Regions

Regulators Scrutinize Social Media Campaigns

2015 saw greater regulatory scrutiny of social media marketing campaigns. Specifically, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) advised on social media promotions, online influencers, and online reviews.

In an update to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about its Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (the FTC Endorsement Guides), the FTC reiterated that entries into a contest in return for an endorsement required a clear and conspicuous disclosure that the post was incentivized.

Read More

Read full article

Regulators Continue to Focus on Native Advertising Practices

Native advertising is still on the rise, with marketers continuing to shift media buys into the sponsored content arena as a means of addressing issues such as ad fraud, viewability, and ad blocking – which are primarily issues for traditional display advertising. By way of context, native advertising spending rose from $4.7 billion in 2013 to $7.9 billion in 2014 and is projected to rocket beyond $20 billion by 2018, according to data reported by Business Insider.

The FTC has expressly taken the position that long-standing consumer protection principles apply to native advertising, and that native advertising disclosures are required and subject to enforcement under Section 5 of the FTC Act.

Read More

Read full article

Courts and USPTO Analyze Hashtags, with Varying Results

In the social media world, hashtags are ubiquitously used by the general public, marketers and their agencies. But the legal protectability of hashtags as intellectual property has largely gone unaddressed. This began to change in 2015, with courts and government entities analyzing the interplay between hashtags and trademark law, with mixed results.

A court in California held that hashtags did not function as trademarks. The case involved a dispute between two competing manufacturers of electronic vaporizers. The parties had entered into a settlement agreement that prohibited one of the manufacturers from using the term “CLOUD PEN” as a unitary trademark.

Read More

Read full article

Suppliers Concerned over Debt Repayment Following BHS Administration

The news that high street retailer BHS has entered administration has been widely reported in the media, with speculation over the future of the thousands of employees who work there and concern over the existence of a possible pension deficit.

The Government has tried to provide a measure of calm by issuing a statement confirming that BHS is currently still open for business as usual. It added that there are no plans for immediate redundancies or store closures, and that the administrators are looking to sell BHS as a going concern.

Read full article

House Passes Federal Trade Secrets Bill

After years of stops and starts in Congressional efforts to pass a law creating a federal claim for misappropriation of trade secrets that can be pursued by private citizens and companies (as opposed to federal prosecutors), the last few weeks have produced an astonishing acceleration of those efforts.  This month, the Defend Trade Secrets Act has been approved by both houses of Congress in resounding fashion.  It is on the brink of being enacted into law.

On April 27, 2016, the House of Representatives voted 410-2 to pass the Defend Trade Secrets Act.  That vote came quickly on the heels of the April 20, 2016 approval of the bill by the House Judiciary Committee, where the bill had languished since July 2015.  The Judiciary Committee finally took action on the bill after the Senate voted unanimously by a tally of 87-0 to approve the bill on April 4, 2016.

Read full article

Intellectual Property: 3 notable features of the newly passed Defend Trade Secrets Act

The Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA) is about to become law. The United States Senate approved the legislation by a margin of 87 to 0 earlier this month, and the House of Representatives approved it 410 to 2. President Barack Obama, whose administration urged Congress to pass the legislation, is virtually certain to sign the bipartisan bill into law.

The DTSA will provide powerful new tools for businesses to protect their hard-won technical, business, and other information. The DTSA extends to “all forms and types of financial, business, scientific, technical, economic, or engineering information,” provided that the owner has taken reasonable steps to keep the information secret and the information derives value from its secrecy. Examples of protectable trade secrets include:

Read full article

Eye to the future: Shutts & Bowen’s history mirrors Miami’s

A recent Miami Herald article highlighted Shutts & Bowen’s continued growth in Miami and across the state, delving into the firm’s latest practice areas – including hospitality, intellectual property and Cuba – as well as its plans to expand to new offices in Jacksonville.

Bowman Brown, chairman of the firm’s Executive Committee, describes new legal opportunities brought to South Florida by the relocation of domestic hedge funds and private equity funds. Frank Rodriguez, Managing Partner for the Miami office and the Latin America practice group leader, states that Miami is “in the top 20 to 25 cities for high-net-worth individuals and international investors,” which creates more opportunities for the firm, especially in the areas of financial services, real estate, litigation and tax-planning.

Read More

Read full article

Palm Beach Legal Aid to Honor Shutts & Bowen and others during Annual Pro Bono Recognition Evening

The Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County will honor nine attorneys, a private investigator, a community volunteer and Shutts & Bowen during its Annual Pro Bono Recognition Evening on May 7th at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach.

The honorees have supported causes within the last year for domestic violence survivors; abused, abandoned and neglected children; exploited seniors; foster children; and housing and employment discrimination victims.

 

Read More

Read full article

Natural Gas Claims and Litigation Association Annual Meeting

Mike Snyder, Co-Chair, Energy Team, is presenting at The Natural Gas Claims and Litigation Association Annual Meeting at JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort, April 27 at Noon. At the Association’s annual meeting, more than 85 people from more than 50 organizations attend. Presentations include gas incident case histories, the impact of the World Trade Center attack on the local utility’s operations, and property damage recovery techniques.

Read full article

Multistate Tax Update — April 27, 2016

In fiscal year 2013-14, corporate income taxes contributed about 8 percent to California’s General Fund, or $8.5 billion, and were the third largest source of revenue. The first and second largest revenue sources were personal income taxes, at about 65 percent, or $66.2 billion, and sales and use taxes, at about 22 percent, or $22.2 billion, respectively.

The California State Auditor released its findings last week, in response to a request by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee (Committee) to assess the benefits and cost-effectiveness of certain corporate tax breaks. In its April 2016 Corporate Income Tax Expenditures (Report), the Auditor found that regular evaluation of corporate income tax expenditures would improve their efficiency and effectiveness. These tax expenditures, which are defined as tax benefits for qualifying corporations, consist of tax exemptions, deductions, credits, and exclusions, and cost the state more than $5 billion in forgone revenues for fiscal year 2012-13.

Read full article