Fearing the burdens of U.S. court litigation, many foreign companies doing business with American counter-parties insist on forum selection clauses that call for resolution of disputes outside of U.S. courts, either in foreign courts or international arbitration. High on the list of objectives may be avoiding U.S.-style discovery, which can justifiably strike fear into the hearts of non-U.S. companies. However, before congratulating themselves too heartily, such companies should consider the often overlooked provisions of a U.S. statute that authorizes U.S. courts to order discovery for use in certain foreign legal proceedings. Continue Reading
The United States government has a powerful new tool to gain access to data stored overseas – the CLOUD Act, which was enacted this spring. If you are a company based overseas, particularly if you use a cloud service provider with a significant U.S. presence, it just got a lot easier for the U.S. government to get your data, and the data you hold for your customers.
Background to the CLOUD Act
Since 1986, U.S. law enforcement’s access to electronic data held by private third parties has been regulated by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA,18 U.S.C. § 2510 et seq). That law was enacted, in part, to extend government restrictions on wire taps from telephone calls to include transmissions of electronic data by computer and stored electronic communications. These issues are addressed in Title II of ECPA, known as the Stored Communications Act (SCA). While ECPA and the SCA have been amended several times since 1986, their primary provisions have remained the same, meaning that much of American law relating to government access to electronic data held by third parties was in fact drafted several years before email was commonly used and the World Wide Web was even created. Continue Reading
In late June, there were reports that the Trump Administration would use emergency powers to restrict Chinese investment in the United States. On Wednesday, the White House backed away from that position after the House of Representatives passed a bill on Tuesday expanding and increasing the powers of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). The bill is called the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA). Continue Reading
KEPCO is at the heart of an inquiry into the alleged repeated import of North Korean coal into the Republic of Korea. Reportedly, 8 other Korean companies and 2 other banks may also be involved and may also be under investigation.
The story may have come as a shock to some, who saw President Trump’s visit with the North Korean leader Kim Jung Un as a sign of a coming détente. However, that meeting resulted in very little substantive change by the DPRK or the United States, and UN and U.S. sanctions remain in place. Continue Reading
A recent California case may force companies doing business with foreign entities to reconsider—and maybe rewrite—their contracts. In Rockefeller Tech. Invs. (Asia) VII v. Changzhou Sinotype Tech. Co., No. B272170, 2018 WL 2455092 (Cal. App. June 1, 2018), the California Court of Appeal held that parties may not contract around the formal service requirements of the Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents, commonly referred to as the Hague Service Convention. The decision could have profound implications for international business.
What is Prop 65?
Prop 65 is a California law that requires California consumers receive warnings regarding the presence of chemicals that cause cancer or reproductive toxicity. The law is highly technical, constantly evolving and actively enforced by the government and private enforcers. Continue Reading
‘Tis the season to wonder, what will 2018 bring? We may speculate on things like a private company making a moon landing or a peace accord with North Korea. We may be certain of things like well-intentioned gym memberships and a host of new-you products.
Somewhere between speculation and certainty we find the U.S. Government’s scrutiny of foreign direct investment in the United States. The recently proposed Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) reform introduced in Congress sheds some light on the future of CFIUS reviews. Continue Reading
The U.S. Copyright Office is making changes to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) safe harbor agent registration process. The changes impact both new online service providers as well as existing online service providers who have already registered an agent. Read on for details about what you will need to do. Continue Reading
HERE WE ANSWER A FEW OF THE QUESTIONS THAT YOU MAY HAVE
What does decertification mean?
For the time being, decertification is a solely U.S. issue. Under the Iran nuclear agreement (known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA), Iran agreed to limits on its nuclear program in exchange for relief from U.S. and UN sanctions. Soon after the JCPOA was signed, the U.S. Congress passed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA). That law requires the president to certify to Congress every 90 days that Iran is meeting the terms of the nuclear agreement and that continuing to waive sanctions on Iran is vital to the security interests of the United States. President Trump has stated that on October 15, he will decertify Iran under INARA on the grounds that continuing to waive sanctions is not in the national security interests of the United States. Continue Reading
CFIUS has the power to unwind your M&A deal. That power will likely expand. That is the headline.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) reviews acquisitions by foreign parties of “critical industries” and “critical infrastructure” in the United States. The inter-agency committee’s actions warrant plenty of explanation, and you can find much of it here.