Attorneys: The Real Winners In Class Action Settlements

By: Hunt Harris*| Staff Writer

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In 2011, Walmart agreed to settle a class action lawsuit worth $27.5 million by paying participants via check or gift card.  The settlement was in response to a deal made in 2005, in which the CEOs of Walmart and Netflix allegedly agreed to share the DVD market.  Both parties agreed that Walmart would not rent DVDs if Netflix promised not to sell them.  The deal was designed as a promotional agreement to help each party market one another’s specific movie business on their own websites. Continue reading »

DIY Home Funeral

By: Molly Pearce* | Staff Writer

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Caitlin Doughty and Amber Carvaly founded a business in California called Undertaking LA. Their business encourages and teaches families how to be more involved in end-of-life-rituals. Another similar company, the Fitting Tribute Funeral Services, offers green burials, witness cremations and post-cremation memorial services. Fitting Tribute is known for offering “anything that makes celebrating a life live more personalized and more meaningful.” For many, traditional funerals are not preferable or economically feasible, and home funerals offer a more intimate alternative. For many, eco-friendly alternatives are more appealing. This movement towards more natural funeral experiences has also expanded to burial decisions. David Wolfe’s website discusses innovative ideas for using organic burial pods to turn remains into trees. These biodegradable urns and pods could be utilized to create a “memory forest” as opposed to a cemetery. Continue reading »

Your Trip, Your Experience: Uber’s New “Trip Experiences”

By: Dianna Shinn* | Staff Writer 

https://newsroom.uber.com/trip-experiences-api/

Uber Trip Expierence

Uber is teaming up with third party app providers to create a personal “trip experience” while taking your Uber ride.  Uber’s first partnership with Spotify in 2014 started Uber’s vision of a personalized trip experience.  With the Spotify partnership, once inside your Uber vehicle, a customer is able to listen to his or her music from their own Spotify playlist inside the Uber vehicle.  The partnership with Spotify came at a unique time when Taylor Swift was removing her songs from Spotify’s streaming service because of a dispute over Spotify’s royalty fees to artists.  The dispute between Taylor Swift and Spotify highlights a legal battle that indirectly impacts Uber’s partnership with Spotify.  The partnership with Spotify is also limited by Uber. For instance, the Uber car must be able to connect to Spotify and drivers must be willing to give control to the passenger. Continue reading »

Wine is the New Vodka: How Wine-Based Liquor is Taking Over the Industry

By: Candice Diah* | Staff Writer 

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Regulations limiting the quantity of restaurants and bars with liquor licenses can make the commercial sale of alcoholic beverages a very tedious and expensive endeavor. The cost of a license to sell distilled liquor can be up to 382 times the cost of a license to serve beer and wine. As of late, smaller restaurants, unable to foot the bill of serving distilled liquor, have found a way around this licensing dilemma.

Companies like Premium Blend have created a product that fits the needs of these restaurateurs. In their own words, Premium Blend “captures the distinct flavors of your favorite liquors and liqueurs,” offering wine-based alternatives to beverages such as whisky, gin, vodka, rum, tequila, triple-sec, amaretto, coffee liqueur, and peach or peppermint schnapps. To cater to the diverse national market, Premium Blend’s products vary in alcohol content to meet the regulations of different states.  Although Premium Blends is one of the more popular brands of wine-based liquor, other companies, like Toddy Blends and Liquid Assets have found success selling similar products. Continue reading »

Ladies’ Night: How Beer Companies Are Changing The Role of Women in Advertising

By: Dana Sisk* | Staff Writer

Coors Light "Climb On" Campaign

Coors Light “Climb On” Campaign

Advertising and marketing is a crucial part of business in the United States and around the world. People are bombarded daily with television commercials, billboards, pop-up Internet ads, and emails.  With Super Bowl 50 in the not-too-distant past, television commercials have become a hot topic recently.  Beer companies, more specifically, have been faced with the challenge of targeting a growing and more progressive market, and have met this challenge with new ad campaigns and marketing approaches.  The target audience of many of these beer companies is young people, but the current young generation, known as “Millennials,” have less discriminative ideas about what is appropriate in advertising. Continue reading »

Coca-Cola versus Dr. Pepper: Cola War Over “Zero” Trademark

By: Amanda Whorton* | Guest Writer 

Photo by woolenniumAfter over a decade of litigation, Coca-Cola has had “zero” luck gaining a trademark for the term “zero” in connection with its beverage brands.  In 2005, Coke filed a U.S. trademark registration for the mark “zero” in connection with their popular “Coca-Cola Zero” soda brand, which Dr. Pepper challenged in 2007.  Arguments ended in December 2015 and a ruling from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office may come as soon as this spring. Continue reading »

A Slippery Slope for Customer Privacy? Apple’s Refusal to Undermine its Own Security Technology

By: Dianna Shinn* | Staff Writer

Photo by RussaviaApple is taking a stand against a court order that would require Apple to help the FBI unlock the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters.  The court order specifically asks Apple to create a way to disable the feature that automatically wipes the data off an iPhone after ten wrong attempts at the password.  Apple does not have the data the government is asking for and Apple considers such a request “too dangerous to create. They have asked us to build a backdoor to the iPhone.”  Apple argues that with the creation of a backdoor for a one time use, the technology could be used again to defeat decryption.

Continue reading »

Recent Pennsylvania Superior Court Ruling On Waiver Forms Exposes Athletic Event Organizers To Increased Wrongful Death Liability

By Steven J. Silver, Esq.* | Guest Writer

Between mud runs, charity 5Ks, obstacles course races, and marathons, there is no shortage of events today testing a weekend warrior’s fitness or, often, their pain tolerance.

These amateur athletic competitions are not just fun and games, though. They are also major revenue generators. For example, according to the Sports Business Daily, the obstacle course racing industry saw its revenues spike from about $16 million in 2009 to nearly $400 million by 2015. In addition, more than 18 million Americans competed in marathons in 2014.

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“Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy” or Standing up for First Amendment Rights? The Battle Over Mandatory Union Fees

By: Molly Pearce* | Staff Writer

Photo by Joe Ravi

Photo by Joe Ravi

On January 11, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, which is a conflict over mandatory public sector union fees.  Ten California teachers have sued the union, challenging the fees under the First Amendment.  The teachers claim they are required to pay to support political positions with which they disagree.  The First Amendment restricts government action infringing upon free speech, not private conduct; this decision will not have a direct impact on unionized employees of private businesses, but will affect millions of government workers.

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Goldman Sachs Found “Short” on Sales of Securities by the SEC

By: Dana Sisk* | Staff Writer

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Goldman Sachs has found itself in hot water once again after violating the SEC’s Regulation SHO Rule 203(b)(1). This regulation was enacted in 2005 to monitor the use of short sales and to prevent “naked shorting,” the act with which Goldman has been charged by the SEC. Naked short sales involve “selling stock short without first locating the shares for delivery,” according to the New York Times. Goldman Sachs violated this regulation from November 2008 to mid-2013. Continue reading »