Posts in Business

Doing Business in Russia After the Ukraine Invasion—Justifications and Risks

As horrifying images continue to flow from Ukraine, politicians in the United States and Europe find themselves increasingly pressured to expand economic sanctions against Russia. On April 6, 2022, the White House announced a prohibition on new investment in Russia by any U.S. person. This move has undoubtedly been a factor in the stunning exodus of U.S. companies from the region, as it leaves management teams in legal limbo as to whether maintaining current facilities—or even repairing equipment—could be considered a prohibited “investment.”

Misusing March-in Rights for Price Control: A Dagger to the Heart of Small Companies

As Knowledge Ecology International and its allies await the decision of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on their latest attempt to misuse the Bayh-Dole Act for the government to set prices on any product based on a federally funded invention, they’re growing more uneasy. And that’s understandable. If you’d bet the house on an ivory tower theory that’s been summarily rejected for the past 18 years every time it’s been trotted out, you’d be uneasy too. They know that if the Biden Administration rejects the pending petition to march in on the prostate cancer drug Xtandi because of its cost, this leaky vessel can’t be credibly refloated again.

Examining the Circuit Split on Preliminary Injunctions in False Advertising Post-eBay

In responding to the unprecedented COVID-19 challenges, companies around the world are rushing to capitalize on the current crisis by advertising the effectiveness of their products in containing the virus spread. Among these ads and messages, some may be useful in building the public’s confidence and marketing effective products to consumers, but some may mislead and deceive desperate consumers into buying treatments and products without any scientific support. As fear and anxiety proliferate during this pandemic, fraudulent or false advertisements also surge and explode. Petitioners raise false advertising claims and try to stop misleading advertisements by seeking injunctions. However, the injunction standard in the false advertising context is still the subject of debate.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Expresses Support for New Bills Limiting Power to Waive TRIPS Rights

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce yesterday published a letter it sent to members of congress expressing strong support for both the “No Free TRIPS Act” and the “Protecting American Innovation Act.” According to the letter, if enacted, these bills “would prohibit the Administration from negotiating or concluding any modifications to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) agreement, without the explicit authorization of Congress.” The Chamber is concerned about the potential impact of the proposed waiver of patent rights for COVID-19 vaccine technology. The letter comes after the European Union, United States, India and South Africa reached a compromise on language for waiver terms last month.

Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Reiterates Why Companies Must Rethink Their China IP Strategies

Every night for the last six weeks, the world has seen images and videos of the Russian military laying waste to Ukraine in what can only fairly be characterized as a medieval campaign of destruction. The Russian military has annihilated entire cities, targeted civilians, murdered women and children, and is preventing the American Red Cross from delivering food and medical supplies to civilians trapped and unable to escape. Nearly the entire world has condemned the atrocities committed during this unprovoked Russian war of aggression against its sovereign neighbor. China, who has entered into a no-limits cooperative agreement with Russia, is a notable exception.

IP Protects JLTV Despite Sale of Technical Data Package

Oshkosh Corporation has run through a $6.7 billion contract to produce the first 17,000 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs) in a Department of Defense (DOD) program that could produce 55,000 vehicles for the Army and Marines. Oshkosh won the low-rate initial production (LRIP) contract in 2015 to be the sole manufacturer of JLTVs by submitting an original, technologically superior design in a litigated competition with other, arguably, more dominant players in the defense market. Bids for the contract to produce the next tranche of over 15,000 vehicles are due later this year. Competitors for the $7.3 billion recompete contract, including GM Defense, AM General and Navistar, will have access to the proprietary design of the JLTV that Oshkosh used to win the LRIP contract. The U.S. Government has made available to interested bidders a Technical Data Package (TDP) covering the JLTV after purchasing an option in 2016. Oshkosh, however, maintains an intellectual property (IP) portfolio that could counter the sale of the TDP.

USPTO Tasked with Promoting Inclusive Innovation, Improving Prior Art Search Tools Under Commerce Strategic Plan

On March 28, the U.S. Commerce Department issued a strategic plan for fiscal years 2022 through 2026 designed to enhance American competitiveness through the 21st century in several critical areas of the economy, including broadband Internet and supply chain resilience. At several points throughout the Commerce Department’s strategic plan, the importance of intellectual property and the stability provided by certainty in patent rights are acknowledged as key contributors to spurring innovations that benefit American competitiveness against foreign rivals.

Marketing With the Stars of March: NCAA Athletes and the New ‘NIL’ Policy

Name, Image, and Likeness, or “NIL,” is the buzz word spinning around college athletics. In July 2021, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) adopted its Interim NIL Policy (“the Policy”) which allows, for the first time, student athletes to monetize their NIL rights without losing scholarships or eligibility. Fans love college sports and cheering on athletes who play for their alma mater or favorite school teams, which creates collaboration opportunities for athletes and brands alike. In an attempt to connect their products and services with college athletes—who are the face of a billion-dollar industry—brands are jumping on the college-athlete bandwagon.

It’s Time for NIH to Uphold the Law, Once Again

As discussed previously, the critics are in full howl now that their attempts to enact legislation controlling drug prices has failed once again. They are applying unprecedented political pressure on Secretary Xavier Becerra at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to misuse the march in provisions of the Bayh-Dole Act to accomplish their goal. Nearly 100 distinguished organizations and individuals endorsed the following letter from the Bayh-Dole Coalition, which I lead, warning HHS not to take this disastrous misstep. Here’s what we said.

What it Means that Russian Businesses Can Now Legally Steal Intellectual Property from ‘Unfriendly Countries’

Russian businesses now hold the key to pilfering, producing and profiting from western technologies. As of Monday, March 7, the Russian government has legalized intellectual property (IP) theft. With this move, businesses in Russia can now violate IP rights, as they no longer need to compensate patent holders from “unfriendly countries.” The list of “unfriendly countries” includes the United States, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, the United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan and all 27 European Union (EU) member countries. Russia has faced growing isolation from the Western world following President Vladmir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The United States, EU member countries and others recently initiated sanctions against Russia and have enacted crippling trade limitations. Currently, Russia is sufficiently meeting its supply and demand needs for agriculture, energy and natural resources. However, Russia’s isolation and growing lack of skilled producers have led to a stark decrease in technological production and innovation.

IP in the Crosshairs: Government Agencies Terminate Relationships with Russian IP Entities as Kremlin Sanctions IP Theft

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced last week that it will terminate engagement with the Russian IP Office (Rospatent) as well as the Eurasian Patent Organization (EAPO) and the IP Office of Belarus, which has been cooperating with Russia in the lead-up to and during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The USPTO also said on Wednesday that, effective March 11, it is no longer granting requests to participate in the Global Patent Prosecution Highway (GPPH) at the USPTO when those requests are based on work performed by Rospatent as an Office of Earlier Examination. And, in pending cases where the Office granted special status under the GPPH to applications based on work performed by Rospatent, “the USPTO will remove that status and return those applications to the regular processing and examination queue, meaning that they will no longer be treated as GPPH applications at the USPTO,” said a USPTO statement. “Like so many, we are deeply saddened by the events unfolding in Ukraine,” said the USPTO. “We hope for the restoration of peace and human dignity.”

IP Audits for the Emerging Life Science Company: A Staged and Strategic Approach for Value

The trend is here to stay – large life science companies are basing their growth strategies on research and development happening at early-stage companies. It is easier, and less risky, for large companies simply to acquire these enterprises working on new and innovative therapeutic candidates that have advanced to a certain stage. For early stage life science companies (ESLSCs), intellectual property is the asset. Although 2021 saw what appeared to be a slowdown in deal-making activity compared to 2020, the top M&A and licensing deals were valued at well over $50 billion dollars. Whether to attract the attention of one of the larger players in the space – for a potential license or acquisition, to entice investors, or to remain competitive – a methodical and focused IP review should ensure clear alignment with business objectives and maximum return on investment. Not only does the IP audit provide the ESLSC a chance to broadly inventory and strategically review their IP, it also prepares them for any potential third-party diligence.

China Joins Hague System – Here’s Why You Should Care

An IP announcement that may have slipped past you in the last few weeks is that China will now become a part of the Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs. The Act will officially enter into force on May 5, 2022. Does this make a difference to you and your clients? Yes, in a very, very big way. Back in the mid-1990s, I had a key client operating out of Hong Kong, prior to the transfer of sovereignty from the UK back to China. He had, by then, become the world’s largest “maker” and seller of vacuum cleaners. Yet, he had only a small staff, mostly engaged in shipping and monetary transactions, i.e., paying for and getting paid for goods he bought and sold to vendors across the globe located in developing world economies.

Report Recommends Worker-Centric Competitiveness Approach to Trade Policy

The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) this week released a report titled “A Worker-Centric Trade Agenda Needs to Focus on Competitiveness, Including Robust IP Protections.” The ITIF is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute that focuses on technological innovation and public policy. The report explained that U.S. trade policy has long been contentious. Traditionally, trade policy prioritized U.S. consumer interests. However, in response to a decline in U.S. manufacturing jobs and output due to unbalanced trade, President Biden raised a “worker-centric trade agenda,” turning away from this traditional approach. In his shift to a “worker-centric trade agenda,” the report recommended that President Biden should reject the counsel of anti-corporate, anti-trade progressives who deny that U.S. companies’ interests align with U.S. workers’ interests. A new competitiveness-focused approach to trade policy can support both.

Learning to Live with ‘Zero Trust’: It’s Not as Depressing as it Sounds

Trust is getting a lot of attention these days. Of course, it’s always been important in the United States. We declare trust in God on our currency, Scouts have to be trustworthy, and we even seem to trust the algorithm behind cryptocurrencies. On the other hand, we worry about what feels like a decline, if not complete rupture, in social trust. For businesses that depend on controlling the confidentiality of data shared with employees and outsiders, these are perilous times. Our most important assets are stored and transmitted through digital systems that are imperfect; and that’s without accounting for the frailties of the people with access to those assets. Information security has come a long way since I started my career in the 1970s. There were no networks to worry about then, no powerful computers in the pockets of employees. Data was transmitted on paper. You just needed to watch the front door and photocopier. Employees with their badges as markers of trust could go pretty much anywhere they wanted within the facility.