Technology Law Blog

Uber Pays $100 Million to Settle “Employee or Independent Contractor?” Class Action Case

Taxi NavigationIn January we updated you on the numerous legal battles Uber was fighting across the country related to its classification of its drivers as independent contractors rather than employees. Uber, the on-demand car service, recently put one of those battles behind it by settling a class action lawsuit covering 385,000 drivers in California and Massachusetts for $100 million.

Under the terms of the settlement Uber will continue to be able to classify its drivers as contractors. The company also made concessions allowing drivers to receive tips, and to form an association - although not a union - to discuss grievances with the company. Read More ›

Categories: Employment, News & Events

What is a Trademark?

What is a trademark? A trademark is the identity that you have in the marketplace specifically associated with your goods or services. Any name, phrase, identity, symbol or logo your company uses in conjunction with selling your goods and services is a trademark. There are two types of trademarks. Learn more in the short video below.


Categories: Intellectual Property, Trademarks

Intellectual Property: Copyrights

Business owners need to understand copyrights. The video below continues Foster Swift's Legal Basics for Business Video Series by explaining the basics of copyrights. Learn more about copyrights and how they are important to your business in this short video clip.

Categories: Copyright, Intellectual Property

What Vanna White, Albert Einstein, and Johnny Carson Have in Common: The Right of Publicity

On Camera - What are your Personal Publicity RightsVanna White successfully sued Samsung for placing a dressed up, metallic robot next to a Wheel of Fortune style letter board. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem sued General Motors based on an advertisement picturing Albert Einstein’s head connected to a shirtless, muscular body with baggy jeans and white briefs. A former starting quarterback for Rutgers University sued EA Sports over his characterization and depiction in a famous video game. Johnny Carson sued a portable toilet maker for using the phrase, “Here’s Johnny.”

What do all of these lawsuits have in common? The cause of action for each of the above disputes revolved around what is known as a “right of publicity.” The right of publicity refers to the right that an individual has to exploit the economic value of that person’s name, likeness, image, signature, performance, and other aspects of personality.  Read More ›

Categories: Personal Publicity Rights

Employee or Independent Contractor? Uber Wages Battles to Answer Critical Question for On-Demand Economy Companies and Their Workers

Employee or independent contractor? It’s a question many businesses grapple with, and the answer has significant legal and financial implications. Employee vs. independent contractor classification is becoming an increasingly important issue for many “on demand” technology companies such as Uber doing business in the fast growing “gig” or “sharing” economy.

Uber has been involved in a number of legal battles being waged over its practice of classifying its drivers as independent contractors, rather than employees. California has been a hotspot for litigation.  Read More ›

Categories: Employment, News & Events

Help Drone Pilots Stay on the FAA's Nice List this Holiday Season

One of this year's hottest gifts now comes with a registration requirement according to newly-released Federal Aviation Administration regulations.

 On December 14, 2015 the FAA announced that drone owners must register with the FAA before their drone's first outdoor flight. The registration requirement applies to drones that weigh between 0.55 and 55 pounds. Noncommercial users may register through a new web-based system while commercial users must submit a paper application at this time. The $5 registration fee will be waived between December 21, 2015 and January 20, 2016, and all drones must be registered by February 19, 2016. The FAA will provide users with identification numbers which must be marked on any drones that a registered user flies.  Read More ›

Categories: News & Events

Title III Crowdfunding: What is a Funding Portal?

In a previous blog post, we discussed the key highlights of the new Title III crowdfunding rules. In short, businesses are now permitted (subject to certain rules and restrictions) to use equity crowdfunding to offer and sell securities to non-accredited investors.

One of the key investor protections of Title III is that crowdfunding transactions must take place through an SEC-registered intermediary – either a funding portal or a registered broker-dealer. Broker-dealers are likely to be hesitant to serve as an intermediary in a Title III crowdfunding campaign. The reason is that broker-dealers are subject to extensive rules and regulations. Broker-dealers usually pass along their regulatory compliance costs to customers. However, Title III crowdfunding campaigns involve such small amounts (i.e., $1 million or less) that broker-dealers will likely find it unprofitable to serve the market.  Read More ›

Categories: Crowdfunding, News & Events, Venture Capital/Funding

Remedying Past Employee/Independent Contract Misclassification Through IRS’s Voluntary Settlement Program

Employee or independent contractor? It’s a legal distinction that has significant implication for both workers and employers. Take ride-sharing service Uber, for example. It’s now defending a class action lawsuit filed by its drivers who claim they are misclassified as independent contractors. Should plaintiffs be successful, they may be entitled to damages including reimbursement for expenses they incur, such as gas and vehicle maintenance. Read More ›

Categories: Employment, News & Events, Tax

YouTube Will Pay Content Creators’ Legal Fees in Defense Of Fair Use

Tech continues to test the elasticity of the law and use case precedent as its own disruptor. The Google Goliath, YouTube, is moving forward to pay several video content creators’ legal fees in copyright infringement disputes that use the defense of fair use.

A copyright is an expression of an original idea through words, music, pictures, computer programs, or any other method conveying ideas as works of authorship. The copyright is governed by federal law and is, unlike many of our laws, explicitly identified in the U.S. Constitution. A copyright gives authors the exclusive control of their works of authorship, including derivative rights. An author controls whether or not the copyright – work of authorship - may be used or displayed.

There is, currently, one minor exception: fair use. Read More ›

Categories: Copyright, Intellectual Property, News & Events

SEC Finalizes Long-Awaited Title III Crowdfunding Rules

The long awaited SEC Title III crowdfunding final rules have arrived.

The new rules will open the equity crowdfunding gates to non-accredited investors. Non-accredited investors include individuals: (A) with a net worth less than $1 million, or (B) who have an annual gross income of less than $200,000 (or $300,000 together with their spouse). In other words, businesses will now be permitted to utilize crowdfunding to raise capital by selling their securities to “everyday folks.”

Below are some of the key highlights from the new rules. Read More ›

Categories: Crowdfunding, News & Events, Venture Capital/Funding