Header graphic for print

Focus on Regulation

AWS-3 Auction Revenue Surpasses $16 Billion

After four days and fifteen rounds of bidding, bidding for paired spectrum in the AWS-3 spectrum auction (Auction 97) remained very strong today.  Total revenue accelerated past its $10+ billion reserve price this morning and closed the day in excess of $16 billion.  The current revenue level ensures that Auction 97 will fully cover the remaining funds for the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), even assuming the most expensive possible costs for clearing the band and the largest possible discounts for Designated Entities.   The robust revenues should silence critics, who had claimed that FirstNet funding goals would not be met, and will reduce revenue requirements for the upcoming 600 MHz Incentive Auction.  Although bidding for the paired blocks appears to be extremely competitive, bidding for the 15 MHz of unpaired uplink spectrum remains well short of the reserve price.  Bids are increasing for the unpaired blocks, but only slowly.  Continue Reading

U.S.-India Agreement Promises to Pave the Way to Implementation of the WTO “Bali Agreement” on Trade Facilitation

The U.S. and India have reached an agreement that promises to pave the way toward global implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). The breakthrough agreement between India and the U.S. should now make it possible for member countries to begin implementing the requirements of the agreement, providing potentially significant financial benefits to businesses trading goods around the world as local customs procedures are streamlined. The target date for ratification of the agreement is 31 July 2015. Upon ratification by two-thirds of the membership, the agreement will enter into force for all WTO states. Member state will then begin the process of adopting conforming legislation.

Read More: U.S.-India Agreement Promises to Pave the Way to Implementation of the WTO “Bali Agreement” on Trade Facilitation

Flakeboard and SierraPine Pay Civil Penalties and Disgorgement of Profits to Settle DOJ’s Charges of Unlawful Gun Jumping

The antitrust agencies remain vigilant in prohibiting “gun jumping” — the unlawful coordination of parties to a transaction during the pre-HSR clearance and pre-closing time periods. On 7 November 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a settlement under which parties to an abandoned transaction agreed to pay a total of nearly US$5 million in fines — US$3.8 million in civil penalties to settle claims of unlawful gun-jumping under the HSR Act and an additional US$1.15 million from the purchaser in disgorgement of illegally obtained profits in violation of Section One of the Sherman Act. The parties also agreed to implement antitrust compliance programs and not to share certain information or reach certain agreements during pre-closing periods with other parties to acquisition agreements in which they may become involved.

Read More: Flakeboard and SierraPine Pay Civil Penalties and Disgorgement of Profits to Settle DOJ’s Charges of Unlawful Gun Jumping

WTO Rules Against United States on Revised Country of Origin Labeling

In a recently issued decision, a World Trade Organization (WTO) compliance Panel (Panel) ruled in favor of Canada and Mexico in a dispute over the United States’ country of origin labeling (COOL) requirements as they apply to cattle and hog muscle cuts. Although it found that the United States has a right to require country of origin labels for meat products, the Panel concluded that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) revised COOL regulations failed to bring the United States into compliance with earlier Panel and Appellate Body findings that the COOL requirements treat Canadian and Mexican livestock less favorably than domestic livestock in violation of WTO rules.

Read More: WTO Rules Against United States on Revised Country of Origin Labeling

Winnik Forum: U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s Chief Engineer Explains that Flexible Use Spectrum Policy Will Readily Accommodate the Internet of Things

During the 2014 Winnik Forum, Julius Knapp, Chief of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) Office of Engineering and Technology, rejected proposals to dedicate spectrum bands exclusively to Internet of Things applications.  According to Knapp, the FCC’s current “flexible use” rules for licensed and unlicensed spectrum can accommodate varied and yet-to-be-imagined applications, “negat[ing] the need for a dedicated Internet of Things allocation.”  According to Knapp, the FCC does not “expect right now that there’s going to be an [Internet of Things] band.” Continue Reading

Launching: LimeGreen IP News

Hogan Lovells’ Intellectual Property, Media and Technology team is excited to announce the launch of LimeGreen IP News.

Complementing our LimeGreen IP know-how site, this new online news platform is designed not only to provide you with detailed discussion on recent case law and decisions but also to provide the latest business critical IP trends and issues from around the globe.

To sign up to free alerts from LimeGreen IP News click here to be taken to our subscription page, where you can select to receive all content, or specify your areas of interest (eg patents, trademarks, copyright etc.).

As a reminder, our LimeGreen IP know-how site, provides the answers to frequently asked questions on patents, trademarks and copyright law around the world.  The addition of our news site, enables us to provide a fuller picture of the changing IP landscape.

We hope you enjoy LimeGreen IP News and find it to be a valuable resource.

Happy reading!

Winnik Forum – Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen Keynote Address

As the keynote speaker for the Winnik Forum, U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen sat down with Chris Wolf, Director of Hogan Lovells’ Privacy and Information Management Practice to discuss the evolving role of the FTC as we enter an era of “Big Data” and the “Internet of Things.”  Commissioner Ohlhausen offered her views on a flexible approach to protecting consumer data privacy as connected devices continue to evolve.  As opportunities arise for additional potential uses of collected data, Commissioner Ohlhausen said organizations and policymakers should consider a “harms-based approach” in which new uses of data would be allowed as long as they do not cause consumer harm and as long as they remain consistent with earlier promises that organizations have made to consumers.  The key for Commissioner Ohlhausen is that companies should disclose what data is being collected and keep the promises that they make to consumers about the collection and uses of that data. Continue Reading

Winnik Forum: Drafting Legislation for the Internet of Things

One of the challenges facing regulators as they craft rules to govern the Internet of Things is that traditional industry silos that were the basis for past legislation may no longer apply.  As part of the 2014 Winnik Forum, Hogan Lovells’ partners Michele Farquhar and Trey Hanbury joined two senior staff members from the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce (“Committee”)—David Redl, Counsel on the majority staff, and Shawn Chang, Senior Democratic Counsel—to discuss what a legislative solution to the issues raised by the Internet of Things might look like. Continue Reading

FCC Chairman Proposes to Extend Video Programming Rights to Over-the-Top Video Providers

On October 28, 2014, Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) Chairman Tom Wheeler announced that he is proposing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) to extend legacy cable program access and broadcast retransmission rights to the over-the-top (“OTT”) video market.  Chairman Wheeler explained that such regulations are necessary to ensure the availability of cable and television broadcast programming to OTT video providers.  By adopting these proposed regulations, the Chairman seeks to enhance consumer choice and competition in the video market.  Continue Reading

New Rules Require Government Contractors to Obtain and Disclose CAGE Codes of Immediate and Highest-Level Owners

A Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) code is a 5-character unique identifier that the government uses for a variety of purposes in awarding and administering contracts. Under new rules that took effect on November 1, 2014, government contractors owned by other entities will have to obtain and disclose the CAGE codes of their immediate and highest-level owners. In many cases, the immediate and highest-level owners of contractors are purely commercial companies and in the past have not been required to obtain CAGE codes. The new requirements apply to all immediate and highest-level owners, even those that do not perform government work. The new rules also make clear that immediate and highest-level owners that are foreign entities are not exempted from these requirements.

The new rules require a contractor to disclose its own CAGE code and also the CAGE codes of its immediate and highest-level owners (if applicable) both in the System for Award Management (SAM) and also to the Contracting Officer before award for contract actions exceeding the micro purchase threshold. The terms “immediate owner” and “highest-level owner” are defined in the new rules as follows:

Immediate owner means an entity, other than the offeror, that has direct control of the offeror. Indicators of direct control include, but are not limited to, one or more of the following: Ownership or interlocking management, identity of interests among family members, shared facilities and equipment, and the common use of employees.

Highest-level owner means the entity that owns or controls an immediate owner of the offeror, or that owns or controls one or more entities that control an immediate owner of the offeror. No entity owns or exercises control of the highest-level owner.

For companies impacted by this regulatory development, the new rules provide guidance on how to obtain a CAGE code through SAM registration and other methods.