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MoFo Tech A blog dedicated to information, trend spotting & analysis for science- & tech-based companies

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Sharing an Umbrella

Big Pharma and academia cement big deals in the quest for bigger prizes With the patents of many highly profitable blockbuster drugs expiring over the course of a few years, the search is on for new drugs to fill large pharmaceutical companies’ shrinking product portfolios. For years, Big Pharma has turned to smaller biotech companies… Continue Reading

Cookie Monster

When it comes to venue, cookie cases are anything but cookie-cutter Marketers have an insatiable interest to know more about their customers, and the “cookies” they plant in those customers’ computers reveal much of what they need to know. The result has been more focused marketing and more personalized ads, but this tracking has also… Continue Reading

Disputes in China: Watch Your Step

As cross-border business in China has exploded, so has the frequency of business disputes there. With both Western and Chinese firms wary of conducting litigation on the other’s home turf, parties can often agree on arbitration. Arbitration may even be preferable to bringing a Chinese company to an American court, says Craig Celniker, a Morrison… Continue Reading

The Global Prenup

Think two steps ahead to keep your international deals afloat You’re excited about that joint venture deal you signed with an overseas company. Together you’ll build a factory that will take orders from both sides, with the other company operating the factory. Excited, that is, until profits mysteriously vanish. You start to suspect the overseas… Continue Reading

Up, Up, and Away

Fast, flat, and lean, SpaceX is helping America’s space industry regain its competitive edge. Ten years ago, SpaceX was barely a blip on the aerospace industry’s radar screen. Since then it has skyrocketed to prominence, notably as the first private company to have berthed a spacecraft at the International Space Station. Top executives say they’re just… Continue Reading

Patent Reform: The Process Is New, But Is It Improved?

In 2011, the sweeping patent reform legislation sought to reduce litigation by creating a new process for challenging patent validity. But the new process will look more like litigation than the old process, says Matthew Kreeger, chair of Morrison & Foerster’s Patent Interferences Group. Under the old opposition proceedings, challenges were decided by U.S. Patent & Trademark Office patent examiners based on the parties’… Continue Reading

Bring Your Own Hassles

How to manage the explosion of employee-owned devices Time was, organizations provided employees with the computer hardware they needed for their jobs. Today, many workers prefer to use the same device for business and personal use. Organizations have signed on to accommodate employee demand, but also in the hope of saving IT costs. But “Bring… Continue Reading

Internal Investigations: Best Practices

An internal investigation is any effort to gather and analyze facts to help make a decision. Morrison & Foerster managing partner Craig Martin has overseen more than a dozen such efforts. His advice: Understand the purpose of the investigation and how you will use the findings before you start. Reassess scope as the investigation proceeds. … Continue Reading

Maintaining Control When Shareholders Are Virtual

Amid shareholder demands for greater engagement, Internet-based annual meetings may enhance accessibility and save costs. Registered participants can follow presentations, ask questions, and exercise real-time voting. But virtual shareholder meetings may pose “greater risks of surprises,” especially on contentious issues, since shareholders may be less deferential while sitting shrouded at their home or office, says… Continue Reading

The End of “Pay For Delay”?

More brand-name drug companies have been paying their competitors to delay their efforts to bring generic versions of blockbuster pharmaceuticals to market. The Federal Trade Commission estimates there were 28 “reverse payment” agreements in 2011—twice the number in 2007—involving 25 different branded pharmaceuticals with annual U.S. sales of more than $9 billion. A string of… Continue Reading

Watch That Incubator

Make sure you’re protected before diving into academic collaboration Today, many universities operate business incubators, and some are seeing significant success. Since 2006, for example, the University of California’s QB3 bioscience incubator program has helped launch 65 companies that have raised more than $230 million in capital. Tapping into university resources can be a big… Continue Reading

The “Say on Pay” Learning Curve

Companies have now been through two proxy seasons under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act’s “Say on Pay” provision, which calls for investor advisory votes on executive compensation. And some have not had an easy time of it. In 2011, more than three dozen companies failed to get approval on their Say on Pay votes. But, says… Continue Reading

A FRANDlier Realm

Europe’s courts take sides in standards patent disputes When a patent becomes essential for a product to operate according to industry standards—say, for a cellphone to connect to a 3G network—patent protection can start looking a bit like monopoly power. To avoid antitrust trouble, holders of these patents regularly pledge to license them on fair,… Continue Reading

Jumping the Line

Generic drug makers aren’t waiting until patents expire Since passage of the Hatch-Waxman Act in 1984, generic drug companies have used its Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) process to bring cheaper versions of brand-name drugs to market after their patents expire. In the past decade or so, generic drug companies have commonly applied for the… Continue Reading

A Breed Apart

Crop inventors are seeking to protect their work, even if they don’t use GMOs When international seed supplier Enza Zaden bred a delicious and juicy new tomato in the 1990s, the world was introduced to the now famous Campari. The globe-shaped vegetable soon became a supermarket staple, but the Dutch company did not patent its… Continue Reading

Read Before Clicking

Click-wrap agreements, where the user has to click “I Accept” prior to downloading software, accessing information, or performing any number of tasks online, are typically approached with casualness in consumer-to-business transactions. But with B2B click-wrap agreements increasing, Morrison & Foerster partner John Delaney cautions against such a nonchalant approach. “These are take-it-or-leave-it agreements,” he warns…. Continue Reading

Startups, Accelerated

The new JOBS Act gives fast-growers a streamlined path to capital. Capital is the lifeblood of a growing tech company, and today access to that capital in the U.S. is improving thanks to recent regulatory and legislative initiatives. Growing tech companies now have an array of new alternatives to consider. In a rare show of bipartisan congressional… Continue Reading

New Print Issue of MoFo Tech Available

The Fall/Winter 2012 print edition of MoFo Tech is now available. Check the blog weekly or subscribe via rss to read new articles from this issue, including: Why you need to read before clicking; Checking out IP ownership when collaborating with academia; Planning a virtual shareholders’ meeting; Doing any sort of business deal overseas; How… Continue Reading