On Tuesday, January 14, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit struck down the FCC’s latest effort to mandate “net neutrality”– or promote internet “openness” – under the auspices of implementing the Communications Act. At issue in the case is the Commission’s Open Internet Order, which imposed disclosure, anti-blocking, and anti-discrimination requirements on broadband providers. These requirements were intended to promote investment in broadband deployment by guarding against possible anti-competitive conduct limiting consumer access to internet edge services (e.g., Amazon). The Court, in a decision written by Judge David S. Tatel, noted the narrowness of the Court’s inquiry—not to assess the wisdom of the FCC’s net neutrality regulations, but to determine whether the Commission had proven that the rules were within the scope of the Commission’s statutory grant of authority. With that in mind, the Court invalidated all but the first (and least intrusive) FCC requirement: disclosure of internet traffic management practices.
The Mexican Senate has introduced a constitutional amendment that, if approved, would open the country’s oil market to foreign and private investors. Currently, oil production is controlled exclusively by the state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex). The amendment, however, would encourage private and foreign investment by allowing companies to partner with Pemex through the use of production and profit-sharing contracts and licenses, among other things.
In February 2013, the Instituto Nacional Da Propriedade Industrial (the “Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office”), ruled that Gradiente Electronica (“Gradiente”), not Apple, owned the “iPhone” mark in Brazil. The “iPhone” term was registered by Gradiente in 2000, 7 years prior to Apple’s release of its iPhone. The decision came 3 months after Gradiente launched a low-cost Android smartphone using the iPhone brand (see their model here).
The Second Circuit has affirmed the injunctions against Argentina in NML Capital, Ltd. v. Republic of Argentina, a case that we have been following in this blog (see here and here), although the amended injunctions shall be stayed pending the resolution by the Supreme Court of a timely petition for a writ of certiorari.
Imagine yourself the CEO of a successful multinational company. In the past few years, you have overseen ACME’s expansion into Latin America – a market whose demographic profile holds the promise of mouthwatering profits for your company, particularly with the upcoming holiday season. As they say, la vida es buena!
When the Supreme Court issued its opinion in U.S. v. Windsor on June 26, it invalidated the federal definitions of “spouse” and “marriage,” and, in so doing, altered employer obligations with respect to same-sex marriages. Although the media coverage of this decision has understandably focused on other implications of the decision, it inevitably creates new challenges for employers. In this post, we will provide insight into how the decision will affect employers moving forward and provide suggestions as to how employers can best prepare in the face of new areas of uncertainty created by this decision.
Unexpectedly, the government of Argentina has decided to enforce law 23,316, enacted on May 23, 1986, regarding certain requirements for dubbing motion pictures and television programming (the “Dubbing Act”), which was only in the books and never implemented… until today. President Kirchner issued decree 933/2013, which after 27 years explains and expands the Dubbing Act (the “Decree”). Both regulations are full of confusing and contradictory clauses which will cause more than a headache to the film & TV industry and will be an invitation for litigation.
This spring U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) began implementation of a phased in Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, automation process. The Form I-94 is issued to all visitors entering the U.S. and assists CBP in tracking temporary non-immigrants, visa overstays, and other relevant information concerning foreign nationals entering the U.S. The new program created a paperless admission process with the ultimate goal of eliminating the paper I-94 card for foreign travelers. The automation enables CBP to organize admission data for sea and air entries easily and accessibly, saving an estimated $15.5 million per year in related costs (not from a reduction in paper). While the effort to move to an electronic system should be commended, the new system may make life a bit more complicated for employers sponsoring foreign workers due to the requirements of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification Form process. Travelers, with the exception of asylees and refugees who will continue to receive paper Form I-94 cards, will now receive an admission stamp together with a tear sheet providing instructions on how they may access and print their electronic Form I-94 by visiting www.cbp.gov/I94.
On May 30, 2013, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for El Salvadorians for an additional 18 months beginning September 10, 2013, and ending March 9, 2015.
What does this mean for employers?
For companies whose workforce may include individuals with TPS from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Syria, is critical to be familiar with the work authorization benefits of TPS to avoid issues in the Form I-9 employment eligibility verification process.
On June 6, 2013, the Internal Revenue Service issued Revenue Ruling 2013-14, which concludes that a Fideicomiso or a Mexican Land Trust (MLT) is not taxed as a “trust” for U.S. income tax purposes. While most practitioners have operated on that assumption, it is helpful to have official confirmation from the IRS.
Non-Mexican persons are prohibited from directly holding title to Mexican residential real property in restricted zones (so-called “Greenacre” in the Revenue Ruling). But non-Mexican persons, after obtaining the required permit, may hold such property through an MLT Agreement with a Mexican bank.