Publications: Technology Law


  • Regulation A+: An Alternative to Private Placements and Initial Public Offerings

    May 4, 2017

    Regulation A+ went into effect in 2015. Although Regulation A+ has been around for a couple of years, its use is just beginning to become more mainstream. Since Regulation A+ was promulgated, the SEC has qualified 81 Regulation A+ offerings seeking to raise approximately $1.5 billion. As developers and investors gain more awareness of, and comfort with, Regulation A+, it is likely to completely change the way developers and investors raise the equity necessary for a new project or acquisition. Regulation A+ (sometimes referred to as a “mini-IPO” or as an “on-ramp to IPO”) allows investors to raise up to...



  • Seventh Circuit Rules Sexual Orientation Workplace Discrimination Is Illegal

    April 5, 2017

    In a precedent setting decision, Hively v. Ivy Tech, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the federal appeals court having jurisdiction for Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois, ruled on April 4, 2017, that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Title VII protects employees from discrimination based on “race, color, religion, national origin or sex.” The Second and Eleventh Circuits previously ruled that the term “sex” referred only to whether an employee was a male or female. In Hively, the Seventh Circuit instead expanded the definition of “sex”...



  • Supply Chain Fraud: What You Can Do

    February 16, 2017

    The potential for fraud has always existed in the construction, lending and real estate world. However, as electronic communications continue to reach new heights in innovation so has the permeation of complex and sophisticated fraud schemes affecting these and other industries. These trending schemes make it imperative for in-house counsel, business owners, and finance departments to continually review and update your billing practice policies and procedures to protect yourself against this new wave of fraud. In its simplest form, Supply chain fraud occurs when you make a payment to someone you believe to be a legitimate vendor or supplier within that...



  • Social Media Presence Is a Factor When Assessing Trademark Strength

    February 10, 2017

    The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently turned to the social media presence and marketing of a DJ when evaluating the DJ’s claims of trademark infringement and dilution. In Kibler v. Hall, et al (6th Cir. Dec. 13, 2016), the court affirmed summary judgment for Robert Hall, a rapper performing under the name “Logic” since 2009, in a trademark suit brought by Lee Kibler, a DJ performing under the name “DJ Logic” since 1999. Kibler previously registered his name as “DJ Logic” as a trademark in 2000 and again in 2013, after a lapse in registration. In 2012 attorneys for Kibler...



  • U.S. Looking to Temporally Admit International Entrepreneurs to Provide More Opportunities for Start-Up Businesses

    September 26, 2016

    Businesses, academic institutions and start-ups will be receiving a boost this year from the Department of Homeland Security. We are on the verge of the first new major business immigration benefit in several years. On August 31, 2016, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) proposed a new rule, which would allow certain international entrepreneurs to be considered for parole (temporary permission to be in the United States) so that they may start or scale their businesses here in the United States. The purpose of the International Entrepreneur Parole rule is to attract and keep immigrants involved with high-potential start-up...



  • Intellectual Property Attorney Joe Heino Discusses Cybercrimes in New North B2B Publication

    February 1, 2016

    Joseph Heino of Davis & Kuelthau’s corporate, and intellectual property teams authored an article, Cybercrime – Costly Threats to Your Intellectual Property, for New North B2B's February 2016 publication. To read the article, please click here....



  • Cybercrime – Costly Threats to Your Intellectual Property

    December 29, 2015

    For most people, the terms “cybersecurity” and “cybercrime” conjure up visions of futuristic and rather ill-defined or abstract activities. But the trending attacks on businesses — of all sizes — are neither futuristic nor abstract. They are clear and present dangers to your intellectual property. First, definitions – “Cybersecurity” is the state of being protected against the criminal or unauthorized use of electronic data, or the measures taken to achieve this. “Cybercrime” is any crime or criminal activity that is conducted via the Internet or some other computer network. Second, a question – Is the threat real? The simple answer is...



  • Increase in Safe Harbor Expense Threshold Creates Opportunity for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses

    December 3, 2015

    With the release of Notice 2015-82, the IRS has provided a valuable end of year tax-planning tool to businesses looking to expense tangible property purchases. The tangible property regulations have been in effect since January 1, 2014. The regulations included a safe harbor under which businesses may expense, rather than capitalize, certain tangible property. One such example would be the cost associated with computers and other technological hardware, but would not include any software or other intangible expenses. The safe harbor is intended to both ease taxpayer compliance and reduce a business’s administrative burden. Notice 2015-82 raises the safe harbor from $500...



  • Businesses Can Lower Domain Name Acquisition Costs Via Amortization

    November 19, 2015

    The IRS recently concluded that certain domain names have to be capitalized as intangible assets and amortized over a 15-year period under Section 197 of the Internal Revenue Code. This means that a business that acquires qualifying internet domain names will be able to realize financial benefits by recapturing 100% of the purchase price through amortization, but will not be able to immediately expense the acquisition. Because domain names are valuable business assets and often command significant prices when purchased and sold on the secondary market, this guidance will enable business owners to substantially reduce the applicable net acquisition costs. For a...



  • Federal Circuit Reverses $368 Million Damages Award

    September 19, 2014

    The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, in VIRNETX, Inc. v. Cisco Sys. Inc, recently reversed a $368 million dollar patent infringement verdict because the plaintiff calculated its damages as a portion of the entire market value of the product as opposed to apportioning its damages to the infringing software component of the product. In its ruling, the Federal Circuit confirmed the general rule that a patentee cannot use the value of an entire device to calculate a royalty when the device consists of several non-infringing features with no relation to the patented feature unless the patented feature creates the...



  • U.S. Supreme Court: Patentable Methods Require More Than Generic Computers Performing Generic Computer Functions

    June 20, 2014

    On June 19, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision that further clarified the patentability of computer-implemented methods. In Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, the Court addressed the validity of patent claims drawn to a method which amounted to nothing more than an “abstract idea.” It concluded that the method, which merely required generic computer implementation, failed to “transform” the abstract idea into a patent-eligible invention. In short, the claimed method did no more than require a generic computer to perform generic computer functions. To be patentable, the Court suggested that the method claims in question should (i)...



  • New Law Restricts Access to Personal Internet Accounts by Employers, Educational Institutions and Landlords

    April 10, 2014

    Access to personal Internet accounts by Wisconsin employers, educational institutions and landlords has been severely limited by a new law. As a result of 2013 Wisconsin Act 208, it is now illegal for a Wisconsin employer to request or require that an employee or applicant provide the employer with access to his/her personal Internet account. Similar prohibitions apply to Wisconsin educational institutions, including institutions of higher education, public schools, charter schools, private schools and educational testing services, with regard to current and prospective students; and to landlords concerning current and prospective tenants. Furthermore, effective April 10, 2014, such entities may...



  • The Patentability of Computer Software to be Revisited

    October 11, 2012

    On October 9, 2012, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued an Order that will allow it to revisit the patentability of computer software. ...



  • The NLRB Cares Deeply About Your Social Media Policy

    June 27, 2012

    The National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB") recently issued a report that analyzes seven different social media policies to determine whether they violate workers' rights under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA"). The NLRB specifically discussed issues with respect to protection of confidential information, non-public information, "friending" co-workers, seeking permission before posting to social media sites, complaint procedures, and respectful use of social media. Why Does the NLRB Care? Section 7 of the NLRA grants most employees (not just union members) the right to discuss workplace issues, including possible formation of a union. If Section 7 is violated,...



  • WI Supreme Court Issues Landmark Decision on the Application of the Public Records Law to Employee E-mail

    July 21, 2010

    E-mail is still the most commonly used of the many new forms of electronic media and communications options. Virtually all employees have access to computers and have assigned e-mail accounts through their employment. E-mail communication, while beneficial, is not without its drawbacks. The proliferation of communications generated in this form, coupled with the unique mass archiving systems typically used to maintain such communications has created a complicated situation for public entities in relation to public records. In a case involving the Wisconsin Rapids School District, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled for the first time that “purely personal” e-mails of public employees...



  • U.S. Supreme Court Addresses Employee Privacy in the Context of Text Messages on Publicly-Owned Pagers

    July 21, 2010

    The Wisconsin and United States Supreme Courts have made it clear that when public sector employees check into work, they do not leave their privacy rights at the door. Searches and seizures of an employee’s private property and affects are subject to Fourth Amendment restraints. Whether an employee has a reasonable expectation of privacy has to be determined on a case by case basis taking into consideration the “operational realities” of the workplace. A typical way to address the expectation of privacy is to develop policies that instruct the employees of any limitations on their privacy. However, particularly in dealing...



  • The Perils of Social Media

    July 21, 2010

    The evolution of electronic social media presents numerous complications in regulating employee conduct which may cause problems for the public sector employer. Employers must carefully balance liability considerations with privacy issues when regulating an employee's non-work related communications on work-issued computers, cell phones or other electronic devices. It is inevitable that municipal employers will hire employees, or candidates will be elected, who use Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Friendster, LinkedIn or some other form of social media. However, public entities need to consider the potential liability and risk due to employee activities on these sites, both on-duty and off-duty. Municipal employers face potential liability...



  • The Student-Teacher Relationship In A Texting World

    December 16, 2008

    The past few years have seen explosive growth in the use of new communication technologies including text messaging (texting), instant messages (IMs) and the use of social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. It is estimated that 2 trillion instant messages were sent in 2007. These new means of communicating have become main stream. The November 2008 issue of American Bar Association Journal notes that texting and IM are becoming acceptable means of professional communication, especially among the younger generation of clients and attorneys.In the K12 educational environment, when teachers communicate with students through text-messaging, instant messaging or social networking...



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