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  • California Bans Employers and Educators from Discriminating on Hairstyles

    By Procopio Associate Amber Gardina-Quintanilla Employers and educators should be aware that on July 3, 2019, California became the first state to explicitly ban discrimination in employment and education based on natural Black hairstyles. Several steps may need to be taken before the new law goes into effect on January 1, 2020. The Creating a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair Act (the “CROWN Act”) amends both the Education Code and the Government Code to prohibit rac...

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  • USPTO Imposes Requirement of U.S.-Licensed Attorney for Foreign Trademark Applicants and Registrants

    By Senior Associate Michael C. Jones UPDATE: On July 2, 2019, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued the final rule indicating that the proposed rule discussed below would go into effect on August 3, 2019. Beginning on this date, foreign applicants and registrants will be required to identify a U.S. licensed attorney prior to examination of a trademark application. These rules will apply to any foreign domiciled trademark applicant registry the party. Additionally the rul...

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  • The Confidentiality of Drug and Alcohol Records in Part 2 Programs

    By Procopio Partner Diane M. Racicot and Associate Tina Safi Felahi The misuse of drugs, including opioids, is currently one of the most serious public health problems in the United States. While health officials grapple with ways to address the drug epidemic (e.g. expansion of access to naloxone, tougher laws regulating opioid prescriptions), the treatment gap remains large. That said, over the past several years, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has worked to e...

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  • 3 Reasons Why Non-Unionized Employers Cannot Ignore the National Labor Relations Act

    By Procopio Senior Associate Olga Savage When people think of the National Labor Relations Act (or the “NLRA,” for short), the image that most commonly comes to mind is that of a historic workers’ rights law enacted back in the 1930s to encourage the formation of labor unions and to assist the nation’s economic recovery from the Great Depression. They often assume that now, almost 100 years later with the existence of workers’ rights a foregone conclusion, the NLRA only has real...

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  • Changes in Convertible Instruments for Early Stage Financings

    By Procopio Partner Roger Rappoport and Senior Associate Aaron Sokoloff There are currently two main types of convertible instruments that are in widespread use for pre-Series A and other “bridge” financings: convertible promissory notes and SAFEs (Simple Agreements for Future Equity). Each of which are alike in that the amounts invested under the applicable instrument convert into shares of the issuing company in question, upon the happening of certain events, which is most often a s...

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  • Next Steps for Companies Following the Latest U.S. Government Export Ban

    By Procopio Partner Miku H. Mehta and Senior Associate Michael C. Jones A recent change in U.S. export control regulations requires all U.S.-based entities (including subsidiaries of foreign-headquartered companies) to immediately stop exporting most technologies to Huawei and several of its related entities. Violations of these regulations can result in fines and/or imprisonment. U.S.-based entities that export technology and products, as well as overseas companies that receive U.S.-base...

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  • What Will the California Consumer Privacy Act Actually Bring in 2020?

    By Procopio Senior Counsel Elaine F. Harwell, CIPP/US California’s passage of a landmark data privacy and protection law, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), has rightly drawn significant attention.  You may be aware that this sweeping new privacy legislation has its fair share of ambiguities, drafting errors, and contradictions, and has already been amended once. The law, which will become effective January 1, 2020, with enforcement delayed until the following July, grants...

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  • New California Independent Contractor Test Applies Retroactively According to the Ninth Circuit

    By Procopio Partner Tyler M. Paetkau As we have previously reported, the California Supreme Court last year set forth a revolutionary new “ABC test” for determining whether workers are properly classified as employees or independent contractors, making it dramatically more difficult for California employers to lawfully retain independent contractors. On May 2, 2019, in Vazquez v. Jan-Pro Franchising Int’l, Inc., the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the Supreme Cour...

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  • Where do Patent Owners Fit in the Current Federal Circuit-USPTO Patentability Divergence?

    By Procopio Partners Miku H. Mehta and Robert H. Sloss Intending to bring more clarity and consistency to the patent examination process, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has been issuing new examiner guidelines over the last year focused on 35 USC 101. These include the so-called Berkheimer memo of April 19, 2018 (relating to step 2B analysis) and new subject matter eligibility guidelines announced on January 4, 2019 (relating to step 2A analysis). A Procopio colleague recent...

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  • Software is Patent-Eligible, But it's All About the Claims

    By Procopio Associate Eric A. Bernsen Apps, computer- or smartphone-enabled processes, smart devices, and IoT solutions, often center on the same core element: software. Is your software, app, or process patentable?  Well, to provide the stereotypical lawyer answer, it depends. But, at least in the near term, it seems easier now than it was before January 2019. The definition of patent-eligible subject matter is codified in 35 U.S.C. § 101: “Whoever invents or discovers an...

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