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On April 15, the CFPB and FTC announced the release of a joint annual report to Congress administering the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).  The annual report highlights both agencies’ efforts to protect and provide debt collection relief to consumers, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic hardship.
Continue Reading CFPB Signals Foray into Protecting Small Businesses from Abusive Debt Collectors

“NFT” was 2021’s word of the year.  This isn’t too surprising—they’re everywhere!  The market cap for NFT transactions jumped from roughly $400 million at the beginning of 2021 to over $7 billion by year’s end.  What’s next and how can brands and other content creators leverage NFTs to bring value?
Continue Reading Thinking of Jumping on the NFT Bandwagon – Are you Prepared?

On March 31, 2022, the California legislature approved Assembly Bill (AB) 2179, extending the state’s eviction moratorium through June 30, 2022 for certain tenants who have applied for rental assistance on or before March 31, 2022.  This latest extension was passed in response to significant delays reported by both the state and local jurisdictions related to the processing of applications and disbursements of rent relief payments.[1]
Continue Reading Some Renters Protected Under California’s Extended Eviction Moratorium

On March 23, the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) responded to a request for an interpretative legal opinion as to whether the virtual currency services offered by a company require it to obtain a license under the California Money Transmission Act (MTA).
Continue Reading DFPI: Virtual Currency Platform is not Money Transmitter

Employers faced with an apparent trade secret misappropriation by former employees must decide what jurisdiction to bring suit in.  For an employer headquartered outside of California who employs California residents  working primarily in California, choice of law and forum selection clauses favoring states other than California may be ineffective against them unless they had counsel who negotiated the provisions on their behalves.  (Cal. Lab. Code § 925.)  A recent California Court of Appeal decision highlighted this point, and found that where a California employee is sued by the employer for trade secret misappropriation in a separate state based on an
Continue Reading California Labor Code Section 925: A Word of Caution for Out-of-State Employers of California Employees

This month, the Ninth Circuit’s decision in DePuy Synthes Sales v. Howmedica Osteonics  held that a U.S. district court in California properly invalidated a foreign choice-of-law and forum selection provision under California Labor Code § 925, and denied a motion to transfer the case to a different venue.  While this might seem at first blush like a technical issue of federalism and contractual interpretation, the decision indicates that federal courts in the Ninth Circuit will also apply California’s partial prohibition on the use of foreign forum-selection and choice-of-law clauses as to employees.
Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Upholds Application of California Labor Code To Contractual Forum-Selection and Choice-of-Law Clause To Keep Dispute Over Non-Compete Clause in California

On March 17, the OCC and FinCEN issued civil monetary penalties against a federal savings bank for “willfully” failing to meet minimum compliance program requirements and shoddy suspicious transaction reporting. The consent orders read like a veritable “how not to” for reviewing anti-money laundering alerts.
Continue Reading OCC and FinCEN Issue $200 Million in Penalties for BSA-AML Violations

As current supply chain issues continue to threaten the U.S. photovoltaic solar industry, solar module suppliers, manufacturers, renewable energy developers and utilities alike face great uncertainty surrounding the immediate future of the solar module supply market. The bottom-line is that supply chain issues are increasing shipping and equipment costs for solar cells and panels, however, there are several independent factors that are working together to drive this surge in pricing and constrained market. These factors include the following:
Continue Reading Making Sense of the Solar Supply Chain Issues

In Nippon Shinyaku v. Sarepta Therapeutics, the Federal Circuit held that a forum selection clause specifying that patent infringement or invalidity actions shall be filed in federal district court in Delaware made clear that any validity challenge was required to be brought in that court and that Sarepta’s IPR petitions filed with the Patent Trial and Appeal (“the Board”)  contravened the plain language of the forum selection clause.
Continue Reading Forum Selection Clause Can Preclude PTO Validity Challenges

In light of Russia’s recent military actions in Ukraine, the New York Department of Financial Services issued guidance on its cybersecurity and virtual currency regulations. The Department is specifically concerned about heightened risk for Russia’s cyberattacks against Ukraine, which could in turn lead to retaliatory attacks against U.S. critical infrastructure due to U.S. sanctions against Russia.
Continue Reading NYDFS Issues Cybersecurity Guidance in Response to Events in Ukraine

On January 24, 2022, the Federal Circuit affirmed the grant of a preliminary injunction blocking the publication of a patent application on the basis that it contained the plaintiff, Masimo Corp.’s trade secrets. Masimo Corp. v. True Wearables, Inc., No. 2021-2146, 2022 WL 205485 (Fed. Cir. Jan. 24, 2022). The Court of Appeals did so despite evidence that a widely circulated and cited paper on statistics had disclosed an equivalent algorithm, because the defendant failed to show that others in Masimo’s particular field (or a related field) were aware of the paper.
Continue Reading Federal Circuit Deems Algorithm Potentially Valid Trade Secret Notwithstanding Prior Publication

Hope soared with the possibility of federal cannabis reform in 2021. And for good reason – the induction of a new, more liberal administration, rapid state-level legalization, broad support by Americans,[1] and growing bipartisan backing led many to believe that 2021 was going to be the year where federal decriminalization of cannabis would become a reality. But, as 2021 continued on, optimism dwindled as any advancement in federal cannabis reform was hobbled by the inability of Congress to agree on the appropriate level of reform and the proper mechanics for passage. Specifically, tension rose amongst the elected Democrats on
Continue Reading Federal Cannabis Reform – Is 2022 the Year?

Updated as of March 9, 2022
Key Takeaways of OFAC (Treasury), BIS (Commerce), and State Actions

  • Major Russian Banks Blocked from the U.S. Financial System. Six major Russian banks — VEB, Promsvyazbank (PSB), VTB Bank, Otkritie, Sovcombank, and Novikombank — were named Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs), effectively cutting them off from any activity involving a U.S. person or U.S. bank, and removed from the SWIFT messaging system.

Meanwhile, Sberbank was prohibited from U.S. correspondent or payable-through accounts, severely restricting the bank’s ability to conduct U.S. Dollar transactions. Numerous subsidiaries of those banks were also sanctioned.

  • Many Exports to Russia Prohibited


Continue Reading Russian Risk: Transactions with Russian Banks and Exports to Russia Create Greatest Exposure Under New U.S. Ukraine-Related Sanctions

On February 4, the Department of the Treasury published a study on the facilitation of money laundering and terrorist financing through the art trade.  Among other considerations, the report discussed the risks of financial crimes in connection with NFTs.  (See a previous post on NFTs from our sister blog here and a recent podcast here).  The study found that the high-value art market has certain inherent qualities that make it potentially vulnerable to a range of financial crimes – as we noted above.  NFT purchasers, marketplaces, issuers, and other intermediaries in NFT transactions should be aware of the Treasury
Continue Reading Treasury’s Study Discusses Financial Crimes and NFTs