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Benefit Plans Established by Church Affiliates Are Exempt From ERISA

ChurchOn June 5, 2017, the United States Supreme Court held that employee benefit plans established by church-affiliated organizations are church plans pursuant to the church plan exemption under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”). Read More ›

Categories: Employee Benefits, News, Tax

Copyright is “In Fashion” Following Supreme Court’s Decision Upholding Protection for Cheerleading Uniform Design

Cheerleading UniformOn March 22, 2017, in a 6-2 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a ruling by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Star Athletica LLC v. Varsity Brands Inc. that two-dimensional graphic designs are entitled to copyright protection as “pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works” under the copyright law for useful articles under certain circumstances. It is the first time that the Supreme Court has addressed copyright protection for apparel, and the ruling bolsters legal protections for members of the fashion and apparel industries. Read More ›

Categories: Copyright, Intellectual Property

If You Think Consequences from a Cyber Data Breach Aren’t Real…Just Ask Target

CyberSecurityCyber attacks can be costly. Target recently reached a settlement with 47 states to pay $18.5 million, the largest multistate data breach settlement to date. In November 2013, Target's systems were infiltrated and 40 million customers' payment card information was stolen as was the personal information of 60 million customers. In addition to the settlement, Target paid for free credit monitoring services for consumers affected by the breach as part of a $10 million class-action lawsuit settlement.  Read More ›

Categories: Cybersecurity, News

Supreme Court Examines Where Proper Venue Lies for Patent Infringement Lawsuit

PatentThe Supreme Court recently decided a case involving the patent venue statute 28 U. S. C. §1400(b). The case, TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods Group Brands, No. 16-341, concerned flavored drink mixes made by TC Heartland, which is based in Indiana. Kraft sued it claiming patent infringement in Delaware, which has a high concentration of patent suits. Read More ›

Categories: Intellectual Property, Patents

How does the "Hire American" portion of the "Buy American, Hire American" Executive Order impact H-1B visa applicants and start-up businesses?

Visa ApplicationMuch ado has been made about the Trump administration's stance on immigration issues. Throughout the 2016 campaign and into the first months of the new presidency, immigration has been a hot-button issue that has consistently garnered media attention. Last month, the administration took one of its first major swings at immigration reform in putting into effect an Executive Order titled "Buy American and Hire American" (the "Executive Order.") The "Hire American" portion of this Executive Order focuses on the H-1B visa program, a program that is used to give skilled foreign workers a temporary visa, granting them work authorization to utilize their skills in the United States. This blog post will analyze the impact of the proposed reforms, and in particular, the impact of those reforms on startup businesses. Read More ›

Categories: Employment, News, Startup, Venture Capital/Funding

Cyber-Security: It's Not If, It's When

We are all at risk for a cybersecurity breach. Speakers from Michigan State University, ASK and Foster Swift will help you determine the legal and technical processes you need to have in place. Learn more in this short video. Read More ›

Categories: Cybersecurity, News

Common Legal Mistakes of Start-Ups

Business startups often make legal mistakes .The list below highlights some of the frequent legal mistakes made by start-ups. Blunders and mistakes are certainly a part of life and starting a business. But, we hope that the advice below will help you avoid a few. Read More ›

Categories: Startup

Big Hollywood Studios Win Injunction Against Streamer VidAngel in Copyright Infringement Case

A big legal battle has been breVidAngel Logowing between upstart video streamer VidAngel and Hollywood heavyweights Disney, Warner Bros., and 20th Century Fox. So far, the studios have scored a clean knockdown, if not a knockout.

VidAngel describes itself as a family-friendly video streamer that allows users the ability to filter language, nudity and violence from movies and TV shows. Its business model involves selling new movies to customers for $20, allowing customers to select which snippets of content to edit out, and then buying movies back for $19. The price VidAngel will pay to buy back the content diminishes by a dollar for each day the buyer keeps it. In other words, VidAngel does not license the movies from the studios who hold the copyrights to the content like, for example, Netflix does.

The big studios took notice, and in June filed suit, alleging that VidAngel was operating as an “unlicensed [video on demand] streaming service.” Among other claims, the studios requested that the court grant an injunction blocking VidAngel from continuing to stream films. VidAngel fired back with counterclaims alleging antitrust violations by the studios. Read More ›

Categories: Copyright, Intellectual Property, Technology

Border Searches May Compromise the Privacy and Security of Company Technology

International FlightRecently, international travelers have noticed US Customs and Border Protection agents with increased interest in searching cell phones, laptops, and other portable technology. Employers should be aware that this trend increases the risk that an unauthorized individual will access sensitive company information, which could result in an inadvertent data breach.

Some international travelers have been asked by border agents to unlock cell phones or provide a password needed to unlock the device. One report included a customs agent threatening to seize a travelers' phone if he did not unlock his cellphone. Employers are rightfully concerned that these searches may allow unauthorized individuals to access sensitive company information. Read More ›

Categories: Employment, News, Privacy

Fiduciary Rule update: the beginning of the end?

Shortly after our first article on the DOL Fiduciary Rule the White House issued an Executive Order that requires the Department of Labor (the "DOL") to revisit the Fiduciary Rule (the "Fiduciary Rule" or the "Rule") and the Prohibited Transaction Exemptions (the "PTEs") that were amended alongside it. President Trump's Executive Order requires the DOL to determine if the rule will adversely affect retirement investors or financial firms. If the answer is yes, the expectation is that the Fiduciary Rule and the related PTEs will not survive as currently written, and the DOL will rescind or revise the Rule. Read More ›

Categories: Employment, News