popularized by conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh. In his 1991 book "The Way Things Ought to Be", Rush Limbaugh wrote the following:

"I prefer to call the most obnoxious feminists what they really are: feminazis. Tom Hazlett, a good friend who is an esteemed and highly regarded professor of economics at the University of California at Davis, coined the term to describe any female who is intolerant of any point of view that challenges militant feminism."

While I often liked Rush Limbaugh's resistance to political correctness and think he sometimes explained more convincingly than anyone else what drove some politicians' decisions and influenced their positions, I never really understood his obsession with the term "feminazi" and never once used it myself.

It is out of character for--otherwise liberal or at least politically correct--Apple to rely on an expert witness with that history, even more so in front of a female judge.

In a recent post on this mmWave patent case I already published Apple's prehearing brief. It described the purpose of Dr. Hazlett's testimony as follows:

"In immediately apparent distinction from Ericsson and its experts in the Investigations on Ericsson’s complaints against Apple, which have provided little more than conclusory 'expert' ipse dixit, Apple and Dr. Tom Hazlett, an economist and Professor at Clemson University, here will provide real-world, economic evidence that demonstrates the minor role of mmWave in 5G deployment. For example, Dr. Hazlett will provide and explain specific data demonstrating that the mmWave portion of 5G communications is responsible for less than 1% of consumers’ mobile access as measured by data usage, that US network carriers’ investment in FCC licenses specific to mmWave spectrum comprises merely 4% of their total investment in 5G licenses, and Ericsson’s mmWave radio sales comprise less than 10% of its total 5G radio unit volume (and is projected to decrease). Moreover, Dr. Hazlett will identify evidence from the network carriers themselves showing that, should Ericsson’s Accused Products be excluded, other suppliers such as Samsung and Nokia are positioned to fill demand for its mmWave base station products, and alternative technologies from 4G, 5G, and other networks are also available. In sum, Apple’s requested relief will do no more than stop Ericsson’s unauthorized use of Apple’s patented technology."

I'm sure that not only Ericsson but especially U.S. mobile telecommunications carriers like Verizon sharply disagree with Apple and Professor Hazlett, as does the ITC staff (see the post I linked to further above).

In a July 20 document identifying Apple's expert witnesses, this expert's background was summarized as follows:

"Dr. Hazlett an expert in economics, including analysis of markets and regulation in telecommunications. He is a former Chief Economist at the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) and is currently holds the H.H. Macaulay Endowed Chair in Economics at Clemson University. He earned a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in economics from University of California, Los Angeles in 1984. Dr. Hazlett’s curriculum vitae, attached hereto as Exhibit F, sets forth his qualifications. If called upon to testify, the general nature of Dr. Hazlett’s testimony is expected to relate to at least background information about 5G communications, the appropriate remedy in this Investigation, and its effect on the public interest, bonding, and any other issues relevant to Apple’s claims and Respondents’ defenses for which expert testimony is required or useful. Dr. Hazlett may also testify in rebuttal to the issues, opinions, and evidence offered by Respondents or its retained expert witnesses in this matter."

I was pointed to this by a third-party source who requested anonymity.