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Our EmTech Law Blog provides timely legal and business information on issues impacting companies developing or investing in new technologies, new companies, and new ideas.



Explore Solvaire: Babst Calland’s Affiliated Alternative Legal Service Provider

We understand the unprecedented challenges facing our organizations. Now, more than ever, we realize how critical it is for our clients to seek cost efficiencies while making legal,?operational, financial and ‘game changing’ business decisions. Solvaire, Babst Calland’s affiliated Alternative Legal Service Provider –?with its enhanced AI-enabled processes and machine learning capabilities?– can help to increase efficiency, while lowering project costs. For more than 21 years, Solvaire has effectively designed, performed, and implemented complex buy-side?diligence?projects,?discovery?projects and tailored?document management?solutions. Solvaire’s?track record?and?satisfied clients?speak for themselves. Check out?Solvaire’s new website?and request a?free consultation?to learn how Solvaire can work with your team to provide superior?diligence,?discovery?and?document management services?– on time, with accuracy and consistency and within a budget that provides price certainty. To stay informed about Solvaire news, latest case studies and content, as well as innovative business and technology enhancements,?sign up for updates here. Explore Solvaire, and unlock the value it provides. On behalf of Babst Calland and Solvaire, we look forward to serving you on your next project. Chris Farmakis Chairman, Babst Calland President, Solvaire

Tagged:??Discovery, Document Management, Solvaire, diligence, e-Discovery

Alert: California Announces the Opening of the Vehicle Fleet Reporting System for Entities with Operations in the State

On January 15, 2020, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced the opening of the reporting system for the Large Entity One-Time Reporting Requirement for vehicle fleet owners. This reporting requirement was passed by CARB as part of its June 2020 adoption of the Clean Trucks Rule. As the California Office of Administrative Law (OAL) has not yet approved the regulation, businesses may voluntarily provide information at this time if they wish to begin the reporting process ahead of the April 1, 2021 deadline.

Please read more about this reporting requirement in this Alert.

Tagged:??Transportation, Trucks, Vehicles, Zero-Emission

FTC Issues Settlement Requiring Zoom to Implement Robust Information Security Program in Response to Years of Deceptive Security Practices

On November 9, 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a settlement agreement with Zoom Video Communications, Inc. (Zoom) that arose from alleged violations that Zoom engaged in a series of deceptive and unfair practices that undermined user security. The FTC found that Zoom made several representations across its platform regarding the strength of its privacy and security measures used to protect users’ personal information that were untrue and provided users with a false sense of security. Specifically, the FTC found that Zoom made multiple statements regarding “end-to-end” and “AES 256-bit” encryption used to secure videoconference communications. However, Zoom did not provide end-to-end encryption for any Zoom meeting conducted outside of Zoom’s “Connecter” product. And, Zoom used a lower level of encryption that did not provide for the same level of security as “AES 256-bit” encryption. The FTC also found that Zoom stored meeting recordings unencrypted and for a longer period than Zoom claimed in its Security Guide. And, Zoom circumvented browser privacy and security safeguards through software updates without notice to users and without establishing replacement safeguards. Read more.

Tagged:??Data Protection, Emerging Technology, Privacy, Remote Working, Technology

Webinar – State Clean Transportation Initiatives: Stepping Toward Success for High EV Adoption

On November 10th, two Babst Calland attorneys, Julie Domike?and?Gina Falaschi, will participate in an Environmental Law Institute (ELI) and Babst Calland co-sponsored webinar entitled "State Clean Transportation Initiatives: Stepping Towards Success for High EV Adoption."? They will be joined by Colorado State Senator Chris Hansen, Jim Chen, Vice President of Public Policy at Rivian, and Matt Nelson, Director of Government Affairs at Electrify America, in a discussion of 2020’s most important state-led clean transportation initiatives, their goals and impacts, as well as funding sources for such efforts.? The panel will also explore the partnership that state and local governments can forge with industry to facilitate high electric vehicle penetration, charging and grid infrastructure, and direct sales to consumers.

The event is open to the public (there is a $50 fee for those who are not members of ELI; Press/Full-Time Students, $0); registration is required by November 6 through the ELI Website.

Tagged:??Funding, Transportation, Vehicles, Zero-Emission

Ensuring Data Privacy – Are You Compliant?

The world of data privacy is constantly changing. Regulatory compliance has never been more important, particularly as the business world has been forced to become more digital as a result of the pandemic. In this recent podcast Babst Calland Data Privacy Attorneys Justine Kasznica?and?Ashleigh Krick?review domestic and international data privacy and security laws, and how such laws may affect your business and online presence.

Topics of discussion include:
  • Overview of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)
  • Common elements among GDPR, PIPEDA, and CCPA; including: privacy policy notice requirements, business obligations, and consumer rights
  • Overview of U.S. Regulatory Landscape: proposed state legislation and thoughts on federal action
  • Practice pointers and best practices for compliance with existing privacy laws and preparing for the future
Listen to this episode of the Emerging Tech Law Podcast series on Pittsburgh Technology Council’s TechVibe Radio.

Tagged:??Data Protection, Document Management, TechVibe

Keep proprietary information safe with remote employees

When the economy started shutting down in March as a result of COVID-19 and employees began working remotely, keeping intellectual property and proprietary information safe didn’t top the list of companies’ concerns. “Some businesses didn’t put procedures in place or have appropriate training classes because no one really thought the pandemic would extend as long as it has,” says Carl Ronald, shareholder at?Babst Calland. “They didn’t instruct employees on how to identify important confidential information or safeguard certain proprietary documents when working from home.” Smart Business spoke with Ronald about how to keep your company’s proprietary information safe when employees are working outside the office. Read more.

Tagged:??COVID-19, Data Protection, Remote Working

California Approves a Program to Install 37,800 Electric Vehicle Chargers

The State of California has taken another leap to support electric vehicle owners and manufacturers.? On August 27th, the California Public Utilities Commission formally approved a plan from investor-owned utility Southern California Edison (SCE) to fund approximately 37,800 electric vehicle charging ports within its service territory.? Under the program, known as Charge Ready 2, SCE will install and maintain the charging infrastructure, while program participants will own, operate and maintain qualified charging stations.? SCE will also provide rebates to lower the cost of program participation, including an expanded rebate program to support EV charging ports in new multifamily dwellings under construction. Of the $436-million-dollar budget, $417.5 million will fund the charging infrastructure for Level 1, Level 2, and direct current fast chargers, while the remaining funds will be used for marketing, education, outreach, and evaluation programs.? The utility, which provides power to 15 million people across 50,000-square miles of Southern California, has committed to install 50% of these chargers in disadvantaged communities that are often disproportionately impacted by air pollution. This program expands the Charge Ready Pilot program, which began three years ago, and joins SCE’s Charge Ready Transport, which aims to provide charging to support 8,490 medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles over the next five years. The Charge Ready 2 program will benefit current owners of electric vehicles by increasing charging options and possibly enhancing the market for used electric vehicles, making electric vehicles a more affordable option for more consumers.? The program will also encourage the purchase of new electric vehicles, which will benefit not only consumers wanting to own an EV, but also manufacturers who must meet their required percentage of zero emission vehicle sales. Under California law, which has also been adopted by several other states under the federal Clean Air Act, manufacturers must produce enough zero emission vehicles to meet the minimum credit requirement, which increases by 2.5% annually.? For example, for model year 2020 vehicles, a manufacturer must produce enough zero emission vehicles to have credits equal to 9.5% of the manufacturer’s average fleet sales in model years 2016-2018.

Tagged:??Industry News, Mobility, Regulations, Vehicles, Zero-Emission

Patent Office Reduces Accelerated Examination Fees for COVID-19 Treatments

Not only has the global pandemic spawned a race to develop a cure for COVID-19, it has also created a race to the Patent Office to protect the massive investments companies are making in their attempts to develop novel diagnostics, therapies, and vaccines to combat the disease. In the United States, the first inventor to file a patent application that teaches a new and non-obvious way to treat the virus or its effects will be eligible for the limited monopoly that a patent provides. As has been reported, researchers are employing a variety of different mechanisms to attack the virus and it is expected that a significant number of patents will ultimately issue from these efforts.

While Big Pharma is well-poised to incur the expense of patent filing, including the additional expense of paying for accelerated examination of their applications, smaller concerns may not be in a position to do so. To help small businesses and solo inventors in this regard, the United States Patent Office has announced a program that would fast-track the examination of certain patent applications related to the pandemic. While the typical turn-around time for an Examiner to provide an initial review of a new application is about two years after filing, payment of an extra fee to accelerate examination is also an option. Small businesses and startup companies, however, typically can’t take advantage of this program due to the substantial increased initial cost. To remove this impediment, the new program enables business with less than 500 employees to request accelerated examination of certain COVID-19-related applications with no additional upfront payment. If an application qualifies for the program, the Patent Office promises to fully examine it within a year of being granted prioritized status.

The program is further limited to therapeutics, vaccines and diagnostic tests that are subject to FDA approval for COVID-19 related uses. FDA approvals include, for example, Investigational New Drug (IND) applications, Investigational Device Exemptions (IDE), New Drug Applications (NDA), Biologics License Applications (BLA), Pre-market Approvals (PMA), and Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA).

As of Thursday, August 20th, there have been 274 applicants with 146 requests having been granted. The program is limited to the first 500 approved applicants.

Tagged:??COVID-19, Coronavirus, Industry News, Patents, Startups

FTC Investigation of Twitter for Alleged Privacy Violations Reinforces Need for Strong Privacy Policies and Practices

On August 3, 2020, Twitter disclosed in a regulatory filing that it is under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for allegations that the company used user phone numbers and email addresses for targeted advertising in violation of a 2011 Consent Agreement. Twitter estimates that it could face $150 to $250 million in losses due to legal fees and enforcement penalties resulting from this matter. The 2011 Consent Agreement resolved charges that Twitter violated the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act) when hackers obtained administrative control of Twitter allowing them access to non-public user information, private tweets, and the ability to send out fake tweets from any user’s account. The FTC found that Twitter’s actions neither upheld statements in its privacy policy, nor provided reasonable and appropriate security to prevent unauthorized access to nonpublic user data and honor the privacy choices of its users. Read more.?

Tagged:??Emerging Technology, Industry News, Privacy, Regulations, Technology

Justine M. Kasznica – Emerging Technologies Attorney

This is one in a series of profiles featuring members of Babst Calland’s Emerging Technologies team of attorneys who provide business and legal representation on matters impacting companies developing or investing in new technologies and businesses. Read more.?

Tagged:??Drones, Emerging Technology, Innovation, Invention, NASA, Profile, Startups, Tech Industry, Technology