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

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Good Chemistry

Thanks to a merger, a poultry and produce wash is helping the oil industry extract resources more effectively In 2008, Vic Keasler was performing molecular biology tests at a pharma, biotech, and academic research company.  Keasler had studied hepatitis B and C’s effect on liver cancer in graduate school; his career had primarily focused on… Continue Reading

A Smart Wallet

The Potential for mobile payments is huge. So are the potential legal and regulatory hurdles. Banks, retailers, and pundits are paying a lot of attention to mobile payments, which typically involve the use of smartphones and tablets to pay for purchases.  But a lack of mobile infrastructure has kept the use of mobile payments fairly low… Continue Reading

No Patent for You

Patent eligibility restrictions hit life sciences and tech After years of issuing rulings limiting what can be patented, the Supreme Court turned its attention squarely toward patent eligibility in the life sciences and technology fields. Overturning a 30-year practice by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office of awarding patents on isolated DNA sequences, the court… Continue Reading

Far Beyond the Valley

Global tech hubs are a source of technology, talent, and funding While media coverage of the technology industry focuses largely on Silicon Valley, savvy tech and life sciences executives have been looking much farther afield, well beyond American borders. Americans are engaging with overseas companies in more diverse ways, fueling our thirst for knowledge about… Continue Reading

Energy Storage:

Mandate Creates Opportunity A proposed decision issued by the California Public Utilities Commission could be a watershed moment in the energy storage market. The proposed decision, issued in early September, calls for the state’s three investor-owned electric utilities–Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric–to procure 1.325 gigawatts of energy… Continue Reading

What’s in Your Product?

New law may force companies to reveal trade secrets As new regulations on the use of toxic chemicals are implemented in California, companies may need to re-evaluate their strategies to protect their intellectual property. The largest market in the U.S., California has taken the first step to implement its Green Chemistry Initiative, a bold new… Continue Reading

For Whom the Bell Trolls

Government efforts to block patent troll activity gained momentum this summer, as the White House issued five executive orders and members of Congress fielded no fewer than five bills aimed at such issues as patent quality and frivolous patent litigation. The executive orders are effective immediately. But their impact won’t be known until the PTO issues rules… Continue Reading

Attracting an Impact Investor

Interest is growing in impact investing–investing that supports environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals, while also earning a return.  “Interest has spread to top-tier investors who understand the alignments between positive ESG results and financial returns,” says Susan Mac Cormac, a partner at Morrison & Foerster.  Key factors for entrepreneurs to consider: Impact investors will… Continue Reading

For the Common Good

For-profits and nonprofits in life sciences team up Nonprofit groups are actively supporting research to solve tough medical challenges. Life sciences and pharma companies are eager to accelerate product development. Now, new business models are emerging to leverage the strengths of each. One example: the licensing partnership between Medicines360, a San Francisco-based nonprofit pharma company… Continue Reading

The People Paradox

The marketplace for tech-savvy engineers and managers has become so competitive that companies like Yahoo! and Facebook are looking for new ways to find talent. One fresh approach they’re taking is to buy high-tech startups and absorb their talent. In May, Yahoo! tweeted about adding 22 entrepreneurs to “our growing mobile team” by buying three… Continue Reading

One-Two Punch

Stop imitators by combining design patents and trade dress Design patents have gained popularity in recent years among inventors looking to protect their market share.  But they shouldn’t forget trade dress–the distinctive physical appearance or packaging of a product–as a way to ward off copycats as well, says Morrison & Foerster partner Jennifer Lee Taylor. … Continue Reading

All That Glitters

Getting what you pay for—and then some More companies looking to keep pace with the fast-changing mobile market are busily buying up app developers. Google spent almost $1 billion in June to acquire traffic app developer Waze. Apptopia is a growing online marketplace for the buying and selling of rights to apps. But companies should… Continue Reading

Mobile Apps: No Surprises, Please

Widely applicable rules regarding consumer privacy disclosures in our increasingly mobile world are only now emerging. Government agencies, individual states, and professional associations are all weighing in on how mobile app developers should disclose how they collect, store, use, and protect the wide range of highly personal data being collected every day. The Application Privacy, Protection,… Continue Reading

Telemarketing? Try Tweeting

The FCC’s revised rules for telemarketers and text marketers, taking effect in October, could signal a big shift in how companies direct market, posits Julie O’Neill, a Morrison & Foerster attorney specializing in privacy issues.  One section prohibits the use of an autodialer to call or text cell phones for marketing purposes, unless the caller… Continue Reading