The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (F.D.I.C.) has requested that all banks engaging in cryptocurrency-related activities notify the agency of those activities. The request came in the form of an April 7, 2022 letter, FIL-16-2022, to F.D.I.C.-supervised banks. In that letter, the F.D.I.C. summarizes its concerns regarding banks’ participation in cryptocurrency-related activities. Those concerns include the potentials for consumer confusion, risks to banks’ information technology and cybersecurity systems and money laundering. The F.D.I.C. also wrote that certain inherent characteristics of cryptocurrencies, including practical challenges with identifying digital assets’ ownership, raise unique questions about banks’ ability to ensure safety and soundness. Read More
Nearly one year after they became a household term, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have begun to make their first appearances in American court decisions. These early cases involve two of America’s best-known names in media: recording artist Jay-Z and Playboy. While many legal questions about NFTs remain, these first decisions suggest that courts will apply traditional legal principles to at least some of the issues these tokens raise. Read More
Before a technology startup becomes a company, it spends a period of time as simply a project. The founding team is usually one or two individuals building and testing products as they try to validate a demand for them in the market. At some point, founders ask themselves: when is it time to turn this project into a company?
This article tackles that question with respect to a particular type of business venture, which is a growth-oriented tech startup. By this, we mean an organization whose products incorporate intellectual property (I.P.) and which seeks to scale quickly after confirming product-market fit. Read More
On March 15, 2021, California brought “dark pattern” prohibitions squarely into the mainstream of American privacy and software design law. The new law will affect some U.S. companies directly, and a far larger number of companies indirectly. Read More
This article is the first in a new series called Talking Tech from the Perkins Thompson Intellectual Property Practice Group. Talking Tech features interviews with tech company founders and employees about their highs, lows, and problems they’ve solved.
Today we interview Loida Otero and Carlo DiCelico, the founders of Neon Labs, a startup in Portland, Maine. Perkins Thompson attorney Adam Nyhan is a non-legal advisor to Neon Labs. Read More
Download the Legal Checklist for Early-Stage Tech Companies
In a tech company’s early days, it’s easy for the founders to make legal missteps. Most mistakes are unintentional and result from a lack of knowledge or legal budget rather than bad intent. Nonetheless, it’s critical to remedy them as the company moves forward. Failure to do so can place the company in breach of its business-to-business contracts; it can create uncertainty about the company’s ownership of its intellectual property; and it can create a host of operational risks. It can also kill or devalue outside investment deals when investors discover these problems in their due diligence. Read More
The COVID-19 crisis has spurred many people to begin offering services as freelancers, whether online or in safe-distance, in-person ways. For those new to freelancing, we offer this guide to key business-law issues that you should understand as a business owner. These are the answers we provide to questions from our own freelancer clients. Read More
User Experience (UX) design is a bedrock part of software and website development. It includes the study and optimization of the user’s experience – the totality of the ways in which humans interact with and experience products. (Definitions of UX vary; in the classic definition by designer Don Norman, it includes a person’s interaction with not just a product but the company that provides it as well). Software companies employ UX designers in a range of ways including market research, the development of product business requirements, wireframing, prototype design, and watching behind two-way mirrors as testers struggle to navigate interfaces. Read More
Hiring employees presents unique challenges for tech companies that do not confront other American businesses. In our experience as outside counsel to tech companies, legal mis-steps typically result from oversight rather than a deliberate intention to flout the law. The checklist below is a structured guide to avoiding these common pitfalls in the hiring process. It applies to Software-as-a-Service providers, custom software developers, mobile app developers, I.T. consulting firms and other tech employers. Read More
Governor Mills signed into law “An Act to Promote Keeping Workers in Maine” (26 M.R.S. §§599-A and 599-B), set to become effective September 19, 2019, placing significant limitations on the use of employee noncompete agreements and prohibiting agreements among employers not to solicit or hire each other’s employees. In passing this legislation, Maine joins its New England neighbors, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, in restricting the use and enforceability of noncompete agreements and joins the national trend in striking down so-called “no poaching” agreements. Read More