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Global Shareholder Engagement & Activism Summit 09-28-2017

V&E partner Kai Liekefett will moderate the “Modernizing the Proxy System: Different Approaches and Considerations” panel at the Global Shareholder Engagement and Activism Summit in Toronto, Canada.

RR Donnelley SEC Hot Topics Institute 09-14-2017

At the annual SEC Hot Topics Institute, sponsored by Donnelley Financial Solutions, renowned experts will examine the latest developments and trends, provide insight into what lies ahead and impart practical, actionable guidance on the crucial issues facing today's corporate and securities law practitioners and finance professionals. 

Jefferies 2017 Semiconductor, Hardware and Communications Infrastructure Summit 08-29-2017

V&E partner Kai Liekefett will speak on a panel alongside executives from Okapi Partners, Sloan & Company, and others to an audience of small and mid-cap investors throughout the Midwest.

Disrupting the Disrupters: Shareholder Activism @ Tech Companies, Part I 07-25-2017

High-Tech Law & Litigation Blog

The technology sector is obsessed with disruption. And for good reason: so-called disruptive technologies have completely revolutionized industries ranging from transportation and hospitality to finance and advanced genomics. But publicly traded technology companies around the world have also become the subject of a very different type of disruption: shareholder activism.

Washington Legal Foundation and V&E Host "Escobar: One Year Later" Discussion 07-25-2017

Lincoln's Law Blog

V&E’s Craig Margolis and Sidley’s Kristen Graham Koehler recently presented at the Washington Legal Foundation (WLF) web seminar program.

Whistling (In the Public Interest) While You Work 07-25-2017

Labor & Employment Blog

Whistleblowing claims have a funny way of sneaking up on employers. When an employee makes a complaint or raises a grievance, the legal risk is sometimes obvious at the start. But it can often catch an employer by surprise late in the process. Understanding (at least at a high level) the legal standards for whistleblowing claims in the different jurisdictions in which your company operates is critical to managing this risk.

National Contract Management Association’s 2017 World Congress 07-23-2017

V&E partner, Dan Graham, will be co-presenting at the National Contract Management Association’s 2017 World Congress in Chicago, IL on Tuesday July 25, 2017. Participants will hear an overview of different ways the government can change its contracts.

Dress for Success Houston Hosts Will-A-Thon with Volunteer V&E Lawyers, Alumni and Staff 07-20-2017

Pro Bono Blog

For the second year, V&E partnered with Houston Volunteer Lawyers to conduct a Will-A-Thon at Dress for Success Houston (DFS).  Just as we did last year, we offered to prepare wills and other end of life documents for women in the Professional Women's Group at DFS. This group of women is hard at work building the foundation for a successful and stable future. Having these end of life documents prepared, given that many are single parents, is a major step on this road.

Rise of the Machines – Are Robots Your Workforce of the Future? 07-20-2017

Labor & Employment Blog

“Today, technology and automation are eliminating many jobs.” If you are a C-suite executive, an HR director or a member of the board and you have not yet given serious consideration to how automation and AI could affect your workforce, perhaps this line from Mark Zuckerberg’s recent Commencement address to Harvard’s Class of 2017 will make you stop and think about how your company will respond to the seismic changes around the corner.

Universal Health Services, Inc. v. US ex rel. Escobar: Assessing its Impact on False Claims Act Suits, One Year Later 07-20-2017

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2016 Escobar decision substantially altered the prosecution and defense of “implied certification” lawsuits filed under the False Claims Act (FCA). Lower court opinions applying the ruling’s principles have been a mixed bag, largely turning on judges’ interpretation of such key concepts as “falsity” and “materiality.”

NAPABA Western Regional Conference 07-20-2017

V&E is sponsoring the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) Western Regional Conference, being held at the Silicon Valley U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on July 20-22.

Legal Training for the Energy Sector: Arbitration 07-20-2017

V&E counsel John Zadkovich is presenting on the topic “Legal Training for the Energy Sector: Best Practices in International Arbitration.”

V&E and ERM Roundtable: How Best to Deliver Business Outcomes in a Safe and Sustainable Manner 07-20-2017

Technology innovations are driving new production and cost savings in all industries. The impacts on staffing, required training, and complexity of operations are creating new safety issues and putting a premium on risk analysis. 

Made in China: Ninth Circuit Departs from Escobar and Rules Government’s Continued Payment of Claims Despite Knowledge of Chinese Origin of Drugs Not Enough to Defeat Materiality on the Pleadings 07-18-2017

Lincoln's Law Blog

Since Escobar, FCA defendants have aggressively litigated materiality. They have asked courts to define when materiality can be defeated by a showing that the government knew of an alleged problem but paid anyway, which Escobar called “strong evidence” of immateriality. The Ninth Circuit in United States ex. rel. Campie v. Gilead Sciences, Inc. issued an opinion on July 7 that might make it more difficult for defendants in that circuit to obtain dismissal at the pleadings stage based on this “government knowledge” challenge to materiality. No. 15-16380, 2017 WL 2884047 (9th Cir. July 7, 2017). Fortunately, Gilead’s materiality ruling can likely be limited to the facts before the Court in that case, where the scope and timing of the government’s knowledge was unclear on the pleadings.

Better Late Than Never – Compliance with the UK Modern Slavery Act 07-18-2017

Labor & Employment Blog

Is your business a multinational company that does business in the UK? If it is and you have never heard of the UK Modern Slavery Act, then now would be a good time to get up to speed.

After Bristol-Myers Squibb, What’s the Prescription for Personal Jurisdiction in Online Defamation Cases? 07-18-2017

High-Tech Law & Litigation Blog

For companies suffering from symptoms commonly associated with being forced to defend themselves in remote and inhospitable locales, the recently-concluded U.S. Supreme Court term brought some much-needed relief. In addition to its blockbuster patent-venue ruling in TC Heartland, the Court issued a major decision limiting nonresident plaintiffs’ ability to invoke loose specific jurisdiction standards to force out-of-state defendants to litigate claims that have no substantial connection to the forum. See Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of Cal., No. 16-466, 2017 WL 215687 (U.S. June 19, 2017). In doing so, the Court rejected plaintiffs’ reliance on a company’s general business and promotional contacts with the forum state when those contacts are insufficiently related to the claims asserted.

A Greek Company Mines for Magnesite and Strikes Gold for Inbound Investors 07-17-2017

V&E Tax Update E-communication, July 17, 2017

On July 13, 2017, the Tax Court issued an opinion in Grecian Magnesite Mining, Industrial & Shipping Co., SA v. Comm’r, 149 TC No. 3 (2017) that could drastically change the U.S. tax treatment of partnership interest sales in the cross-border context by invalidating longstanding IRS Revenue Ruling 91-32.

2017 Oil & Gas Institute presented by the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants (TSPCA) 07-17-2017

The Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants (TSPCA) will bring together prominent speakers to discuss the impact of oil & gas industries on the Texas and world economy at their 2017 Oil & Gas Institute. Updates on regulatory, legislative and industry trends will be provided.

Supreme Court Frees Patented Articles from Post-Sale Restrictions 07-14-2017

First published by Corporate Counsel, July 14, 2017

Should a patentee be able to control the future use or resale of a patented article that has entered the stream of commerce following a sale by the patentee? The Supreme Court answered that question in the negative on May 30, in Impression Products v. Lexmark International.

The Deadline is Here: So Where Can I Electronically File My OSHA 300A Forms? 07-13-2017

Labor & Employment Blog

Back in January, we reminded our readers that employers that are required to submit OSHA 300A forms would have to submit their 2016 forms electronically by July 1, 2017. As many of my clients have already discovered, complying with this regulation has not been possible. While OSHA had promised that it would launch the recordkeeping website in February 2017, it still had not done so when the July 1, 2017 deadline arrived. There is currently no place to electronically report.

Global Shareholder Engagement & Activism Summit 09-28-2017

V&E partner Kai Liekefett will moderate the “Modernizing the Proxy System: Different Approaches and Considerations” panel at the Global Shareholder Engagement and Activism Summit in Toronto, Canada.

RR Donnelley SEC Hot Topics Institute 09-14-2017

At the annual SEC Hot Topics Institute, sponsored by Donnelley Financial Solutions, renowned experts will examine the latest developments and trends, provide insight into what lies ahead and impart practical, actionable guidance on the crucial issues facing today's corporate and securities law practitioners and finance professionals. 

Jefferies 2017 Semiconductor, Hardware and Communications Infrastructure Summit 08-29-2017

V&E partner Kai Liekefett will speak on a panel alongside executives from Okapi Partners, Sloan & Company, and others to an audience of small and mid-cap investors throughout the Midwest.

National Contract Management Association’s 2017 World Congress 07-23-2017

V&E partner, Dan Graham, will be co-presenting at the National Contract Management Association’s 2017 World Congress in Chicago, IL on Tuesday July 25, 2017. Participants will hear an overview of different ways the government can change its contracts.

Universal Health Services, Inc. v. US ex rel. Escobar: Assessing its Impact on False Claims Act Suits, One Year Later 07-20-2017

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2016 Escobar decision substantially altered the prosecution and defense of “implied certification” lawsuits filed under the False Claims Act (FCA). Lower court opinions applying the ruling’s principles have been a mixed bag, largely turning on judges’ interpretation of such key concepts as “falsity” and “materiality.”

NAPABA Western Regional Conference 07-20-2017

V&E is sponsoring the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) Western Regional Conference, being held at the Silicon Valley U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on July 20-22.

Legal Training for the Energy Sector: Arbitration 07-20-2017

V&E counsel John Zadkovich is presenting on the topic “Legal Training for the Energy Sector: Best Practices in International Arbitration.”

V&E and ERM Roundtable: How Best to Deliver Business Outcomes in a Safe and Sustainable Manner 07-20-2017

Technology innovations are driving new production and cost savings in all industries. The impacts on staffing, required training, and complexity of operations are creating new safety issues and putting a premium on risk analysis. 

2017 Oil & Gas Institute presented by the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants (TSPCA) 07-17-2017

The Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants (TSPCA) will bring together prominent speakers to discuss the impact of oil & gas industries on the Texas and world economy at their 2017 Oil & Gas Institute. Updates on regulatory, legislative and industry trends will be provided.

Sing a Song about the Heartland: Patent Litigation Post-Heartland 07-11-2017

IP Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideIn one of the most anticipated decisions in recent years, the Supreme Court reversed the Federal Circuit’s venue precedent in TC Heartland and reaffirmed its own decades-old interpretation of the patent venue statue. 

Responding Effectively to Environmental Shareholder Activism 07-11-2017

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideJoin us for a discussion of environmental shareholder activism and strategies you should be implementing now for effective engagement in 2018.

BioTaiwan 2017 06-28-2017

The Firm is a Gold Sponsor of BioTaiwan 2017, hosted by the Taiwan Bio Industry Organization. Taking place in Taipei, BioTaiwan is one of the largest biotechnology and life sciences conferences in Asia. 

The Golden State of Governance – 2017 National Conference 06-28-2017

V&E partner Kai Liekefett will be speaking at the “Activists at the Gate? Lessons for Small & Mid-Cap Companies” session on Friday, June 30. This discussion will cover shareholder activism and hostile takeovers as well as leading defense practices.

Changing Tides of Patent Litigation and Managing Intellectual Property in the United States 06-27-2017

V&E is partnering with the Chinese National Federation of Industries (CNFI) to host a seminar series on Tuesday, June 27 and Friday, June 30 centered on “Changing Tides of Patent Litigation and Managing Intellectual Property in the United States.”

U.S. Real Estate Opportunity & Private Funds Investing Forum 06-25-2017

IMN is hosting the 18th Annual U.S. Real Estate Opportunity and Private Fund Investing Forum in Newport, RI, June 25-27, 2017. V&E is a Bronze level sponsor to the conference, with attendees from the largest real estate private equity funds, LPs, and an assortment of service providers.

Conducting Internal Investigations and Avoiding Retaliation Claims 06-22-2017

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideV&E lawyers will discuss investigation planning, fact gathering, ways to reduce costs, interim and final reporting, protecting privilege, and remediation after the investigation.

2017 Bench & Bar Conference 06-21-2017

V&E is pleased to be sponsoring the Bench & Bar Conference. The Federal Circuit Bar Association will be hosting its annual Bench & Bar Conference in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho this year.

Trends in Commercial Litigation 06-20-2017

V&E partner David Tsai participated on a panel via webinar covering recent trends in commercial litigation, including how legal technology tools are affecting litigation.

Benchmark Women in Litigation Forum - West 06-20-2017

V&E partner Jessica Mussallem is participating in a panel discussion entitled, “Government Investigations and Compliance” at the Benchmark Women in Litigation Forum in Palo Alto. 

Trade Secrets Protection and Litigation: How to Respond Effectively When A Company Becomes A Victim of Intellectual Property Theft 06-15-2017

Please join Sandpiper Partners LLC, featuring V&E partners Michael Dry and Craig Tyler, for a half-day summit on a variety of topics.

Young Professionals in Energy NYC - Infrastructure & Innovation 06-21-2017

Uncharted Play’s Jessica O. Matthews and Vinson & Elkins' Eliot Cotton discussed the challenges that come with implementing clean tech in governments and economies around the world, and the innovation pushing to overcome them.

Tax Reform: Perspectives From Across the Nation - Impact on the Energy Sector 06-21-2017

The Tax Analysts team traveled outside of Washington, D.C. to get a variety of perspectives on tax reform.

M&A Transaction Structures: Corporate, Reporting, and Tax Considerations 06-14-2017

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideIn this program, V&E attorneys discussed transaction structures for mergers and acquisitions, including Up-Cs and double-dummy mergers.

Governance and Disclosure: 2017 Season Lessons, 2018 Season Expectations 05-10-2017

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideIn this program, we discussed key 2017 governance and disclosure developments and trends, including proxy access developments, proxy advisory firms policy changes, executive compensation trends, conflict minerals developments, shareholder proposal trends and recent SEC guidance.

Hunting Pirates at the ITC: A Cost-Effective Approach to Brand Protection 05-09-2017

IP Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WidePiracy is one of the larger threats to brand owners. Going after pirates can be costly and traditional fines from Customs & Border Patrol do little to deter the brazen pirate.

Cybersecurity Preparedness for the Energy Industry 04-28-2017

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideThis panel discussion with representatives from the infrastructure, public relations and insurance fields discussed the metes and bounds of being “cyber-secure” in today’s energy business.

V&E Sponsors Inaugural Kayo Women’s Real Estate Investment Summit 2017 04-24-2017

V&E was a gold sponsor of Kayo’s inaugural Women’s Real Estate Investment Summit, which took place Monday, April 24th and Tuesday, April 25th in Brooklyn. With over 60 speakers and approximately 200 attendees from 18 states and four countries, the summit showcased diverse perspectives on trends in the real estate and hospitality sectors, with an exciting focus on the experiences of women professionals in the industry.

Patents in the “Age of Experience”: Valuable Property Right or Useless Relic? 04-11-2017

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideIt is not news that technology has permeated and revolutionized practically every industry on the planet. While 25 years ago, the dawn of the internet ushered in the “Information Age,” we now find ourselves at the dawn of what some have dubbed the “Experience Age.”

Resetting the Environmental Enforcement Paradigm 04-05-2017

V&E counsel Andrew Stewart presented “Resetting the Environmental Enforcement Paradigm” at the Environmental, Health, Safety & Sustainability (EHS&S) Roundtable in Washington, DC on April 5, 2017.

V&E / Risk Assistance Network + Exchange (RANE) Energy Investment Roundtable 03-02-2017

The energy sector’s recovery from a historic decline in oil prices in 2016 has driven renewed interest in the sector’s investment opportunities. Further fueling this interest is rising demand and advances in technology that are yielding significant cost reductions in the way oil and gas are developed and produced.

Energy Technology Roundtable 02-23-2017

This program addressed technology’s growing impact on the oil and gas industry. The panel discussed cutting edge technologies that are currently impacting the oil and gas industry, the origins and the future of oil and gas technology as well as certain legal and commercial issues to consider when investing in, working with, and/or acquiring energy technology companies.

Alternative Capital: 144A Equity Offerings and Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs) 02-22-2017

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideThis program covered alternatives to traditional forms of capital raising, including 144A Equity Offerings and Special Purposes Acquisition Companies (SPACs). The presentation looked at recent market trends and precedents in such financings.

Environmental Citizens' Suit Defense: Preparing for "Private Attorneys General" in the Trump Administration 02-07-2017

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideAs the Trump Administration advances its agenda, several environmental NGOs will look to make good on their pledge to rely on citizen suit statutes to accomplish their public policy priorities. These groups hope to achieve judicial rulings on environmental theories that may not be endorsed by either the legislative or executive branches, while also being reimbursed for their efforts.

An MLP Update: The Final Regulations on Qualifying Income and Recent Delaware Supreme Court Opinions 01-25-2017

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideOn January 19, 2017, the Treasury Department and the IRS released final regulations providing guidance on the treatment of income from natural resource activities of publicly traded partnerships as qualifying income for purposes of section 7704(d)(1)(E) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Patent in the High Court 2016-2017 01-24-2017

IP Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideIn this presentation, we previewed TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC and Impression Products, Inc. v. Lexmark International and discussed the issues and potential outcomes. We also took one additional step and discussed what these cases may mean to the business of law.

The Times They Are A-Changin’: Energy Policy in the Trump Administration 01-24-2017

U.S. oil and gas policy may undergo substantial change in the next administration. Federal rules governing methane emissions, the leasing of government lands, exports, and much more could be revised in the coming years. 

The Return of Shareholder Activism to the Energy Industry 12-14-2016

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideIn this program, Kai Liekefett, head of V&E’s Shareholder Activism Response Team, financial public relations experts from Sloane, and financial experts from Morgan Stanley discussed the return of shareholder activism to the energy sector and gave an overview of advance preparation measures.

Privcap Media’s 2016 Energy Game Change Conference 12-08-2016

V&E partner Mark Proctor moderated the panel entitled “LP Second Thoughts?” as limited partners discussed co-investing and direct investing in energy deals.

Power Shift? Regulatory Change in the First 100 Days of the Trump Administration 12-08-2016

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WidePresident-Elect Donald Trump has promised to revoke or repeal many of the Obama Administration’s signature regulatory and executive actions — from immigration, labor, and employment, to financial services, energy, and the environment. This program offered a high-level overview of the legal landscape facing a new President seeking to deliver immediate regulatory change.

Preparing for an IPO: Market Update, Process and Timeline 11-09-2016

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideIn this program, V&E attorneys discuss recent IPO activity in the energy space, the IPO timeline and process overview, issues that arise during the IPO process, financial statement and structuring considerations, and governance matters.

A Greek Company Mines for Magnesite and Strikes Gold for Inbound Investors 07-17-2017

V&E Tax Update E-communication, July 17, 2017

On July 13, 2017, the Tax Court issued an opinion in Grecian Magnesite Mining, Industrial & Shipping Co., SA v. Comm’r, 149 TC No. 3 (2017) that could drastically change the U.S. tax treatment of partnership interest sales in the cross-border context by invalidating longstanding IRS Revenue Ruling 91-32.

Supreme Court Frees Patented Articles from Post-Sale Restrictions 07-14-2017

First published by Corporate Counsel, July 14, 2017

Should a patentee be able to control the future use or resale of a patented article that has entered the stream of commerce following a sale by the patentee? The Supreme Court answered that question in the negative on May 30, in Impression Products v. Lexmark International.

2 New Cautionary Tales About Protecting Privilege 07-06-2017

First published by Law360, July 6, 2017

In twin rulings in May, district courts in Washington, D.C., and the Western District of Arkansas ordered the production of memoranda and reports created during corporate internal investigations over the investigating parties’ privilege objections. 

International Human Rights and Ethical Obligations for Texas Lawyers 07-01-2017

First published by Texas Bar Journal, July 2017

The concept of “international human rights” is based on the International Bill of Human Rights, which is derived from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 1948—and two international treaties, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. 

Taking Offense: Supreme Court Strikes Lanham Act’s Prohibition of “Disparaging” Trademarks 06-28-2017

V&E IP Insights, June 28, 2017

On June 19, 2017, the Supreme Court struck down the prohibition on the registration of offensive trademarks.  Matal v. Tam, No. 15-1293, 582 U.S. ___ (2017).  The Court unanimously held that the Lanham Act’s provision preventing the registration of disparaging marks violated the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.

How Will Brexit Impact the Energy Policy? 06-26-2017

First published on Lexis®PSL Environment, June 26, 2017

Environment analysis: Alex Msimang, partner, Jessica Biddle, senior associate, and Margaret Peloso, counsel, at Vinson & Elkins, say the UK can be seen to have taken the lead in shaping EU energy policy in many respects and so the ramifications of the UK’s exit from the EU on the energy sector are expected to be widely felt--such as in relation to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).

Supreme Court Curbs SEC’s Disgorgement Power: Holds That the SEC Can’t Escape the SOL 06-14-2017

V&E FCPA & Global Anti-Corruption Update E-communication, June 14, 2017

On June 5, 2017, in Kokesh v. SEC, the Supreme Court held that disgorgement by the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) is subject to the five-year limitations period of 18 U.S.C. § 2462, severely restricting the Commission’s ability to force companies to disgorge profits prior to five years before an action is brought.

Responding to the Inevitable: Common Mistakes in Cyberattack Planning and Responses 06-14-2017

V&E Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Insights E-communication, June 14, 2017

It is not a question of whether your company will experience a cyberattack; rather it is a question of when and how effectively your company responds.

To Dance or Not to Dance: Supreme Court Held Patent Dance Under BPCIA Not Enforceable By Injunction Under Federal Law 06-13-2017

V&E IP Insights E-communication, June 13, 2017

On June 12, 2017, the Supreme Court held that a biosimilar applicant cannot be enjoined under federal law to provide its application and manufacturing information to the reference product sponsor (“RPS”) under the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (“BPCIA”).

Two District Court Rulings Are Cautionary Tales About Protecting Attorney-Client Privilege and Work Product Immunity 06-13-2017

V&E Internal Investigations Update E-communication, June 13, 2017

In twin rulings last month, district courts in Washington D.C. and the Western District of Arkansas ordered the production of memoranda and reports created during corporate internal investigations over the investigating parties’ privilege objections. 

In Rare Reversal, Federal Circuit Says District Court Abused Its Discretion in Failing to Award Attorneys’ Fees 06-06-2017

V&E IP Insights E-communication, June 6, 2017

In a rare reversal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that a district court abused its discretion in denying attorneys’ fees and failing to find a patent owner’s conduct to be “exceptional” under 35 U.S.C. § 285. 

New Cases Test The Patent Venue Waters After TC Heartland 06-02-2017

First published by Law360, June 2, 2017

The first post-TC Heartland patent cases were filed in the Eastern District of Texas on May 26, 2017, providing the first look at the types of cases that are likely to be filed there following the U.S. Supreme Court’s May 22 decision on venue in patent cases. 

New IRS Campaign Targets Non-U.S. Companies That Have Not Filed U.S. Tax Returns 06-01-2017

V&E Tax Update E-communication, June 1, 2017

The IRS has identified non-U.S. companies doing business in the United States and not filing U.S. tax returns as targets for one of its new, issue-driven “campaigns.”

Supreme Court Finds Patent Law Exhausting 05-30-2017

V&E IP Insights E-communication, May 30, 2017

On May 30, 2017, in Impression Products, Inc. v. Lexmark International, Inc., No. 15-1189, the Supreme Court reversed the Federal Circuit’s en banc decision on patent exhaustion, holding that a patentee may not rely on a patent infringement claim to restrict a purchaser from using or reselling a product purchased from a patentee or an authorized seller.

The UK’s Serious Fraud Office Successfully Chips Away Privilege Protections in the Investigations Context 05-24-2017

V&E FCPA & Global Anti-Corruption Update E-communication, May 24, 2017

The General Director of the UK’s principal corruption enforcer, the Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”), David Green, previously warned companies that the SFO would challenge privilege claims it considers unfounded.

Home Is Where the Heart(land) Is 05-22-2017

V&E IP Insights E-communication, May 22, 2017

On May 22, 2017, in TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Grp. Brands LLC, No. 16-341 (May 22, 2017), the Supreme Court disrupted decades of Federal Circuit precedent interpreting the patent venue statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b).

Trump Administration Aims to Modernize Federal IT Infrastructure and Articulates New Cybersecurity Priorities 05-18-2017

V&E Government Contracts Update E-communication, May 18, 2017

On May 11, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order on Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure (the “EO”), an important step in centralizing the government’s strategy for cyber defense and modernizing federal information technology (“IT”) architecture.

Loose Lips Sink Ships . . . And Patents 05-17-2017

V&E IP Insights E-communication, May 17, 2017

On May 11, 2017, in Aylus Networks, Inc. v. Apple Inc., the Federal Circuit ruled that statements made by a patent owner during an inter partes review (“IPR”) proceeding before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“the Board”) can support a finding of prosecution disclaimer during a district court claim construction proceeding, resolving an issue of first impression.

Welcome Certainty For Investors From 27 OIC Member States 05-09-2017

First published by Law 360, May 9, 2017

Until recently, investors in the 27 states that ratified the Agreement on Promotion, Protection and Guarantee of Investments of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (the “OIC agreement”) have only had theoretical access to the guarantees of investment protection set out in that agreement.

New Pressure for Energy Over Environment? 05-03-2017

First published by The National Law Journal , May 3, 2017

A well-worn stereotype portrays American corporations and particularly the energy industry as ambivalent at best about the environment.

Disrupting the Disrupters: Shareholder Activism @ Tech Companies, Part I 07-25-2017

High-Tech Law & Litigation Blog

The technology sector is obsessed with disruption. And for good reason: so-called disruptive technologies have completely revolutionized industries ranging from transportation and hospitality to finance and advanced genomics. But publicly traded technology companies around the world have also become the subject of a very different type of disruption: shareholder activism.

Washington Legal Foundation and V&E Host "Escobar: One Year Later" Discussion 07-25-2017

Lincoln's Law Blog

V&E’s Craig Margolis and Sidley’s Kristen Graham Koehler recently presented at the Washington Legal Foundation (WLF) web seminar program.

Whistling (In the Public Interest) While You Work 07-25-2017

Labor & Employment Blog

Whistleblowing claims have a funny way of sneaking up on employers. When an employee makes a complaint or raises a grievance, the legal risk is sometimes obvious at the start. But it can often catch an employer by surprise late in the process. Understanding (at least at a high level) the legal standards for whistleblowing claims in the different jurisdictions in which your company operates is critical to managing this risk.

Dress for Success Houston Hosts Will-A-Thon with Volunteer V&E Lawyers, Alumni and Staff 07-20-2017

Pro Bono Blog

For the second year, V&E partnered with Houston Volunteer Lawyers to conduct a Will-A-Thon at Dress for Success Houston (DFS).  Just as we did last year, we offered to prepare wills and other end of life documents for women in the Professional Women's Group at DFS. This group of women is hard at work building the foundation for a successful and stable future. Having these end of life documents prepared, given that many are single parents, is a major step on this road.

Rise of the Machines – Are Robots Your Workforce of the Future? 07-20-2017

Labor & Employment Blog

“Today, technology and automation are eliminating many jobs.” If you are a C-suite executive, an HR director or a member of the board and you have not yet given serious consideration to how automation and AI could affect your workforce, perhaps this line from Mark Zuckerberg’s recent Commencement address to Harvard’s Class of 2017 will make you stop and think about how your company will respond to the seismic changes around the corner.

Made in China: Ninth Circuit Departs from Escobar and Rules Government’s Continued Payment of Claims Despite Knowledge of Chinese Origin of Drugs Not Enough to Defeat Materiality on the Pleadings 07-18-2017

Lincoln's Law Blog

Since Escobar, FCA defendants have aggressively litigated materiality. They have asked courts to define when materiality can be defeated by a showing that the government knew of an alleged problem but paid anyway, which Escobar called “strong evidence” of immateriality. The Ninth Circuit in United States ex. rel. Campie v. Gilead Sciences, Inc. issued an opinion on July 7 that might make it more difficult for defendants in that circuit to obtain dismissal at the pleadings stage based on this “government knowledge” challenge to materiality. No. 15-16380, 2017 WL 2884047 (9th Cir. July 7, 2017). Fortunately, Gilead’s materiality ruling can likely be limited to the facts before the Court in that case, where the scope and timing of the government’s knowledge was unclear on the pleadings.

Better Late Than Never – Compliance with the UK Modern Slavery Act 07-18-2017

Labor & Employment Blog

Is your business a multinational company that does business in the UK? If it is and you have never heard of the UK Modern Slavery Act, then now would be a good time to get up to speed.

After Bristol-Myers Squibb, What’s the Prescription for Personal Jurisdiction in Online Defamation Cases? 07-18-2017

High-Tech Law & Litigation Blog

For companies suffering from symptoms commonly associated with being forced to defend themselves in remote and inhospitable locales, the recently-concluded U.S. Supreme Court term brought some much-needed relief. In addition to its blockbuster patent-venue ruling in TC Heartland, the Court issued a major decision limiting nonresident plaintiffs’ ability to invoke loose specific jurisdiction standards to force out-of-state defendants to litigate claims that have no substantial connection to the forum. See Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of Cal., No. 16-466, 2017 WL 215687 (U.S. June 19, 2017). In doing so, the Court rejected plaintiffs’ reliance on a company’s general business and promotional contacts with the forum state when those contacts are insufficiently related to the claims asserted.

The Deadline is Here: So Where Can I Electronically File My OSHA 300A Forms? 07-13-2017

Labor & Employment Blog

Back in January, we reminded our readers that employers that are required to submit OSHA 300A forms would have to submit their 2016 forms electronically by July 1, 2017. As many of my clients have already discovered, complying with this regulation has not been possible. While OSHA had promised that it would launch the recordkeeping website in February 2017, it still had not done so when the July 1, 2017 deadline arrived. There is currently no place to electronically report.

Everything is Bigger in Texas, Except Proportional E-Discovery 07-13-2017

High-Tech Law & Litigation Blog

If you have ever visited Texas, you know that everything there is “bigger,” including the belt buckles and bar-b-que. Apparently, there is an exception for e-discovery. As hi-tech litigators are well aware, the December 1, 2015 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (“FRCP”) amended Rule 26(b)(1) to require that discovery be “proportional to the needs of the case.” Recently, the Texas Supreme Court emphasized that e-discovery under the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure (“TRCP”) aligns with — and does not surpass — these federal proportionality requirements.

V&E Pro Bono Highlight: International Policy Project 07-12-2017

Pro Bono Blog

World Medical Fund for Children (WMF) runs a medical elective programme in Malawi. Having previously produced a form of volunteer agreement for the programme, Emily Barlass, Lucy Preston and Antonia George worked with WMF to produce a consistent and consolidated policy manual to which its volunteers can refer for information about, for example, the programme, travel and other required documentation and internal policies such as anti-bribery and confidentiality. The client was very pleased with the volunteer agreement and the policy manual and is keen to work with V&E again on future projects.

Texas Supreme Court Weighs In on Jones Act Coverage 07-11-2017

Labor & Employment Blog

The Texas Supreme Court recently addressed an important question of Jones Act coverage: when is a vessel “out of navigation” and thus outside the Act’s purview?1 With the number of stacked rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, this is an important case for companies with employees on those rigs. In a 5-4 split decision, the Court found that a ship that was taken out of service, subjected to a 20-month conversion process, and unable to engage in transportation was “out of navigation.”

Social Media Companies Should Not Forget Traditional Tort Principles Where They Fall Outside Role of 'Publisher or Speaker' 07-10-2017

High-Tech Law & Litigation Blog

Since 1996, internet and social media companies have relied on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, 47 U.S.C. § 230, to obtain dismissal of claims based on user-generated content posted on their sites. But, as two recent cases demonstrate, the line can be fuzzy between a claim that targets a social media platform as a "publisher or speaker" and one that targets the platform in some other role.

A Double Surprise: D.C. Circuit "Throws Out" An FCC "Junk Fax" Prevention Act Rule, and FCC Does Not Join Failed Petition for Rehearing En Banc 07-07-2017

High-Tech Law & Litigation Blog

On March 31, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit did something unusual: it invalidated an FCC rule requiring advertisers to place opt-out notices on solicited faxes, subject to penalties for non-compliance.

False Claims Act Statistics: Is It Trump? Is It Escobar? Whatever It Is, With Only 3 Months Left, DOJ Fiscal Year 2017 Recoveries Are On Track to Fall Well Short of 2016 07-06-2017

Lincoln's Law Blog

As the first DOJ fiscal year (mostly) under the Trump Administration flies past and we see round the bend to DOJ FY 2017’s end on September 30, the time has come to see how this year’s bout of DOJ versus Contractors is going as compared to last year. Subject to our usual flurry of methodological caveats, we count a little over $2 billion in recoveries spread out over 135 recoveries for the first nine months of FY 2017. At this time last year, DOJ had recovered $4.1 billion in 229 recoveries. If the match continues apace, without any last minute blockbuster FCA settlements, we predict FCA defendants will have paid roughly $2.7 billion across 180 recoveries by the end of FY 2017. That is well shy of FY 2016’s $4.8 billion recovered over 288 recoveries, and would leave FY 2017 with the lowest dollars recovered by DOJ since FY 2009.

Get Your HR Manager an Aspirin: Coping with Paid Family Leave in New York 07-05-2017

Labor & Employment Blog

The New York Paid Family Leave Benefits Law (“PFLBL”), which goes into effect January 1, 2018, might create some new headaches for your company’s HR manager, especially during the initial adjustment to the law. The new law entitles employees to partial salary replacement if they take a leave to bond with a child, care for a close relative with a serious health condition, or help relieve family pressures when someone is called to active military service.

V&E Project Spotlight: Establishing Memorial Fund As A 501(c)(3) Organization 07-05-2017

Pro Bono Blog

The James P. Fox Memorial Fund was set up in honor of James Fox, a long-time political strategist and former firm client, who passed away earlier this year. Mr. Fox worked in New Jersey politics for over 40 years, working for four governors and two U.S. senators, while also twice serving as the state’s Commissioner of Transportation. Mr. Fox’s family and friends organized the Fund to promote the study of government, public policy and transportation policy and planning in addition to other educational initiatives. 

What Can We All Learn from Qualcomm's Troubles? 07-05-2017

High-Tech Law & Litigation Blog

Let’s just get this out there: It hasn’t been a good year for tech giant Qualcomm Inc. (“Qualcomm”), litigiously speaking anyway.

Pitfalls of Global HR Policies: It’s Not Such A Small World After All 06-29-2017

Labor & Employment Blog

If you work in the human resources department for a multinational company, you already know that it is impossible to have the exact same human resources policies and benefits in every country where you do business. And yet, most companies like to have some rules and policies that apply globally — prohibitions against bribery, harassment or insider trading, for example — because such rules and policies reflect the underlying culture of the entire company.

Environmental Groups Move to Revive NEPA Lawsuit Over Federal Coal Leasing Program 06-28-2017

Climate Change Blog

Environmental groups are seeking to revive a climate change lawsuit regarding the federal coal leasing program, which allows companies to lease federal lands to mine coal. The coal leasing program manages leases on approximately 570 million acres of federal land, and produces approximately 40% of domestically sourced coal. Over 30% of energy generated in the United States comes from coal.

The Defend Trade Secrets Act 05-11-2017

The new Defend Trade Secrets Act was signed into law by President Obama on May 11, 2016. V&E partner Steve Borgman explains what the new law is, how it differs from existing trade secrets law, and how the new law can be beneficial to parties involved in a trade secrets dispute.

Intellectual Property Rights in Complex Cross-Border Operations 05-11-2017

A common problem that arises in complex cross-border operations involving intellectual property is something referred to as the coordination problem. Rights under the law in one country may be exploited under the laws of another country. These problems can be addressed contractually if proper forethought is given.

Interview with Bloomberg Markets on Shareholder Activism 01-30-2017

Bloomberg interviews V&E partner Kai Liekefett on "Why the Fireworks Go Off During Proxy Season."

V&E Launches Redesigned Shale & Fracking Tracker 10-18-2016

We welcome you to visit the V&E Shale & Fracking Tracker, a one-stop resource for the latest news, events, and materials related to legal, government, and industry developments in shale and hydraulic fracturing operations.

EPA’s National Enforcement Initiatives for Fiscal Years 2017–2019 10-01-2016

On October 1, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) National Enforcement Initiatives (“NEIs”) for fiscal years 2017-2019 took effect.

Controlling Costs in International Arbitration 09-21-2016

Arbitration is always said to have been cheaper, quicker and more confidential than the equivalent court proceedings.  More often than not, however, many arbitration users have discovered this is not always the case. In this video, V&E partner Mark Beeley, will share how you can reverse this trend with careful planning up front.

Why Private Equity’s Wait for Distressed Energy Deals Might be Over 09-20-2016

As prices for oil and gas have fluctuated in the past two years, so have private equity’s expectations to buy distressed energy assets. V&E partner Mark Proctor speaks to Privcap about why private equity might finally be able to seize on these opportunities.

Implementing a Dispute Resolution Framework in Construction Projects 09-12-2016

Scott Stiegler, a senior associate in V&E’s International Construction Disputes practice, outlines some important considerations when implementing an efficient and effective dispute resolution framework in your construction contract.

The Shareholder Activist Playbook 09-09-2016

Kai Liekefett, head of V&E’s Shareholder Activism Response Team, describes the typical shareholder activist’s playbook.

A Profile of V&E’s Energy Appellate Practice 08-31-2016

Marie Yeates, co-chair of V&E's Appellate practice, and Appellate partner Michael Heidler have deep experience handling energy appeals, particularly in Texas and Louisiana.

Kayo Conference: Perspectives on the Impact of the Recent Drop in Commodity Prices 08-01-2016

V&E senior associate Brittany Sakowitz shares perspectives on the impact of the drop in commodity prices on companies and investors involved in the energy industry.

TV Interview with The Street on Shareholder Activism 07-19-2016

V&E partner Kai Liekefett spoke to The Street on the topic “Over-Eager Activist Investors Are Partly to Blame for Mega-Deal Failures.” 

An Illustration of Nationality Planning 07-08-2016

When making a significant investment in a new jurisdiction, companies should consider nationality planning, or investment treaty protection, as a tool to help protect against political risk.

A Closer Look at EPA's New Methane Rules for the Oil and Gas Industry 06-22-2016

On May 12, 2016, EPA issued a slate of final rules and an information request under the Clean Air Act directed at the oil and gas industry. This is the first time EPA is directly regulating methane as a greenhouse gas. These rules will have widespread application to the oil and gas industry, including production, processing, transmission, and storage. 

Safety Minute: Environmental Considerations when Acquiring Distressed Assets 06-14-2016

What should companies look for when looking to acquire distressed assets in a down market environment? Brandon Tuck, member of V&E’s Environmental & Natural Resources practice, highlights components of due diligence reviews prior to engaging in a transaction that can help protect against unwanted environmental risk.

Safety Minute: Managing Environmental Programs in a Down Market 06-14-2016

There are certain environmental issues companies should consider before downsizing environmental and safety programs.

Brandon Tuck, member of V&E’s Environmental & Natural Resources Practice, talks through several items companies should consider when trying to manage costs in a down market. 


Safety Minute: Safety Considerations When Downsizing 06-14-2016

Tom Wilson, head of V&E’s OSHA practice, highlights the importance of cross referencing emergency response plan documents when considering downsizing operations and conducting layoffs.

Understanding the Impact of Public International Law 06-06-2016

Public international law, while abstract, does have meaning for international businesses. George Burn, a partner in V&E’s International Dispute Resolution & Arbitration practice, explains public international law and some key areas of commercial application – specifically regarding borders (both maritime and territorial) and the authority of international organizations, such as INTERPOL.

Enforcing International Law – A Powerful Tool for Investors 06-06-2016

George Burn, a partner in V&E’s International Dispute Resolution & Arbitration practice, explains the development of international law’s enforcement mechanism – investor-state arbitration.

Employment Consideration in International Asset Transactions 06-03-2016

Martin Luff, counsel in V&E’s International Employment practice, highlights some of the differences between U.S. and international transactions with regards to the transfer of employment and employee benefits. Buyers and sellers must consider all potential issues that may arise in the different jurisdictions where business deals occur.

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