Here is a quick summary of some interesting blogs I have read this week on a variety of business law topics that may be of interest to Virginia businesses:
Brian Hill, of the Employer Lawyer Report, analyzes how Facebook’s new privacy controls will impact the employer-employee relationship. According to Hill, these new privacy control measures could make it more difficult for employers who use Facebook to monitor their employees.
Robin Roberts, of the Startup Lawyer Blog, provides some guidance on how equity should be divided amongst co-founders of a startup company. The primary method described by Roberts is to base the equity split on an assessment of the past, current, and future contributions of each co-founder. Regardless of the method used, Roberts advises that co-founders make the equity-split determination quickly and that they consider vesting founders’ stock over a period of time.
Joshua Heslinga, of the Virginia IP Law Blog, writes that it makes good business sense to enforce your patents before they are reexamined by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). As Heslinga notes, the timing of a reexamination decision (where a patent is reexamined by a patent examiner to verify a patent’s validity) can be a crucial determining factor in the outcome of a patent litigation case. If a reexamined patent is determined to be invalid, then that will almost certainly result in the dismissal of a pending patent infringement litigation action.
Joel Greenwald, of the Overtime Advisor Blog, details potential issues an employer may face for having employees work through lunch. According to Greenwald, employers that require "non-exempt" staff (e.g., receptionists, data entry clerks, administrative assistants, secretaries, billing clerks, customer service representatives, etc.) to work during their unpaid break time could face substantial liability under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under the FLSA, non-exempt employees must: (1) be paid for every hour they work; and (2) have all hours worked count towards their potential overtime pay. The website for the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry has a good FAQ section on wage payment issues in Virginia.
Michael Stocker, of the Eyes On Wall Street Blog, discusses a proposed bill by Senator Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, that would overhaul the U.S. financial system. Senator Dodd’s financial reform plan bill would, among other things, consolidate bank regulators, create a consumer financial protection agency, and impose new restraints on exotic financial instruments and credit rating agencies.