Monthly Archives: February 2016

Can California Consumers Sue Under State Law if Products are Falsely Labeled “Organic”?

A December 2015 decision by California’s Supreme Court ruffled feathers in the organic agriculture industry. In Quesada v. Herb Thyme Farms, Inc., the court revived a proposed class action lawsuit that could allow consumers to sue farmers under state law for claiming their products are organic when they are not. The court concluded that federal

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A New Wrinkle for Officer and Director Indemnity?

One of the advantages of conducting business as a corporation is that the corporate structure shields shareholders and corporate owners from liability for the corporation’s debts and other legal responsibilities. This is because the corporation is considered its own legal entity.  However, company officers (including executives and upper-level management) and members of the Board of

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Federal Circuit Holds Prohibition Against Trademark for Disparaging Terms is Unconstitutional

In December 2015, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit struck down the section of federal trademark law prohibiting registration of disparaging trademarks as unconstitutional. In In Re Tam the Court concluded that the prohibition constitutes viewpoint discrimination, which is impermissible under the FIrst Amendment. Trademark registration in the U.S. has been governed since

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The Annheuser-Busch/Miller Merger

2015 was a big year for mergers among big companies. Among the many proposed mergers are prospective deals between Dell and rival EMC, Dow Chemical and DuPont, and pharmaceutical players Pfizer and Allergan. According to a year-end review by, while there were fewer total deals during 2015 than there were in 2014, the overall

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Big Data’s Privacy Implications

So many businesses and other organizations, from social media platforms to the federal  government, engage in data collection these days that new terms are required to define such data and new techniques are required to store and analyze it. The term “big data” has been coined to refer to this exceptional and growing quantity of

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Supreme Court Rules that Federal Arbitration Act Preempts California Law

In December of 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court issued another in a string of decisions favoring mandatory arbitration agreements in consumer contracts, to the benefit of businesses in all states.  The National Law Review reports that, in DirecTV v. Imburgia, the Court reversed a California Court of Appeals decision wherein the state court refused to

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FDA Seeks Comment on “Natural” Labelling

We all want food that is good for us and safe to eat. Many of us rely on food labelling to give us that kind of information about the products we buy. What could be better than something natural? Use of the word “natural” on food labels is on the rise as health-conscious consumers seek

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Stock Option and Employee Stock Purchase Plans

Employers looking for creative ways to compensate their employees without shelling out big bucks often turn to incentives based on company stock. Stock options and employee stock purchase plans offer two popular methods for doing so, both of which allow for compensation that increases along with the value of the company. Following is an overview

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