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Three Issues Employers Should Review Before the NLRB Changes to Union Election Procedures Become Effective on April 14, 2015
03/30/2015
V&E Employment, Labor and OSHA Update E-communication, March 30, 2015
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued a final rule that will speed up the union election process, impose new posting and disclosure requirements on employers, and narrow the scope of the pre-election hearing. 

Northern District of California Holds that BPCIA’s “Patent Dance” Is Voluntary
03/27/2015
V&E IP Insights E-communication, March 27, 2015
On March 19, 2015, in a case of first impression on the interpretation of the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (BPCIA), the United States District Court for the Northern District of California held that the information exchange procedures under 42 U.S.C. § 262(l) (commonly known as the “patent dance”) are optional and that FDA market approval is not required before giving the 180-day notice of intent to enter the market to the sponsor of a previously-approved biologic under § 262(l)(8). 

BLM Releases Final Hydraulic Fracturing Regulations
03/25/2015
V&E Shale Insights — Tracking Fracking E-communication, March 25, 2015
On March 20, 2015, the U.S. Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released a much-anticipated final rule regulating hydraulic fracturing activities on Federal and Indian lands. 

Recent Shareholder Activism Insights
03/24/2015
March 2015
“Recent Shareholder Activism Insights” contains a compilation of articles written and interviews given by key members of V&E’s Shareholder Activism Response Team. 

Supreme Court Holds that TTAB Decisions Have Preclusive Effect
03/24/2015
V&E IP Insights E-communication, March 24, 2015
On March 24, 2015, the Supreme Court held that trademark registration proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board may, in certain circumstances, have issue-preclusive effect in trademark infringement suits before a district court. B&B Hardware, Inc. v. Hargis Indus., Inc., No. 13-352.

Russia’s Strategic Fields – Open for Business?
03/23/2015
V&E Russia Update E-communication, March 23, 2015
Recent comments from the Russian government that Russia is prepared to consider allowing Chinese investors to acquire a controlling interest in its strategic oil and gas projects will not have gone unnoticed in Beijing.

Energy Restructuring and Reorganization
03/20/2015
First published by The Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, and Energy Law, Volume 10 No. 1, 2014 - 2015
Energy production in the United States continues to outpace expectations with an estimated oil production surge of 46% from 2011 to 2014 to the highest levels since 1972. 

Falling Short of Perfect FCPA Compliance, Biomet’s Deferred Prosecution Agreement Proves an Inescapable Device
03/19/2015
V&E Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Update E-communication, March 19, 2015
On March 17, 2015, U.S.-based orthopedic medical device manufacturer Biomet, Inc. (Biomet or the Company) announced that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will extend by one year the deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) executed with the Company in 2012, along with the term of Biomet’s accompanying compliance monitor.

UK Budget Briefing
03/18/2015
V&E Tax Update E-communication, March 18, 2015
This update summarises tax announcements made in the UK Budget on Wednesday, 18 March 2015 that are likely to be most relevant to our clients. 

Enforcing the Clean Water Act: Authority, Trends, and Targets
03/13/2015
Presented at the 25th Annual Texas Wetlands Conference, Austin, Texas, January 29 - 30, 2015
Federal water pollution policy relies on federally mandated permits issued under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) program, codified in Section 402 of the Clean Water Act (“CWA” or “Act”), to control discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States. 

ISS Releases FAQs Related to 2015 U.S. Proxy Voting Policies and Procedures
03/12/2015
V&E Corporate Governance Update E-communication, March 12, 2015
On February 19, 2015, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) published a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) relating to 2015 changes in its U.S. proxy voting policies and procedures. 

A Potential New Weapon Against Cybersquatters
03/10/2015
First published in Law360, March 06, 2015
What’s a trademark owner to do? With the ever-expanding number of domain suffixes, a trademark owner now needs to worry about potentially hundreds and thousands of domains that can be used for cybersquatting on a given mark. 

IRS “Presses Play”: Pause Ends – Regulations Promised
03/06/2015
V&E MLP Tax Update E-communication, March 6, 2015
An IRS official announced today that the “pause” on issuing private letter rulings (PLRs) with respect to MLP qualifying income under Section 7704 of the Internal Revenue Code is being lifted.

White House Releases Control Strategy
03/05/2015
First published in The American Oil & Gas Reporter, February 2015
The Obama administration has taken additional steps to regulate methane emissions from oil and gas operations.

SEC to Corporate Officers, You Too Can Whistle(blow) While You Work
03/04/2015
V&E Securities Litigation and Enforcement Update E-communication, March 4, 2015
On March 2, 2015, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC” or “Commission”) announced its first ever whistleblower award under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank Act” or “Dodd-Frank”) to a former company officer who learned of a violation of the U.S. securities laws as a result of another employee reporting misconduct through corporate and compliance channels.

Federal Circuit Holds Service Must be Performed Before Applying for Service Mark
03/03/2015
V&E IP Insights E-communication, March 3, 2015
On March 2, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that a service mark cannot be properly registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office unless the applicant has actually rendered the relevant service as of the filing date of a use-based application.

Energy Restructuring and Reorganization Part I – The Company
02/26/2015
V&E Energy Restructuring and Reorganization Updates E-communication, February 26, 2015
The recent decline in oil prices has created a challenging financial environment for a number of energy companies. Negatively impacted companies face numerous, immediate strategic issues.

Where the Rubber Meets the Road: How Companies Like Goodyear Can Avoid FCPA Liability
02/26/2015
V&E Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Update E-communication, February 26, 2014
On February 24, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued an Order instituting cease-and-desist proceedings pursuant to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the Exchange Act) against The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (Goodyear) for purported violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

Federal Circuit Upholds PTAB Decision in First IPR Appeal
02/05/2015
V&E IP Insights E-communication, February 5, 2015
On February 4, 2015, in In Re Cuozzo Speed Techs. LLC, No. 14-1301, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed a decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) in its first opinion involving an appeal of an inter partes review (IPR) under the America Invents Act (AIA). 

The Most Important Current Research Questions in Urban Ecosystem Services
02/05/2015
First published by Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum, Fall 2014
Nature is important to cities, not only for environmental protection, but also for economic productivity, fiscal soundness, community life, and governance. We tend to take nature’s ecological systems — or ecosystems — for granted, but they provide critically valuable services to society and to urban areas. 

Here Be Dragons: Legal Threats to EPA’s Proposed Existing Source Performance Standards for Electric Generating Units 
02/03/2015
First published in Environmental Law Reporter, February 2015
A 104-page “Legal Memorandum” accompanying the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) proposal of §111(d) Existing Source Performance Standards (ESPS) for Electric Generating Units under the Clean Air Act (CAA) charts the legal waters the Agency will have to traverse if it adopts rules anything like those it proposed. 

The Federal Trade Commission Issues 2015 Annual Updates to the United States Premerger Notification and Interlocking Directorates Thresholds
01/22/2015
V&E's Antitrust Update E-communication, January 22, 2015
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has revised the thresholds that govern pre-merger notification requirements under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended (HSR Act), as well as the thresholds for interlocking directorates under Section 8 of the Clayton Act. 

Supreme Court Holds Trademark Tacking Is a Jury Question
01/21/2015
V&E IP Insights E-communication, January 21, 2015
On January 21, 2015, the United States Supreme Court unanimously held that the availability of tacking as a defense to trademark infringement is an issue for the jury, not the judge. Hana Financial, Inc. v. Hana Bank, No. 13-1211 (U.S. Jan. 21, 2015).

Fracking Litigation to Watch in 2015
01/19/2015
First published in Texas Lawyer, January 19, 2015
For nearly a decade, hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has played a critical role in the United States' energy revolution. 

Departments of Commerce and the Treasury Issue New Rules Easing Sanctions on Cuba
01/16/2015
V&E Export Controls and Economic Sanctions E-Communication, January 16, 2015
On January 16, 2015, the Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published amendments to regulations related to dealings with and exports to Cuba, the first step in furtherance of the major shift in U.S. policy announced by President Obama on December 17, 2014.

Federal Circuit Addresses Rejections of Trademarks as “Primarily Geographically Descriptive”
01/16/2015
V&E IP Insights E-communication, January 16, 2015
On January 15, 2015, the Federal Circuit reversed a decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO)’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) affirming the rejection of a trademark application for NEWBRIDGE HOME as primarily geographically descriptive. 

House Report May Taper Hopes For Clean Power Plan
01/09/2015
First published by Law360, January 9, 2015
Climate change policy is a priority for the Obama administration. During the past few months, the administration has made several international pledges to cut U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases. 

Mass Customization — Brought To You By 3-D Printing
01/07/2015
First published by Law360, January 7, 2015 
Mass customization is somewhat of an oxymoron. How can a company achieve scalable production and distribution of its products on the one hand, yet achieve true personalization on the other?

 

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