The Metaverse, often characterized as the next level in the evolution of the Internet, is intended to be a virtual-reality, three-dimensional environment where users are able to interact meaningfully with not only other users but with the virtual environment itself. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook (re-branded as Meta) has characterized the Metaverse as “an embodied internet where you’re in the experience, not just looking at it.”
When one seeks to protect one’s intellectual property, patents, trademarks and copyrights immediately come to mind. Often given short shrift is the "forgotten stepchild" —trade secrets. Trade secrets may encompass a wide range of business information that (a) has value because it is not generally known in the trade and (b) is subject to reasonable efforts to preserve its confidentiality. When considering trade secrets, “business information” should be given a very broad definition and may include, but is not necessarily limited to, processes, procedures, research projects, nonpublic company documents (relating to, for example, recruiting, accounting, financial information and legal information), drawings, blueprints, laboratory notebooks, test data, training manuals, customer information and supplier information.
Next month, the Ohio High School Athletic Association (“OHSAA”) member schools will vote on whether to allow high school athletes to be paid for the name, image, and likeness (“NIL”). If approved, Ohio will join Alaska, California, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, and Utah, which already allow high school athletes to profit from their NIL. Other states, like Tennessee and Mississippi, recently amended their NIL statutes in a manner that will likely allow for NIL in high school sports.
In December 2020, Congress signed into law the No Surprises Act (NSA) addressing surprise medical billing. Specifically, the NSA prohibits out-of-network health care providers and facilities from balance billing certain commercially insured patients in certain circumstances.
The federal No Surprises Act (the “NSA”) requires all healthcare service providers to provide accurate and reliable cost estimates (Good Faith Estimates) to patients paying cash for services. The NSA’s Good Faith Estimate requirement has not received the media or industry press enjoyed by the balance billing prohibitions applicable to out-of-network (“OON”) emergency services providers, OON ancillary service providers at in-network facilities, and OON air ambulance providers, but may actually be the biggest surprise in the NSA.
Last month, a jury in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina found a former executive of Ohio-based Contech Engineered Solutions LLC, Brent Brewbaker, guilty of conspiracy to rig bids, conspiring to commit fraud, and related charges on over 300 North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) projects. Brewbaker faces a maximum of 10 years in prison for the bid-rigging conspiracy count and 20 years for each of the other counts.
Stites & Harbison attorneys, Shannon Sprinkle and Peter Critikos, joined other cybersecurity stakeholders gathered a few blocks from the firm’s Atlanta office for the American Bar Association’s Cybersecurity and Data Privacy conference to exchange thoughts on the state of the industry and market developments. Shannon and Peter share their thoughts on some key highlights from those discussions. While geopolitical events have injected much uncertainty into the space, several trends have developed, which are unlikely to disappear anytime soon.