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Why Congress Should Act Quickly To Reauthorize SBIR, STTR

Despite bipartisan efforts, the future is uncertain for the by all accounts highly successful Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Authorization for the current...more

TSCA Reform: EPA Publishes First Year Implementation Plan

On June 29, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) posted an Implementation Plan that outlines EPA's plans for early activities and actions under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act,...more

Unfair and Unbalanced-the Victimization Episode

In this episode Roy Snell and I discuss: Victimization and the value of personal responsibility; Standing up for your principles; The idea that you can make your sales goals without breaking the law; Roy translates wink...more

TechConnect - Your Law Firm Link to Industry News - May 2016

Letter from the Editors - Dear Readers, There is an ancient Chinese proverb that goes like this: When the wind changes direction, there are those that build walls and there are those that build windmills. In the early part of this year, when the public capital markets swooned, there was much discussion about investors pulling back in the private company market. Further, as we saw some indications of so-called Unicorns becoming “Unicorpses,” this chatter increased. But while there appears to be a “reset” on valuations going on in the late stage private company market, there is clearly no shortage of entrepreneurs building new “windmills” and getting these young enterprises funded. Good ideas and good companies are definitely getting funded, and the early stage market remains incredibly robust! Further, companies in the late stage that are true “thoroughbreds” and built to last (unlike ephemeral unicorns) are also receiving the financial support they need to grow. All this bodes well for a solid Q2 and Q3 in the private company markets.more

Minnesota Weekly Legislative Update

Ten days remain before the last day of the Minnesota legislative session May 23, 2016. Governor Mark Dayton, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk and House Speaker Kurt Daudt met twice in the past week to negotiate an agreement on budget targets for the conference committees.more

Tennessee Amends Its Data Breach Notification Laws

Removes the Encryption Safe Harbor, Limits the Timing of Notice, and Expands “Unauthorized Persons” - Effective July 1, 2016, Tennessee becomes the first state to remove the encryption safe harbor from its data breach notification laws[1] (Tennessee Identity Theft Deterrence Act of 1999, Tennessee Code Annotated § 47-18-2101, et seq.). more

Medical Device Manufacturer’s Association Comments on Senate Hearing

The Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship held a meeting titled “An Examination of Changes to the U.S. Patent System and Impacts on America’s Small Businesses” on February 25, 2016. more

The Right Tools for the Job: E-Discovery Technology Can Never Replace Lawyers, Only Help Them

Growing up in rural Illinois, the John Deere logo was as ubiquitous as Nike in Portland or Starbucks in Seattle. From old farmers’ mesh-backed caps to the giant tractor that my friend, Scott, parked in the student parking lot of the high school—taking up a row of spaces—as a last-day-of-school prank our sophomore year, you couldn’t go through a day without seeing evidence of that company’s brand.more

DHS/DOJ Issue Guidance on Cyber Threat Info Sharing

On February 16, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ) issued “guidance” to assist federal agencies and non-federal entities in implementing the Cybersecurity Act of 2015.  The Act was signed into law on December 18, 2015.more

President’s FY 2017 Budget Aims to Seal the Deal on Fiscal Legacy

On February 9, President Obama released the last budget request of his Administration. The FY 2017 budget incorporates many proposals from past years but also looks to cement the president’s legacy with a number of new fiscal policy initiatives in priority areas such as corporate and international tax reform, family and individual tax issues, and energy taxes. These and other proposals are outlined in the Department of the Treasury’s General Explanations of the Administration’s Revenue Proposals (otherwise known as the “Green Book”). This update highlights new proposals in this year’s Green Book and notable changes to provisions included in prior requests. New Proposals for Tax Reform, Healthcare, and Energy - Reform the U.S. International Tax System - Impose a 19-percent Minimum Tax on Foreign Income: The basic concept and mechanics of the FY 2017 proposal remain the same as the FY 2016 proposal. New for FY 2017 is the grant of authority to Treasury to determine the foreign effective tax rate, rather than calculating it by rote based on a 60-month look-back period. The FY 2017 proposal would also make the controlled foreign corporation (CFC) look-through rule permanent. This provision, which was extended in the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 for five years, allows a controlled foreign corporation to exclude certain dividends, interest, rents, and royalties in determining its income under Subpart F. Please see full alert below for more information. more

New Cybersecurity and Privacy Initiatives Announced In President Obama’s Final Budget

On February 9, 2016, in connection with his annual budget request, President Obama announced a $19 billion Cybersecurity National Action Plan (CNAP) that the White House has described as a “capstone” to seven years of addressing cybersecurity challenges. Representing an increase of more than 35 percent in funding from fiscal year 2016 for federal cybersecurity efforts, CNAP would “put[] in place a long-term strategy to ensure the federal government, the private sector, and American citizens can take better control of our digital security.” Please see full Alert below for more information.more

UK Financial Regulatory Developments - January 2016 #14

Treasury Committee publishes banking IT failure correspondence - The Treasury Committee has published correspondence between Andrew Tyrie, PRA, FCA and between him and RBS, HSBC and Barclays, relating to IT failures at the banks during 2015. His letters to PRA and FCA following correspondence with the banks note that bank IT systems do not seem to be up to the job. He calls on someone – and recommends it be PRA – to lead an initiative to ensure the banks make improvements. (Source: Treasury Committee Publishes Banking IT Failure Correspondence)more

New Bill Would Require Cybersecurity Disclosures by Publicly Traded Companies

Why it matters - In the continuing efforts to enact cybersecurity legislation and advise the public about cybersecurity preparedness, a new bill introduced in the Senate would mandate that publicly traded companies disclose the cybersecurity expertise or experience found on the board of directors—or lack thereof. Alternatively, the bill would require that the company share what other steps it has taken to identify or evaluate cybersecurity awareness for board members. The Cybersecurity Disclosure Act of 2015, introduced by Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), joins a long list of cybersecurity and data breach-related legislation pending in Congress. But the tweak of adding board disclosure requirements—intended to "strengthen and prioritize cybersecurity" at publicly traded companies—is a new twist.more

Key CISA Provisions Impacting Private Entities

On December 18, 2015, President Obama signed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (“CISA”), which was the culmination of intense negotiations that reconciled three separate cybersecurity bills passed by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives last year. Of the four titles in CISA, Title I is the most impactful for private entities because it establishes mechanisms by which non-federal entities can share cybersecurity information with each other and with federal departments and agencies. Key provisions of Title I of CISA are outlined below. more

Cybersecurity and Data Privacy: New Cybersecurity Bill Introduced in Senate Would Effectively Force Public Companies to Address Cybersecurity Through SEC Disclosures (1/16)

In response to the increase of cybersecurity attacks and data breaches in recent years, some companies have begun to recruit cybersecurity experts to their board of directors. On December 17, 2015, U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the bipartisan Cybersecurity Disclosure Act of 2015, purportedly as an attempt to prioritize cybersecurity issues at publicly traded companies. more

Florida’s CADRA a Powerful New Data Protection

Florida businesses will soon have an important and powerful new legal cause of action to combat unauthorized access to protected computer systems or data by employees, former employees, directors, officers, and others. Florida's Computer Abuse and Data Recovery Act (CADRA) goes into effect on October 1, 2015.more

Illinois Governor Vetoes Data Protection Bill; Suggests Revisions

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a bill amending the state’s data breach notification law on August 21, 2015, saying in a letter to the General Assembly that the bill “goes too far, imposing duplicative and burdensome requirements that are out-of-step with other states.” The bill, S.B. 1833, would have amended Illinois’ Personal Information Protection Act (“PIPA”). more

An Overview, A Summary And An Update To The Latest Patent Reform

Just four years ago in 2011, President Obama signed the America Invents Act (AIA) into law. Since the enactment of the AIA, there has continued to be steady pressure for further reform. In 2013, the Innovation Act was introduced to target frivolous patent lawsuits and abusive settlement practices. The Innovation Act passed the House by a wide margin but hit an unexpected roadblock in the Senate. Two Supreme Court decisions (Octane Fitness and Highmark) that affirmed the power of district court judges to award attorney’s fees in exceptional cases played a role in the demise of the Innovation Act in 2013.more

House Passes Cyber Sharing Bills and Congress is Focusing on Data Protection

On Wednesday, April 22, 2015, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Protecting Cyber Networks Act ("PCNA"), which would give companies certain liability protection against potential lawsuits when sharing cyber threat data with United States government civilian agencies (such as the Treasury or Commerce Departments). On Thursday, April 23, 2015, the House then also passed a complementary measure from the Homeland Security panel, the National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act ("NCPAA"), which would extend liability protections to companies only when giving data to the Department of Homeland Security.more

Cybersecurity Workforce Measures Present Business Opportunities

As part of the federal government’s efforts to address cybersecurity needs in our age of state-sponsored hacking and other high-profile data breaches, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will soon undertake a Congressionally-mandated review of cybersecurity resources. In just two months, the Secretary of DHS will be required to conduct the first assessment of the Department’s cybersecurity workforce and evaluate its readiness and capacity to meet the agency’s cybersecurity mission.more

The Evolving U.S. Cybersecurity Landscape: What Firms Want to Know

Following a year of high-profile data breaches, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced on January 13, 2015 that, for the second consecutive year, its Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) priorities would include a focus on cybersecurity controls. The same day, the Obama Administration (Administration) announced two cybersecurity legislative proposals of importance to the financial services industry. Given this expanding focus on cybersecurity, this article: (i) addresses the results of OCIE’s 2014 cybersecurity examination sweep and discusses OCIE’s second wave of cybersecurity exams; (ii) summarizes the Administration's recent legislative proposals; and (iii) suggests questions firms may wish to consider in response to these important developments.more

Trade & Manufacturing - News of Note - January 2015

Congress Passes Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act - The Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation (RAMI) Act was included in the $1.1 trillion omnibus FY 2015 spending bill signed into law by President Obama last month. The RAMI Act passed the House in September, but had been held up in the Senate since its Committee passage in that body last April. The legislation was introduced in August 2013 by Reps. Tom Reed (R-NY) and Joe Kennedy (D-MA) and the Senate companion bill was introduced by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Roy Blunt (R-MO). The bipartisan group of Members worked together to ensure RAMI's inclusion in the omnibus spending bill. Among other provisions, the RAMI Act funds the 15 manufacturing hubs that make up the Centers for Manufacturing Innovation. The network of public-private innovation hubs will each be focused on a unique technology, material, or process relevant to advanced manufacturing. more

Video Games, iPhones, and Senator John McCain

The picture of Senator John McCain playing poker on his Smartphone went viral within a few hours after it was posted.  Perhaps the reason had less to do with the fact that a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was not paying attention at the hearing to bomb Syria and more to do with the fact that Senator McCain is more tech savvy than many members of the United States Supreme Court and that the public identified with him because of it. In case you missed it, a photographer for the Washington Post captured an image of McCain playing poker on his iPhone during testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The lawmakers were considering whether or not to formally authorize the use of military force in Syria. After the incident made national headlines, McCain quickly came clean. He tweeted, “Scandal! Caught playing iPhone game at 3+ hour Senate hearing - worst of all I lost!” more

The Cost of Convenience: charging for online contributions

On May 7, 2013, the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board (“Board”) will consider an advisory opinion request submitted on behalf of Democracy Ventures, Inc., d/b/a Democracy.com. The organization is seeking guidance from the Board on issues related to fee-based online contributions to state candidates.more

Cyber-Security Issues Receiving Ever-Increasing Attention, Including From Congress and Governmental Agencies

On the heels of a recent survey that found that cyber-security is becoming the primary concern of corporate general counsels and directors, see C. Dunn, Cybersecurity Becoming No. 1 Concern for GCs and Directors, Corporate Counsel, Aug. 15, 2012, the United States government is increasingly taking an active role in addressing cyber-security issues.more

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