IEEE further restricts patent rights

Earlier this year, the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) revised its policy on the use of Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) further restricting the patent rights of patent holders.

The IEEE policy changes restrict the negotiating ability of patent holders in establishing a reasonable and nondiscriminatory (RAND) rate and remove an important lever by severely restricting the ability of patent holders to obtain an injunction against a knowing infringer. More…

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Suzanne Labrit Certified as Specialist in Appellate Law

Shutts & Bowen LLP is pleased to announce that attorney Suzanne Labrit has been certified as a specialist by the Florida Bar in Appellate Law. Certification, which is a voluntary program, is the highest level of evaluation by The Florida Bar of competency and experience within an area of law, and professionalism and ethics in practice. To obtain this Board Certification, Ms. Labrit was required to demonstrate substantial involvement in the area of appellate law, pass a written examination, and satisfy an extensive background peer review assessment. Out of Florida’s more than 98,000 lawyers, only 175 are Board Certified in Appellate Law. More…

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Maxine Long and Ed O’Sheehan Earn Public Guardian Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award

Shutts & Bowen attorneys Maxine Long and Edward O’Sheehan were honored this weekend with the Office of the Public Guardian Pro Bono Attorney of the YearAward. After reviewing the nominations, the Statewide Public Guardianship Office and the Foundation for Indigent Guardianship (FIG) announced the winners during the Florida State Guardianship Conference FIG reception on July 25, 2015.

According to the nomination by Barry University’s Office of the Public Guardian, Ms. Long and Mr. O’Sheehan have provided pro bono legal services to the OPG office for over 15 years. They each have volunteered about 150 hours of representation and counsel to the OPG, representing the best interests of the wards in guardianship, abuse, neglect, financial exploitation, and foreclosure cases.  More…

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Fifteen Shartsis Friese Attorneys Named “Super Lawyers” for 2015

Shartsis Friese LLP announced today that fifteen attorneys have been named “Super Lawyers” for Northern California in 2015. The attorneys chosen are:

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September 30 expiring term for Italian Voluntary Disclosure, to be focused not only on Italian resident entities but also on non-Italian entities resident worldwide, presumed to be Italian residents.

With the signing of the exchange of information agreements between Italy and Switzerland, Liechtenstein and the Principality of Monaco, the Italian voluntary disclosure program has been ratified, allowing Italian taxable entities or individuals, who own and hold assets and investments abroad in violation of the fiscal monitoring regulations, to regularize their assets and activities, held in Italy and abroad, and comply with Italian tax regulation.

The term to comply expires on September 30, 2015.

The program contemplates the payment of the Italian due taxes and the application of reduced penalties, in order to rectify the failed income tax statement and the non compliance with the fiscal monitoring regulation, thus avoiding (highly possible) potential risks deriving from what the Italian Tax Authorities can gather from the exchange of information on deeds or events occurred from the date of the exchange of information agreements.

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Department of Labor Issues Guidance on Misclassification of Employees as Independent Contractors

On July 15, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued guidance regarding the misclassification of employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as independent contractors. In the guidance, the DOL highlights its continued focus on curbing what it believes is the improper classification of workers as independent contractors. More…

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EEOC’s Electronic Charge System: Phase I – Respondent’s Portal

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) created the Action Council for Transformation to a Digital Charge System (“ACT Digital”) to enable the electronic submission of documents between the parties to a Charge of Discrimination and the EEOC.  Phase I of the system allows an employer against whom a Charge of employment discrimination has been filed to electronically interact with the EEOC through its online service for respondents, the EEOC Respondent Portal.  The pilot program for Phase I began in May 2015 in the Commission’s Charlotte and San Francisco field offices and rolled out to other offices, including Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis and Phoenix. It is expected that the Respondent Portal will be available in all EEOC field offices by October 1, 2015.

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Marion Allan featured in the Verdict

“Mediation is both cheaper and faster than litigation; the parties—not some unknown judge—make the ultimate decision,” says the Hon. Marion Allan as featured in the Verdict, a publication from the Trial Lawyers Association of BC. Read the full article to learn more about mediation vs. litigation and what to consider in determining the best approach for your needs.

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Restrictive Covenant Update

E. Jason TremblayE. Jason Tremblay

Restrictive Covenant Update: Don’t Forget to Establish Your Legitimate Business Interest!

Let’s consider the following scenario. Executive is hired by an employer and signs a standard restrictive covenant agreement. Executive is later terminated and, thereafter, immediately opens up a competing business, begins to solicit and hire her former co-workers and commences soliciting her former employer’s customers. Normally, you would think this would be a straightforward restrictive covenant case and that the departing executive would be enjoined from engaging in such conduct. However, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Instant Technology LLC v. DeFazio, Case Nos. 14-2132 and 14-2243 (7th Cir. July 1, 2015) felt otherwise, holding that, while the departing executive violated her restrictive covenant agreement, the covenants failed to protect any legitimate business interests of the employer. As discussed below, this recent case should serve as a stark warning to all Illinois employers to ensure they have evidence to support all the elements of a breach of restrictive covenant claim before filing suit against departed employees.

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Country of origin labelling reform – Missing a key ingredient

The Federal Government released details of its proposed country of origin labelling (CoOL) scheme in a joint statement (Joint Statement) of the Prime Minister, Minister for Industry and Science and the Minister for Agriculture on 21 July 2015.

This announcement, which was not expected until August, follows a public consultation on CoOL reform options which received over 17,800 submissions.

A key feature of the proposed CoOL scheme is the mandatory labels for food produced or packed in Australia which are intended to provide a quick reference tool for consumers to easily identify the origin of food products. Interestingly the mandatory labels approved by the Federal Government don’t actually require the origin of the food to be stated. More…

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