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Blurred Lines

Mobile payments are taking off, and by 2017, consumers worldwide are likely to be using the technology to spend $700 billion or more annually, according to Forrester Research. But as technology companies look for ways to participate in that growth, they may find risks that they haven’t anticipated. “This is an evolving field, and there… Continue Reading

Bribery, Twice Removed

Charles Duross is the head of Morrison & Foerster’s Global Anti-Corruption Practice. He is the former head of the Department of Justice’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act unit, where he took a leading role in developing and implementing the government’s anti-bribery enforcement strategy. Here, he discusses how tech companies can avoid violating the FCPA. We have… Continue Reading

Government 2.0

With it spending up, federal agencies are finding they need to look outside their walls for qualified talent. This is presenting new public sector opportunities for private sector tech companies. The U.S. federal government collects massive amounts of data. Everything from citizens’ health care information, details about nuclear power plants, and data on the U.S…. Continue Reading

Just What the Data Ordered

San Francisco-based software provider Splunk’s data collection and analysis product, Splunk Enterprise, was an almost instant hit upon its debut in 2006. The software, which collects and analyzes machine data generated by websites, applications, networks, and RFID assets, can identify traits like user transaction patterns and performance issues, making it useful for everyone from pizza… Continue Reading

Worn on the Sleeve

Watches that monitor sleep quality. Skullcaps that gauge head injury. An infant bodysuit that sends temperature and breathing updates to a mobile device. Ear buds that track your heart rate. These are just some of the innovations now emerging in the hot new field of wearable technology. Currently estimated at $1.6 billion, the wearable device… Continue Reading

Rooting Out Conflict Minerals

If your company manufactures consumer electronics, avionics, or any product incorporating even trace amounts of gold, coltan, cassiterite, or wolframite— including their derivatives, tantalum, tin, and tungsten—you may need to ask how well you know your conflict minerals story. Under Dodd-Frank, public companies may soon be required to report on their use of any of… Continue Reading

SEC: The New Cyber-Cop

It seems scarcely a week goes by without a headline blaring news of a major cybersecurity breach. And with ongoing revelations about the data-tracking activities of the National Security Agency, the public isn’t growing less concerned about privacy. So it’s no surprise Congress has pressed the Securities and Exchange Commission on cybersecurity. What does that mean… Continue Reading

Turning The Tide on “Trolls”

When a non-practicing entity (NPE) accused 16,000 small businesses of violating its patent by merely emailing scanned documents, the New York attorney general cracked down, forcing a settlement. Then the FTC threatened to sue for deceptive trade practices—prompting the NPE to file a preemptive suit against the FTC. As NPEs (sometimes known as patent trolls)… Continue Reading

When Bosses Can’t Be “Friends”

Modern Technology has increasingly blurred the line between business and personal lives, thanks in large part to social media that can broadcast employees’ views to friends and the public in a heartbeat. Companies are increasingly tempted to move into what may be considered “personal” domains in order to maintain their reputation or control over employees’… Continue Reading

No Billboards, Please

Companies intending to seek funding under the JOBS Act’s crowdfunding provision gained a seeming advantage in September when the SEC removed its ban on the general solicitation or advertising of certain types of private placements. But this may be less promising than it sounds, says Palo Alto-based Morrison & Foerster corporate and securities partner Timothy… Continue Reading

Patent Quality: Shining Through

A New Review Process Shows the Importance of a Good Application The newly available procedure for challenging patent validity known as inter partes review, or IPR, is forcing patent players to raise their game—from application through litigation. More than 800 petitions for IPR— many more than the Patent Office itself had expected—have been filed since… Continue Reading

Germany’s Magic Portal

Representing about 40 million TV households, Germans now receive virtually all on-demand content by Blu-ray Disc or DVD. Video-on-demand services are set to change that over the next three to five years, says Christoph Wagner, a partner in Morrison & Foerster’s new Berlin office. “Look for dynamic, if not explosive interest in VoD as broadband… Continue Reading

Bitcoins, Big Headaches?

Hazards Abound for Companies Seeking to Accept Bitcoin The Bitcoin “Cryptocurrency” has gained momentum in the market, and some businesses, including Overstock. com and TigerDirect.com, now accept bitcoins as payment. Many others are wondering if Bitcoin is a good fit for them—and they should factor regulatory uncertainty into their calculations.

The “Internet of Things” Rises

Refrigerators that tell you you’re out of milk, cars that warn of an imminent collision, implants that know if you’ve taken your medicine—by tying almost anything into a wireless network, the “Internet of Things” promises to transform several industries. Yet in the eyes of regulators and lawmakers, the IoT presents new risks ranging from privacy… Continue Reading

Laying the Groundwork for Natural Gas Vehicles

Infrastructure and Regulations may Dictate Speed of Adoption America’s shale gas revolution is making waves in transportation technology. Currently, only 1 percent of all natural-gas-fueled vehicles worldwide are running on U.S. roads, according to trade association NGVAmerica. But, in the coming years, U.S. NGV use is expected to accelerate, particularly among truck fleets. Why? Natural… Continue Reading

Europe’s Incubator Central

Berlin is becoming the Continent’s top start-up destination Jörg Meissner, a partner in Morrison & Foerster’s new Berlin office, had an eye-opening experience while visiting Silicon Valley to check out the start-up culture there. “In Berlin, the streets and coffee shops buzz with people on their iPads pitching ideas, with start-up events happening practically every night,” says Meissner, a corporate and finance lawyer who represents… Continue Reading