Patenting Considerations for Artificial Intelligence in Biotech and Synthetic Biology

By Terri Shieh-Newton, PhD, Marguerite McConihe

Artificial Intelligence (AI) inventions have aided development in nearly every industry, but perhaps none more so than synthetic biology. For synthetic biology researchers, AI has developed into a vital tool to create cutting edge applications. Growth is expected to accelerate with the AI healthcare market set to reach $6.6 billion by 2021, a 40 percent growth from its current size. Biotech and synthetic biology companies that use AI and investors in these companies should be aware of various legal aspects related to patenting.  This blog is part 1 of a multi-part series that explores various patenting considerations for AI in biotech and synthetic biology.

Recap of Federal Register Notice on Artificial Intelligence (AI) Patent Issues

By Marc T. Morley, Michael T. Renaud, Paul S. Brockland

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is increasingly becoming important across a diverse spectrum of technologies and businesses. As AI grows in importance in business and technology, so too grows the number of patent applications and the potential for uncertainty. Therefore, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) must continue to ensure the appropriate balance in the administration of our IP system. To help achieve that appropriate balance, the USPTO recently published a notice to the Federal Register (“Notice”) posing questions regarding the intersection of patent law with AI.

Issuing Stock Options Under an Equity Incentive Plan

By Jenna Stewart

Private companies often adopt equity incentive plans in order to issue stock options to their employees, directors and consultants.  However, once the plan is adopted, there are a number of things that a Company should consider when granting stock options.  This article provides a list of questions for private companies to consider when issuing stock options under an equity incentive plan.

California Law Impacts All Categories of Independent Contractors – Not Just Gig Workers – What Your Business Needs to Do Now

By Jennifer B. Rubin & Audrey Nguyen

California Governor Gavin Newsom has now signed AB 5 into law, effectively ban nearly all categories of independent contractors – not just gig economy workers. AB 5 will become effective on January 1, 2020 for all businesses that contract with individuals who perform services in California. Here is a summary of the law and what businesses need to do now.

Creating a Board of Directors: Key Considerations for Startup Companies

By Keunjung Cho

One of the most important decisions that a startup entrepreneur can make is creating a board of directors that will assist the entrepreneur in growing and governing the business.  A company’s board of directors is tasked with  overseeing and advising management, making key decisions about the company’s business strategies, and representing the interests of the company and its stockholders.

Five Common Equity Incentive Plan Mistakes

By Sebastian Lucier

Equity Incentive Plans (aka, Stock Option Plans) are a standard feature in nearly every start-up.  Although the basic concept (granting an equity interest to an employee or other service provider) is simple enough, there are a few administrative and legal technicalities that need to be respected.  Below is a list of five common mistakes that start-ups make when administering their Equity Incentive Plans.

You’ve Got Mail! Emails May Be Subject to Stockholder Books and Records Requests

By Zachary Liebnick and Zane Polston

Delaware corporations have always been required to provide certain information to their stockholders under Section 220 of the Delaware General Corporation Law (DGCL), but the scope and form of that information  has naturally changed as technology advances.  A recent expansion of the type of documents that corporations may be required to provide occurred in a recent case in which the Delaware Supreme Court held in KT4 Partners LLC v. Palantir Technologies, Inc., that a corporation may be required to produce emails and other electronically stored records at the request of stockholders who bring books and records requests under Section 220.

Why You Need Proprietary Information and Inventions Assignment Agreements

By Daniel Marden

Protecting your company’s intellectual property rights is essential during all stages of your company’s growth.  One of the first steps you can take to protect your company’s intellectual property rights is to have all advisors, consultants, contractors and employees of your company enter into Proprietary Information and Inventions Assignment Agreements (“PIIAs”), also known as Confidential Information and Inventions Assignment Agreements. 

The California Consumer Privacy Law is Here. Get Prepared. (Webinar)

By Cynthia Larose and Brian Lam

This webinar provides an overview of the act including who it applies to, the types of data covered, and the new rights granted by the act such as data access, deletion, and portability. Actionable, business-focused advice is provided regarding preparing data inventories and process flows to support these new rights, as well as business model considerations in light of the act’s guidance on data monetization and the sanctions and remedies that companies may face. 

Employers Beware: Judge Greenlights Employee’s Privacy Lawsuit Over Dropbox Access

By Katharine BeattieCynthia LaroseJennifer Budoff

Many employers maintain policies limiting their employees’ expectation of privacy in the workplace, including policies that eliminate any expectation of privacy when using company-issued electronic devices. While employers may think that having such a policy would protect them from invasion of privacy claims under the Fourth Amendment or state law, a recent federal court decision may cause employers to think otherwise. This post examines this decision and provides best practices for avoiding issues with employees’ privacy interests.

Musical.ly’s COPPA Failure Falls Flat at the FTC; Will Pay Note-Worthy Fine

By Cynthia LaroseElana Safner

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has handed down its largest civil penalty ever for violations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”). Musical.ly, now known as TikTok after a 2018 merger, agreed to a fine of $5.7 million for its violations. The settlement was significant not only because of its record amount, but also because it includes a specific agreement on how the website will operate going forward.

California’s Privacy Act—Watch for an Expanding Private Right of Action

By Joshua BrionesEsteban MoralesMatthew Novian

The California Consumer Privacy Act takes effect on January 1, 2020, but amendments are expected. In an article recently published by Bloomberg Law, Mintz attorneys Joshua Briones, Esteban Morales and Matthew Novian discuss the April 9 hearing on SB-561, a bill that would expand the private right of action and remove compliance opportunities for businesses, and explain why the bill should be closely watched.

The Impact Terms Project: Defining the Standard for Impact

By Verna Krishnamurthy

The Impact Terms Project (“ITP”) was launched as a platform intended to provide guidance on best practices to entrepreneurs, investors and other stakeholders in the rapidly-evolving social enterprise space. To this end, the ITP covers a broad range of topics from corporate formation and financing to exit terms, building a foundation of resources on “what’s market” for those involved in impact. The ITP’s effort to build institutional knowledge in the space not only better enables entrepreneurs to tackle the complex questions that arise in the formation and growth of impact-driven businesses, but also help establish a framework of knowledge on impact investing for potential investors.

What Startups Should Know About the California Consumer Privacy Act

By Brian Lam

Privacy and data security is a serious concern for many startups.  They understand that end users, consumers, partners, and investors are now concerned like never before about how data is collected, used, stored and transferred.  A bad data event quickly turns into a bad news story, can turn off users, discourage investors, and bring regulatory scrutiny and enforcement. 

The SEC Confirms the Limited Scope and Nature of Utility Tokens

By Marine Bouaziz and Daniel DeWolf

On April 3, 2019, Finhub, the SEC’s Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology, released the “Framework for ‘Investment Contract’ analysis of digital assets” (the “Framework”) providing principles for analyzing whether a digital asset[1] constitutes an investment contract, and thus a security. The same day, the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance (the “Division”) published its first No-Action Letter on digital tokens. The No-Action Letter applies the Framework to a digital asset created by Turnkey Jet, Inc. (“Turnkey Jet”), a company that provides interstate air charter services.