International flagsOn September 22, 2017, the U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC”) voted in the affirmative and found that U.S. producers are being seriously injured or are threatened with serious injury by imports of silicon photovoltaic cells and modules. This case was brought under section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974. Section 201 cases have two main parts: (1) the case is filed at the ITC which determines if there is such serious injury by imports, and if there is, then recommends a remedy, and (2) if there is a finding of such serious injury, the case goes to the President of the United States for final review and decision on the remedy. The President may modify or agree with the recommendation of the ITC on remedy.

Continue Reading ITC Votes Affirmatively on Injury on Trade Case on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells and Modules

PatentThe doctrine of patent venue continues its rapid evolution after the Supreme Court’s recent decision TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC, 137 S. Ct. 1514 (2017).  In TC Heartland, the Supreme Court upended decades of established precedent that allowed for broad assertions of venue in patent cases and found that for purposes of the specific patent infringement venue statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b), a domestic corporation resided only in the state under whose laws it was incorporated. TC Heartland is expected to greatly reduce the volume of patent litigation brought in the Eastern District of Texas, a fast-track venue that has found great favor amongst patent assertion entities.

Continue Reading Federal Circuit Rejects Broad Interpretation of “Regular and Established Place of Business” for Patent Infringement Venue

White HouseOn Thursday, September 21, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order imposing new sanctions on North Korea designed to curb its nuclear weapons program. President Trump, along with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, announced the sanctions at a United Nations luncheon.

The President said he had authorized the U.S. Department of Treasury to “target any individual or entity that conducts trade in goods, services or technology” with North Korea. The sanctions are also intended to disrupt shipping from North Korea by prohibiting aircraft and vessels that have been to North Korea within 180 days to call at a port or land in the United States.

Continue Reading Trump Announces New Sanctions on North Korea

business towersLast week startups, entrepreneurs, and investors gathered from all over the Midwest in Kansas City to attend TechWeek KC. It was a prime example of how startup culture (and success!) is not limited to the coasts. The best panel, in my opinion, addressed the unique challenges that come with trying to close a large institutional client as a B2B startup, as well as processes and hacks to overcome these particular hurdles. What follows are the high points from that panel, as well as from my own experience in a B2B startup before transitioning to legal practice.

Challenge #1: No one gets fired for keeping the status quo. If you’re pitching your product or process to big boys like Amazon, Coca-Cola, etc., then let’s all assume that you truly believe it’s something of value to them. It’s amazing how, while you can perfectly see that your piece of innovation is going to change the game for them, your initial point of entry to the (prospective) institutional client often doesn’t seem nearly as excited. What you’re not seeing is the calculus going on in their head: what’s MY risk versus MY reward if I were to pitch this to my superior? Unfortunately for you, and your contact’s company, most people fear failure. They’d often rather not try than fail and face any potential negative consequences, especially embarrassment among coworkers.

Continue Reading Tips & Challenges to Closing Institutional Clients as a B2B Startup

International flagsThe Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) recently announced new sanctions on entities and individuals in Iran and Mexico. These sanctions were designated against individuals associated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (“the Quds Force”), Iranian entities involved in hacking against American financial institutions in 2011 and 2012, and Mexican businesses and individuals associated with drug trafficking.

Continue Reading OFAC Announces New Sanctions on Iran and Mexico

airplaneOn October 27, 2016 a chartered Eastern Airlines Boeing 737 carrying Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence and 36 others skidded off a wet runway at LaGuardia Airport on a rainy fall night. The incident gained some notoriety, not only because the candidate was aboard, but also because the cockpit voice recorder transcript revealed that, after the incident,  the captain said, “My career just ended,” and the co-pilot said, “We should have went around.”

Continue Reading Air Safety: “My Career Just Ended!”

footballFootball season is upon us again and, with it, the excitement, the thrill of moving the ball forward for a touchdown, and the agony of defeat.  Ups and downs like this are what most start-ups experience. In football, it is important to protect the ball, to play good defense, and to avoid penalties.  Similarly, start-ups need to protect their assets, defend their intellectual property, and avoid incurring unnecessary costs in the future.  Following a few simple “rules” can help your start-up do all of these things.

RULE NO. 1: Stop the rushing game and avoid “illegal formation” penalties. Avoid quick-fix company formation tools you find on the internet.  I know, start-ups hate paying lawyers. (This isn’t unique to start-ups.) You may like your lawyer, enjoy talking to her, appreciate the insights and ideas but, in the end, I know you’d rather not pay me for all of that (why can’t we just be friends, you ask). Why do smart clients nonetheless retain lawyers (like me) knowing full well we have to be paid? Because smart clients, like a good coach, recognize that starting a business is a process and that investment on the front end can lead to considerable savings on the back end.

Continue Reading End Zone Decisions For Startups—Avoid Penalties And Maximize Asset Value

Social media cubesIt seems like we hear about a new data breach every week. Thanks to one of the most recent breaches, you could be only ten dollars away from getting in touch with your favorite A-list celebrity. Instagram — the Facebook-owned photo sharing company — was recently hacked due to a flaw in the program. Most recent reports indicate up to six million Instagram users’ email addresses and phone numbers may have been made public due to the data breach.

While the breach initially appeared to affect only celebrities and verified accounts, it has now been shown to affect a much wider range of accounts.

Continue Reading Instagram Hacked: What to Do to Protect Yourself in an Age of Data Breaches

Labor People SilhouettesImagine having a great product that is created and honed in your company for years potentially walk out of your office unrestricted. This same great product could end up in the headquarters of one of your competitors when there are no protections set in place. The fear of losing talent and ideas is a very real concern for all employers, including startups. Accordingly, there has been an increase in usage of non-compete agreements by employers in all sectors to combat the potential loss of valuable confidential information and trade secrets.

Continue Reading How Should Startups use Non-Compete Agreements?

legal documentThinking about telling everyone about your latest and greatest genius idea? You’d better think twice. Telling others about your idea or invention is a “public disclosure” and could bar you from getting a patent.

What’s a public disclosure?

A public disclosure can be as simple as describing the invention in print, using the invention in public, selling or offering to sell the invention, or making it otherwise available to the public. Common ways for individuals to make a public disclosure include: Continue Reading N-D-A? Y-E-S