Monthly Archives: December 2016

Five Most Popular Zen Posts in 2016

sd2fxgkdagk-brigitte-tohmIt will probably come as no surprise to most of you that our most popular posts in 2016 centered around two topics, the future of law firms and Instagram (the latter one is a surprise, but if you’ve been reading closely, you know that we’ve already addressed that oddity). Did you catch all of these posts this year? If not, never fear, I’m bringing you a round up of the most popular posts from Zen in 2016! 

Instagram: How Lawyers Can Use it & Get Noticed

In our first post about Instagram on Zen, we looked at the facts about this extraordinarily popular social media site (they’ve added 100 million users in just the last six months!) as well as six tips for using it for content marketing and two ways to get noticed there. Do I think you’re going to get business by being an active Instagrammer? Doubtful. But I think you’ll have a lot of fun, find a unique way to connect with people that most of your colleagues and competitors aren’t using, and educate yourself about a social tool that many of your clients are using so that you can effectively advise them.

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Are You Prepared to Ban the Box? New Ordinances Prohibit Los Angeles Employers from Asking About Criminal Convictions Before Making Conditional Job Offers

On December 9, 2016, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed ordinances no. 184652 and 184653, collectively referred to as the “Fair Chance Initiative.” These ordinances prohibit employers and City contractors (collectively “Employers”), respectively, from inquiring about job seekers’ criminal convictions until after a conditional offer of employment has been made. Both ordinances will go into effect on January 22, 2017 and will impact all employers in the City of Los Angeles and for every position which requires an employee to work at least an average of two hours per week within the City of Los Angeles and all City contractors and subcontractors, regardless of their location.

No Criminal Inquiry Until After Offer

Specifically, these ordinances prohibit Employers from inquiring about a job applicant’s criminal history, at any time or in any manner, unless and until a Conditional Offer of Employment has been made to the applicant. Following the Conditional Offer of Employment, Employers are permitted to request information regarding the applicant’s criminal history. However, Employers can only withdraw or cancel the conditional offer as a result of the applicant’s criminal history after engaging in the “Fair Chance Process.”

New “Fair Chance Process” Required

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The Constitutional Court has permitted to reduce IP compensations below the minimum amount

On December 13, 2016, the Russian Constitutional Court has published its Ruling on constitutionality of certain articles of Civil Code regulating the legal nature of compensation as an IP remedy.

The constitutional review was requested by the Altai Arbitrazh Court. While considering numerous IP cases (Kvadro-Publishins v. Lubivaya, Aeroplan v. Vashkevich), the court found that all respondents (local entrepreneurs) had violated several IP assets by selling a few counterfeited items. Since every such violation entails at least a minimum IP compensation (10 000 RUB), the sums of compensation could amount to significant sums in case various IP assets are claimed.

In its request the Altai Arbitrazh Court criticized this mechanism, because it did not provide the courts with the discretion to reduce compensations, even when minor entrepreneurs were made respondents.

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CALIFORNIA MEN PLEAD GUILTY TO $1.66 MILLION TRADEMARK SCAM

js09rllu-km-nico-beardAs often as we warn our clients about unscrupulous companies that prey on trademark owners using notices and invoices that appear to come from government agencies, these worldwide scams continue to reap large quantities of fraudulent proceeds.  The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) works in a variety of ways to alert the public to these non-official solicitations.  Every Office Action from a trademark examiner contains a warning and a link to the “Non-USPTO Solicitations” page, and every issued trademark registration certificate arrives with a similar warning on bright orange paper.

The Non-USPTO Solicitations page contains the names of companies of which the USPTO is aware that make their solicitations mimic the look of official government documents rather than the look of a typical commercial or legal solicitation.  They emphasize official government data like the USPTO application serial number, the registration number, the International Class(es), filing dates, and other information that is publicly available from USPTO records. Many refer to other government agencies and sections of the U.S. Code. Most require “fees” to be paid. Clicking on the company name provides an image of that entity’s solicitation.  Applicants and registrants have paid these private companies, believing that they were paying required fees to the USPTO. 

The USPTO also cooperates with the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service to fight the problem.  As reported on December 21, 2016, in the “Director’s Forum: A Blog from USPTO’s Leadership,” the Justice Department recently obtained guilty pleas from two California men involved in a mass-mailing scam targeting trademark applicants.  Artashes Darbinyan and Orbel Hakobyan admitted stealing about $1.66 million from 4,446 trademark registrants and applicants using companies called Trademark Compliance Center (“TCC”) and Trademark Compliance Office (“TCO”).  As reported by the Justice Department on December 12, 2016, Darbinyan pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to launder money and Hakobyan pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to launder money.

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Information subject to obligatory publication in Federal Register of data on the activities’ facts

Federal Law of 03 July 2016 No. 360 FZ “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation” introduced amendments inter alia into the Federal law of 8 August 2001 No. 129-FZ “On State Registration of Legal Entities and Sole Entrepreneurs” (hereinafter – the “Law”). The amendments comprise establishment of the Unified Federal Register of Information about Facts of Activities of Legal Entities (hereinafter – the “Register”)1. The Register supplemented the existing Unified State Register of Legal Entities and Sole entrepreneurs (hereinafter – the “EGRUL”).

According to the Law the following information has to be published in Register by the legal entity:

on the cost of the joint-stock company’s and limited liability company’s net assets on the last reporting date2;
on the occurrence of criteria evidencing insufficiency of property in accordance with the legislation on insolvency (bankruptcy);
on financial and (or) the financial statements, when the law provides for obligation to disclose such information in mass media;

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Council of the Eurasian Economic Commission has adopted a number of documents aimed at launching EAEU common drug market

December 27, 2016
On 03.11.2016 Council of the Eurasian Economic Commission (hereinafter – “CEEC” and “EEC” accordingly) has adopted a number of documents aimed at formation of the common drug market of Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). The formation of common drug market of EAEU is prescribed by arts. 30, 31 of the Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union dated 29.05.2014. On 03.11.2016 CEEC has adopted a total of 21 documents.

The common drug market of EAEU will be launched no later than the Republic of Armenia ratifies the Treaty of unified principles and rules on circulation of drugs within EAEU dated 23.12.2014 (hereinafter – “Treaty”). According to the information available at the official website of EAEU1, the Republic of Armenia is expected to complete the ratification process before the end of the year 2016.

The key documents adopted by CEEC on 03.11.2016 are listed below. According to its content the documents are divided into the following categories: Good practices rules (A); Composition of unified registers (B), Pharmaceutical inspections (C), Registration and examination of drugs (D), Other issues (E).

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Hall & Wilcox promotes one partner and seven senior lawyers

Leading independent business law firm Hall & Wilcox is pleased to announce one partner and seven senior lawyer appointments, effective 1 January 2017. The promotions are across the firm’s Melbourne, Newcastle, Sydney and Perth offices and will further bolster the firm’s litigation, insurance, private clients and property teams.

Adrian Lasky has been appointed to partner in the firm’s Litigation and dispute resolution in the Melbourne office. Adrian has excellent technical skills and head’s the deferred payments litigation and smarter recovery solutions practices, which provides a unique option to insolvency practitioners to undertake a broader range of investigations and examination.

Senior lawyer appointments are:

Melinda Andrew, Special Counsel, Insurance

Rosena De Freitas, Special Counsel, Insurance

Kirrilee Kennedy, Special Counsel, Insurance

William Moore, Special Counsel, Private Clients

Leigh Parker, Special Counsel, Insurance

Amy Bilich, Senior Associate, Insurance

Chris Hammond, Senior Associate, Property & Projects

With these promotions and recent lateral appointments, brings the total number of partners to 68 and over 80 senior lawyers across the firm’s six offices.

The post Hall & Wilcox promotes one partner and seven senior lawyers appeared first on Hall & Wilcox.

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Major changes in Russian tax legislation

Major changes in Russian tax legislation

December 23, 2016
In the framework of the main directions of the tax policy for 2017 and for the scheduled period of 2018 and 2019 the Federal Law No. 401-FZ “On amending part one and part two of the Tax Code of the Russian Federation and other legislative acts of the Russian Federation” (hereinafter – The Law No. 401-FZ dated 30.11.2016) has been adopted in November 2016. The Law No. 401-FZ dated 30.11.2016 came into force on November 30th, 2016, except for its particular provisions, for which specific terms of coming into force have been set.

Below you can find a brief overview of major amendments which may affect the widest range of taxpayers regardless their industry affiliation.

1. Restriction of eligibility of the property tax exemption with respect to movable property

The eligibility of the federal property tax exemption in respect of movable property is restricted by the Law No. 401-FZ dated 30.11.2016. Starting from January 1st, 2018 the property tax exemption remains available only if it is established at the regional level. That said, in 2017 the taxpayers would still have a possibility not to pay the tax in regard to movable property accounted for as fixed assets starting from January 1st, 2013.

In current circumstances the taxpayers who have planned capital expenditure into high-cost fixed assets (e.g. production assets) for the period after January 1st, 2018, may consider rescheduling such plans for the beginning of 2017 in order to secure to the federal property tax exemption in regard to such assets at least in 2017.

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Top Issues of 2016 – Featured in Employment Law This Week

The new episode of Employment Law This Week offers a year-end roundup of the biggest employment, workforce, and management issues in 2016:

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Week of December 19, 2016 on ILNToday – A Roundup!

roundupWe’re doing our roundup a couple of days early this week in advance of the holidays coming on Saturday and Sunday! (And for some of you, the winter solstice is a holiday too!) So take some time out to enjoy this brief roundup of this abbreviated week’s posts, and we’ll look forward to seeing you after the holidays!

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