The year 2017 ushered in the most significant changes to the U.S. tax code in 30 years, a series of landmark federal and U.S. Supreme Court rulings, and other notable developments in venture financing, enforcement and IP law affecting the tech and life sciences industries. Our readers clicked to read more about these and other major changes with implications for their businesses. Following is our most engaging content from 2017 to provide context and insight for the year ahead. We hope you enjoy the read.
- “Oh No They Didn’t!” – Ninth Circuit Throws DMCA Safe Harbors for Moderated Content into Disarray
Even when a website has procedures for speedily removing allegedly infringing user-generated materials identified on takedown notices, a service provider may still lose safe harbor protection based on its efforts to curate materials available on its platform. In their article, Fenwick lawyers Armen Nercessian and Guinevere Jobson looked at how safe “safe harbor” really is for web hosting services in light of Mavrix Photographs v. LiveJournal.
- CEO Pay Ratio Rule – Start Preparing Now
Despite many predictions that the CEO pay ratio rule would be repealed, or at least delayed, there has been no indication that any such relief will be provided to reporting companies. In this article, Fenwick’s Elizabeth Gartland and Scott Spector advised that non-exempt (JOBS Act) companies will need to make the required disclosures in their 2018 proxy statements.
- Grand Jury Indicts Startup Founder Isaac Choi – Implications for Silicon Valley
In June, one week after a California grand jury indicted the founder and former chief executive of Silicon Valley startup WrkRiot, the U.S. Department of Justice arrested him on wire fraud charges. Fenwick’s Casey O’Neill and Hanley Chew parsed what the move means for Silicon Valley companies whose internal matters are clearly not beyond the DOJ’s reach.
- Intellectual Property Bulletin - Summer 2017
Led by partner Stuart Meyer and associates Christopher Joslyn and Emily Bullis, Fenwick’s team of intellectual property, tech transactions, privacy and IP litigation lawyers provide analysis of the most important developments in IP law for our quarterly Intellectual Property Bulletin. The summer issue, this year’s most popular, looked at cybersecurity risks in driverless cars, post-TC Heartland forum shopping tactics, and more.
- Top SCOTUS Cases Tech Companies Should Watch – Fall 2017 Preview
In this look ahead, our litigation partners analyzed the most important U.S. Supreme Court cases the high court was to review in its fall term with a focus on the potential significance for our tech and life sciences clients. Central questions included whether inter partes review—or IPR—violated the constitution. The Court also examined treatment of internal “whistleblowers” and enforcement of individual arbitration agreements in employee disputes.
- Supreme Court's Lexmark Decision Expands Scope of Patent Exhaustion Defense
With this ruling the U.S. Supreme Court overturned more than two decades of lower court precedent, reversing the Federal Circuit analysis concerning domestic and foreign sales of patented items. Fenwick lawyers Charlene Morrow and Armen Nercessian pointed out that in doing so, the high court significantly expanded the scope of the patent exhaustion doctrine.
- Technology and life Sciences IPO Survey – 2017 First Half
This report published in July by corporate partners Jeff Vetter and Dan Winnike analyzed key aspects of initial public offerings for 27 technology and life sciences companies that went public in the first half of 2017. We shared findings on overall IPO activity, including a breakdown by sector, deal size trends from red herring to pricing, and the landscape following the Snap IPO.
- Federal Circuit Provides Much Needed Patent Venue Guidance Post TC Heartland
In this landmark decision that is expected to guide future patent venue analysis, the Federal Circuit set forth the standard for determining what constitutes a “regular and established place of business.” Fenwick lawyers David Tellekson, Bryan Kohm, Melanie Mayer, Reilly Stoler and Jonathan McMichael analyzed the ruling and key takeaways for companies.
- Silicon Valley Venture Capital Survey - First Quarter 2017
In 2017, Fenwick’s Cynthia Clarfield Hess, Mark Leahy and Khang Tran continued their quarterly in-depth analysis of venture financings closed by Silicon Valley-based companies. Our Q1 2017 survey proved most popular. Among our findings: The hardware industry had the strongest valuation results in the first three months of 2017. We also invite you to check out our most recent VC survey: Silicon Valley Venture Capital Survey – Third Quarter 2017.
- Proposed Tax Reform Bill as Amended Stands to Significantly Impact Equity and Performance-Based Compensation
When U.S. lawmakers released their early draft of the country’s first major tax reform in three decades, it generated tremendous interest among leaders in tech and other industries. By far the most-read article on fenwick.com in 2017, this near-viral alert was drafted and updated in real-time by corporate lawyers Scott Spector, Marshall Mort, Patrick Grilli, Kristin O'Hanlon, Sarah Ghulamhussain and Ariel Gaknoki.
This blog post by Fenwick startup lawyer Michael Esquivel recapped the takeaways from the firm’s popular Digital Health Investor Summit. It was the most viewed article of the year with readers on our third-party publisher JD Supra. Among the highlights: Investment in the sector hit $3.5 billion by the middle of 2017—a record in terms of both the number and size of deals.