In the world of business today, protecting confidential information and trade secrets is an important part of conducting business. Business owners should be sure to have a detailed and carefully drafted agreement in place for all employees and vendors with whom their company conducts business. An agreement that will withstand legal scrutiny in litigation or arbitration is especially important. These agreements should list the specific items or types of items considered confidential or to be trade secrets. This is vital because the court must be able to easily determine when there has been a breach of the stated contract terms. Frequently, companies use very broad terms such as “all information pertaining to the company.” However, many things pertaining to the company would not be considered confidential information or a trade secret. This type of terminology would be overly broad. Using broad language opens the door to legal interpretation. When this occurs, it requires the court to define for a company what item truly is a trade secret or is confidential information. A company, rather than the court however, is in a much better position to define this. As such, having this definition already included in the agreement is most prudent.
The Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA) is American Legislation passed in 1936, yet is still used today. This act provided a way to enforce contracts under the international Hague Convention Rules. COGSA originally stated that all cargo ship owners are responsible for packages that are shipped; however, liability per package is limited to $500 per package and parties are limited to one year for filing litigation. This act is automatically enforced for all relevant international shipments, yet is not automatic for domestic shipments unless the carrier agrees to be bound. Many foreign countries enforce a similar set of laws that apply to overseas shipping.
The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) and the United Nations Convention on the International Sale of Goods (CISG) have many similarities yet also contain many differences. If you are considering conducting business concerning the international sale of goods, it is important that you are aware of these differences prior to signing a contract.
If you plan on importing or exporting goods to another country, then you should be aware of the United Nations Convention on the International Sale of Goods (CISG). This is a treaty that was originally signed in Vienna in 1980. As of September 2014, it has been ratified by 83 countries. The purpose of the treaty is to create uniform laws to govern international sales. Read more
With technological advancement, comes the increased need for new rules and regulations regarding trademarks. On September 1, 2015, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USTPO) began implementing a pilot program called The Technology Evolution Pilot Program. This program makes it possible for trademark owners to expand the trademark registrations of their goods and services. Thus, trademark owners may be permitted to keep their current trademark without having to file a new application if the revised registration of the existing mark is due to a technological advancement of the current mark. This change will enable trademark owners to save the time and money often involved in changing an existing trademark registration.
The more pervasive use of technology by healthcare institutions comes with the need for greater protection of personal information. This is especially true for institutions that directly handle the health care information of the general public or have a branch of its organization that does so. In 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will review the effectiveness of its own protocols and mechanisms for protecting the personal health information of the public. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR), a division of the DHHS, will be in charge of conducting the audits. The OCR has budgeted 43 million dollars in 2016, an increase of 4 million dollars over the 2015 budget, to carry out this plan. The additional funds will be used to conduct audits to ensure greater privacy protection in the health care industry. The additional funds will be used to check to ensure that all of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) rules and regulations are being followed and to check to see if greater measures need to be implemented to protect patient privacy.
Toshiba has been doing damage control since April of 2015. This is when allegations that the company had been inflating its profits over a number of years first broke. Independent investigators concluded that Toshiba overstated its profits by $1.22 billion. The financial scandal of this 140 year old Japanese company, a pioneer in electronics and other technological advancements, will require a total change of its institutional accounting and corporate culture.
Cheaters never win. This is especially true when trying to cheat governmental authorities. That is what happened for one of the most popular car manufacturers in the world, Volkswagen (VW). The VW debacle illustrates the importance of sincere corporate compliance. In a widely publicized report, a research team in West Virginia discovered that VW was caught having built cars designed to cheat on emissions tests. The team, led by engineering professor Daniel Carder, produced the first evidence of misrepresentations by VW in tests of its on-road diesel emission levels. Through its research, the team found that VW diesel vehicles produced emission levels significantly higher than the standards allowed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Alstom S.A. (Alstom) is a French power and transportation company. It was charged with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and pleaded guilty to the charges. Alstom was charged with paying bribes to government officials in exchange for energy contracts. Over the past decade, the company was involved in paying bribes in the range of tens of millions of dollars in countries throughout the world. These countries include Indonesia, the Bahamas, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. They have also been charged with falsifying their record book and failing to execute sufficient internal controls. Read more
Middle Eastern countries are rich in history, culture, food, and language. The region is dynamic and deep in learned texts, insights, and more. However, outsider access to this region is becoming more limited as many Middle Eastern countries are reluctant to receive foreign criticisms of their economic policies, human rights records, or political unrest. This is in contrast to another country near the region that welcomes international students, business, and research into its country. This is the country of India. By allowing foreigners into its country, the Indian government is able to promote global economics and improve its advancement and scholarship.