Companies in all industries are facing heightened reputational and legal risks in the #MeToo era, as employees are more likely to identify and report instances of misconduct or discrimination in the workplace (and such instances are more likely to become public). In the world of M&A, reputational and legal risks are ultimately risks to the bottom line – prompting private equity sponsors, institutional investors and strategic purchasers to focus on #MeToo issues when sourcing, diligencing and negotiating investments.
Many companies advertise and sell sophisticated video interview software to large companies for recruitment purposes. While applicants are interviewed from the comfort of their own homes, up to 20,000 data points can be collected from this type of interview and analysed instantaneously using algorithms to find the right employee. However, many legal issues have arisen following the introduction of this software.
There are several steps that employers can take to mitigate the risk of their employees leaving to join a competitor. Many employers already offer incentive-based remuneration packages which aim to align their longer-term interests with those of their employees. While such long-term incentive plans, together with a clear communication strategy, can assist with retention, employers should actively consider additional measures.
Modern information technology and the daily use of the Internet have strongly influenced the world of work in the 21st century. Intelligent algorithms simplify everyday tasks, and it is impossible to imagine how most steps of a procedure could be managed without them. Further, the use of artificial intelligence and robotics is accelerating. Thus, the question arises as to what the future world of work will look like and how long it will take for this to happen.
The deep seabed mining (DSM) industry is growing rapidly, expanding beyond national jurisdiction and onto the high seas. The legal framework governing the DSM industry is unique and continues to evolve. While the opportunities in this territory – much of it literally uncharted – are hard to overstate, with a new and evolving legal regime comes special risks. While securing project finance for DSM projects is already challenging for technical and operational reasons, sovereign risk is another major factor.
Franchising provides a flexible model for growth or re-engineering, with a variety of structures to meet different needs. Of all of the structures, the joint venture franchise is the least understood and most likely to cause difficulties if not structured correctly. In order to understand why this is so, it is necessary to consider the rationale for using the joint venture model and the manner in which such a relationship should be structured.
Crowdsourcing can be an exciting and cost-effective way for businesses not only to keep up with the latest consumer trends and preferences, but also to maintain a competitive edge in their existing market and beyond. However, ideas crowdsourcing may also expose businesses to IP risks. An idea or concept that is not properly managed may cause more harm than good to product and services R&D efforts. Therefore, it is crucial to have proper IP protection in place before undertaking crowdsourcing activities.
Patent professionals often wonder whether to patent an invention or keep it confidential and hope that a third party does not copy it. As patents are a powerful commercial asset which may be licensed, sold, assigned or form the subject matter of a hypothec, the risk of having an invention reverse-engineered and freely copied must be carefully weighed against the controlled disclosure of the invention and the monopoly which issues from a granted patent.
The long-awaited amendments to the Benelux Convention on Intellectual Property recently entered into force. The convention offers broader protection to reputed trademarks in opposition proceedings. In addition, an administrative procedure for invalidation and revocation before the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP) is now available and the Benelux Court of Justice has become the sole jurisdiction for appeals against BOIP decisions.
The best way for a company to prepare for due diligence is through long-term measures: develop an IP strategy, implement it and maintain a record of the portfolio's status at all times. This should be done with the long-term goal of building value that will be identified and appreciated by a potential investor and reflected in a favourable due diligence report.
The Internet of Things, big data analytics and artificial intelligence are IT mega-trends that are not only evolving rapidly, but also infiltrating practically every industry. While these technologies naturally raise data privacy concerns, they also pose challenges in relation to intellectual property and the ways in which IP-based relationships are established.