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New Federal Law Protects Trade Secrets But Also Requires Changes to Employee and Contractor Agreements 05/05/2016

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Client News, Employment, Intellectual Property, Licensing & Strategic Alliances, Privacy and Data Security, Public Companies.
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By, Sandra E. Kahn SEK Headshot Photo 2015 (M0912965xB1386)

It is expected that President Obama will soon sign into law the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA), which creates a new federal civil cause of action for trade secret theft.  While claims for trade secret theft may still be brought under the various state laws which protect intellectual property, this new law will provide uniform protection on the federal level.

The DTSA defines trade secrets consistently with the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA), and applies broadly to any trade secrets “related to a product or service used in or intended for use in, interstate or foreign commerce.”  Along with the ability to bring a lawsuit to fight trade secret theft and pursue equitable remedies and the award of damages for the misappropriation of a trade secret, the DTSA also includes a provision for expedited relief on an ex parte basis to prevent the dissemination of misappropriated trade secrets, which may be obtained under “extraordinary circumstances.”

The DTSA also provides protection for whistleblowers, granting immunity to  parties who, under certain circumstances, disclose a trade secret to the government or an attorney to report wrongdoing, or as part of an anti-retaliation lawsuit.  Of particular interest to our clients is the requirement that employers must now provide a notice of this immunity protection in any contract or agreement with an employee (or an independent contractor or consultant) that governs the use of a trade secret or other confidential information.    If this notice is not included in all contracts which are signed or revised after the effective date of the act, the employer will not be able to recover exemplary damages and attorneys’ fees under the DTSA (although the employer may still pursue any available damages under other causes of action).  Employers are advised to consult with their counsel to revise all agreements with employees and contractors in order not to run afoul of this requirement.

The DTSA, by itself, may not be used to prevent a departed employee from entering into a new employment relationship with a competitor, and provides that any conditions placed on such employment must be based on “evidence of threatened misappropriation and not merely on the information the person knows,” in effect rejecting the doctrine of inevitable disclosure.

Firm Client PMS Bites to be Featured on Shark Tank! 05/05/2016

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Client News, Corporate, Events, MBBP news.
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MBBP client PMS Bites will appear on ABC’s Shark Tank on May 20, 2016.  PMS Bites are indulgent, yet nutritious, snack balls made to satisfy chocolate cravings during the week women need it most! All bites are gluten free, vegan, and made with all natural ingredients.logo

Tune in on Friday May 20th at 9pm to catch the episode!

TechSandBox Featured in Worcester Business Journal 05/04/2016

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Attorney News, Client News, Events, MBBP news, Corporate, Telecommunications & Networking.
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The Worcester Business Journal highlighted Firm client TechSandBox in an article discussing the increasing presence of startup incubators.  TechSandBox Logo (M0654842xB1386)Barbara Finer, CEO and founder of TechSandBox, detailed the benefits and necessary components for a successful co-working space.  MBBP’s Howard Zaharoff serves on the Board of Directors for the Hopkinton based innovation center.  Read the full article for more details.

Additionally, MBBP’s relationship with TechSandBox allows our attorneys to serve as experts at TechSandBox events.  Josh French will be a panelist for TechSandBox’s unPanel event, which will be held tomorrow,  Thursday May 5th.

M&A Considerations for Venture-Backed Companies – Register now! 04/27/2016

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Client News, Corporate, Events, M&A, MBBP news.
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MBBP to host a panel of experienced deal makers who will provide an insider’s perspective on what it takes to successfully position a venture backed company for sale and get a deal done. These panelists include Brady BohrmannTed Gillick, and Douglas Melsheimer. They all represent unique perspectives of a buyer, seller, and banker and each bring years of experience in venture-backed M&A.

Topics that will be addressed include positioning your company for a successful exit, various stakeholders in an M&A transaction, buyers assessing strategic fit, and best practices to ensure a smooth transaction and done deal.

The event will take place on Thursday, May 19th at 4:00pm at the Cambridge Innovation Center. Seating is limited – Register here.

 

 

5/4/16 – Life Sciences Series Panel 1: Business and IP Strategy 04/21/2016

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Events, Intellectual Property, Life Sciences, MBBP news.
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reg now buttonJoin us at MBBP‘s Waltham office on Wednesday, May 4th at 7:00am for a look at Building Your Product & Patent Strategy from the Ground Floor. This is the first of four events in the 2016 Life Science Panel Series.

This lively panel of experts will discuss how to structure a well-crafted intellectual property portfolio. They have all built and analyzed multiple portfolios and will share their experiences on the do’s and don’ts in both organically growing an IP portfolio and in-licensing key properties.

Panelists include:

  • William Edelman Social Entrepreneur and C-Level Executive, Paragonix Technologies, NewVert, VitaThreads, Flexicath, First Light Biosciences
  • Molly Hoult Vice President, Fletcher Spaght Ventures
  • Michael McDonald, Ph.D. Director of Intellectual Property, bluebird bio

Seating is limited. Register today!

Josh French Panelist for TechSandbox’s unPanel Event 04/20/2016

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Attorney News, Corporate, Events, Telecommunications & Networking.
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Josh FrenchOn May 5th, Attorney Josh French will be a panelist at “Networking with a Twist: The Expert’s unPanel” presented by TechSandBox. On this panel will be ten experts in all different aspects of starting a business. Josh French will be representing the legal viewpoint.

The unPanel does not have a typical panel program outline and instead is an opportunity for attendees to ask the questions and steer the conversation. The event targets young companies, startup founders, and people considering starting a business. Topics could include contracts, banking, product prototyping, angel investors, and finding low cost resources.

For more information, visit the TechSandBox calendar.

 

 

Attorney Carl Barnes Panelist on Fairness Opinions 04/14/2016

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Attorney News, Events, M&A, MBBP news.
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Carl Barnes (CFB)MBBP Attorney Carl Barnes will be a panelist in a webinar presented as part of the BDO KNOWLEDGE Webinar Series program, “When and Why Should a Board Require an Independent Fairness Opinion.” This moderated panel discussion, to be held from noon to 1:00pm, Boston time, on May 5, will focus on what fairness opinions are, what they are not, valuation techniques, and the role fairness opinions play in helping directors to fulfill their fiduciary duties in M&A and other transactions.

To register for the webinar, please visit BDO’s event registration page.

Attorney Shannon Zollo Panelist at AMAA New England Meeting 04/13/2016

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Attorney News, Events, M&A, MBBP news.
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MBBP Attorney Shannon Zollo will be a panelist at the SSZ Headshot Photo 2015 (M0846567xB1386)upcoming Alliance of Merger & Acquisition Advisors New England Chapter meeting on Monday, May 9th. The topic of this meeting is, “Bridging the Valuation Gap – Earn Outs”. Specifically, the panelists will discuss the use of earn outs in M&A, structural considerations, measurement methods, legal issues, tax implications, valuation and financial reporting, and potential pitfalls.

To learn more and to register, check out the AMAA New England Chapter Event page.

Sequenom Petitions Supreme Court to Clarify Scope of Mayo in Sequenom v. Ariosa 04/05/2016

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Intellectual Property, Legal Developments, Life Sciences, Medical Devices.
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M0846516Late last month, Sequenom, Inc. filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari requesting the United States Supreme Court to clarify the scope of its Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc., 132 S. Ct. 1289 (2012) decision, as applied to Sequenom’s claimed inventions.  The Mayo decision, which held that a method correlating a drug dosage regimen and levels of the drug in the blood was an unpatentable law of nature, has had the profound effect of narrowing the scope of patent-eligible subject matter in the United States and has cast doubt on the validity and enforceability of previously-issued United States patents.

Sequenom’s discovery related to the discovery of cell-free fetal DNA circulating in maternal plasma, which was used to invent a test for detecting fetal genetic conditions in early pregnancy, and thereby avoid subjecting the mother to dangerous, invasive techniques such as amniocentesis.  The Federal Circuit agreed that Sequenom’s invention combined and utilized man-made tools of biotechnology in a new way that revolutionized prenatal care; however, in view of Mayo, such inventions were deemed patent-ineligible as a matter of law, since their new combination involved only a “natural phenomenon” and techniques that were “routine” or “conventional” on their own.

Despite the Federal Circuit’s reluctant holding that Sequenom’s claimed inventions were not patent-ineligible, multiple judges wrote separately to explain that while this result was probably not intended by Mayo, that decision controlled and only the Supreme Court could clarify Mayo’s reach to prevent a “crisis of patent law and medical innovation.”  Sequenom’s petition now asks the Supreme Court to clarify the scope of its Mayo decision in view of Sequenom’s claimed inventions, and to determine whether a novel method is patent-eligible where: (1) a researcher is the first to discover a natural phenomenon; (2) that unique knowledge motivates him to apply a new combination of known techniques to that discovery; and (3) he thereby achieves a previously impossible result without preempting other uses of the discovery.

If the Supreme Court grants certiorari it will have a compelling set of facts before it to clarify the scope of Mayo, and we patiently await its decision, which will have high stakes for the life sciences community.

For more information, contact Patent Attorney Stan Chalvire.

Just Posted – MBBP’s 2015 M&A Year in Review! 03/31/2016

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Attorney News, M&A, MBBP news.
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M&A TodayCheck out MBBP’s M&A Today blog for a sampling of our successful M&A transactions from 2015.

We take pride in guiding clients through the complexities of M&A transactions in markets as diverse as analytical instruments, software, SAAS, industrial controls, pharmaceuticals, biotech, medical devices, transportation, professional services, and oil & gas.

Cheers to great clients!

 

 

MBBP Attorney Joe Martinez to Speak About The Art of Raising Capital 03/21/2016

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Corporate, Events, Venture Capital & Private Equity.
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MITEF-Full-Color-e1438717228333Thursday, March 24, MBBP attorney Joe Martinez will be speaking at a session of the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge’s Start Smart program.  The discussion will be about the Art of Raising Capital and Joe will be joined by Christopher Mirabile, Managing Director of Launchpad Venture Group and Chair of the Angel Capital Association board.

Start Smart is a hands-on workshop for new and seasoned entrepreneurs alike who are serious about launching a new business venture. The Start Smart program provides entrepreneurs with the information and contacts necessary to help start a new start-up venture in as successful a way as possible.

More information about the program and the full list of speakers can be found here or by contacting Joe.

Employees and St. Patrick’s Day – what could go wrong there?!? 03/17/2016

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Employment.
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shamrock-iconEmployers already know that sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal and can result in liability, but employers should also know that under some circumstances sexual harassment outside of the workplace can result in employer liability.

Check out today’s post on our Employment Law Blog to learn more!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from our Employment Team!

Is there an Exit at the End of Your Rainbow? 03/17/2016

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Corporate, M&A, Taxation.
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There was green alligators and long-neck geese.

There was humpy bumpy camels and chimpanzees.

There was catsandratsandelephants, but sure as you’re born

the lovliest of all was the Unicorn. 

– from “The Unicorn” by Shel Silverstein

unicornToday I am reminded of “The Unicorn,” by Shel Silverstein and popularized in song in the ’60s by The Irish Rovers.

Besides a catchy tune (which gets better by the pint), a “unicorn” is a start-up company whose value exceeds $1 Billion.

While not every start-up will be a unicorn, every start-up can hope for a favorable exit.

From a tax perspective, however, we have seen the excitement surrounding an exit be dampened by improper tax elections (e.g., S corporation elections, 83(b) elections), faulty granting of equity compensation, non-compliant deferred compensation plans, and incorrect state, sales and/or employment tax filings, to name just a few.

My message for you this St. Patrick’s Day:  Avoiding tax issues in M&A does not require the luck o’ the Irish, just competent tax advice.

Is it time to start thinking about securing your pot of gold? Contact Diana Española.

 

MBBP Attorneys Speaking at Upcoming swissnex Boston Seminar 03/09/2016

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Corporate, Employment, Events, Intellectual Property.
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This Friday, March 11th MBBP Attorneys Scott Bleier, Stan Chalvire, Maura Malone, and Callie Pioli will present to Swiss MBA students at swissnex Boston, the consulate of Switzerland. The panel will discuss legal standpoints on conducting business in the U.S., focusing on topics including corporate, employment, and intellectual property law.

For more information regarding this seminar, please feel free to contact a member of our team.

Survey Says: Top NINE Intellectual Property Developments of 2015 03/04/2016

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Computer Software & Hardware, Intellectual Property, Licensing & Strategic Alliances, Life Sciences, Privacy and Data Security, Publishing & Media.
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happy-birthdayBy: Callie L. Pioli

2015 was another busy year in terms of intellectual property law, but luckily, MBBP has been carefully monitoring all of the important developments. There were many contenders for spots in our list, but only a select few could make the cut.

Get a recap on 2015 (and prepare for success in 2016) by reading our list.

We cover:

  1. Happy Birthday to All! – Marya v. Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
  2. Google Books (Authors Guild v. Google, Inc.)
  3. Disparagement versus Free Speech: In re Tam
  4. Issue Preclusion & The TTAB: B&B Hardware, Inc. v. Hargis Indus., Inc.
  5. Patient Infringement Liability: Akamai Techs., Inc. v. Limelight Networks, Inc.
  6. Biosimilarity: Amgen v. Sandoz
  7. ­Patentability of Natural Phenomena: Ariosa Diagnostics, Inc. v. Sequenom, Inc.
  8. Computer Fraud & Abuse Act
  9. Safe Harbor Down, EU-US Privacy Shield Up

 

FAQ: How detailed should Board of Directors meetings’ minutes be? 03/03/2016

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Corporate.
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Young entrepreneurs and corporate associates of emerging companies frequently ask: “How detailed should Board of Directors meetings’ minutes be?”  The short answer is: Do not delve into minutiae, other than precision for approval of equity issuances, option grants and material contracts.

How much detail should you add that might give investors or acquirers cause for unnecessary concern? Read the full response over on our VCs and Startups Blog or contact John Hession.

Is Software Patentable? 03/03/2016

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Computer Software & Hardware, Intellectual Property, Legal Developments.
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M0846496By: Brian J. Assessor

On June 19, 2014, the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International sent shockwaves through many areas of patent law and, as a result of that decision, patent attorneys, inventors, and companies working in the computer and software space are wondering “is software patentable?” and, if so, “what type of software is patentable?”. The impact of this case should be a primary consideration for anyone filing a patent application related to software, even those who were not previously aware of the Alice Corp. decision.

Read the full article.

Learn more about our Patent Team.

MBBP Publishes February M&A Today Newsletter 03/01/2016

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Corporate, Intellectual Property, Legal Developments, M&A, Taxation.
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MA Today Banner (M0620645)Hot off the press!

Articles include:

  • Tips for Enforcing Indemnification Provisions
  • Permanent Exclusion of Gain on Sales of Qualified Small Business Stock
  • IP Due Diligence: Patentability vs. Patent Infringement

Get more info on our M&A blog or read the full newsletter.

 

Clearing Away Cloud Confusion; MBBP Team to Illuminate Intricacies of Buying and Selling Cloud Services 02/01/2016

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Computer Software & Hardware, Corporate, Events, Intellectual Property, Licensing & Strategic Alliances, Privacy and Data Security, Telecommunications & Networking.
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Lawyers for technology companies are increasingly asked to assess the risks of client companies shifting from standard sales and licenses to a cloud model, and lawyers for every company need to assess the pros and cons of receiving core technology as a service over the internet. On Wednesday February 3rd, at a NECCA (New England Corporate Counsel Association, Inc.) seminar  held at the Westin Waltham from 10:00 to noon, MBBP attorneys Howard Zaharoff, John Hession, Mark Tarallo and Faith Kasparian will address the complexities of cloud computing and offer guidance to in-house counsel and other professionals advising their clients on these critical issues.

Among the topics to be covered are understanding the legally relevant features of cloud computing, identifying the key contract issues, recognizing the terms a standard vendor contract should contain, and discovering the implications of  recent developments in data privacy, particularly in the EU, for companies that are purchasing or selling cloud services.

To explore these and many other aspects of this complex and rapidly -evolving subject, reserve your space for this important and edifying NECCA seminar. Lunch will be served at 12:30 p.m.

What’s in Your Employee Handbook? (It Matters!) 02/01/2016

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Employment, Legal Developments.
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Employment Attorney Sandra KahnEmployee handbooks are helpful as long as they are accurate, up-to-date and do not unintentionally create contractual rights. But handbooks that contain promissory language, legally non-compliant policies or outdated information may result in confusion and potential liability.

Employment attorney Sandy Kahn addresses some common mistakes employers should avoid in her New England In-House article, “Employee handbook can be source of potential liability.”

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