North America

State of the Creative Series: Interview with Chief Creative Officer at Weber Shandwick

As mentioned last week, we got to wondering, what does it mean to be a creative in today’s world? How many “legs” does an idea have to have when advertisers and marketers are targeting various demographics, each using multiple media devices and social media platforms? And does having all that data mean you or anyone else knows how to use it?

We posed these questions to Chief Creative Officers at some of the world’s leading ad agencies and will be posting their responses here over the next few weeks. Together, they should give us an interesting take on the state of advertising creative today.

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Multistate Tax Update — July 31, 2014

Last month, the Minnesota Tax Court issued a decision in Johnson v. Commissioner of Revenue, No. 8544–R, 2014 WL 2965410 (Minn. T.C. June 20, 2014), with respect to taxpayers’ exchange of unimproved land for a two-bedroom condominium. Johnson is a ruling of significance for taxpayers hoping to take advantage of Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code (“Section 1031”) as it may apply to their state taxes. 

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Notice of resignation or immediate termination

Today, your employee notifies you that he will be leaving in three weeks. Not too happy with this, you reply that you no longer require his services and that he is therefore terminated immediately. In such circumstances, are you released from the obligation to pay an indemnity in lieu of a notice of termination? The answer is no.

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Bill Introduced in House Would Create Federal Private Right of Action for Trade Secret Theft

On July 29, 2014, a bipartisan group of members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bill that would create a federal private right of action for trade secret theft. The Trade Secrets Protection Act (H.R. 5233) is a House version of the Senate’s Defend Trade Secrets Act (S. 2267), a bill introduced earlier this year.

As we discussed in a previous blog post, in the last couple of years, numerous legislators in Washington have made efforts to amend the Economic Espionage Act, 18 U.S.C. §1831 et seq. (which currently allows only prosecutors to pursue trade secret thieves), to empower companies and individuals who have been victimized by trade secret misappropriation to pursue their own remedies in federal court. If successful, these efforts would give aggrieved persons a more standard and straightforward path to sue violators than is currently available in the patchwork of state laws dealing with trade secrets.

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BIG MAC ATTACK : NLRB General Counsel Argues Franchisees and McDonald’s Are Joint Employers

NLRB General Counsel Richard Griffin announced on Tuesday July 29th   that he has authorized issuance of Unfair Labor Practice Complaints based on 43 of 181 charges pending against McDonald’s, USA, LLC and various of its franchisees, in which the Board will allege that the company and its franchisees are joint-employers. If the General Counsel prevails on his theory that McDonalds is a joint employer with its franchisees, the result would be not only a finding of shared responsibility for unfair labor practices, but could also mean that the franchisor would share in the responsibilities of collective bargaining if unions are successful in organizing franchisors’ workers.  The news, which comes as Fast Food Forward, which is affiliated with the Service Employees International Union (“SEIU”) wraps up its convention in Illinois.

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McDonald Hopkins Government Strategies Advisory: Breaking News on Highway Trust Fund

This week, the Senate easily passed a patch to the soon to be broke Highway Trust Fund. The Senate’s actions, however, don’t end the Highway Drama because the chamber made two critical changes to the legislation passed by the House.

First, by a vote of 71 to 26, the Senate voted for the Wyden-Hatch amendment that substitutes the pay-fors, swapping some of the money raised through pension smoothing for tax compliance instead. Second, and probably most problematic, the Senate voted 66 to 31 to adopt the Carper-Corker-Boxer amendment to only patch the Trust Fund up until December. This would set up another bite at the apple for proponents of a long-term fix in a potential lame duck session after the mid-term elections.

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Court Upholds Effective Disinheritence

The British Columbia Supreme Court recently refused to vary a mother’s Will that left only a token $10,000 to an estranged son.  In Brown v. Pearce Estate, the challenged Will read in part:

“I wish to leave no more than the $10,000 referred to above to my estranged son…Although I have sacrificed for him and I have supported him over the years, he has refused any contact with me, and…he has made it clear that he wants no further relationship with me.”

The son asked the Court to vary the Will, claiming that the mother owed him a moral duty to provide more than the $10,000 gift.  The Court considered the facts carefully, and declined to order a variation. 

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NLRB Drops Next Shoe On Micro-Units In Retail: Finds Bergdorf Goodman Women’s Shoe Sales Employees Not An Appropriate Unit

The NLRB finds that the women’s shoe sales employees at Bergdorf Goodman’s New York Store are not an appropriate unit for bargaining. The Board’s unanimous decision to reverse the Regional Director’s finding that the shoe sales team did constitute an appropriate unit and could have their own vote on union representation comes one week after its decision finding that a unit limited to the cosmetics and fragrance sales employees at a Macy’s in Saugus were an appropriate unit for bargaining. The Regional Directors who issued the Decisions and Directions of Election in Macy’s and Bergdorf Goodman each had relied on the Board’s Specialty Health Care decision, which is now often referred to as the “Micro Unit” decision.

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The New Jersey Technology Council: Informative Discussions at the 2014 Annual Meeting

By Michelle Capezza, Ian Carleton Schaefer, and Arthur O’Brien (upSKILL Project Manager, NJIT)

The New Jersey Technology Council (NJTC) is a not-for-profit, trade association which focuses on connecting decision-makers and thought-leaders from technology and technology support companies through access to financing opportunities, networking, and business support. Through its programs, the NJTC provides timely business information to help its members grow and succeed and provides forums for member companies to work together to advance New Jersey’s, and the region’s, status as a leading technology center. At NJTC’s Annual Meeting held in July at The Forsgate Country Club in Monroe, NJ, the NJTC furthered its mission by hosting a series of discussions on topics of import to today’s technology companies. The meeting was abuzz with various conversations and idea exchanges on various topics including the current U.S. patent system, forging partnerships between academic institutions and industry to meet workforce needs, early stage funding, and cloud management/hosting colocation as well as presentations from corporate CEOs regarding the challenges facing their companies.

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An Unconventional Convention: Fast Food Workers Of The World Unite With SEIU Support

The New York Times reported today in its business section in article by Steven Greenhouse, who covers labor matters for the paper, about a convention taking place in Addison. The convention, underwritten by the Service Employees International Union or SEIU, which has been not very quietly backing the “Stand for Fifteen,” movement in its quest for wages of $15 per hour in the fast food field.  It is probably not a coincidence that Addison is just four miles from McDonald’s headquarters in Oak Brook, Il.

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