- June 11, 2018
With the construction season already underway, the Michigan legislature repealed the state Prevailing Wage Law. The repeal was effective as of June 6, 2018. This change in the law may lead to many questions for construction industry employers and governmental entities in Michigan that have a contract in place requiring compliance with Michigan’s Prevailing Wage Law. Is the contract enforceable even though the law no longer exists? Should the parties renegotiate the contract to eliminate the requirement that the contractor comply with the law? Can a contractor simply ignore the contractual requirement?June 6, 2018
Mexico published in its official gazette a decree imposing tariffs on U.S. steel, aluminum, and farm products as a response to U.S. failure to extend tariff country exclusions for steel and aluminum. The measures are said to be taking aim at Republican strongholds ahead of U.S. congressional elections in November. Mexico’s trade negotiators included products exported by states represented Republican leaders, including Indiana where Vice President Mike Pence was formerly governor and Bourbon-producing Kentucky, home state of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The latter designed to put the most pressure on the Trump Administration. Mexico had previously received a temporary exemption that was extended through May 31, 2018 but not renewed.June 1, 2018Trump Administration Extends Section 232 Steel and Aluminum Tariffs to Canada, Mexico, and EU; Are Product Exemptions the Last Resort for Imported Metals Users?
The White House announced this morning that three of the United States’ closest allies would no longer be exempted from the steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by President Trump in early March as a measure to protect national security. The U.S. will impose tariffs of 25% on steel imports and 10% on aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union (which collectively account for almost 50% of U.S. imports of these products) beginning at midnight June 1. The Administration had granted a short-term exclusion until April 30th to these and other countries that was later extended one month to May 31st. U.S. negotiators did little to conceal the fact that these temporary exclusions were being used as leverage for other trade concessions, especially in NAFTA negotiations.May 30, 2018June 22 Deadline for Comments on New Section 232 Investigation on Automobiles and Automotive Parts Tariffs; Public Hearings July 19-20
Our Client Alert of May 24, 2018, advised of President Trump’s request for the Commerce Department to investigate whether imports of automobiles and auto parts are impacting the national security and should be subject to tariffs or quotas. As we anticipated, Commerce will employ a process similar to the one that preceded the recent imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.May 24, 2018Trump Administration Announces Investigation of Need to Impose Tariffs on Imports of Automobiles and Parts to “Protect National Security”
An early morning tweet yesterday (5/23/2018) from President Trump teased “There will be big news coming soon for our great American Autoworkers. After many decades of losing jobs, to other countries, you have waited long enough!” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross followed upon later that day with an announcement that the President has directed the Commerce Department to open an investigation under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to determine whether imports of automobiles (including SUVs, vans and light trucks) and automotive parts into the United States “threaten to impair the national security”.May 22, 2018
Summary: President Donald Trump’s announcement on May 8, 2018, withdrawing the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that relaxed sanctions on Iran is already having significant diplomatic effects around the world. On May 18, 2018, the European Union responded by resurrecting a 21-year old E.U. blocking regulation. European companies with United States affiliates now face the real prospect of being sanctioned by the United States if they keep their investments in Iran, or being sanctioned by the European Union if they disinvest. What legal tools exist to help them navigate these treacherous waters?May 10, 2018
Summary: President Donald Trump’s announcement on May 8, 2018, that the United States will withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that relaxed sanctions on Iran are already having significant diplomatic effects around the world. But what does it mean for the auto sector, the energy and transportation industries, Iranian immigrants to the United States, and other businesses and individuals with interests in Iran?May 8, 2018
Most foreign governments require disputes with parties with which they have agreements to be litigated in their courts using their domestic law. This tends to create an unwillingness, on the part the private party, to seek redress in local courts in order to pursue its rights given the tendency of such courts to often side with the government.May 4, 2018
EU, CANADA, MEXICO GRANTED A “FINAL”30 DAY EXEMPTION TO “CONTINUE” NEGOTIATIONS; SEVERAL OTHER COUNTRIES GRANTED “PERMANENT” EXEMPTIONS IN EXCHANGE FOR QUOTAS. PRODUCT EXCLUSION REQUEST PROGRAM BOGGED DOWN.May 3, 2018
The Internal Revenue Service has recently announced cost-of-living adjustments applicable to dollar limitations for retirement plans (and other items) for 2018. Many of the retirement plan limitations will change for 2018 because the increase in the cost-of-living index met the statutory thresholds that trigger their adjustment. However, other limitations will remain unchanged because the increase in the index did not meet the statutory thresholds that trigger their adjustment.May 2, 2018
The Courts Make Several Precedential Decisions and the USPTO Issues a Memo Helping to Clarify the ‘Alice’ Patentability Analysis: It’s a Matter of Fact!
For those patent law aficionados out there, March and April were exciting months. The Courts AND the USPTO made several key determinations that cover topics from the constitutionality of USPTO proceedings to clarifying how the courts and the patent office are to determine what exactly is needed to show “significantly more” for purposes of satisfying the ‘Alice’ patentability analysisMay 1, 2018
The United States International Trade Commission ("USITC" or "Commission") has announced changes to its Rules of Practice and Procedure of Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1337) cases. Section 337 investigations conducted by the USITC most often involve claims regarding intellectual property rights, including allegations of patent infringement and trademark infringement by imported goods.
These Section 337 rule changes, which are final, go into effect 30 days from publication in the Federal Register.April 12, 2018
I would categorize the Cambridge Analytica incident/breach in a similar fashion to the Edward Snowden revelations in that the Snowden revelations that awakened the world—and specifically the EU—to the extent of nation-state monitoring (in the Snowden case, it was the US’s monitoring activities, but don’t think for a second that every other country that was outraged at our monitoring wasn’t doing the very same thing to us and others) that ultimately resulted in the collapse of the US-EU Safe Harbor self-certification program, the rise of the temporary fix with the Privacy Shield and now the soon-to-be-implemented General Data Protection Regulation. All of this furor over the loss of privacy and the “theft” of personal data must be placed into context.April 4, 2018
On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rolled back the Obama-era auto emissions standards for 2022 to 2025 model-year cars and light-duty trucks. At first glance, this appears to be a clear win for automakers, who have been complaining for years that the steep targets for fuel economy and emissions are not only costly, but also stifling to the American automotive market. While the political motivations and topics like the impact of these rollbacks on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will likely be debated over the coming weeks around water coolers, coffee stations in the office, and on countless media outlets, one of the most pressing questions that need-be answered is, what will the impact of these rollbacks be on the automotive supply base?April 4, 2018NEW TARIFFS ON CHINESE EXPORTS TO UNITED STATES LINKED TO INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ISSUES ANNOUNCED: HEARINGS TO BE HELD
The U.S. Trade Representative(USTR) announced on April 3, that it has determined that the acts, policies, and practices of the Government of China related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation covered are” unreasonable or discriminatory and burden or restrict U.S. commerce” and is proposing retaliatory tariffs on some 1300 items. USTR is seeking public comment on the proposed tariffs and will hold a public hearing regarding a proposed determination on appropriate action. USTR proposes an additional duty of 25 percent tariff on a list of products from China. The list of products, defined by 8-digit subheadings of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), is set out below.April 2, 2018
There is money and business management support available for the commercialization of good ideas in the health industry sector. In the second annual The Autonomous Patient: Entrepreneurs Driving Healthcare II© event held at Automation Alley, industry thought leaders, entrepreneurs with technologies, devices and pharmaceuticals, business incubators, and representatives from private and public financing sources shared their battle-honed perspectives and blunt advice to current and would-be entrepreneurs involved or interested in the burgeoning healthcare space. Rounding out their insight and advice was some practical workshop information on the regulatory environment in which ideas must be turned into action. An engaged audience took away some valuable advice from the keynote remarks, four panel sessions, questions and the networking discussions that took place around them.March 28, 2018
On March 23, 2018, a United States District Court enforced a “no-challenge” clause in a patent license agreement that prohibited the licensee from challenging the licensed patents at the U.S. Patent Office. The court ordered the licensee to file motions with the Patent Office withdrawing its petitions for inter partes review of the licensed patents, among other things. Dodocase VR, Inc. v. MerchSource, LLC, No. 17-cv-07088-EDL (N.D. Cal. Mar. 23, 2018).March 26, 2018STEEL AND ALUMINUM TARIFFS UPDATE: MORE COUNTRIES GIVEN ‘TEMPORARY’ EXEMPTIONS; BUTZEL TEAM IN PLACE AND WORKING ON CLIENT PRODUCT EXEMPTIONS
Hours before stiff tariffs on steel and aluminum (25% and 10% respectively) that were first announced by President Trump two weeks ago became effective, the White House on March 22, 2018 issued a new set of Proclamations temporarily exempting imports from “countries with important security relationships” with the U.S. – i.e., Argentina, Australia, Brazil, all European Union countries, and South Korea -- in order to continue discussions “on satisfactory alternative means to address the threatened impairment to the national security by imports of steel articles from those countries.” Major exporters not included were Japan, China, India, and Turkey.March 22, 2018Jump to PageMichigan Department of Environmental Quality Requires POTW’s to Reduce and Eliminate PFOA/PFOS Through Industrial Pretreatment Programs
Publicly Owned Treatment Works (“POTWs”) with Industrial Pretreatment Programs are evaluating facilities that discharge into the POTW to determine whether companies are discharging perfluorooctanoic acid (“PFOA”) or perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (“PFOS”) (collectively, “PFAS”) into the POTW. As part of the State of Michigan’s initiative to track down and eliminate potential sources of PFAS in drinking water, The Department of Environmental Quality (“DEQ”) sent notices to Michigan POTWs reminding them of the state’s previously established and applicable Water Quality Standards (“WQS”) for PFAS , warning that a POTW that passes PFAS through its treatment plant in concentrations exceeding these WQS is in violation of the POTW’s NPDES permit and state law.March 20, 2018
The Commerce Department (DOC) published the actual procedure for “individuals and organizations using steel or aluminum articles in business activities in the United States” to seek product exemptions from the Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports announced by President Trump on March 8 2018. These product exemptions are separate from the country exemptions that the President has invited individual nations (other than Canada and Mexico) to attempt to negotiate.