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High-Tech Law & Litigation Blog

  • 01
  • August
  • 2017

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Avoiding Accidental Contracts By Email: A Tech-Centric Point of View

In today’s fast-paced business environment, email is indispensable.  But its speed and informality can lead to the inadvertent use of contract-forming language, resulting in unintended binding agreements. This problem is exacerbated by legal regimes that favor the recognition of contracts formed by email, with the intent of facilitating electronic commerce and online shopping. There are, however, several steps that companies can take to reduce their exposure to the danger of accidental contracts, which are offered below.

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  • 27
  • July
  • 2017

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Disrupting the Disrupters: Shareholder Activism @ Tech Companies – Part II

In Part I, we described the current shareholder activism environment and the significant and consistent focus of shareholder activists on tech companies of all sizes. We also described how your company’s structural defenses, including your organizational documents and shelf “poison pill,” can be optimized to address an activist situation. In Part II, we now describe three advance preparation steps that we believe are essential for tech companies in the current activist environment.

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  • 25
  • July
  • 2017

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Disrupting the Disrupters: Shareholder Activism @ Tech Companies, Part I

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.

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  • 20
  • July
  • 2017

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Qualcomm, Feeling the Squeeze as Apple and iPhone Manufacturers Cut Off Royalties, Moves to the Offensive

A recent suit by mobile phone chips giant Qualcomm shows the debilitating business effects that can follow from a government antitrust investigation.

The Federal Trade Commission filed suit in January 2017 against Qualcomm for alleged antitrust violations, which set off a cascade of litigation against the company, the world’s largest maker of baseband chips. A suit by Apple quickly followed the FTC’s complaint, and dozens of civil cases making similar allegations came after that. As part of its litigation strategy, Apple started withholding royalties for Qualcomm’s technology, and instructed its iPhone manufacturers to do the same.

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  • 18
  • July
  • 2017

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

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.

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  • 13
  • July
  • 2017

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Everything is Bigger in Texas, Except Proportional E-Discovery

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.

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Welcome to V&E's High-Tech Law & Litigation Blog

Welcome to the High-Tech Law and Litigation Blog, which offers updates and insights about important cases and other legal developments affecting the all-important technology sector of the economy. We are Vinson & Elkins attorneys who practice in different areas but have one fundamental thing in common: clients and personal interests that intersect with the technology industry. Our goal is to provide a resource for those seeking to stay abreast of the law shaping – and sometimes shaped by – the rapidly changing world of technology.

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  • 11
  • July
  • 2017

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WannaCry Prompts Legislation

In mid-May, Fortune 500 companies including FedEx, governmental entities including the British National Health Service (NHS) and numerous other individuals, governments, and private entities became entangled in a cybersecurity attack rooted in ransomware titled “WannaCry.”

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  • 10
  • July
  • 2017

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

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.

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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

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.

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Contributors

Jason A. Levine

Jason A. Levine Partner

Jennifer C. Chen

Jennifer C. Chen Partner

Devika Kornbacher

Devika Kornbacher Partner

Marc A. Fuller

Marc A. Fuller Counsel

Thomas W. Bohnett

Thomas W. Bohnett Senior Associate

Megan Coker

Megan Coker Senior Associate

Trey Hebert

Trey Hebert Associate

Howard Lithaw Lim Associate

Elizabeth Krabill McIntyre

Elizabeth Krabill McIntyre Senior Associate

David C. Smith

David C. Smith Counsel

Margaret D. Terwey

Margaret Dunlay Terwey Senior Associate

Ryan B. Will

Ryan Will Associate

Siho (Scott) Yoo

Siho (Scott) Yoo Senior Associate