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High-Tech Law & Litigation Blog

  • 20
  • February
  • 2018

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Tech Issues Dominate at Confirmation Hearing for Four FTC Nominees

At a February 14, 2018, confirmation hearing on President Trump’s nominees to the Federal Trade Commission before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, Senators asked the nominees how, if confirmed, they would regulate technology companies, address data security issues exposed by the Equifax breach, and address net neutrality. While making few firm commitments other than to study the issues, the nominees agreed that the FTC should use its authority and resources to protect consumers from abuses by large firms, especially in light of evolving concerns over data privacy and aggregation.

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  • 15
  • February
  • 2018

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Tesla's Lawsuit Challenging Michigan Law Banning Direct Car Sales Raises Novel First Amendment Issues

A lawsuit filed by innovative technology and automotive company Tesla Motors, which challenges Michigan’s ban on direct car sales to consumers, raises the conflict between the need for discovery into matters of intent and First Amendment rights of association related to lobbying activity. The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals will soon have to resolve this conflict in Tesla Motors, Inc. v. Johnson, No. 18-1010. In that case, Tesla seeks information about the communications of a trade association that lobbied in favor of legislation that Tesla has challenged as unconstitutional. This new conflict follows a habitual cycle: Technology companies push boundaries, governments seek to regulate their activities, and the companies become more involved in lobbying regulators and legislatures. The question of whether communications related to those efforts may be discovered by other parties in civil litigation is therefore likely to recur, and the Sixth Circuit’s resolution of the issue will merit close attention.

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  • 12
  • February
  • 2018

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Update: District Court Sets Aside $300,000 Apple Sanction

Last week, we wrote that Apple found itself in hot water when a federal magistrate imposed a $300,000 sanction against the company for failing to meet a Rule 45 (third-party subpoena) document production deadline in the Federal Trade Commission’s (“FTC”) case against Qualcomm Inc. In the sanction order, the magistrate cited a similar sanction against Samsung for untimely document production to Apple in an unrelated suit, Apple Inc. v. Samsung Elecs. Co., No. 11-CV-01846 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 23, 2012) [ECF No. 880].

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  • 09
  • February
  • 2018

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Apple Hit with $300,000 Sanction for Missing Document Production Deadline

The Federal Trade Commission’s (“FTC”) case against Qualcomm Inc. — alleging Qualcomm unlawfully maintained a monopoly in baseband processors — is in the midst of a contentious discovery period that has each side scrambling to subpoena documents from various third parties. Apple Inc. is one such third party and is now in hot water for missing a document production deadline, presumably by 12 days. In response, the Northern District of California magistrate judge sent a message to other third parties by sanctioning Apple to the tune of $300,000 ($25,000 per day). Tech companies may view the sanctions as a blessing or a curse, depending on what end of a subpoena they find themselves on.

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  • 18
  • January
  • 2018

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Important News for Publicly Traded Tech Companies: The Supreme Court Will Decide the Constitutionality of the SEC’s ALJ Appointment Process

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) is considered by many to be the nation’s top watchdog on Wall Street — sniffing out insider trading, market manipulation, and financial fraud. But the reality is that any publicly traded company is subject to SEC regulation and enforcement. The tech industry, with its ever-changing landscape, may become a hot bed of SEC enforcement activity, especially as companies continue to navigate uncharted waters such as crypto currencies and innovative “initial coin offering” funding methods.

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Jason A. Levine

Jason A. Levine Partner

Jennifer C. Chen

Jennifer C. Chen Partner

Devika Kornbacher

Devika Kornbacher Partner

Danny Tobey

Danny Tobey Partner

William R. Vigdor

William R. Vigdor Partner

Marc A. Fuller

Marc A. Fuller Counsel

John Andren

John Andren Associate

Thomas W. Bohnett

Thomas W. Bohnett Associate

Megan Coker

Megan Coker Associate

Caroline Colpoys

Caroline Colpoys

Trey Hebert

Trey Hebert Associate

Keeney, Jeremy C.

Jeremy C. Keeney Associate

Howard Lithaw Lim Associate

Kimberly R. McCoy

Kimberly R. McCoy Senior Associate

Elizabeth Krabill McIntyre

Elizabeth Krabill McIntyre Senior Associate

David C. Smith

David C. Smith Senior Associate

Janice Ta

Janice Ta Senior Associate

Margaret D. Terwey

Margaret Dunlay Terwey Associate

Ryan B. Will

Ryan Will Associate

Siho (Scott) Yoo

Siho (Scott) Yoo Senior Associate