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On March 22, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Star Athletica held that a design feature incorporated into a useful article may obtain copyright protection if the feature (1) can be perceived as a work of art separate from the article and (2) would qualify as a protectable work if it were imagined separately from the article. The Court sought to provide additional guidance with respect to the doctrine of “separability” that courts have struggled to interpret and apply over the past several decades.
Volume 95, Issue 3
On March 8, 2017, Skadden hosted a webinar titled “Lessons Learned From Tax-Related Whistleblower Litigation and Shareholder Actions.” The Skadden panelists were tax controversy and litigation partner Nathaniel Carden, tax partner Armando Gomez and litigation partner Peter Morrison.
On February 28, 2017, Skadden hosted a webinar titled “Key Trends in Executive Compensation, Employment Law and Compensation Committee Practices.” The Skadden panelists were executive compensation and benefits counsel Michael Bergmann and Thomas Asmar, and labor and employment law partner David Schwartz.
In a 7-1 decision issued on March 21, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court held in SCA Hygiene that laches cannot be invoked as a defense against a claim for damages in a patent infringement case brought within the Patent Act's six-year statute of limitations. The majority opinion adopted and extended the rationale from its 2014 decision on the Copyright Act in Petrella and held that laches is a "gap-filling doctrine" applicable only where there is no statute of limitations.
On March 1, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted final rules requiring issuers to include hyperlinks to exhibits listed in the exhibit index. The rules apply to most registration statements and reports that are required to include exhibits under Item 601 of Regulation S-K as well as Forms 20-F and F-10.
The momentum continues to shift in favor of mutual fund advisers in the current wave of excessive-fee litigation, as another district court has determined that the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate at trial that the adviser's fee was excessive. The decision in Kasilag v. Hartford Inv. Fin. Svcs., LLC will likely cause plaintiffs to rethink the theory of these cases and how to prove them at trial.
As companies finalize their proxy materials for annual shareholder meetings, they should consider numerous U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing and disclosure requirements.
2016 was a year of change for the Department of Health and Human Service's Office of Inspector General's (OIG) approach to corporate integrity agreements (CIA). The OIG began to use its new model CIA format and applied its "risk spectrum" model in deciding whether to seek CIAs to resolve health care fraud investigations. In addition, new CIAs involving medical device makers addressed key sales, marketing, and product education and training issues. Companies should continue to review recent CIAs in their industry sector for guidance on compliance safeguards relating to key activities.