The Days of Patent Plaintiff Forum Shopping May be Over

For the past 30 years, it has been established patent practice for a patent holder to bring suit in any district where infringing sales were made. This has led to the Eastern District of Texas being one of the preferred venues of choice for many patent plaintiffs. However, the days of such forum shopping may be over. In a recent unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court significantly tightened the requirements for venue in patent infringement lawsuits.

The decision, TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC, requires that patent holders now must file suit in districts where the defendant is incorporated or where they have a regular and established place of business, a far more restrictive standard than in any district where infringing sales were made. The decision, which was cheered by technology industry groups, spells trouble for patent trolls, who have long used the specter of suit in unfavorable jurisdictions to threaten defendants.

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US Supreme Court Says Service By Mail in Canada is Okay

Water Splash Inc. v. Menon, 2017 No. 16-254, Supreme Court of the United States 581 U. S. ___ (2017)

The plaintiff, Water Splash Inc., is a corporation that produces aquatic playground systems.  The defendant, Tara Menon, is a former employee of Water Splash.  In 2013, Water Splash sued Menon in State Court in Texas, alleging that she had begun working for a competitor while still employed by Water Splash. 

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Breach Of Contract Claims Allowed For Alleged Open Source License Violations

Recently, in Artifex Software v. Hancom, Inc., a California district court refused to dismiss breach of contract claims for alleged violations of the GNU General Public License (GPL) in connection with the use of open source software. The decision signals a growing acceptance of contract law as a viable option for addressing GPL breaches.

Open Source Licenses
An open source license is a type of license for software that imposes fewer use restrictions than a standard proprietary license. Among other things, it is designed to govern the use of the software released in its human readable or “source code” form. Access to source code, which is not usually contemplated in commercial licenses, allows users to see the underlying “blueprint” for the software. Open source licenses range from “permissive” licenses, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) licenses, that contain few restrictions on reuse, to “copyleft” licenses (such as the GPL) that typically require that rights to use the covered software are preserved when the software is shared.

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Talking Tax – Issue 78

Case law

Change in capacity held to be a change in beneficial ownership

On 12 May 2017 in Rakmy Pty Ltd v Commissioner of State Revenue [2017] VSC 237, the Victorian Supreme Court held that a change in beneficial ownership of dutiable property had occurred where there was a change in the capacity in which the taxpayer held the land.

The taxpayer had initially held land as trustee for a unit trust. The unit holders of the unit trust then passed a special resolution, vesting the land in a superannuation fund, of which the taxpayer was trustee. The main issue in the case was whether there was a ‘change in beneficial ownership of dutiable property’ within the meaning of sub-sections 7(1)(b)(vi) and 7(4) of the Duties Act 2000 (Vic) (Act), despite the land being held by the same legal entity.

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Private companies face public conundrum under new crowdfunding rules

A sticking point from the Federal Government’s Corporations Amendment (Crowd-sourced Funding) Act 2017 , was that there was no scope for private (proprietary limited) companies to access crowdfunding. Government sought to address this in the latest Federal budget, but there could be a catch.

The Crowdfunding bill passed in March, and becomes law this September. Feedback suggested few start-ups would consider crowdfunding under the model due to private companies being unable to raise money from the public and access the new regime, and the compliance burden of trading as a public company.

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Garden Leave Provisions in Employment Agreements

Peter A. Steinmeyer and Lauri F. Rasnick, Members of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s Chicago and New York offices, respectively, co-authored an article in Thomson Reuters Practical Law, titled “Garden Leave Provisions in Employment Agreements.”

Following is an excerpt (see below to download the full article in PDF format):

In recent years, traditional non-compete agreements have come under increasing judicial scrutiny, with courts focusing on issues such as the adequacy of consideration, the propriety of non-competes for lower level employees, and whether the restrictions of a noncompete are justified by a legitimate business interest or are merely a tool used to suppress competition.

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Clarity on California’s “Day of Rest” Provisions – Employment Law This Week Continue Reading…

Featured on Employment Law This Week: The California Supreme Court has clarified the state’s ambiguous “day of rest” provisions.

The provisions state that, with certain exceptions, employers will not cause “employees to work more than six days in seven.” The state’s high court addressed three questions about this law that had been certified by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The court determined that employees are entitled to one day of rest per workweek. So, every Sunday marks the beginning of a new seven-day period. Additionally, the court clarified that employees who work six hours or less during each day of the week are not entitled to a day of rest and that employees can choose not to take the day of rest if they are fully aware of the entitlement.

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EB-5 Marketplace Measurement – China and Beyond

Arnstein & Lehr Attorney Ronald Fieldstone

Ronald R. Fieldstone

I just returned from a week in China. Along with speaking at the EB-5 Investors Magazine’s 2017 EB-5 & Investment Immigration Expo, I had the opportunity to visit with many migration agents, as well as other professionals in the EB-5 industry. My impressions of the marketplace, particularly China, are as follows:

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Uber’s Self-Driving Car Legal Fight With Waymo Headed to Court

USA Today interviewed Stradling shareholder Jason de Bretteville, a former assistant U.S. attorney and chair of the firm’s white-collar criminal defense practice, for a story about Waymo’s suit against Uber in which Waymo, Google’s autonomous car company, claims that its former self-driving car expert, Anthony Levandowski, stole 14,000 files related to Google’s proprietary technology before starting a competing company, Otto, which Uber bought in 2016 for $670 million. In a setback for Uber, Judge William Alsup referred the case to the U.S. Attorney for an investigation of possible theft of trade secrets by an Uber executive.

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Aliette DelPozo Rodz Addresses Protection of Companies’ Trademarks in Cuba

In an article published in the May 2017 issue of Cuba Trade Magazine, partner Aliette DelPozo Rodz explains the challenges regarding Cuba’s “first-to-file” trademark system and the differences from the United States’ “use-based” trademark system. In an effort to reduce bad-faith applications for trademarks of U.S. brands prior to the U.S. company’s filing its application, Aliette urges U.S. companies to protect their intellectual property now.

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