Patent InfringementIn a 7-1 decision Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that laches cannot be a defense in many patent infringement cases. The Federal Circuit previously ruled that laches, which bar suits after unreasonable delays, prevented SCA Hygiene Products AB from suing their competitor First Quality Baby Products LLC. Tuesday’s Supreme Court ruling in SCA Hygiene Products v. First Quality Baby Products rejects this, noting that since Congress has imposed a six-year limitation on damages in patent cases, laches cannot be used to shorten that period. The ruling is available to read here.

For more information, please contact Rudy Telscher or Sam Digirolamo.

 

postalTransportation contractors fill half of the first 10 spots on the Top 150 list of postal service supplies for fiscal year 2016, which ended September 30, 2016. Federal Express Corporation tops the list again, a position it has held since 2002. Overall, the Postal Service spent $14 billion on outside purchases, about half of it on transportation. David P. Hendel, leader of the firm’s Postal Service Contracting team, compiles the list annually based on data received under the Freedom of Information Act. Visit last week’s blog post on our Contractor’s Perspective blog to access the list and read more.

compassOn the second anniversary of the disappearance of Malaysia Air flight MH370, this blog explored the known facts and concluded, “Unless and until the wreckage is located on the ocean floor and the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder data recovered, the most plausible scenario is deliberate human action, most likely by one of the cockpit crew.”

Thereafter, the search area was refined, but in January, 2017 further search efforts were ended. As a result, recovery of the vital “black boxes” is highly unlikely.

Continue Reading Air Safety: The Fate of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370—Revisited

Missouri State Law Legal System ConceptMissouri House Speaker Todd Richardson and Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr worked together to lead discussion in the Missouri House surrounding the House Bill on tort reform (HB460). The unusual move brought the caucus in line, leading the House to adopt an amended version of the bill. Passed by a margin of 100-54, the bill now moves to the Missouri Senate where the process will begin again with senate committee hearings and floor debate.

For more information on Missouri legal updates, contact Jay Atkins or Lowell Pearson.

MissouriThe Supreme Court of Missouri recently issued an important decision in Norfolk Southern Railway Co. v. Dolan, holding that Missouri did not have personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state corporation registered to do business in Missouri that was conducting “substantial and continuous” business in Missouri, where an alleged injury to a resident of another state arose due to conduct outside of Missouri.

Continue Reading Missouri Supreme Court Limits Personal Jurisdiction

footballThe New England Patriots football organization is a model of success and efficiency in pro football, winning five Super Bowls and appearing in two others in the past sixteen years. The team’s rosters are frequently composed of no-name role players and former stars willing to accept less salary for a chance to play for a championship.  They draft smartly, don’t overpay players and have managed to hold onto star quarterback Tom Brady.  In short, they demonstrate vision and planning to ensure success.

These traits apply to the team’s approach toward trademark protection as well. Two days after winning this year’s Super Bowl, the Patriots filed intent-to-use (“ITU”) trademark applications to register BLITZ FOR SIX and NO DAYS OFF for, among other things, clothing and entertainment services. The Patriots had not used the marks before; these are marks that the team intends to use in its quest for a sixth Super Bowl championship.

Continue Reading The Patriots Win at the Trademark Game Too

 

Product Liability Monitor

March 9, 2017
New Developments
Missouri Products Law: Are The Times A-Changin’?
By Joe Guffey

Missouri, the home of Mark Twain and Harry S Truman, has in recent years become one of the most deeply red states politically. Yet it has also acquired a reputation as of one of the most plaintiff friendly forums nationally, thanks to its substantive law and to juries in the City of St. Louis (dubbed the Number 1 “Judicial Hellhole” by the defense-oriented American Tort Reform Association for 2017).

Some of that may be about to change following the 2016 election of Republican former Navy Seal Eric Greitens as Governor and heavy Republican majorities in the Missouri House and Senate. Several bills are now pending in the Legislature which could bring about significant changes in Missouri product liability law and practice. [Continue Reading]

Immunity for Autonomous Vehicle Manufacturers?
By Mark Pratzel

As autonomous automobile vehicle (AV) technology develops new legal issues and challenges continue to appear. An issue that has led to much debate is the potential impact of lawsuits, which some contend could hamper the growth of AV technology. [Continue Reading]

What is an Adequate Warning? Criteria and Application
By Dan Jaffe

Many courts have stated criteria for determining the adequacy of product safety warnings. The Tennessee Supreme Court established a particularly useful 5-part test in Pittman v Upjohn Co., 890 S.W.2d 425, 429 (Tenn. 1994).  As recently re-stated by the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit [Continue Reading]

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Manufacturers work hard to develop material goods and product designs that are high-quality, safe and durable. We understand your commitment to excellence and commit ourselves to defending you against product liability allegations. Husch Blackwell’s Product Liability team has insight into your industry-specific challenges. [More information]

Product Liability Monitor Archive
February 2017

landfillUnder the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”), 42 U.S.C. §§6901 et seq., hazardous waste land disposal units in operation after November 19, 1980 are subject to the RCRA hazardous waste management regulatory program. After closure of a hazardous waste land disposal unit where waste remains in place, RCRA regulations require the owner or operator (“owner/operator”) to perform post-closure care activities and provide financial assurance for the estimated costs of the post-closure care. The regulations require a 30-year post-closure care period, though the post-closure period may be extended by EPA or an authorized state if it can be demonstrated that an extension is “necessary to protect human health and the environment.” Continue Reading EPA Issues Guidance on Extending the Timeframe for Hazardous Waste Management Unit Post-Closure Care Under RCRA

Scales of JusticeAll too often, corporations and executives trying to “do the right thing” find little preventative guidance coming from the Department of Justice. Companies seeking to ensure their corporate compliance programs are robust enough to withstand government scrutiny frequently must resort to reviewing the United States Sentencing Guidelines or prior Non-Prosecution Agreements or Deferred Prosecution Agreements for guidance.

Recently, though, the DOJ Fraud Section quietly issued additional information about how DOJ prosecutors evaluate a company’s compliance program in “conducting an investigation of a corporate entity, determining whether to bring charges, and negotiating plea or other agreements.” The guidance was issued on February 8, 2017, and was not accompanied by so much as a press release or other public statement. Titled “Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs,” it can be found in full here.

Continue Reading DOJ’s New Guidance on Compliance Programs

globeIn March 2016, ZTE Corporation and ZTE Kangxun (collectively ZTE) were placed on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Entity List after corporate documents revealed alleged failure to comply with U.S. sanctions against Iran. While placement on the Entity List would ordinarily result in a ban on conducting business with the U.S., President Obama issued a Temporary General License (TGL) on March 24, 2016, which authorizes the export, reexport and transfer (in country) of items to ZTE. The TGL was implemented by amending the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) with the addition of Supplement No. 7 to part 744.

Continue Reading ZTE’s TGL Extended until March 29