Supreme Court Again Strikes Down Trademark Restrictions

Yesterday the United States Supreme Court announced its decision in Iancu v. Brunetti, holding that prohibiting trademarks that consist of or comprise immoral or scandalous matter(1) violates the First Amendment. The majority, written by Justice Kagan, centered its finding on the fact that the Act’s “immoral or scandalous” criterion is viewpoint-based which results in viewpoint-discriminatory application. In other words, a Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) Examiner must issue registrations from an impartial perspective, not from their own judgment. For example, a PTO trademark examiner would allow marks that support society’s ideas of decency and morality, but reject marks that do not align with those concepts.

Continue Reading What the FUCT: Supreme Court Overturns Ban on Vulgar Trademarks

There are many legal considerations that go into negotiating, executing, performing and terminating export distributor agreements. We are excited to partner with U.S. Commercial Service and the Mid-America District Export Council on upcoming seminars in Kansas where Husch Blackwell’s Grant Leach will discuss the following topics:

Continue Reading Legal Considerations in Export Distributor Agreements

In response to increasing actions by “foreign adversaries” to create and exploit “vulnerabilities in information and communications technology and services”, President Trump issued Executive Order 13873 (“E.O. 13873”) on May 15, 2019. The range of transactions which could potentially be covered under the forthcoming E.O. 13873 rules and regulations is quite broad and could include any transaction with a “foreign adversary” relating to “any hardware, software, or other product or service primarily intended to fulfill or enable the function of information or data processing, storage, retrieval, or communication by electronic means, including transmission, storage, and display.” Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. (“Huawei”) is widely expected to be one of the companies designated as a “foreign adversary” when the Secretary of Commerce enacts the E.O. 13873 rules and regulations. For more information on what this Executive Order covers and how this could affect companies who interact with Huawei, please read our full post on Husch Blackwell’s Byte Back blog.

 

On May 22, 2019, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), which is part of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), published the Trump Administration’s Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, better known as the Unified Agenda.

The Unified Agenda indicates that the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) promulgation of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for Remote Identification of UAS is being delayed. The NPRM had been scheduled for July 2019 but is now slated for release in September 2019.

Continue Reading Remote ID Regulations for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) are Delayed Until September 2019

This Spring, the Social Security Administration (SSA) began mailing Employer Correction Request Notices (known informally as “No-Match Letters”) to employers that submitted at least one Form W-2 where the name and Social Security Number (SSN) did not match SSA records. These letters contain specific instructions for employers, but employers should be cautious when responding to these letters.  Below are three reminders for employers to consider. Continue Reading Social Security No-Match Letters: Three Reminders

Myers DillHusch Blackwell attorney Myers Dill recently authored an article “Protecting Your Brand: Trademark Considerations for Startups” that appeared in Startup Missouri, a publication by Missouri Lawyers Weekly. The article shares some key tips on 1) choosing the right mark, 2) maintaining your IP rights, and 3) enforcing your trademarks. As Myers explains in the article, a company who creates a trademark strategy early will be able to distinguish themselves from competitors, provide guarantees to the quality of their goods or services, build goodwill, and prevent confusion in the marketplace.

Read the full article here.

 

The Trump Administration, through the EPA and Corps, announced its new regulatory definition for WOTUS on December 11, 2018. Shortly after the government shutdown ended earlier this year, the proposed rule appeared in the February 14, 2019, Federal Register and EPA held a public hearing in Kansas City, Kansas, on February 27th and 28th. Much like the CWR, the new rule is said to be intended to clarify the limits of the CWA’s authority. Unlike the CWR, the new rule streamlines rather than adds categories of waters.

Read the full post on our Emerging Energy Insights Blog and read the full Clean Water Act series of blog posts here.

The EPA has taken the position that long term exposure to these chemicals may result in birth defects, cancer, liver effects, immune effects, thyroid effects, and other health issues. Long chain PFAS don’t readily degrade, and thus build up in the environment and persist in the human body itself. Low levels of these chemicals have been found in drinking water and soil and, in one study, in the blood of almost every subject tested.

Read more about PFAs on our Emerging Energy Insights Blog.

Recently, the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado recognized a defendant’s potential liability based on take-home exposure. In Mestas v. Air & Liquid Systems Corporation et. al., No. 18-cv-01006, Plaintiff alleged direct exposure and take-home exposure. Plaintiff alleged that his father was exposed to asbestos-containing products while working as a plumber and pipefitter, and that his father then carried asbestos home on his clothing which in turn, exposed Plaintiff to asbestos. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that they owed no duty to Plaintiff based on take-home exposure. Continue Reading Toxic Tort Monitor: District Court of Colorado Recognizes “Take-Home” Exposure Claim

Shortly after the inauguration of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, legislation was introduced in both the Illinois House and Senate to essentially override the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision in Folta v. Ferro Engineering, 2015 IL 118070 (2015). In Folta, the Illinois Supreme Court held that the Worker’s Compensation Act and Occupational Diseases Act was the exclusive remedy to Illinois employees who suffered latent injuries such as mesothelioma. Continue Reading Toxic Tort Monitor: New Illinois Leadership Drives Passage of Legislation to Eliminate Workers’ Compensation Exclusivity Remedy Defense to Illinois Employers