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MBBP’s Life Sciences Vector Newsletter, Spring 2017 04/20/2017

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Attorney News, Corporate, Intellectual Property, Life Sciences, MBBP news, New Resources.
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Our Life Sciences team has published the Spring 2017 edition of its newsletter, Vector. Below you will find brief descriptions of the news and articles included in the publication. Read the full newsletter for more information.

DAVID CZARNECKI AND STANLEY CHALVIRE ELEVATED WITHIN THE FIRM

We are pleased to announce that David Czarnecki and Stanley Chalvire have been elevated to Member. Dave is exceptionally proficient in guiding both buyers and sellers through a wide range of corporate transactions. Stan is a Registered Patent Attorney, specializing in the licensing of intellectual property and related counseling.

AMANDA PHILLIPS NAMED 2017 UP & COMING LAWYER

Litigation associate Amanda Phillips has been named a 2017 Up & Coming Lawyer by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. The recognition is awarded to a select number of attorneys who have been practicing for fewer than 10 years but whose professional achievements are noteworthy and whose service to the community is also significant.

CORPORATE ATTORNEY MICHAEL JABBAWY JOINS FIRM AS PARTNER

Michael’s practice is focused primarily in the areas of emerging and growth technology companies, venture capital, M&A transactions, and corporate governance. As a member of the Corporate Department, Michael advises technology and other emerging companies through each stage of growth. Prior to joining MBBP, Michael was a member of the Technology Companies group at Goodwin Procter LLP.

RECENT LIFE SCIENCES TRANSACTIONS

MBBP represented several clients in life sciences transactions, including iSpecimen, Orionis Biosciences, First Light Biosciences, and Manus Biosynthesis. The transactions ranged from convertible debt to equity investments. Learn more on page 2.

FREEDOM TO OPERATE: PREVENTION IS THE BEST MEDICINE

Launching a new product or service can be fraught with uncertainty and involve large expenditures of limited resources. An FTO opinion can reduce uncertainty and provide some insurance against loss from an unfavorable finding of infringement of another’s patent. An FTO opinion makes a determination whether a product or service infringes issued patents. In other words, the opinion indicates whether or not there is “freedom to operate” the product or service within the patent landscape. Often, FTO opinions also identify patent applications that, if later issued as patents, may be problematic. Read the full article on page 2.

THE PATENT PROCESS: GET ON THE FAST TRACK

One of the biggest frustrations for patent applicants is the incredibly slow pace at which an application proceeds from filing to receipt of a substantive examination report to allowance. On average it takes 15.7 months for a patent application to receive even a first substantive examination report, though there is significant variability across technology areas. The Patent Office has recognized this problem and implemented several initiatives which attempt to address the problem from different angles. Two programs in particular have gained traction: the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) and Track One Prioritized Examination. Continue reading for more information about these programs.

OWNERSHIP OF ARISING INVENTIONS IN JOINT DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENTS

Collaboration remains a valuable means of fostering innovation and advancing scientific, clinical and commercial objectives. Towards that end, two or more parties contemplating a collaboration often consider entering into a Joint Development Agreement, where they define, among other things, their respective contributions and responsibilities towards their common objectives. These types of collaborations require a careful and thorough consideration of the disposition of intellectual property rights that may arise as a result of each party’s performance of its responsibilities under such collaborations. Read more starting on page 3.

GUEST COLUMN:
FOR SKILLED IMMIGRATION TO THE U.S., THE TIMES, THEY MAY BE CHANGING

The last year of the Obama Administration saw an increased activism by President Obama in the area of skilled immigration. Through Executive Orders and regulations, the President made a number of important changes including providing Employment Authorization for spouses on H-4 visas, increasing the period of post-graduate employment authorization for foreign students in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), increasing the number of academic fields included in STEM and formalizing a grace period for foreign nationals on H-1B visas that find themselves between jobs. Read the full article beginning on page 5.

Faith Kasparian Comments on Privacy & Data Security Implications of Burger King’s New Google-Triggering Ad 04/14/2017

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Attorney News, Intellectual Property, Privacy and Data Security.
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FDK Headshot Photo 2015 (M0846572xB1386)Intellectual property attorney Faith Kasparian comments on the potential privacy and data security repercussions of Burger King’s new ad in Bloomberg’s article, “Burger King’s Google-Triggering Ad Invites Complaints, Scrutiny“. The article discusses Burger King’s recent ad controversy, after it prompted consumers’ Google Home devices to respond to the prompt “OK, Google. What is the Whopper burger?”.

Faith notes that:

It’s unreasonable for Google not to have appropriate mechanisms in place so that the device couldn’t be activated by a third party.

She also states that the FTC could have a claim against Google for the ad since consumers did not receive proper disclosures, and that Google could also take legal action against Burger King for “inappropriately leveraging that device”.

For more information on the legal implications of the ad, read Bloomberg’s article.

MBBP Corporate Attorneys Represent Mosse & Mosse Associates in Acquisition of Certain Assets by Risk Strategies Company 04/12/2017

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Attorney News, Client News, Corporate, Deal News, MBBP news.
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A team of Morse Barnes Brown Pendleton attorneys, led by Joe Marrow, Dave Czarnecki, Kelly Hinkel and corporate paralegal Yongha Lee, recently represented our client Mosse & Mosse Associates, LLC in a sale of certain assets to Risk Strategies Company. Mosse & Mosse provides its client base with both employee benefits and retirement plan consulting services. Risk Strategies Company, a privately-held, rapidly-growing national insurance brokerage and risk management firm, has expanded its employee benefits practice and expertise through the Mosse & Mosse acquisition. The sale of assets did not include Mosse & Mosse’s benefits business related to municipalities and educational institutions, and MBBP will continue to represent Mosse & Mosse in that on-going enterprise.

Why You Should Spend Dollars on Patent, Trademark Protection 04/11/2017

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Attorney News, Intellectual Property.
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Sean D. Detweiler (SDD)In the article, “Why You Should Spend Dollars on Patent, Trademark Protection“, published on CFO.com, patent and trademark attorney Sean Detweiler discusses why it is important for companies to protect the thoughts they pay for through patent and trademark protection. According to Sean, failure to protect this information could lead to loss of company value and a narrowing of opportunities.

Most often, patents are the best form of protection for innovations implemented in your products or services. But if you take your time in pursuing them they may no longer be available to you.

For more information, read the full article on cfo.com or feel free to contact Sean directly.

Strategic Alliances: Pot of Gold or Pretty Poison? – Life Sciences Series Panel 4 Event, April 28 04/11/2017

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Attorney News, Corporate, Events, Licensing & Strategic Alliances, Life Sciences, MBBP news.
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JMH Headshot Photo 2015 (M0846571xB1386)Our Life Sciences Series Panel 4 event, Strategic Alliances: Pot of Gold or Pretty Poison?, will be held on Friday, April 28 from 7:30-10am in our Waltham office. Moderated by corporate attorney John Hession, a panel of business development experts from Big Pharma and Small Biotech explore various research and collaboration structures, from options to license to comprehensive collaboration partnerships. We will discuss various licensing vehicles, the importance of concise fields of use descriptions, sample economics, and conventional transaction structures.

View our event page for more information and to register for the event.

Firing Executives for Cause: Recent Case Offers Lessons 04/06/2017

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Attorney News, Employment.
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M0846523In employment and labor attorney Scott Connolly‘s new article “Firing Executives for Cause: Recent Case Offers Lessons“, Scott discusses how the outcome of Eric Balles v. Babcock Power, Inc. offers contract drafting lessons for corporate and employment attorneys who represent executives and companies. Much can turn on whether an executive is fired “for Cause”.  If Cause exists, an executive’s employment contract almost always provides that the executive shall receive no severance benefits – typically post-termination salary and health continuation and, less commonly, accelerated vesting of stock.  In addition, stock agreements may provide that, when Cause exists, an executive’s stock is subject to repurchase by the Company at a minimal price.

Because the stakes are so high, employment lawyers tend to fight the hardest during contract negotiations on termination and severance provisions and the definitions of Cause and “Good Reason” (the corollary that allows executives to leave, but still receive severance benefits).

To continue reading about firing executives for Cause, read the full article.

Patent and Trademark Attorney Sean Detweiler Discusses Possible Risks from Using Low-Cost Trademark Registration Services in New Article 03/21/2017

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Attorney News, Intellectual Property.
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Sean D. Detweiler (SDD)In the past 5 or so years, there have been a number of online, low-cost, entrants into the trademark registration space. Companies like The Trademark Company, TTC Business Solutions, and others, promote low-cost trademark registration services. However, questions have surfaced as to whether such services are operating ethically.

Sean Detweiler discusses recent charges brought against low-cost trademark registration companies by the USPTO and the potential risks from using one of these services. He states that:

It is true that the counseling and advice will likely cost more than going it on your own, or using one of these low-cost services that claim an attorney is involved. However, there is clearly a substantial risk in skipping the advice and counseling that experienced trademark attorneys offer, and either filing trademark applications pro se (as an individual, on your own) or using some of the low-cost online trademark registration providers, such as The Trademark Company.

Read the full article, “Recent Developments Should Have Trademark Owners Thinking Twice About Using Low-Cost Registration Services” for more information.

Dave Czarnecki Xconomy article: “Tax Reform and Choice of Business Entity” 03/16/2017

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Attorney News, Corporate, Taxation.
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M0846543In his new article for Xconomy, “Tax Reform and Choice of Business Entity“, corporate and tax partner Dave Czarnecki discusses how the decision of choice of entity for an entrepreneur’s business has both tax and non-tax implications. The decision is especially important given the impending White House tax reform plan, which could include a reduction in corporate tax rates.

Dave poses the question:

“If the anticipated changes are adopted, should entrepreneurs be more willing to organize their business as a C-Corporation, rather than an entity that is taxed on a pass-through basis?”

Dave discusses this question and potential tax reform and the implications for businesses in the Xconomy article.

Carl Barnes Quoted in BloombergPolitics on Rex Tillerson Email Probe 03/15/2017

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CFB Headshot Photo 2015 (M0846497xB1386)In the investigation into the accuracy of Exxon Mobil’s statements regarding the possible effects of climate change on the company, an email alias of former CEO Rex Tillerson, now Secretary of State, was discovered.

In BloombergPolitics article “Tillerson May Face Deposition About ‘Wayne Tracker’ Alias Emails“, MBBP corporate partner Carl Barnes weighs in on whether or not someone in Exxon’s general counsel’s office knew about the alias account. Carl, a former corporate general counsel, states that someone did, or should have known, about the alias email account, and that,

“If they did not know, or if they failed to bring it to the attention of the litigation team producing documents in response to the court order, that does indicate an ethical and corporate governance failure.”

While Exxon claims that it was forthcoming about the alias email account, it is more likely that Tillerson will be questioned under oath in the probe of the accuracy of its climate change statements since the discovery of the account. For more information, read the BloombergPolitics article.

Michael Jabbawy Joins MBBP as Corporate Partner 03/15/2017

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Attorney News, MBBP news.
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MRJ Headshot Photo 2017 (M1047116xB1386)We are pleased to announce the addition of Corporate Member Michael R. Jabbawy.

Michael’s practice is focused primarily in the areas of emerging and growth technology companies, venture capital, M&A transactions, and corporate governance.

As a member of the Corporate Department, Michael advises technology and other emerging companies through each stage of growth, counseling founders, management teams and boards on pre-incorporation and formation matters, corporate governance, employment matters and strategic commercial transactions, equity and debt fundraising activities, and mergers and acquisitions.

We invite you to contact Michael directly.

Early-Stage Life Science Financing Event – March 30 03/09/2017

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Attorney News, Corporate, Events, Life Sciences, MBBP news.
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JMH Headshot Photo 2015 (M0846571xB1386)Don’t miss our next event, Money and Molecules: Early-Stage Life Science Financing, on Thursday, March 30 from 3:30-5pm at the Cambridge Innovation Center. Moderated by corporate attorney John Hession, a panel of experts will discuss the current complex financing environment for early-stage life science companies. Among other topics, the panel discussion will include:

  • Formulate a comprehensive and coherent financing strategy
  • Construct a financing strategy that fits the company’s timetable and milestones
  • Understand and handle the disadvantages of taking money from different investor types
  • Understand and leverage the advantages of different classes of investors
  • Optimize their chances for success

View our event page for more information and to register for the event.

Scott Connolly Weighs in on Massachusetts Family and Medical Leave Act 03/08/2017

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Attorney News, Employment.
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M0846523In a recent Mass Lawyers Weekly article “MCAD: duty of employer extends past FMLA period“, employment attorney Scott Connolly discusses employer responsibility under the FMLA, as it relates to a recent decision of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD).

The decision in M.C.A.D & LaPete v. Country Bank for Savings supports developing case law that a disabled employee may be unable to communicate effectively, requiring the employer to know when they must engage in an interactive process if the employee has asked for accommodation of their leave. Connolly explains the development of the law in this area and describes best practices for complying with the requirements of leave and disability laws.

Said Connolly:

“As of about 10 years ago, it was common practice for employers to insert firm cutoff dates for leave into their employee handbooks. As the law has developed, however, it has become clear that such arbitrary end dates will not withstand legal scrutiny.”

For more insight into employer responsibility when dealing with employee leave, read the full article: Family medical leave return to work.

You may also be interested in: Five Employment Law Traps for CFOs

 

Pick Up the (Patent Process) Pace! 03/07/2017

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Attorney News, Intellectual Property, Life Sciences.
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LMW Headshot Photo 2015 (M0846622xB1386)A common frustration for patent applicants is the incredibly slow pace at which an application proceeds from filing to receipt of a substantive examination report to allowance. On average it takes 15.7 months for a patent application to receive even a first substantive examination report! The Patent Office has recognized this problem and implemented several initiatives which attempt to address the problem from different angles. Lisa Warren, MBBP Managing Partner and Patent Attorney, discusses the Patent Prosecution Highway and the Track One program in her new article.

Interested in moving your patent application into the fast lane? Contact Lisa directly.

MBBP’s Amanda Phillips Named Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly 2017 Up & Coming Lawyer 03/06/2017

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Litigation associate Amanda Phillips has been named by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly as a recipient of their “2017 Up & Coming Lawyers Award“. ARP Headshot Photo 2016 (M0884433xB1386)The recognition is awarded to a select number of attorneys who have been practicing for fewer than 10 years but whose professional achievements are noteworthy and whose service to the community is also significant.

For further detail on Amanda’s credentials and the award, read our full announcement. Congratulations, Amanda!

Chip Wry Discusses Entity Choice and Tax Reform in Accounting Today 03/02/2017

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Attorney News, Corporate, Taxation.
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Accounting Today’s article titled “To LLC or not to LLC: Entity choice and tax reform“, discusses the importance of choosing the correctM0846619 type of entity to use when forming a business, and the possible impact of an upcoming tax reform. Tax attorney Chip Wry states that while the exact outline of the tax reform is unknown, “it will be similar to the GOP Blueprint. Both the Trump plan and the Blueprint call for lower corporate and individual rates, and an intermediate pass-through rate.” Chip goes on to explain the various tax considerations of choosing a business entity and the scenarios a tax reform may present.

For further detail, read the full article.

You may also be interested in: Tax Considerations in Choosing the Proper Form of Business Entity

MBBP Attorneys Sean Detweiler and Bill Schmidt to be Panelists for Intellectual Property Event 02/28/2017

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Attorney News, Intellectual Property.
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wrs-headshot-photo-2016-m0980966xb1386Sean D. Detweiler (SDD)

MBBP patent and trademark attorney Sean Detweiler and patent attorney Bill Schmidt are scheduled to be panelists for an upcoming event on March 23rd as they discuss “Intellectual Property: The Ins and Outs of Intellectual Property (IP)”. Sean and Bill will be answering questions as they relate to Intellectual Property, specifically patents, in order to save people time and money by answering general questions prior to a client contacting an attorney.

This event will take place on March 23rd from 2-4pm at TechSandbox, with the attorneys covering the basics of IP and patents, and a Q&A session to follow. In addition, attendees with further questions will each have the special opportunity of a one-on-one session with one of the attorneys.

This is a very special event you don’t want to miss! View the event page for more information.

Ryan Perry Discusses Profits Interests and their Potential Business Benefits and Caveats in New Article 02/27/2017

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Attorney News, Corporate, Taxation.
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rjp-headshot-photo-2016-m0949892xb1386One of the first and most important tax-driven decisions a founder must make is the type of entity in which to house his or her venture. Though much ink has been spilled over the pros and cons of choosing a corporation versus a limited liability company, or LLC, one thing is certain: most folks understand corporations better than LLCs. And who could blame them? LLCs can be complicated entities – so flexible that they often seem downright weird. As a result, even when a founder decides that an LLC is the right fit, it is often structured to look as much like a corporation as possible. We denote membership interest as stock-like units, we view boards of managers simply as directors by another name, and yes, we sometimes even issue options to employees. Equity compensation strategies in the world of the LLC, however, can be much thornier propositions than they are for the humble corporation.

For more information about profits interests and other equity compensation strategies, read the full article or contact Ryan Perry.

Howard Zaharoff Highlights 2016 Copyright Legislative and Regulatory Developments 02/16/2017

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Attorney News, Intellectual Property.
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HGZ Headshot Photo 2015 (M0846618xB1386)While many are reflecting on the key copyright cases of 2016, Howard Zaharoff states the necessity of noting the important copyright legislative and regulatory developments that also took place. In his most recent article, Copyright Law: Legislative and Regulatory Developments, Howard discusses developments by the House Judiciary Committee, the Small Copyright Claims Tribunal, and the new procedure for registering designated agents under the DMCA, among others.

For an overview on these and other copyright developments, read the full article.

MBBP’s Shannon Zollo and Josh French Discuss Quickly Enacting Trump Administration Policies in BBJ Article 02/10/2017

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Attorney News, Corporate.
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M0846567   Josh French

In an article in the Boston Business Journal, Corporate partner Shannon Zollo and corporate senior attorney Josh French discuss the importance for the Trump administration to act quickly in enacting new policies that were promised during Trump’s campaign. The potential legislation, including protectionist trade policies, corporate tax reform, increased infrastructure spending, and immigration reform, has left businesses feeling uncertain about how to move forward with their business strategies. Zollo and French argue that the Trump administration must act quickly to enact legislation in order to foster a more certain business environment.

For further detail, read the full article.

Mary Beth Kerrigan Was Encore Panelist at CLE Webinar on Venture Backed M&A 02/10/2017

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Attorney News, Corporate, M&A, Venture Capital & Private Equity.
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M0846587Back by popular demand, corporate partner Mary Beth Kerrigan spoke on an encore panel of this year’s ABA Business Law Annual Meeting, titled “Venture Backed M&A: Special Considerations”.  Mary Beth and her fellow panelists discussed complex issues that commonly arise in acquisitions of venture-backed companies, including complicated waterfalls, the blurring of management incentives with purchase price, and much more.

Congratulations to Mary Beth on another job well done!

To learn more about the conference, visit the ABA’s event page.

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