UNIT APPRECIATION RIGHTS When Cash Does Not Equal Ownership

By: Khalif Timberlake*| Guest Writer 

https://media.licdn.com/mpr/mpr/p/8/005/0b7/185/175f506.jpgAs publicly traded companies (“PTC”) continue to grow both in revenue and profits, non-publicly traded companies (“NPTC”) have found themselves competing for employees. For many employees, an important factor when choosing where to work is compensation. One form of compensation in which PTC have historically prioritized are stock grants and also stock options. In essence, PTC either award stock or present a favorable price at which to buy stock in the company for a particular employee. Largely reserved for key executive employees, such compensation increasingly became an attractive incentive for employees. The benefits also favored companies, for now the employees had an additional incentive to increase the value of the company. The utilization of stock options and grants has incentivized competing employers within the same markets to offer alternative employee packages to maintain and attract desired employees. This usually resulted in an increase in other forms of compensation areas such as base salary, vacation time, insurance benefits etc. Continue reading »

Beer Serious: 500 Years of Beer Regulation

By: Libby Casale*| Guest Writer 

https://pixabay.com/en/germany-band-tap-celebration-987912/

There is a German word, bierernst, which literally translates to “beer serious.”  And in Germany, beer is serious business.  Beer purity laws, known as Reinheitsgebot, govern what specifications beer must conform to in Germany.  The law is celebrating its 500th birthday this year.

Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria issued the regulation in 1516, and some regard it as the oldest currently valid consumer protection law in the world.  The law was aimed at quality in sixteenth century breweries.  Beer was a dietary staple, and breweries in the sixteenth century were not very hygienic.  Brewers often added questionable ingredients, such as wood shavings and roots to their beers.  The laws also helped protect consumers from high prices. Continue reading »

USA Binges Pokémon Go while World Waits

By: Rachel Raimondi*| Guest Writer 

https://pixabay.com/en/pokemon-go-pokemon-street-lawn-1569794/

It’s beginning to look a lot like the ‘90s.

On July 6, Pokémon Go launched using smartphone cameras to create an “augmented reality” in which animated, mystical creatures originally introduced in 1996 are displayed in real-life settings like parks, offices and living rooms.  GPS puts players’ human avatars on a real map of their surroundings and encourages local exploration and exercise on the quest to “catch ‘em all.” Continue reading »

Insider Trading & Gambling Debts Taint Phil Mickelson

By: Dominic Interlicchia*| Guest Writer 

https://pixabay.com/en/seal-handshake-man-men-face-326159/

On May 19, 2016, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara announced insider trading charges against Billy Walters, a well known Las Vegas sports gambler, as well as insider trading charges against Tom Davis.  Davis is the former chairman of the board of Dean Foods, the largest provider of fresh milk in the United States.  Andrew Ceresney also announced Phil Mickelson as a relief defendant to repay the benefits he received from the stock deal as well as interest. Continue reading »

Episode II: The Cloud Wars

By: Rachel Raimondi*| Guest Writer 

https://pixabay.com/en/microsoft-logo-firm-software-wall-1537592/

On June 13, Microsoft announced it would take over LinkedIn in a $26.2 billion cash deal; it’s biggest acquisition to date.  Microsoft plans to merge its “professional cloud” with LinkedIn’s “professional network,” to put users’ LinkedIn profiles at the center of standard Microsoft products like Outlook, Excel and Skype.

Additionally, Microsoft wants LinkedIn’s data about companies’ workers for use with its digital assistant, Cortana.  CEO Satya Nadella described the Cortana experience to investors, saying:

“Just imagine you’re walking into a meeting, and Cortana now wakes up and tells you about the people you’re meeting for the first time, but tells you all the things that you want to know before walking into meeting someone.” Continue reading »

ADA Website Compliance: Is Your Website in Violation?

By: Doriyon Glass*| Guest Writer

http://nilambar.net/2016/04/making-theme-accessibility-ready-in-wordpress.htmlI recently attended a Legal Marketing Association (LMA) meeting in Raleigh, North Carolina, and the main topic of discussion was website compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  The discussion was sparked because it had been the topic of a recent Continuing Legal Education (CLE) presentation.  The presentation focused on law firm websites that were not in compliance with the ADA.  A large number of those attending the meeting and the CLE were not aware this was an issue generally or in the legal profession.  The reason for this lack of awareness may be because Title III of the ADA, which applies to public accommodations like businesses, has traditionally focused on physical spaces. Continue reading »

Deregulating the American Dream

By: Rachel Raimondi*| Guest Writer

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f5/Geefunding_crowdfunding.png

By Bizking2u – Eget arbejde, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34635086

Since May 16 the Securities and Exchange Commission has allowed the 99 percent to join top investors in the Securities-based Crowdfunding of private companies.  Crowdfunding is a financing method that allows companies to solicit small individual investments from the general public during the start-up and beginning stages of development.  While the basic premise is similar to that of Kickstarter, which launched in 2009, Securities-based Crowdfunding allows investors to receive an equity stake in the fledgling company, rather than first dibs on the future product or experience.  The SEC and its new rules regulate only Securities-based Crowdfunding. Continue reading »

Finders Keepers: Not The Case In Design Patent Suits

By: Hunt Harris*| Staff Writer 

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Back in December of 2015, Samsung agreed to pay Apple $548 million in damages stemming from a 2011 lawsuit filed by Apple.  In the lawsuit, Apple argued that Samsung infringed on three design patents that represent the essence of the iPhone.  Design patents are meant to protect items whose design is central to the product.  As part of the deal, Samsung and Apple agreed to withdraw all patent lawsuits outside of the United States. Samsung also reserved the right to reclaim the funds if the verdict is subsequently overturned.  In March of this year, the Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal from Samsung over the appropriate amount of damages to be paid to Apple. Continue reading »

The Intellectual Property Behind “Real Women” Advertising

By: Dana Sisk*| Staff Writer 

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From blog.ae.com

During the past decade, there has been a steady increase in the number of companies that feature untouched images of “average sized” women, rather than the highly edited images of tall and slender supermodels.  This movement toward promoting body positivity and positive body image in young women has garnered a lot of praise throughout the advertising and modeling world, and more and more companies are jumping on board. Continue reading »

Sued For Defamation? No Problem, If You Have Homeowner’s Insurance

By: Hunt Harris*| Staff Writer 

http://www.aig.com

Bill Cosby is being sued by numerous women who say he sexually assaulted them.  However, because the statute of limitations has passed, he is being sued for defamation, rather than for the alleged assaults.  The women are claiming that they were defamed when Cosby’s attorneys and representatives dismissed their allegations as fabrications.  Although Cosby is facing mountainous legal costs, it currently seems likely that his homeowner’s insurance will foot the bill.  His insurance carrier, A.I.G., has been fighting this and filed a lawsuit against Cosby, claiming they should not be responsible for his legal fees. Continue reading »