In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog

June 2011 Archives

Thousands of legal professionals rely on FindLaw everyday to look up cases, statutes and legal information. Now all those attorneys, corporate counsels and paralegals have another place to meet up and interact with FindLaw: on Facebook.

FindLaw now has a Facebook presence with the newly launched FindLaw for Legal Professionals page.

New Domain Names to Bring New Trademark Issues for Companies

Last week, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, announced that it voted in favor of opening up the web to new domain names, allowing well-funded persons to move away from the traditional dot-coms and dot-nets to more branded sites, like dot-ford and dot-pfizer.

Though the organization hopes that the new flexibility will increase innovation, it's also likely to be a big headache for those who wish to protect their trademarks and brand identities.

Google Disputes Oracle's Possible $6B Java Lawsuit

Oracle's Java lawsuit against Google has come with a possibly hefty $6 billion price tag.

Sun Microsystems, the original developer of Java, was bought out by Oracle. Oracle is now suing Google, claiming that the tech giant illegally infringed on Oracle's Java patents by using Java in Google's Android operating system, used in smartphones and tablet computers, reports Computerworld.

In coming up with the damages estimate, Oracle employed Iain Cockburn, a professor at Boston University according to Computerworld.

Your Medical Clients Should Know Legal Pitfalls of Social Media

For health care facilities and doctors, social media can be a great tool, allowing medical providers to connect to patients in new ways, and helping facilities build brands, establish a place in the community, and increase education efforts.

But with social media comes an increased responsibility, along with an increase in legal liability.

If you represent any physicians or medical facilities, it might be time to have a conversation about the following risks.

Ex Hospital General Counsel Embezzled $1.7M, FBI Says

A children's hospital embezzlement case has embroiled a former general counsel. Roosevelt Hairston, Jr. was the general counsel for the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia - until he was found to be embezzling $1.7 million from the non-profit organization.

Hairston was charged with the embezzlement of funds, and reportedly created fake companies and submitted phony receipts for expert witnesses and consulting services in his scheme, according to a FBI press release.

Hairston was a graduate of Temple University's Beasley School of Law. He worked for prominent Philadelphia law firms until he joined the Children's Hospital in 1997, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Tory Burch's $164M Award May be Largest Anti-Counterfeiting Verdict

For designer Tory Burch, a lawsuit has netted her a $164 million judgment against counterfeiters and fake websites touting her name and trademark.

The lawsuit was filed against more than a hundred different counterfeit websites that were selling fake Tory Burch branded products, including Burch's popular Reva ballet flats and other items that carried the Tory Burch logo, reports NBC New York.

Burch brought the lawsuit after legal precedent was set down by Ralph Lauren and The North Face which allowed the two companies to file suit and collect damages against third party payment operations that facilitated the counterfeit sales, reports NBC New York.

Glaxo Sued by South Carolina AG Over Avandia Side Effects

It seems like South Carolina is out for blood, filing yet another drug lawsuit under the South Carolina Trade Practices Act.

The Attorney General's Office alleges that GlaxoSmithKline misled doctors and patients by exaggerating the effectiveness of its diabetes drug Avandia and hiding the fact that the medication has significantly increased the risk of heart attack and sudden cardiac death in tens of thousands of people.

Small Patent Holder's $290M Microsoft Award Upheld by Supreme Court

Microsoft's hopes and dreams of world domination were partially dashed last week when the Supreme Court's ruling in Microsoft v. i4i upheld a $290 million verdict against the company--what it calls the largest patent award in history.

Though the software giant is used to avoiding patent liability, Microsoft's audacity to challenge a long-standing principle of patent law may have just severely limited its future options.

What All General Counsels Should Know About e-Discovery

As companies are pushed further into the electronic age, it's important for corporate counsel to understand the complexities of e-Discovery and to find the most efficient and cost-effective ways in which to leverage e-Discovery tools.

For those who have yet to spend some serious time in the e-Discovery trenches, here's a quick primer on what you need to know about e-Discovery and why you need to know it.

Why Is e-Discovery Important?

Whether it's collected from a smart phone, netbook, or e-mail account, all electronic documents contain some sort of metadata.

Pfizer Misreported 150 Chantix Suicides to FDA

Though the FDA is downplaying its request that Pfizer re-submit thousands of adverse event reports, according to a study done by the non-profit Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), the manufacturer's lack of compliance with reporting rules hid 150 Chantix suicides.

The catch? The majority of those suicides occurred prior to 2009, when Chantix became affixed with the agency's strict "black box warning."

LinkedIn General Counsel Worth More Than $20 Million After IPO

Attorney Erika Rottenberg took a chance on a small company called LinkedIn 3 years ago by becoming their General Counsel. Well, that "chance" has paid off in millions.

Rottenberg graduated from UC Berkeley School of Law, formerly known as Boalt Hall. She started her career at Cooley Godward, and went on to serve as General Counsel for SumTotal Systems and at Creative Labs before joining LinkedIn.

During LinkedIn's recent IPO, Rottenberg sold 30,000 of her shares at the opening price of $45, earning herself around $1.35 million, according to the ABA Journal. She still retains shares in LinkedIn that are worth around $27 million a week ago. Not bad for 3 years of work.

e-Discovery 101: An Interactive Guide to Electronic Discovery

With soaring litigation costs, more and more companies are considering bringing e-Discovery in-house to cut the expense of document collection and review.

If such a move is in your future, this means that, instead of relying on outside service providers and consulting firms, you're going to have to form a plan that necessitates close working relationships with people throughout your company.

If you're not sure where to start, FindLaw's Interactive Guide to Electronic Discovery can help.

Heartgard Plus Cover-Up: Whistleblower Fired for Protecting Dogs?

The filing of a federal lawsuit last week has brought attention to yet another corporate scandal, this time known as the Heartgard Plus cover-up.

Former Global Head of Pharmacovigilance Dr. Kari Blaho-Owens has sued Merial, Ltd., the manufacturer of the canine heartworm medication, alleging that she was fired after discovering that the company had intentionally utilized improper data analysis methods to ward off an FDA investigation.

There are also allegations that she was instructed to destroy documents.

New Whistleblower Law: No Internal Reporting Needed for Reward

A new whistleblower law has corporations on high alert. The new SEC rule, part of the Dodd-Frank Act, gives whistleblowers the ability to collect up to 10-30% of penalties over $1 million that the SEC fines their company, even if they decide to bypass a company's internal reporting system.

The SEC voted 3-2 to pass this new rule. The rule specifically does not require a whistleblower to go through an internal reporting system, which many corporations had pushed for, reports Reuters.

The SEC, however, made the rule so that the whistleblower is still eligible for the monetary reward if they make an internal report, and if the company then reports to the SEC.