Posts in Business

FTC Sets Meeting to Vote on Final Noncompete Rule

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)  Chair Lina Khan announced yesterday that there will be a Special Open Commission Meeting held on April 23 to vote on whether to issue a final version of the January 2023 proposed rule that would ban employers from using noncompete clauses for their employees. “The proposed final rule being considered would generally prevent most employers from using noncompete clauses,” said the Open Commission Meeting’s event description. “As the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking explained, noncompetes are a widespread and often exploitative practice that suppresses wages, hampers innovation, and blocks entrepreneurs from starting new businesses.”

Commerce Department Opens $54 Million Funding Opportunity to Small Business R&D in Semiconductor Metrology

On April 16, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that the Biden Administration had issued a notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) earmarking $54 million in funds available under the CHIPS and Science Act to fund advances in measurement technologies critical to semiconductor production. These funds, administered via grant through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, are expected to improve U.S. leadership in computer chip manufacturing by mitigating production defects and increasing production yields.

From Foundation to Fortress: Developing an IP Strategy for Success

While many see intellectual property merely as a shield, its greater power rests in its strategic use to spark innovation and propel business growth. In this article I describe a systematic approach for developing IP strategies that are tailored to the technology and objectives of each business, so that the resulting IP can be used to drive the achievement of those goals.

USIJ and Medical Device Group Urge Movement on PERA and PREVAIL

The Medical Device Manufacturers Association (MDMA) and the Alliance of U.S. Startups and Inventors for Jobs (USIJ) sent a letter today to the leadership of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property to express their support for both the Promoting and Respecting Economically Vital American Innovation Leadership Act (PREVAIL Act) and the Patent Eligibility Restoration Act (PERA). Both PREVAIL and PERA were introduced on June 22, 2023. The PREVAIL Act aims to reform Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) practices while PERA would eliminate all judicially-created exceptions to U.S. patent eligibility law.

An Independent Musician’s Perspective on the TikTok Legislation Before Congress

There are many loud voices making a lot of noise about TikTok right now, and as someone who makes “noise” for a living, I thought I’d provide an independent musician’s perspective on the TikTok legislation before Congress: I hope it passes, both as an American and as a music maker. First of all, this bill restricts TikTok, it does not “ban” the app. It forces the company to cut its ties to the Chinese Communist Party and prevents them from accessing the data of Americans. That’s a good thing. The bill doesn’t mandate or regulate speech, it’s focused on national security. The threat is no secret, it’s real: the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) called TikTok “a clear and present danger” to our country.

Rainmaking Mistakes Continued: If You’re ‘Too Busy to Market,’ You’re Dead Weight

Attorneys who believe they are too busy to spend time marketing themselves are always going to be career limited, and if they are given too much authority within the firm structure, they will ultimately destroy the firm. Attorneys who do not market themselves have a job because rainmakers bring in the work for them to do. But work dries up for a variety of reasons, sometimes because the rainmaker moves on to another firm that better appreciates their contribution, because of an economic downturn, or because another lawyer or firm has stolen away your clients. Whatever the reason, when work dries up, the lawyers who are the workers of the firm have little to do, become dead weight and are the first to be sent packing—at least that is what happens if the firm wants to succeed.

Consumers Target Apple Following DOJ Antitrust Suit

A number of individual consumers have filed suit against Apple, Inc. in California and New Jersey courts, piggybacking on the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) March 21 complaint accusing Apple of “broad-based, exclusionary conduct” amounting to monopolization of the smartphone market. The DOJ’s sweeping complaint included a number of U.S. states as plaintiffs and charged Apple with “thwart[ing] innovation” and throttle[ing] competitive alternatives via its practices around the iPhone platform.

Biden’s Patent Proposal Carries Devastating Costs, No Real Benefits

It’s rare that a federal policy inspires fierce opposition from both sides of the aisle. But the Biden administration’s recent proposal to gut the Bayh-Dole Act is doing exactly that. Bayh-Dole is a pivotal and successful bipartisan law, but Biden’s proposal would effectively allow federal agencies to tear up patent licensing agreements signed between federally funded universities and private businesses. The economic consequences would be dire. Individuals from across the political spectrum, including former Obama administration officials, have warned the proposal would threaten America’s small businesses and inventors.

Rainmaking Mistakes 101: Being All Things to All People

You have probably heard the old saying: “Jack of all trades, master of none.” Obviously, this saying is intended to convey the message that if you are a generalist who claims to be able to do everything that means you do so much that you can’t possibly have mastered any one thing. Because, after all, if you were a master of one thing that would be the one thing you would do—and that one thing would be enough because everyone who needed that one thing would recognize you as one of the few go-to people in the industry capable of handling that one thing.

Intel-Commerce Deal Includes Nearly $20 Billion in Funding Under CHIPS Act

On March 20, American semiconductor developer Intel Corporation and the U.S. Department of Commerce jointly announced that the chip giant had entered into a preliminary memorandum of terms (PMT) that could make Intel eligible for nearly $45 billion in federal investments into chip production facilities and workforce development. At least $19.5 billion of this funding comes from money appropriated under the CHIPS and Science Act, making Intel an early beneficiary of the landmark legislative package enacted in 2022 to establish U.S. dominance in chip production.

Coalition Aims to Combat Biden March-In Proposal, Other IP Threats

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today announced it is partnering with entrepreneurs and other business advocates to counter threats to innovation due to “excessive government overreach,” including the Biden Administration’s proposed framework to expand the use of so-called patent march-in rights.

Becoming a Rainmaker: Familiarity and Trust Sell, Not Cold Contacts

If you are on LinkedIn, you undoubtedly get messages, perhaps daily, from some service provider that you don’t know who promises to be able to help you with some pain point. Unfortunately for those marketers who do not take the time to do even basic research, these inquiries often come off as rather pathetic and do little more than demonstrate that you certainly don’t want to work with them, ever. Seriously, if they can’t even read your LinkedIn profile to see what type of work you do, are you really going to trust them with something that matters?

Becoming a Rainmaker: The Importance of Expertise, Reputation and Personality

The key to rainmaking for lawyers is understanding that those who have decisional authority to hire an attorney are hiring you. Perhaps, once upon a time, those who hired lawyers were more interested in the name of the firm, but the days of an attorney staying with a firm long term are over. Attorneys move, firms merge or sometimes collapse. What this means is that, as long as the firm you are with is large enough to do the work you seek, your name and reputation far and away supersede the name on the letterhead.

Uncovering Valuable AI Assets: A Strategic Guide for AI Companies and Patent Attorneys

Artificial Intelligence (AI) stands at the forefront of innovation, transforming industries and shaping the future of global economies. Although AI innovators understand the value of intellectual property (IP) protection for their innovations, they often don’t know how to secure the right kind of IP protection for their innovations. Employing a process for systematically mining AI innovations to create a map of those innovations is one option for identifying the most suitable form(s) of IP protection to obtain, based on the innovation and the business model within which that innovation will be commercially deployed.

New York Times Hits Back at OpenAI’s Hacking Claims

In an opposition brief filed Monday, The New York Times Company (The Times) told a New York district court that OpenAI’s late February claim that The Times “paid someone to hack OpenAI’s products” in order to prove OpenAI infringed its copyrights amounts to little more than “grandstanding.” In late December 2023, the Times became the latest of many complainants to accuse OpenAI’s Large Language Model, ChatGPT, as well as Microsoft’s GPT-4-powered Bing Chat, of widespread copyright infringement. The Times alleged that Microsoft and OpenAI reproduce Times content verbatim and also often attribute false information to the Times. The Times’ opposition brief filed yesterday responds to OpenAI’s recent motion to dismiss, which alleged that The Times paid someone to target and exploit “a bug (which OpenAI has committed to addressing) by using deceptive prompts that blatantly violate OpenAI’s terms of use.”