As of October 5, 2019, the United States Patent and Trademark Office is going completely online!

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has made it official. Starting October 5, 2019, electronic filing of trademark submissions through the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) will be mandatory, with limited exceptions (i.e., paper and fax submissions will no longer be accepted). By having end-to-end electronic processing of trademark applications and registrations, the USPTO hopes to be able to process submissions faster and with fewer errors. Accordingly, those currently without access to the Internet or an email address will need to prepare for this new rule change (several companies like Google and Yahoo offer free email accounts, and local libraries are always a good place to get free Internet access). Continue Reading The USPTO is Taking Filings Online

Husch Blackwell’s Caroline Chicoine is the current Vice Chair of the International Trademark Association’s (INTA) Impact Studies committee. Recently, she helped the committee finish the term strong with two important studies regarding Generation Z and the economic impact of trademark-intensive industries in Latin America.

Do Gen Zers make up a big part of your customer base? Gen Zers will make up the largest group of consumers worldwide by 2020. These consumers were born between 1995 and 2010 and are currently between 18 and 23 years of age. If you find your customer base consists of Gen Zers, the International Trademark Association’s Impact Studies committee’s recent study, titled “Gen Z Insights: Brands and Counterfeit Products” is a must-read. The multi-country study investigates the behavior of Gen Zers when it comes to their relationship with brands and attitudes toward counterfeit products. A copy of the Comprehensive Global Report covering ten (10) countries around the world, as well as reports for each country can be found here. For a comprehensive global infographic summarizing the results of the study, see here. Continue Reading Insight from INTA’s Gen Z Study Brings Expanded Reach for Campaign on Counterfeit Goods

The answer is “Yes” if your start-up has progressed far enough along to have hired six (6) employees. The Missouri Human Rights Act (“MHRA”) makes it illegal to discriminate in any aspect of employment, including tangible employment actions, because of an individual’s race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, disability or age (between the ages of 40 through 69).  Under the MHRA, an employer is “a person engaged in an industry affecting commerce who has six or more employees for each working day in each of twenty or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year.”  This means as your startup succeeds in growing, you must be aware of the 6-employee rule and the impact on your business if you violate the MHRA.  Continue Reading Is My Startup Subject to the “Me Too” Movement in Missouri?

Husch Blackwell’s Aleks Rushing has been named to the St. Louis Business Journal’s 2019 30 Under 30 class. The annual award series honors “future leaders of the region and the local business community.” Aleks serves as legal counsel for colleges, universities and schools. On behalf of her clients, she conducts investigations, handles litigation and provides guidance on compliance issues arising from a wide range of civil rights and educational funding matters. In less than four years, Aleks has presented at over 60 national and statewide conferences, seminars, webinars and client trainings.

Aleks also serves as a member of the leadership board and helps manage business operations for Husch Blackwell’s Cortex office. Aleks cites the Cortex district as one of the things St. Louis does right: “The Cortex district in St. Louis is a hub for innovation and that is certainly an area where St. Louis is doing something right […] The people in the Cortex Innovation Community partner across all industries to find tailored and unique ways to solve everyday problems.” Aleks has focused many of her efforts in her practice and at the Cortex office in those partnerships and collaboration. She has helped serve as legal counsel for education clients in the Cortex district and also hosts the annual St. Louis Higher Education Seminar in the district.

The First District recently held that the district court had personal jurisdiction over a Texas-based company because of that company’s national advertising scheme and small repeat customer base in Illinois. In Schaefer v. Synergy Flight Center, et al., No. 1-18-1779, Plaintiffs alleged that Defendant RAM Aircraft, L.P., negligently overhauled, repaired, and tested an aircraft’s left engine and other parts, and that the negligent repair caused the aircraft to crash in Illinois, killing its seven passengers. RAM was a Texas-based limited partnership that predominately made its income by overhauling aircraft engines. RAM performed its work in Texas and had no office or property in Illinois. RAM did, however, advertise in a nationally distributed magazine and Illinois customers historically accounted for 1-2.5% of its revenues.  The particular engine in question was overhauled by RAM in Texas, who shipped it to a company in Indiana, who then shipped it to an Illinois flight center for installation.

Continue Reading Toxic Tort Monitor: Illinois Asserts Personal Jurisdiction Based On National Advertising and Ongoing Relationship With Several In-State Customers

On May 17, 2019, Illinois Governor Pritzker signed legislation eliminating the state’s 25-year statute of repose under the Workers’ Compensation Act for latent diseases, overturning the prominent Supreme Court decision in Folta v. Ferro Engineering, 2015 IL 118070 (2015), which established clear precedent that an employee’s exclusive remedy lies under either the Workers’ Compensation or Occupational Diseases Act. Under the old law, an employee did not have a civil tort cause of action against their employer. This new law now creates an exception to the traditional exclusive remedy provision that has been part of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation system for over 80 years. Continue Reading Toxic Tort Monitor: Illinois Governor Signs Law Creating Exception to Illinois Workers’ Compensation Exclusivity for Latent Injuries

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