Legal Updates

Brand Activation Association Marketing Law Conference – The Reasonable Consumer

This week, leading lawyers, legislatures and marketers attended the 35th Annual Brand Activation Association (BAA) Marketing Law Conference in Chicago. At BAA I gave a presentation titled, “Journey to the Center of Advertising Law: Knowledge, Insights, and Practical Tips on The Most Important 2013 Advertising Developments.” Over the next few days, I will share with you three video clips from my presentation. Let’s dive into the first one…

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Reform of Company Registration System

On October 25, 2013, Premier Li Keqiang hosted an executive meeting of the State Council and issued a series of specific instructions for reforming China’s company registration system, with a view toward easing market access and stimulating the market. To implement these reforms, China will need to revise a large number of current laws and regulations, including many of the rules governing foreign direct investment. If the policy shift is fully implemented, however, it should be much easier to register a new company, including a foreign invested enterprise, and the basic information on, and particularly the financial activities of, a company will become far more transparent to the public. The most important and highly welcomed changes in this round of reforms involve the rules on registered capital for newly established enterprises. The minimum registered capital requirements will be abolished, and China’s traditional company registration regime will shift from a system that tracks paid-in capital to a system that tracks subscribed capital. Shareholders and promoters will be entitled to freely agree on the amount of subscribed capital and the methods and timing for contributing capital. Significantly, paid-in capital will no longer be included in a commercial registration. The reforms also will relax the limitations on the places that qualify as the registered domicile and premises of a company. In addition to the company establishment requirements, the reforms also will affect the on-going reporting requirements for companies and increase the content of publicly available information. The annual inspection system will be changed to an annual reporting system, and China will develop an enterprise credit system that will publish registration information, annual reports and qualifications, as will a “black list” of discredited companies. More…

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New Horizon for Foreign Investment in Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone

The foreign direct investment policies in Shanghai’s new China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone (“CSFTZ”) offer a variety of new opportunities for foreign corporate and individual investors. Zhong Lun partner Dr. Helen Zhang has compiled a summary comparison of the new policies in the CSFTZ against current PRC law across nearly 20 industry sectors, including medical institutions, health insurance, engineering design and construction, human resources, educational and professional training institutions, financial leasing, commercial banking, investment and holding companies, value-added telecommunications, travel agency, entertainment venue operations and performance agency services, among others. Taken together, the new policies represent a significant step in China’s ongoing efforts to liberalize its economy and to promote Shanghai as a regional and global hub. More…

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Amended Trademark Law Enhances Protection of Trademark Holders’ Interests

After years of discussions, the eagerly anticipated amendment to the Trademark Law of the People’s Republic of China was passed on August 30, 2013 and will come into force on May 1, 2014. The amended law aims to curb infringement and simplify trademark registration in China and is widely regarded as a positive move that enhances the protection of trademark holders’ interests. It also reflects China’s determination to create a fair and orderly market. Some key revisions include: More…

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PR firms navigate the attorney-client privilege

Public relations pros are playing an increasingly important role in helping organizations deal with crisis. Their work is done in tandem with legal and business executives. Due to the sensitive nature of crisis situations, along with the potential for litigation or government investigations, many PR firms are being retained by their client’s internal or external legal counsel. This is done in an effort to extend the attorney-client privilege to the work product of PR practitioners. More…

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Waiting period as provided for in the Annual Holidays Act has been amended

The amendment to the waiting period as provided for in the Finnish Annual Holidays Act entered into force on 1 October. According to Section 25 of the new Annual Holidays Act, the employee is entitled to have his/her annual holiday postponed as of the first day of illness.

If at the beginning of or during the holiday the employee is incapacitated because of illness, accident or childbirth, he/she is entitled to postpone the annual holiday, should the holiday coincide with the incapacity period. More…

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Government promises “new era” for patients

The Government has promised more openness, greater accountability and a relentless focus on safety within the NHS in its response to the Inquiry into the failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.

Key proposals for consultation would see all NHS organisations and professional staff obligated to be open with patients when things go wrong. If a hospital had not been open with patients and their families following a patient safety incident, its indemnity cover for that compensation claims could be reduced or removed. This would give a strong financial incentive to hospitals to be open about patient safety incidents.

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New California Law Requires Employers to Provide "Cool-Down Recovery Periods"

By Alka N. Ramchandani & Michael D. Thompson

In recent years, Cal-OSHA has taken an aggressive stance against exposing employees to potential heat illness, often citing employers and proposing significant penalties for failing to provide to employees who work in high heat conditions with adequate drinking water, shade, training, and/or cool-down periods. Furthermore, as noted by the California Supreme Court in Brinker v. Superior Court, monetary remedies for the denial of meal and rest breaks “engendered a wave of wage and hour class action litigation” when added to the California Labor Code more than a decade ago.   

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Labor and Employment Alert: Are you my spouse? Updating FMLA policies because of DOMA decision

he U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in United States v. Windsor has had a substantial impact on legally married same-sex couples’ rights to federal benefits, including spousal leave benefits under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). In light of the Court’s decision, employers need to review and update their FMLA policies relative to spousal leave provisions.

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Top Court Rules Union’s Right to Picket Trumps Individuals’ Right to Privacy

During a lawful strike that lasted 305 days, both the United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 401 (“Union“) and a security company hired by the Palace Casino at West Edmonton Mall in Alberta. videotaped and photographed the picket line near the entrance to  the casino.  The Union posted signs in the area of the picketing stating that images of persons crossing the picket line might be placed on a website called
Several individuals who were recorded crossing the picket line filed complaints with the Alberta Information and Privacy Commissioner under the Personal Information Protection Act of Alberta (“PIPA“).  PIPA restricts the collection, use and disclosure of personal information by a range of organizations. 
The Vice-President of the casino complained he was photographed or videotaped and that two pictures of him were used on a poster displayed at the picket line with the text, “This is (X’s) police mug shot.”   Images of his head were also used in Union newsletters and strike leaflets with captions intended to be humorous.  Another complainant, a member of the public, testified that cameras were trained on the entrance to the casino where he would regularly meet friends.  A third complainant testified that she had been photographed and videotaped while working near the casino entrance.  No recordings of the complainants were placed on the website.
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