North America

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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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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“Head in the cloud? Many companies remain uninsured against cyberattacks” Jim Giszczak quoted in Crain’s Detroit

Despite all the publicity generated by cybersecurity breaches last year at Target, Sony, Goodwill, UPS and other companies, along with the massive breach disclosed this year at the U.S. government’s Office of Personnel Management involving 21 million current and former federal employees, too many companies remain ignorant of the risk, local insurance and legal experts say.

“Companies often assume they’re covered by their regular insurance policies, but if they haven’t bought specific cybersecurity policies, they aren’t,” said Jim Giszczak, who specializes in cyber-related legal issues for Bloomfield Hills-based law firm McDonald Hopkins PLC. “It’s still a relatively new area of coverage, and most clients don’t realize they need it.

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“Possible probe of Hillary Clinton emails” Bruce Reinhart for Newsmax Prime

Bruce Reinhart provided commentary on the Hillary Clinton email situation on a recent episode of Newsmax Prime

Click here to view the clip.

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