North America

New Florida Public Corruption Bill Signed by Gov. Rick Scott

Governor Rick Scott signed HB 7071 into law on March 25, 2016. This law, aimed at strengthening Florida’s anti-public corruption laws, brings private contractors under the “public servant” definition under state law and lowers the burden of proof for state prosecutors. This makes it easier to prosecute public officials and contractors for bid rigging, bribery and other official misconduct.

Joseph Goldstein, managing partner of the Ft. Lauderdale office of Shutts & Bowen, said the additional tools given to state prosecutors through this bill will provide a layer of protection in the bidding process that currently doesn’t exist at the local level.

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Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Compliance and Defense: The DOJ’s 3-step plan to increase FCPA enforcement

The Department of Justice’s (“DOJ”) Fraud Section of the Criminal Division recently unveiled its Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Enforcement Plan and Guidance Memorandum (“Guidance”) outlining the three actions it will take to step up its efforts to detect and prosecute both individuals and companies for FCPA violations, including an enforcement pilot program.

Step 1: More robust resources

The Guidance states the DOJ is enhancing its investigative and prosecutorial resources by more than 50 percent by adding 10 more prosecutors to its ranks. The FBI also established three new squads of special agents devoted exclusively to FCPA investigations and prosecutions. The Guidance Memorandum warns that these new hires “should send a message to wrongdoers that FCPA violations that might have gone uncovered in the past are now more likely to come to light.”

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Dominic Paluzzi named to Cybersecurity Docket’s Incident Response 30

CLEVELAND (April 14, 2016) – Dominic Paluzzi, member at McDonald Hopkins, has been named to Cybersecurity Docket’s inaugural Incident Response 30, a list of the “best and brightest” data breach response attorneys and compliance professionals in the industry “who not only have the right stuff to manage a data breach response, but are also the kind of professionals critical to have on speed-dial when the inevitable data breach occurs.”

According to the publication, which is devoted to cybersecurity, data breach and incident response, the Incident Response 30 includes attorneys and professionals from many of the top firms in the world who are “key players” in “the most significant data breach responses worldwide.” The honorees were chosen based on nominations and input from the cybersecurity community, and announced at Cybersecurity Docket’s first-annual Incident Response Forum 2016 held on March 31 in Washington, D.C.

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Exempt Distribution Reports to Require More Information

By Bernard Pinsky

Effective June 30, 2016, form 45-106F1 “Report of Exempt Distribution”, required for most securities issuances other than prospectus offerings, will require issuers to disclose more information about the offering and the issuer. This was first reported in Clark Wilson’s Securities Law Update in August 2015.

The Canadian Securities Administrators have added more disclosure to their standard form, bringing it effectively to what has been required in British Columbia alone for the past several years. Once implemented, BC will no longer require an additional form to be filed.

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Recent Developments in the Regulation of Defensive Tactics in Canadian Take-over Bids – Part III

By Ethan Minsky

This is the third and last instalment of a three part article. In the first part, we discussed the basic concepts and guiding principles applied by Canadian securities regulators when they are asked to cease trade an effort to defend against a take-over bid. In the second part, we discussed the British Columbia Securities Commission’s decision in Re Red Eagle, 2015 BCSECCOM 401, in which these guiding principles were applied. In this third part, we will discuss the Alberta Securities Commission’s decision in in Re Suncor Energy Inc. 2015 ABASC 984.

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Location Matters: The Perils of Geographic Names as Trade-marks

By Andrew Dixon

When choosing a trade or business name, it may seem like a good idea to incorporate the location of your business into the name. There are benefits: it is helpful for marketing, it gives your target audience an idea of where your business is and who your market is, it can help establish your business in a neighborhood, and it can help you build a brand based on community and locality.

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Patenting Inventions by Public Servants

By Michael Roman

Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal recently considered the patenting of inventions by public servants in the case Louis Brown et al. v. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada et al. The Court considered two questions:

  • Who is a public servant?
  • Is a patent for an invention by a public servant invalid if the inventor’s status as a public servant is not disclosed in the Petition seeking a patent for the invention?
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Botnet Takedown: First Warrant Issued under Canada’s Anti-spam Law

By Monica Sharma and Kelsey Marshall, Articled Student

Canada’s anti-spam law (“CASL”) outlines violations, enforcement mechanisms, and penalties aimed at protecting online consumers against spam, electronic threats, and misuse of digital technology. CASL’s anti-spam rules came into effect on July 1, 2014. CASL’s software update and installation rules came into effect on January 15, 2015. The latter rules are often referred to as malware/spyware computer program rules. Under these rules, CASL applies when a person, in the course of a commercial activity, installs or causes to be installed a computer program on any other person’s computer system, unless the person has obtained the express consent of the owner or an authorized user of the computer system.

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California Passes First $15 Minimum Wage Law – Employment Law This Week

The top story on Employment Law This Week is California’s statewide $15 minimum wage.

On April 4, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that will raise California’s minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour by 2022 for companies with more than 25 employees. The increase will begin next year, moving from 10 dollars an hour to $10.50. California – one of the world’s biggest economies – is the first U.S. state to commit to a 15 dollar minimum wage. And the trend is continuing, with similar legislation signed in New York last week as well. David Jacobs from Epstein Becker Green has more on the trend and what employers in California can do to prepare.

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Treasury Department Calls for Transparency in Non-Competes – Employment Law This Week

Featured on Employment Law This Week: Non-competes are coming under the microscope of the U.S. Treasury.

A recent report from the Treasury calls for more transparency in non-compete agreements and better communication around their use. Approximately 18 percent of the workforce is subject to these restrictive covenants, and there is increasing scrutiny around them on both the state and federal levels. A recent Utah statute restricts non-competes to no more than one year, while Oregon and Alabama recently tightened their statutory restrictions.

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