Author Archive: Brian Sanchez

PM wants 4 Indian accounting firms in ‘Big 8’  Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday called for creating four big Indian accounting firms that can make up the world’s ‘Big 8’ even as he cautioned CAs against misuse of their all-powerful signature.

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday called for creating four big Indian accounting firms that can make up the world’s ‘Big 8’ even as he cautioned CAs against misuse of their all-powerful signature.

He said the signature of a chartered accountant is more powerful than even that of a Prime Minister and the government also believes the accounts signed by them.

“Your signature carries immense faith, please do not break that trust that is placed in you,” Modi told the CA community while talking about old women and other people investing in mutual funds and other schemes on the basis of their faith in the reports signed by the auditors.

Referring to the ‘Big 4’ – a term used for the world’s four biggest audit firms – the Prime Minister said there are so many accounting firms in India but none of them has managed to find a place among the top global players.

“People talk of the Big 4 accounting firms. Sadly, there is no Indian firm there. By 2022, let us have a Big 8, where 4 firms are Indian,” Modi said while addressing the CAs on the Foundation Day of the ICAI (Institute of Chartered Accountants in India).

The top global accountancy firms include PwC, Deloitte, EY and KPMG.

Modi said CAs also have a big role to play after the GST rollout and also in the context of the new insolvency and bankruptcy law.

He said a new India is waiting and the CAs have a big responsibility as they form a key pillar of the Indian economy.

Modi also exhorted CAs to work towards bringing their clients to the path of honesty, rather than helping them avoid paying taxes.

“Like the lawyers did during the freedom struggle, I urge the CAs to take the lead in the journey towards India’s economic growth,” he said.

“We will always remember how the community of professionals took a lead during the freedom struggle of India,” he added.

“The CA community looks after the economic health of the society,” he said, while equating their role to that of the doctors.

“Parliament has given you a big responsibility of certifying and auditing the accounts… You are tasked to ensure that the economic health of the society remains fine. You form a big pillar of the country’s economy,” he said.


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Cyber attack alert! Industrial firms warned of hacking campaign targeting nuclear, energy sectors

The U.S. government warned the country’s industrial firms earlier this week about a hacking campaign, which is targeting the nuclear and energy sectors. Officials said in a report that hackers have been constantly trying to compromise the targets’ networks over the past few weeks, highlighting the growing threat of cyber attacks on the power industry.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation said in the joint report that hackers had been using infected “phishing” emails to “harvest credentials” to gain unauthorised access to networks of their targets. The report, which revealed that the hackers had succeeded in some of their efforts, did not name any specific victims.

“Historically, cyber actors have strategically targeted the energy sector with various goals ranging from cyber espionage to the ability to disrupt energy systems in the event of a hostile conflict,” the June 28 report, obtained and reviewed by Reuters, said.

hacking
The hackers had been using infected “phishing” emails to “harvest credentials” to gain unauthorised access to networks of their targets.Reuters

The U.S. government report came just days after the emergence of the “NotPetya” virus earlier this week, which affected many organisations in Ukraine before spreading to other countries across the world. NotPetya encrypted files on infected machines, which later resulted in disrupted activity at ports, law firms and factories.

Researchers from two cyber security firms recently said that they had detected the malware used in a December 2016 cyber attack, when hackers caused a power outage in some part of Ukraine’s capital, Kiev. Experts said that the malware, identified as “Industroyer” or “Crash Override” can be used by its creators to launch more attacks while there is also threat from its copycat versions as well.

“Industroyer’s ability to persist in the system and to directly interfere with the operation of industrial hardware makes it the most dangerous malware threat to industrial control systems since the infamous Stuxnet, which successfully attacked Iran’s nuclear programme and was discovered in 2010,” Anton Cherepanov, senior malware researcher at ESET said in a statement.

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Once bitter rivals, the biggest tech firms find common ground on policy

(c) 2017, Bloomberg.

On Sunday, Jan. 29, MicrosoftPresident Brad Smith convened a conference call with top lawyers and policy staffers of Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Alphabet’s Google and other technology companies, according to people familiar with the meeting.

President Donald Trump’s executive order halting travel from seven majority Muslim nations had stranded employees and threatened their workforces. Now the companies were huddling over how to proceed.

A week later, the ideas generated during that call became the basis of an impassioned legal brief signed by more than 120 companies opposing the ban. On Monday the Supreme Court reinstated parts of the ban and said it will hear arguments in the case in the fall.

It’s one way in which the five biggest technology companies-which are also the five largest U.S. companies of any kind by market capitalization-are putting aside sometimes bitter product battles and business differences to cooperate at a deeper level than before on topics such as immigration, data privacy, cybersecurity and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

“Some important policy issues, like surveillance reform and immigration, transcend business rivalries,” said Kent Walker, senior vice president and general counsel at Google. “On those issues, we make a stronger and more informed case when we speak with one voice.”

The seeds of collaboration predate Trump. They were sown in the wake of Edward Snowden’s June 2013 claim that the U.S. National Security Agency had gained access to data from companies including Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook. That month, Google and Microsoft filed motions in the same week asking to be allowed to disclose how many times they had been ordered to share data with the U.S. government under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

That left the two arch-rivals negotiating together on the same side, against the U.S. Justice Department. Later, Facebook joined the fight.

In 2014, Amazon and Apple backed Microsoft in a different fight with the Justice Department over the privacy of data stored overseas. Amazon’s rapidly growing cloud business pushed the company farther into issues involving customer-data privacy, while Apple was thrust into the spotlight on encryption policy last year, when the FBI demanded the iPhone maker hack into the device belonging to one of the shooters in the December 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California.

Ten years ago, some of these companies left many policy issues to trade groups. Sometimes, rivals joined different groups and used them to score points against each other. Occasionally, they tried to use regulators as a weapon – Microsoft encouraged European antitrust officials to target Google, and Google chairman Eric Schmidt had drummed up support for the U.S. government’s case against Microsoft in the late 1990s before he joined the internet search giant.

In the past several years, Microsoft and Google have made peace, settling outstanding legal issues in 2015, and all five of the companies realized it made sense sometimes to put aside business differences in the name of shared policy goals. Some of the changes have occurred as Facebook, Google and Amazon aged and grew more active in public advocacy.

“All five of our companies compete vigorously with each other the marketplace but have common ground on policy and regulatory issues,” said Microsoft’s Smith. “In prior years, the market competition bled into more regulatory tension-in more recent years, we have recognized that we have common interests on a global basis on important regulatory and policy issues.”

The increased cooperation can be seen in the speed at which companies jump on issues and how they now plan ahead, said Chris Calabrese, vice president for policy at the Center for Democracy & Technology. He cited the fact that last month, four of the five wrote to Congress about a key surveillance law up for renewal later this year.

“That’s a strong, smart letter that came six months before re-authorization is up-it wasn’t a last-ditch effort,” Calabrese said. “That comes from the sophistication that this isn’t their first round.”

The companies do weigh some issues differently, and some still rely on trade group membership for certain policy work. While Microsoft has retained several firms to lobby on tax issues and has a huge cash pile outside the U.S., the software maker is more focused on immigration issues than tax policy, Smith said. As he puts it: Microsoft can employ financial strategies to mitigate the impact of taxes on overseas income; it hasn’t figured out how to make software without the skilled immigrants in its workforce.

Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has spoken out on both immigration and tax issues. In a June 5 interview with Bloomberg News, he said he’s disagreed with Trump on immigration and pushed for a tax plan for repatriating billions of dollars that U.S. companies keep overseas, while advocating charging a tax on international earnings.

Last year, Apple filed 20 lobbying disclosure reports addressing taxation, covering the company’s own work on that issue and that of firms it hired. Apple has nearly $240 billion in cash overseas and would like to bring some of it back to the U.S. at a lower tax rate than the current 35 percent.

“It’s a lot of money. There are other things they could be doing with that money,” said Annette Nellen, a professor of accounting and finance at San Jose State University.

Amazon has a cloud software business , as Microsoft and Google do, and a hardware business like Apple’s, but also a massive retail operation, which means it worries about such things as taxes and consumer safety and sometimes has a broader set of policy partners that extend outside its tech rivals.

Overall, Amazon is getting far more active in lobbying-spending $11.4 billion in 2016, more than quadruple the figure for 2012 and second only to Google in size among the Big Five. Taxes and consumer product safety were among its biggest lobbying issues last year. Amazon declined to comment, and Apple had no comment beyond Cook’s interview.

Facebook “participates in a number of industry coalitions that represent our common interests before policymakers around the world,‘‘ the company said in a statement. “These coalitions allow tech companies to speak in one voice on important issues like patent reform, net neutrality, and immigration.”

Besides the Big Five, other technology firms frequently play key roles. Salesforce.com has been a leader on diversity issues, threatening to withhold investments in states such as Georgia and North Carolina over bills that might have led to restriction of LGBT rights. Yahoo and Twitter have been active on data-privacy issues, and Cisco Systems has been outspoken on cybersecurity. Issues such as marriage equality and immigration have also drawn advocates from companies in a wide array of industries, from media to telecommunications to consumer goods.

One other major factor influencing company advocacy: the workforce. “A lot of employees are becoming very vocal in supporting these policies,” said Suresh Kotha, a management professor at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business. “In a sense, the companies are reflecting some of the values the employees have.”

tech-allies

Keywords: THE-TOP-FIVE-TECH-RIVALS-JOIN-FORCES-TO-SHAPE-POLICY-AND-FIGHT-THE-GOVERNMENT

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InterDrone 2017 & Drone Law Pro WhitePaper Announcement

InterDrone 2017 in cooperation with Drone Law Pro has published and made available for free a new whitepaper regarding Part 107.

(PRWEB) July 01, 2017

“The Comprehensive Guide to Part 107: The Current State of Commercial UAS Integration in the U.S. 2017” has recently been published by BZ Media for the upcoming InterDrone 2017 and was written by Drone Law Pro UAV Attorney Enrico Schaefer. This free whitepaper provides insightful information on the opportunities and challenges of Part 107, the current status of Part 107 implementation, how to maintain professionalism and high standards of safety, the current state of UAS integration in the United States, expected growth of commercial UAS operations, and much more. As the UAV industry continues to grows, it is important to understand both the state of commercial UAV regulations, as well as the market for UAV-related services in the U.S.

For more information and to download this free Part 107 Comprehensive Guide, please visit http://tinyurl.com/ycmsmafz.

InterDrone 2017 (http://www.interdrone.com/) is one of the largest UAV conferences and expositions. InterDrone™ was launched in September of 2015. This Show is expected to be one of the world’s largest dedicated event to the commercial UAV industry. InterDrone 2017 is expected to host more than 4,000 commercial drone buyers and flyers in Las Vegas at the Rio Hotel from September 6 – 8, 2017. The conference & expo focuses on key UAV markets such as precision agriculture, construction, cinematography, infrastructure inspection, and emergency response. InterDrone provides more than 120 classes, panels and keynote speaker sessions with more than 185 exhibitors showing the latest in UAVs products, services and related technology. InterDrone also publishes UAV industry news and important drone developments all year round on its website.

BZ Media LLC (http://www.bzmedia.com/) is a privately held, high-tech Media Company co-founded in 1999 by Ted Bahr and Alan Zeichick and is based in New York. The company has been producing technical conferences and trade shows since 2004. BZ Media LLC manages, produces and holds the trademark for InterDrone™.

Drone Law Pro (http://www.dronelaw.pro) is the UAV legal team of Traverse Legal, PLC. Drone Law Pro is one of a few Part 107 and UAV law firms in the country, representing Fortune 100 and start-up companies regarding the Section 333 Exemption, Part 107 and other drone legal related matters. UAV Attorney Enrico Schaefer is the lead attorney for Drone Law Pro & Traverse Legal, PLC and is also a UAS pilot and technology attorney. Enrico has been an UAS enthusiast for years and has completed a number of advanced UAS classes in the UAS program at Northwestern Michigan College.

For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/07/prweb14475134.htm

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LegalShield Brings Together Its Provider Law Firms for First Annual Elevate Law Conference; Celebrates Its 45th Anniversary in San Diego

ADA, Okla., Jun 30, 2017 (BUSINESS WIRE) —
LegalShield, one of North America’s leading providers of affordable
legal plans and identity theft solutions for individuals, families and
small businesses, announced that it will hold its first Elevate Law
Conference from July 6-8, 2017, at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San
Diego, California. The three-day event—to be held annually—kicks off the
west coast celebration of the company’s 45
[th]
year of
business. Lawyers from LegalShield’s panel of provider law firms and
attorney network in all 50 states and Canada will come together for
continuing legal education, and to network and engage with renowned
legal experts who are passionate about eliminating the justice gap.

“Elevate will truly be a legal event like no other. It’s designed to
help lawyers gain knowledge, inspiration and insight from fellow lawyers
and LegalShield leaders—all of whom are passionate about increasing
access to justice in North America,” said Keri Norris, LegalShield’s
Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Chief Legal Officer.
“This conference is for the modern lawyer who wants to learn more about
the latest technology and issues in the legal industry, and how they can
turn to LegalShield to expand their legal work through referrals.”

“LegalShield provides the most unique network of attorneys ever
assembled. Without question, my work over the last 30 years as one of
its provider lawyers is the proudest thing I’ve done in my life,” said
Michael C. Turpen, a former Oklahoma Attorney General and a partner at
Riggs Abney Neal Turpen Orbison & Lewis, in Oklahoma City. “We are a
quality-conscious, service-oriented law firm. The call to public service
is at the core of our ethos. We are proud to support LegalShield and the
company’s dedication to providing affordable access to justice for all,”
he continued.

“In our firm’s 45-year history, our partnership with LegalShield is one
of the most important decisions we’ve ever made, and one that I would
highly recommend to other law firms,” said Wayne Hassay, a Managing
Partner at Maguire & Schneider, based in Columbus, Ohio. “Referrals are
a very significant percentage of our overall business, and we are
appreciative of that. But most importantly, LegalShield is leading the
way for companies to use technology to remove the barriers to affordable
legal services. It connects clients directly to lawyers with an
expertise in various areas. This allows us to provide clients with the
legal assistance they need—and to focus solely on practicing law without
charging astronomical rates.”

Hassay will join LegalShield Chief Commercial Officer James Rosseau in a
presentation on Friday, July 7 that focuses on technology and the future
of the practice of law.

Elevate’s continuing legal education sessions focus on timely, relevant
topics that are disrupting the industry, including cyber security and
identity theft, estate planning and living trusts, and bullying and
student-on-student harassment.

Scott Howard, a partner at Kivel & Howard in Portland, Oregon, will
speak at a session on Saturday, July 8, that covers estate planning and
tax issues for all U.S. states.

“LegalShield provides middle-class Americans with access to legal
services for everyday items, as well as significant ones – which
includes estate planning,” says Howard. “Our focus should be
capitalizing on software and technology to facilitate creating a will,
and using whatever means necessary to make it easier for clients to
submit their information to their lawyer.”

Chris Bliss, a performer renowned for his juggling acts, will be the
keynote speaker on July 7. Bliss recently founded The Bill of Rights
Monument Project, whose mission is to raise awareness of the freedoms
and principles in the Bill of Rights through the installation of
monuments in civic spaces across the United States, beginning with all
50 state capitols.

LegalShield prides itself on maintaining a startup culture and
mentality, and it designed the Elevate agenda to focus on issues that
are most relevant to lawyers today. Topics include how technology is
affecting the practice of law, advising startups, cybersecurity and
identity theft, and ethical implications for lawyers managing their
online brand. Service and information providers including Kroll,
Foxwordy, Digitory Legal, and 1 Law will showcase their offerings at The
Tech Show, a product exhibition that is specifically geared toward the
legal industry.

About LegalShield

A pioneer in the democratization of affordable access to legal
protection, LegalShield is one of North America’s leading providers of
legal safeguards and protection against identity theft solutions for
individuals, families and small businesses. The 45-year-old company
protects more than 1,647,000 individual, families and businesses through
its legal plans, while IDShield provides identity protection to one
million individuals. In addition, LegalShield and IDShield serve more
than 141,000 businesses. Both legal and identity theft plans start as
low as $20 per month.

LegalShield’s legal plans provide access to attorneys with an average of
19 years of experience in areas such as family matters, estate planning,
financial and business issues, consumer protection, tax, real estate,
benefits disputes and auto/driving issues. Unlike other legal plans or
do-it-yourself websites, LegalShield has dedicated law firms in 50
states and four provinces in Canada that members can call for help
without having to worry about high hourly rates. IDShield provides
identity monitoring and restoration services and is the only identity
theft protection company armed with a team of licensed private
investigators on call to restore a member’s identity.

For more information, visit http://www.LegalShield.com or http://www.IDShield.com.

View source version on businesswire.com: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170630005784/en/

SOURCE: LegalShield”>

From MarketWatch

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Clinkscales Elder Law Practice announces new equity partner

Clinkscales Elder Law Practice, P.A. this week announced Jennifer Walters has become an equity partner in the firm.

“Jenny’s commitment to our clients made her an excellent choice for equity partner,” says Randy Clinkscales, Clinkscales Elder Law Practice, P.A. founder and attorney. “We look forward to Jenny’s continued leadership in her new role.”

Walters has been an attorney with Clinkscales Elder Law Practice since 2009. She focuses on elder care issues, asset protection and estate planning. Walters is a 2001 graduate of Stockton High School, a 2006 graduate from Fort Hays State University, and a 2009 graduate of Washburn University School of Law, where she earned her juris doctor degree and a certificate in environmental law. She currently resides in the country near Hays with her husband, Steven, and 2-year-old son. While away from the office, Jenny enjoys working with her horses, gardening, and spending time with her son.

Clinkscales Elder Law Practice, P.A. is a law firm focused on elder care issues, serving clients throughout Central and Western Kansas. The firm specializes in helping families dealing with chronic illness and has staff to lead them through the chronic illness or aging process. Clinkscales Elder Law Practice, P.A. is a founding member of the Life Care Planning Law Firms Association, and is its only member in Kansas. Clinkscales Elder Law Practice is housed in Hays, Kansas and has been practicing elder law since 2004. For more information about Clinkscales Elder Law Practice, P.A., visit www.elderlawkansas.com.

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Our Children’s Trust Climate Law Suit Scheduled For Trial On February 5

Air Quality
Our Children's Trust climate law suit

Published on June 30th, 2017 |
by Steve Hanley

June 30th, 2017 by Steve Hanley 

Despite a furious defensive effort by some of the most powerful and wealthiest corporations on the face of the earth represented by a phalanx of $1,000 an hour lawyers from the nation’s top law firms, the climate lawsuit filed by Our Children’s Trust on behalf of 21 young plaintiffs ranging in age from 9 to 20 is headed to court. This week, U.S. District Court Justice Ann Aiken set the trial date for February 5, 2018, in her courtroom in Eugene, Oregon.

Our Children’s Trust

Children's Trust climate law suitAttorneys for Our Children’s Trust are claiming that the young plaintiffs are legally entitled to live in a clean and safe environment free from excessive carbon pollution. The argument is based on the “public trust” doctrine, which holds that the federal government holds certain parts of the country, such as shorelines and waterways, in trust for the benefit of the citizens of the United States.

“Despite incessant efforts by government and industry to prevent our case from moving forward, the date is set for trial,” said 20 year old plaintiff Alex Loznak in a press release after the judge set the date for trial. “Having seen some of the most damning evidence to be presented at trial, I am confident that our claims will prevail.”

Judge Rules Climate Lawsuit Can Proceed

Last November, Judge Aiken ruled the climate lawsuit could go forward because the plaintiffs have a likelihood of proving they will suffer personal harm to their health and well being if the government does not act to protect them from atmospheric pollution. Attorneys for the federal government, joined by the Gucci-shod minions representing the American Petroleum Institute, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, appealed Aiken’s ruling but lost in a further court ruling earlier this month.

That prompted the Trump administration to ask for extraordinary relief from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. That court has not yet ruled on the request, but it is highly unusual for an appeals court to get involved in on going litigation that has not yet reached a conclusion at the trial court level.

First They Wanted In. Now They Want Out

18 months ago, the API, NAM, and AFPM asked for permission to join the climate lawsuit as defendants. Apparently, the high-priced talent representing them convinced their clients that their position was rock solid and would quickly end the litigation, sending the young upstarts home to lick their wounds. But a funny thing happened on the way to the courthouse. The super lawyers lost. But they were now part of the case and so bound by the rules of civil procedure, which provide for extensive pretrial discovery to both sides.

Suddenly, the ivory tower gladiators decided they didn’t want to be part of the climate lawsuit any more, especially if it meant they had to respond to plaintiffs’ demands to know what the industry knew about the connection between carbon emissions and climate change and when they knew it. Answering truthfully could severely damage their clients’ positions and potentially open them up to criminal liability. They all decide to ask permission to withdraw from the case, which would relieve them of the obligation to respond to the plaintiffs’ pretrial discovery requests. Judge Aiken has yet to rule on those requests.

“Over 18 months ago, these fossil fuel associations went to incredible lengths to become defendants so that they could shut down this case,” says Julia Olson, co-lead counsel for the young plaintiffs and executive director of Our Children’s Trust. “They failed and youth prevailed. Now these youth and the top climate experts on the planet can go to trial against the Trump Administration.”

Trump Administration Opposes Climate Lawsuit

In the face of a massive assault on common sense by the Trump administration as it takes a sledge hammer to climate protections at every level, resort to the courts is becoming a more common option. In Minnesota, a group of young adults has applied to intervene in the state’s regulatory process for Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline. They argue that climate change poses unique threats to them because they will have to contend with more extreme storms and ocean acidification.

More Look To Courts For Relief

Also just this week, 28 plaintiffs between the ages of 4 and 20 filed a petition with the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board asking the state to begin implementing a greenhouse gas reduction strategy. “The law in New Mexico is clear. State government must act to protect the health, safety, comfort, economic, and social well-being of New Mexicans,” says Andrea Rodgers, senior staff attorney with Our Children’s Trust. “This rule making process is desperately needed to ensure New Mexico fulfills its legal obligations to address climate change so that these young people get the future they deserve.”

Politics & The Legal System

The promise of legal action sounds appealing on the surface, but it is dangerous to think that politics play no role in judicial proceedings. The courts are almost as politicized as the other branches of government, especially as Senate Republicans managed to block almost all federal court appointments during all 8 years of the Obama administration. Now that the they are in complete control of the Senate, they have embarked on a campaign to install the most ultra-conservative judges they can find in the more than 100 federal court vacancies that currently exist.

While the newest Supreme Court justice, Neil Gorsuch, made a big show of proclaiming his independence during his confirmation hearings, in all likelihood he will vote in lockstep with the other radical conservative justices — Roberts, Thomas, and Alito. With the death of Antonin Scalia, the fate of all cases before the Supreme Court once again rests with Justice Anthony Kennedy. Which means the fate of climate justice in America will now be decided by one vote. Scary times for climate activists and anyone who still harbors a hope that the United States will preserve and protect the environment in the foreseeable future.

Source: Think Progress


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Tags: American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, American Petroleum Institute, climate change law suit, national association of manufacturers, Our Children’s Trust


About the Author

Steve Hanley writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Rhode Island. You can follow him on Google + and on Twitter.

“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” Elie Wiesel



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Canada `Bombshell’ Patent Ruling Seen Favoring Foreign Firms (1)

(Bloomberg) — A Canadian Supreme Court ruling Friday that overhauls patent law will largely favor multinational patent holders over the country’s own startups and may ease Nafta talks due to begin with the U.S. this year, observers say.

The decision, the latest from a Canadian court to reshape intellectual property rights, effectively lowers the bar to receive and defend a patent in the country, tilting the playing field in favor of existing holders. While applauded by larger firms and industry groups, the ruling threatens to upend the domestic technology sector and undercut Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s aims of reshaping Canada as a leader in innovative industries.

“It’s a bombshell of a decision,” said Richard Gold, a law professor at Montreal’s McGill University who studies intellectual property. He’s a member of the university’s Centre For Intellectual Property Policy, which intervened in the case. “We’re now the only country in the developed world that when an inventor says, ‘my invention does X,’ it doesn’t actually have to do X.”

The Supreme Court ruled that a current standard, known as the “promise doctrine,” goes too far, because it allows for patents to be invalidated if an invention doesn’t do any of the things it promised.

The decision removes a potential spur in North American Free Trade Agreement talks, due to begin as early as August, by resolving an issue the U.S. had already flagged. It follows another ruling this week that ordered Alphabet’s Google to remove search results from websites offering goods that infringe on intellectual property.

‘Key’ Irritant

Friday’s ruling “removes a key irritant,” Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa, said in a written statement. “Combined with the Google case from earlier this week, Canada is now home to some of the toughest anti-piracy laws in the world along with some of the friendliest patent rules for patent holders.”

“Canada joins trade agreements and IP treaties in order to not be an outlier,” Andre Albinati, an adviser to pharmaceutical sector for Earnscliffe Strategy Group, an Ottawa-based government relations firm, said in an email. “This decision strengthens Canada’s investment hand by demonstrating that it has a predictable legal and policy environment for companies.”

While Canadian patents will now be easier to get for domestic and foreign firms alike, the vast majority of existing patents in Canada are foreign-held — and emboldened multinationals will probably now be able to gum up the system to the disadvantage of Canadian firms, Gold said. “The effect is we’re making it harder for the smaller players to come up with the invention,” Gold said.

AstraZeneca, Apotex

Friday’s ruling specifically allowed an appeal from the Canadian unit of Cambridge, U.K.-based pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca Plc, maker of a drug called nexium. The dispute with Apotex Inc., a closely held Toronto-based firm that bills itself as the largest Canadian-owned pharmaceutical company, is over a generic version of the drug.

The ruling “obliterates” the Canadian patent law principle known as the “Promise Doctrine,” Gold said. With its ruling, the court made Canadian patents much easier to get and hold than, for instance, in the U.S. It gives large holders of intellectual property — such as those in the pharmaceutical sector or giants like Microsoft Corp. and Alphabet Inc. — the upper hand in Canada, Gold said.

“It means patents that they have that might be ruled invalid in the United States might be ruled valid in Canada, so it gives them more leverage against Canadian firms,” he said. “This is a boon to foreign patent holders.”

AstraZeneca welcomed the decision, which “will resolve a key issue for Canadian innovators because it removes the ambiguity that the promise doctrine created,” a company representative said in an email. “It signals to global investors that Canada is a good place to invest with a predictable and stable market, aligned to other major trading partners.”

Innovative Medicines Canada, a pharmaceutical industry group, also applauded the ruling for doing away with the “unreasonable and inconsistent” promise doctrine standard.

Patent Validity

Courts in Canada had previously ruled patents are only valid if the invention does what the patent says it will do and the courts had generally been strict in their application, said Florian Martin-Bariteau, director of the University of Ottawa’s Centre for Law, Technology and Society.

Friday’s ruling affects “the foundation of patent law in Canada” and means a patent is still valid if it’s useful for some purposes, even if it wasn’t able to do what was described in the patent, he said.

“Today, Canada has become one of the less restrictive jurisdictions in the world,” Martin-Bariteau said in an email. “It is certainly good news for patent holders because it removes one of the biggest restrictions.”

The ruling raises “serious questions about Canadian patent law and the prospect of creating patent barriers to new innovation,” Geist said. The biggest impact in the short-term is a political one — Canadian patent law has been the top intellectual property concern for the U.S., he said.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center welcomed the ruling. “Today, the Supreme Court has begun to restore much-needed clarity and confidence that biopharmaceutical innovators will be afforded equal protections under the law,” Patrick Kilbride, vice president of international intellectual property policy, said in a written statement.

“We are assessing the decision and its impact on Canada’s patent system,” Karl Sasseville, a spokesman for Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains, said in an e-mail. “Canada is strongly committed to innovation in the pharmaceutical sector. We are always working to ensure that the patent system properly incentivizes and rewards research and development without prematurely foreclosing promising areas of research.”

Apotex didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Updates with reaction throughout.)

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.

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ECJ President: UK firms will be ‘begging’ for court’s jurisdiction after Brexit

Full transcript of the Q&A between European Court of Justice President Koen Lenaerts and reporters:

Q [EurActiv.com] Can I ask you – perhaps for a personal view rather than the view of the court -but in terms of Brexit and the referendum campaign in Britain, the ECJ was this incredible bogeyman in the imagination of the right-wing media and some parts of the government – why do you think that is? And, more topically, at the moment you would ‘judge’ between the rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in Europe, which is something the British side are demanding is taken away from you – why do you think you’re best-placed to make those judgements?

Koen Lenaerts, President of the European Court of Justice: Well, those are really two questions in one. The second part has nothing to see with the first part, and I’ll explain this. The first part is going back to the referendum campaign of last year. It is not for me to comment on this. But the relationship between say a parliament, the Westminster parliament (and I’m speaking here more as a professor because my chair in Leuven University in Belgium is Comparative Constitutional Law and European Union Law, and my comparative legal interest has always  existed and continues to exist with the United States of America. And I start there:

After the independence of the United States, 4 July 1776, it didn’t last long before the USA took a 180 degree opposite route than the Common Law basis that existed in the UK. And this on the crucial point, that lawyers know under the code name, Marbury Vs Madison 1803, Chief Justice Marshall writing for a unanimous court at the time composed of five judges. And that ruling said that an act of Congress can be quashed by the Supreme Court for being in conflict with constitution. And there you have it.

In the United Kingdom, nothing of the sort exists. Because their paradigm is 180 degrees the opposite. Parliament can do no wrong. So an act of the parliament of Westminster cannot be quashed a British court. This is comparative constitutional law – we should de-emotionalise all of this.

So mentally, emotionally, it is in the British perception of the ‘triangle’ – representative democracy, rule of law, fundamental rights – unthinkable that a court can quash an act of parliament. This exists for 220 years in the US, that system, not in Britain.

The European Union has the exact same system as the US. And for an obvious reason – the EU is united in diversity. The US motto is pluribus unum – out of the many, one. So both systems are confronted with keeping the balance between unity and diversity, which is the proper picture of federalism? Often ill-understood in the UK, because federalism there is seen as something uniting, not federalism as something with Belgium – with us, it has exact opposite meaning. That is, that you empower all these regional governments, and keep the proper balance, like in Germany – the Bundeslaender etc. That’s also the balance of the European Union, like the balance of the United States.

So when in the campaign in Britain people turned on vis a vis the Court of Justice, I must frankly tell you I said ‘well, what would you expect otherwise?’, but I can tell it [UK] is the only member state having this very confined view which is only fed by its own insular of the legal system. In Germany, this is normal. I mean, the Bundesverfassungsgericht in Karlsruhe quashes laws of the Bundestag. So when we hear that the German law is in conflict with the European Union law, people in Germany might say – some will be very happy, depending on who wins, some might be very critical – but it’s the same as what we know nationally. And the same applies to Belgium, to France, all the constitutional courts…etc. So we have these same systems. So the UK vocalised that. On the other hand, let me be plain – you cannot be a member of the European Union without adhering to the equality of all member states before the law.

And like the Yale Law Professor Charles Black who later was a judge on the Supreme Court, Charles Black said I can perfectly imagine the federal system of the United States where the Supreme Court could not quash an act of Congress, that is a federal governmance, I could not see, he said, a federal system that would survive – that is, the balance of community and diversity – without there being a single umpire – that’s what he calls it, an umpire – making sure that all the 50 states remain equal before federal law.

It is that paradigm that has not been understood. In the UK, whenever a judgement is not of the liking of the UK, it pretending that oh, a big drama is happening. But that happens with all the member states. And they know it. Because it is not this court that has made the power grab one beautiful morning, no. This court is strictly exercising what all the member states including the UK have entrusted this court to do. That is, interpret and enforce, uniformly, Union law. It’s everywhwere valid or invalid, the same everywhere, because of the equality of member states under Union law.

So rejecting the jurisdiction of this court is in fact rejecting the membership of the union. In that sense, it is two sides of the same coin. So basically, the whole discussion on the court is in fact a discussion on ‘can we members of the union which has legislative competences in specific fields, competences that, when exercised, can prevail over conflicting national law. It’s basically that paradigm which was rejected in majority with the referendum. And that’s a democratic choice we have to respect. But it’s nothing specific with this court, it’s the system, that should be understood.

Now the second part of your question is a totally different matter. That is, would this court be better off to another court? No. This is absolutely not the real issue. The dispute settlement mechanisms, if there have to be some, they have to be politically negotiated. And that is why I repied to your colleague – this is a matter of political negotiation and we shall see what comes out of it. But I repeat, this court will in any event be competent for EU27, for all that has been adopted, as normative acts, in the framework of the Brexit, because these acts are acts of union law, including the agreement with the UK, so this court will in any event interpret them in order to make sure that the 27, over the same paradigm, are equal before union law, which will at that point in time comprise the acts based on Article 50 and further implementation of what has been agreed.

Q: Jurisdiction of ECJ after Brexit – can you clarify which agreements will and will not have jurisdiction over?

Yes. We have to see, all of us, what will be in the Article 50 agreement, if there is one. But the first impression that I must immediately dispel, is the simple use, in your question and also in the previous question there at back, and sometimes also in British press… which I’m reading on the internet… the way the word jurisdiction is used is something like total – you are kept under the jurisdiction as if you were kept under the heavy foot of a power, something external. That is totally wrong.

After Brexit there will be British firms begging our court to get ‘locus standi’ and that is more the general court, whose president is here. Of course they will. If they create a subsidiary on the European continent, or company on the European continent – just like we have Chinese companies – which are incorporated and having their seat of operation, that is, all Chinese capital, here in the European Union. This is a company of the relevant member state, although all the interests might be Chinese, American, Australian, British etc, and I can tell you that company for one reason or another, like any company in the internal market, feels breached in its rights, it will be asking, begging on its knees, that this court exercises its jurisdiction to protect it.

So British capital and British business will of course remain, on their own request, as a beggingly demanding party, right, willingly subject to the jurisdiction of this court, to see their rights enforced.

And the same of course will apply to all sorts of other policies. I was at a conference as an academic on Brexit at a British University and a former member of this court told the United Kingdom to adopt the following hypothetical example. He says Brexit has been achieved – those were his words, I’m summarising – Brexit means Brexit, right, which is what the European says, and many people in the European Union says: the only way to do it, is to do it clean. So that was his hypothesis. And he says now it needs a bilateral trade agreement, still in the hypotehticals but it’s not totally unrealistic that there is a bilateral trade agreement and you have goods coming in from the UK in the EU. But the EU is now a third country, just like South Korea, Japan, Thailand, whatever. And the EU says yes but actually you are giving subisidies by way of excessive tax breaks, or you’re not enforcing – the UK is no longer bound by the state aid rules in that hypothesis – and the EU says we are now going to tax, in order to have the compensatory level (this is under the WTO rules, you know, the countervailing measures, anti-dumping measures, anti-subsidy measures like this. Still follow me?) When the EU imposes such measures, of course the UK government will run to this court to ask for judicial review. So that this court says, no, no no, this was only an appearance of a subsidy, it was not a subsidy, the anti-subsidy measures are lawful and a matter of EU law. You see? So they will be in exactly the same position as China, Australia, etc. So there will of course be a whole range of EU-law relevant subjects which will continue to come up for businesses, for governing authorities, for national courts, in both the UK and here.

Again, we’ll have to see what the double role of that will come in the Article 50 agreements if there is one but that as the main interface, it’s quite clear, if I do business today with Thailand, it’s a simple as that. I may end up in a Thailand court – not personally as a defendant, but I may even go there under contract litigiation, to pursue performance of the contract where my co-Thailand contractor is complying with the contract. Things of that sort. And that is all general EU law but it can go much further.

The fight against terrorism through enhanced security – its quite clear that this remains a concern, for the EU, for Britain, including Turkey and other countries. Here again, if there are cooperative ventures you may have cases where EU law remains relevant in the UK context, and that even seeking access to this EU court..but then you will be in the position where now Switzerland finds itself – because you’re no longer a member and of course now I say it and repeat it, we have outstanding British colleagues and we always had them, by the way one of the former presidents of this court was for four years the British member of the court, so they always played a very important role in this court, and that is maybe ill-understood, but that’s the way it is. That of course will not probably be totally redesigned and reconceived with Article 50 agreement – although we’ll still have to see that as well

 

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