The State of Texas is known for many things, like BBQ and live music, that bring visitors to the state. But one federal district’s reputation is sending Apple and other large companies running away. The Eastern District of Texas has become the home of “patent trolls” — individuals or companies that buy up patents and then search for companies that may be infringing on them. These patent trolls and their favored venues have been a huge and costly nuisance not only to Apple, but companies like Microsoft, Skype, and Cisco.
The oil and gas industry is often considered the backbone of the Texas economy. As a state rich in resources, the fluctuations of the oil and gas industry are felt deeply, and an optimistic industry outlook is always welcome. Upswings in the oil and gas industry, however, are frequently accompanied by upswings in related litigation.
Texans have enjoyed the Hays Street Bridge in San Antonio, Texas for decades. Originally constructed in 1881 for pedestrians and cyclists and moved to its current location in 1910, the bridge is a piece of San Antonio history. Because of this, many were surprised when the city sold the land the bridge is located on to a local brewery in 2012. The sale launched a seven-year legal battle that remains ongoing. The case is Hays Street Bridge Restoration Group v. City of San Antonio.
Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk does not shy away from publicity. The entrepreneur has been on the cover of magazines and in front of cameras for years, but his recent posts on the social media site Twitter led the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to take action. While Musk and the SEC have reached a settlement concerning their dispute, the episode provides a valuable lesson for business owners.
Trade secret litigation is different than other types of intellectual property litigation in that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office does not protect trade secrets. Advances in technology are causing an increase in data and modeling use as trade secrets. This is particularly true in the energy industry, as companies develop new ways to find, extract, and process natural resources. With the rise of trade secrets litigation, some parties are trying to use their Fifth Amendment rights to prevent certain information from coming to light, which is complicating trade secret issues.
What is a trade secret? Companies and their lawyers grapple with this question when tasked with defending confidential information. Unlike patents or trademarks, which must be approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office, the trade secret question is more amorphous. Last year, a Bexar County jury found that data-driven valuation models and methods, delivered in app form, deserved trade secret protection when it entered a $706 million verdict in favor of a startup named HouseCanary.
When individuals consider making an investment, they expect the information they are given about the investment to be accurate. This is not always the case. Investment and securities fraud may seem simple, but these allegations can be extremely complicated. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was handed a win by the United States Supreme Court in a recent investor fraud lawsuit.
A fire can devastate any business. For large public companies, events like fires complicate business matters immensely and often lead to litigation arising from the after-effects. Venator, a chemical manufacturing company, is currently facing a lawsuit brought by the company’s shareholders claiming the company and certain officers and directors violated federal securities laws by misleading shareholders about the damages to its business prospects caused by a fire.
The decision by the Boy Scouts of America to allow girls to join its younger ranks was expected to provoke controversy. The Boy Scouts wanted the increased opportunities to be considered a significant win in the fight for gender equality. Now all children, regardless of gender, could learn the wilderness skills, teamwork, and community taught by the large and respected Boy Scouts organization. To reflect the new policy, the Boy Scouts of America officially changed its name to Scouts BSA in early 2019. Unfortunately the launch of Scouts BSA put the organization in the middle of a trademark fight with the Girl Scouts of America.