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


Stop the Revolt: Retailers can use customer data without sparking privacy concerns

Seventy percent of Americans participate in at least one customer-loyalty program, according to a July 2012 survey by Polaris Marketing Research. Most of those shoppers are happy to give up personal information in exchange for discounts and special offers. But as retailers grab more data, will customers revolt? That depends on how retailers approach data… Continue Reading

Biotech: Let’s Make a Deal

Scientific acumen is crucial—but so is an understanding of today’s deal market. The risks and costs of life sciences product development have become so high that few companies are willing to bear them on their own. As partnerships become vital, skill in dealmaking has become almost as vital as scientific acumen for today’s pharma and… Continue Reading

Credit Strategies: What’s The Risk?

All ways of raising capital entail risk. But for life sciences companies, employing credit strategies may be less risky than the alternatives. Turning to venture capital typically requires giving up a slice of the company and a big portion of projected revenues. Raising capital through issuing shares often prompts shareholders to sell. By contrast, credit-based… Continue Reading

The FCC Defends an “Open Internet”

Much of the glamour of technology today rests on the amazing things one can do on the Internet. The Federal Communications Commission plays a big role in deciding how affordable and accessible those wonders will be for Americans. Case in point: Internet service providers are imposing usage caps and pricing tiers based on the amount… Continue Reading

Here Come the Feds

What President Obama’s second term means for the tech industry As the first president to appoint a chief technology officer, President Obama has worked hard to portray himself as a friend to the tech industry. He’s supported the expansion of broadband access, development of a fourth-generation wireless network, new healthcare IT initiatives, and a modernized electrical… Continue Reading

Accounting for Sustainability

A number of U.S. states have created new corporate forms that let companies focus on sustainability and other social goals, as well as shareholder value. [See “Risk & Responsibility,” MoFo Tech, Spring/Summer 2012]. Now, we are seeing the “logical next step” in corporate sustainability, says Morrison & Foerster partner Susan Mac Cormac, with the formation in… Continue Reading

Food Labels: Watch for Scary Ingredients

“If you use that word [natural], you’d better be sure you can defend every ingredient,” says Stern. Consumers are eager to know more about the food they buy, and companies are eager to tell them. But the companies face a legal minefield, as plaintiffs’ lawyers parse every word on every label for something they can claim… Continue Reading

Get That Grant

The Small Business Administration has made it easier for small businesses that receive venture funding to participate in a $2-billion-a-year federal grant program to promote innovation. The Small Business Innovation and Research program had been open only to companies that were majority-owned by individuals who were U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens. That barred many small… Continue Reading

Cleantech: Holding Its Breath

Many had hoped that the start of quarterly auctions under California’s new cap-and-trade program would usher in an era of rapid growth for the cleantech sector. But a pair of lawsuits filed by business groups challenging the program’s validity has cast a cloud of uncertainty over the program, says Morrison & Foerster partner William Sloan. The… Continue Reading

Call the Patent Police!

Time to monitor competitors’ filings More companies will likely begin closely monitoring their competitors’ patent filings with the aim of opposing them under new procedures established by the America Invents Act, which went into full effect on March 16. The sweeping patent reform legislation—under which the U.S. switches to a first-to-file from a first-to-invent system—also… Continue Reading

Crowdfunding: Caveat Emptor?

How different are the markets for crowdfunding—an emergent online platform for raising small sums from multiple investors—in the U.S. and the U.K? “While Title III of the JOBS Act would establish an SEC exemption for crowdfunding, the SEC has yet to propose or adopt implementing rules,” says Washington, D.C.-based Morrison & Foerster partner David Lynn. “Absent… Continue Reading

Ahead of the LEED

Site-based sustainable design can speed official approval The effort to create sustainable buildings has long centered on technical certifications, such as LEED. But now, some companies are taking more of a big-picture view. “They’re looking at the entire corporate campus as a system to reduce the overall environmental impact, instead of trying to use detailed technical… Continue Reading

3-D Printing: New Dimension for IP Law?

Just as inkjet printers deposit drops of ink to create a document, 3-D printers lay down bits of plastic, metal, or other material to build an object. But as 3-D printers enter the consumer market, they may also fashion new challenges for intellectual property law. Commercial 3-D printers, which can cost $50,000, are already being used… Continue Reading

Stop Insider Tweeting!

Feds eye social media for securities shenanigans As financial institutions and investors turn to social media to instantly share snippets of news and potential clues about market trends, the FBI and SEC are monitoring such postings for evidence of insider trading and improper investment information. Companies must comply with pre-Internet federal securities laws covering antifraud,… Continue Reading

China Seeks Technology

Acquiring rights to U.S. and European technologies has become a priority for Chinese companies—as well as national policy. “Large state-owned companies possess phenomenal production capacity, but generally lag in R&D and technological advancement,” says Morrison & Foerster Beijing-based partner Sherry Xiaowei Yin. “Acquiring technology assets allows them to diversify their products and ascend the global… Continue Reading

New Print Issue of MoFo Tech Available

The Spring/Summer 2013 print edition of MoFo Tech is now available. Check the blog weekly or subscribe via rss to read new articles from this issue, including: Obama’s ambitious tech agenda and what companies can expect; how the law is trying to keep up with the unanticipated consequences of social media and 3-D printing technologies;… Continue Reading