Litigation & Dispute Resolution

City of Seattle Tentatively Agrees to Settlement with Yellow Pages Publishers

The City of Seattle and the yellow pages publishers have reached a tentative agreement in which Seattle will pay the publishers $500,000. The settlement comes as part of a claim that the City of Seattle violated the publishers’ free speech rights. The city lost the case in the U.S. Supreme Court in October, and has chosen not to pursue an appeal. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a city ordinance violated the publishers’ free speech rights.

The city ordinance created an opt-out registry for unwanted phone books and charged publishers a disposal fee for recycling costs. The 9th circuit panel rejected Seattle’s argument that the yellow pages are commercial speech and not subject to the First Amendment protections. Seattle...

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Intellectual Property

Apple Rewarded Handsomely As Jury Finds Samsung Guilty of Infringement

It took less than three days of deliberation, approximately 22 hours, 109 pages of jury instructions, and a verdict form with nearly 700 individual questions for the jury to find Samsung guilty of infringing a number of Apple’s patents. As a result, Apple was awarded $1.05 billion in damages—nearly half of the $2.5 billion Apple requested—which is one of the largest intellectual property awards ever. Furthermore, there is speculation that Apple’s victory will provide the mobile (and computer) giant ample ammunition to launch similar attacks on its remaining mobile-phone rivals.

The jury found that Samsung infringed six out of the seven patents at issue, and that Apple didn’t violate any of Samsung’s five patents at issue in the case.

This outcome will...

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Intellectual Property

The Copyright Exception: Works Made For Hire

At some point during the life of your business, there’s a good chance you’ll hire an outside worker, or an independent contractor. When you do, it’s best to have a well-drafted independent contractor services agreement that details the scope of services, wages, and other important details about the project. In addition, you’ll want to protect one of the most important aspects of your business, your intellectual property. Today’s post details the copyright issues related to a work “made for hire”—i.e. projects completed by an independent contractor. Understanding these key issues may protect you and your business from costly litigation over intellectual property ownership and interest disputes.

The 1976 Copyright Act Under the Copyright Act, a work is protected by copyright automatically at...

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Business Startup

Personal Liability for corporate transactions after dissolution

In a recent Court of Appeals decision*, the honorable judge Laurel Siddoway reiterated the Supreme Court’s stance on applying the theory of promoter liability to post-dissolution corporate acts. This means, for purposes of individual liability, any acts occurring on behalf of the corporation after dissolution, whether voluntary or involuntary, must be made solely for the purposes of winding up the corporate affairs and business. A corporation’s key personnel may be held personally liable if they carry on any business that is not necessary to wind up and liquidate its business.

In Equipto Division Aurora Equipment Co. v. Yarmouth, the Supreme Court determined that RCW 23B.02.040 of the Washington Business Corporation Act applies to both prior corporation acts and post-dissolution transactions that...

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Litigation & Dispute Resolution

US Supreme Court Rules on Materiality in 10(b)(5) Context

The Law at Issue

To demonstrate a claim in a securities fraud case under section 10(b)(5) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, a plaintiff must  demonstrate (1) deceptive practices (2) in connection with the purchase or sale of securities, (3) materiality, (4) scienter, (5) loss causation, (6) damages, (7) reliance, and (8) standing.

Case Background

In Matrixx Initiatives, Inc. v Siracusano, the Plaintiffs alleged that the Defendants’ committed fraud when they failed to disclose reports that their pharmaceutical product (Zicam) had been linked to the loss of smell. Matrixx, the manufacturer of Zicam had been made aware of a number of reports that patients using their product had suffered from asomnia (the loss of smell). Multiple lawsuits had been filed against Matrixx...

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