5 Key Points When Licensing Your Software

computer keyboardLast month this blog posted an article here outlining 5 Key Points when Purchasing Software. This article focuses on key points for the other side, the seller of the software, typically a developer or licensor. Although the seller/licensor typically provides its own form license, sometimes a purchaser will suggest using a different form or change the terms of the licensor’s agreement. Below are five important points to look out for, from the perspective of the licensor.

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Air Safety: “Sully” — Hollywood Versus History

airplaneSully, the new film starring Tom Hanks and directed by Clint Eastwood, opened recently to great box office success. It tells the dramatic story of the “Miracle on the Hudson,” the successful forced landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River on January 15, 2009 by Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and First Officer Jeff Skiles after a bird strike and failure of both engines of their Airbus A320.  The film accurately recreates the event, but also includes a wholly fictional confrontation between Sullenberger and fictional National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators in which the investigators challenge Sullenberger’s actions during the event.

What actually happened?

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USITC Launches Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Info Page Ahead of October 14 Start Date

cargo shipOn September 14, 2016, the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) launched a new web page to engage American manufacturers who may benefit from the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB). The MTB supports manufacturers by eliminating or reducing import duties on hundreds of materials and products that are not produced domestically, cutting production costs and enhancing global competitiveness.

The American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016 (PL 114–159) established a new process for submitting MTB petitions, which traditionally required Members of Congress to introduce bills. Under the new system, likely beneficiaries will submit petitions directly to the USITC within a 60-day period, beginning October 14, 2016. Anticipated revenue loss for each product must be less than $500,000 per year.

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Toys On Demand? A Child’s Best Friend

toysRecently, I was at a technology fair with my young son and there were multiple desktop 3D printers that were on display and for sale. One display that caught my eye showed 16 printers stacked together with each one in a different stage of printing. Several of the printers were printing figures of dragons and dinosaurs. My son thought they looked like fun and asked for one for his birthday. I asked him what he would use it for and he said that he would want to print out dinosaur figures, action figures, ships from Star Wars® or missing Lego® pieces. He said that he could make his toys exactly how he wanted his toys to look.

This got me thinking and I wondered if he could actually do it, print toys and figures that are protected by copyrights. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just print that missing Monopoly® piece?

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Convertibles: Not Just a Sign of a Midlife Crisis

Money puzzleIn your free time, while not grinding away at your corporate day job, you’ve developed an early-stage version of an application that allows users to chase small digital emojis around town while staring at a smart phone. You’re confident it’s the next big thing, and the opportunities to monetize are endless. The problem: you’re not independently wealthy and the Powerball odds are awful.

Often, the first place founders look for cash is from friends, family and their professional network. Incubators, accelerators and “angel” investors may also be sources of initial seed funding. There are many considerations when navigating early-stage seed investments from valuation concerns to guaranteed returns to management and voting rights. There is a useful alternative to standard equity in early stage investments: convertible debt. Find out about its convertible debt’s key features, terms, and hang-ups in this post on our Food & Ag Law Insights blog.


Product Liability Monitor – September 12, 2016

Product Liability Monitor

September 12, 2016
New Developments
FDA Requires Highest Level of Warning on Opioids & Benzodiazepines
By Jenna Marie Stupar

On August 31, 2016 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a new directive to include the “black box” label on approximately 400 opioid and benzodiazepine products. Opioids are powerful pain reducing medications including prescription oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine.  Benzodiazepines are typically prescribed to treat conditions such as anxiety, insomnia and seizures.  Examples of these products include alprazolam, clonazepam and lorazepam.  Both types of drugs depress the central nervous system. [Continue Reading]

Driverless Cars and Automobile Insurance
By Mark Pratzel

As driverless automobile technology develops it leaves unanswered questions about the legal implications for auto insurance.   Currently, if drivers of traditional cars get into an accident, the auto insurance policy of the party at fault will typically cover the property and bodily injury damages sustained by the victim. But what happens if the fault can be attributed to an autonomous vehicle controlled by a computer? [Continue Reading]

When is a Product Design Defective?
By Alan Hoffman

In Izzarelli v. R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, the Connecticut Supreme Court was called on by the United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, to consider whether the so-called “good tobacco” exception to strict liability of comment (i) to Section 402A of the Restatement (Second) of Torts precludes an action against a cigarette manufacturer for manipulating the nicotine in its cigarettes to increase the user’s risk of cancer under Connecticut law. Answering in the negative, the Connecticut Court used the case to revisit its holding in Potter v. Chicago Pneumatic Tool Co. and the evolution of product liability jurisprudence since the Second Restatement. In doing so, it delved into a question at the heart of product liability law: what constitutes a design defect? [Continue Reading]

Editor of the Month
Jenna Stupar stupar-jennajoined Husch Blackwell in 2015 after serving as a summer associate for the firm in 2014. She focuses her practice on toxic tort, product liability, and commercial litigation matters. She also has experience working with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations.
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Technology, Manufacturing & Transportation
Product Liability Practice
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
August 2016

Notice to Illinois Employers: Pregnancy Accommodation Information Required in Employee Handbooks

booksIn counseling employers on how to implement the Illinois Pregnancy Accommodation Act, we have noticed many employers have overlooked two important requirements—one of which easily can be audited without the employer even knowing.

Notice Posting

First, Illinois employers must post the English version of this notice in a conspicuous location on their premises, along with the Spanish version if they employ Spanish-speaking employees.

Handbook Language

Second, and importantly, the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) has made clear that under this new law, Illinois employers who maintain an employee handbook must include information regarding employees’ pregnancy rights in their employee handbook. While neither the Act nor the IDHR specifies what language must be included in employee handbooks, we recommend including the following language:

Pregnancy Rights

Employees who are pregnant, recovering from childbirth, or have a medical or common condition related to pregnancy have the right to:

  • Request a reasonable accommodation for their pregnancy, such as more frequent bathroom breaks, assistance with heavy work, a private space for expressing milk, or time off to recover from their pregnancy;
  • Reject an accommodation offered by the Company for their pregnancy that they do not desire; and
  • Continue working during their pregnancy if a reasonable accommodation is available that would allow them to continue performing their job.

The Company will not discriminate against employees because of their pregnancy and will not retaliate against employees because they requested a reasonable accommodation. The Company will not fire, refuse to hire, or refuse to provide employees with reasonable accommodations because of their pregnancy.

For more information on pregnancy-related rights, visit www.illinois.gov/dhr.

Contact us

For more information on how this Illinois law affects your organization, contact Sonni Nolan or Kayt Kopen or another member of Husch Blackwell’s Labor & Employment group.


Hanjin Bankruptcy Filings Impact Importers, Exporters and Intermediaries

cargo ship containersOn August 31, 2016, Hanjin Shipping Co. filed for bankruptcy protection in South Korea. Two days later, Hanjin filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey for Chapter 15, which provides a mechanism in the U.S. for resolving problems that arise in cross-border bankruptcies. Three out of four U.S. shippers reportedly have cargo on Hanjin vessels, so the repercussions of the bankruptcy filings are widespread.

Supply chain issues regarding release of cargo and equipment issues (demurrage, detention) may require commercial/legal resolutions with third parties and, when necessary, resolutions in the U.S. and South Korean bankruptcy courts. The following junctures in the supply chain may be problematic:

  • Cargo on Hanjin Vessels Arriving in the U.S.
  • Hanjin Cargo on Hanjin Partners’ Vessels Discharged in U.S.
  • Hanjin Vessels Overseas
  • Hanjin Cargo at U.S. Railyards
  • Hanjin Equipment Issues in the U.S., Demurrage and Detention
  • Hanjin Reneging on Credit Terms

More specific information about how this may affect businesses can be found in this legal alert. For more information on how the Hanjin bankruptcy may affect your business, contact Carlos Rodriguez or Benjamin Mann.

U.S. Expands Russia/Ukraine Sanctions to Target Evasion

Bridge ConstuctionOn September 1, 2016, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) placed sanctions on 37 new individuals and entities to prevent attempts to circumvent U.S. sanctions against Russia, help the private sector with compliance and to foster a diplomatic resolution to the conflict in Ukraine. The new list (found here) includes 17 separatists in eastern Ukraine or Russian-occupied Crimea, including 11 officials operating in Crimea.  18 companies operating in Crimea, including a number of construction, defense and maritime firms, and a Ukrainian charity were added to the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list.  The list includes construction companies, PJSC Mostotrest and SGM –Most OOO, which were awarded contracts to complete the Kerch Strait Bridge to connect Russia to Crimea.

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