LEGAL THOUGHTS

This blog contains our personal opinions on topics that interest us.

Hope for those with a mountain of student loan debt

​ Student loan debt hit $1.41 trillion in 2019 (see Investopedia link). The average loan debt per borrower hit $35,359 in 2018. The average loan debt however masks the amount of debt carried by borrowers seeking graduate degrees. You would assume student loan debt would be frequently challenged for discharge in bankruptcy. But, it is not because there is a myth that student loan debt is nearly impossible to discharge. Mr. Rosenberg borrowed money to attend undergraduate school and law school. After graduating from law school, his loan debt was $116,464.00. Fourteen year later, his loan debt has grown to $221,385.00. Mr. Rosenberg filed for bankruptcy to discharge his $221,385.00 of stu

Memorial Day - Honoring Those Who Have Served

On this Memorial Day Weekend, let's all remember the men and women of our armed forces who have died while serving our country in peace and in war. Photo by Justin Casey on Unsplash

Cookies and consent

By this point in time, no one in Europe should be surprised that website cookies require a visitor's consent. And, under the GDPR Art 4(11), consent must be freely given, specific, informed, and an unambiguous indication of the visitor's agreement. On May 4, 2020, the European Data Protection Broad (EDPB) issued guidelines on consent that foreclose two techniques (see link). First, cookie walls. There was conflicting guidance from various DPAs concerning cookie walls (cookie wall not permissible see post 1, post 2) (cookie wall permissible see post 1). The EDPB clearly states that cookie walls are not permissible. Second, implied consent through use of website. The EDPB clearly states th

Switzerland off the hot seat

Earlier I blogged about how Switzerland revised its copyright law, effective as of April 1, 2020. I predicted the revision would not satisfy the US interests. I was wrong. In the 2020 Special 301 Report published on April 29, 2020 (see press release), the US Trade Representative took Switzerland off the Watch List "due to long-awaited amendments to the Swiss Copyright Act, which came into force on April 1, 2020. The amendments address specific difficulties in its system of online copyright protection and enforcement." (Report at pages 7, 31).

COVID-19 Highlights Issues Facing Cannabis Businesses

Even before COVID-19, applicants and recipients of cannabis licenses were experiencing extensive market stress from multiple considerations. The troubles facing cannabis businesses have investors eyeing significant opportunities. Though many factors are causing businesses to fail, four important ones are: The first is local control. To obtain a cannabis license, your cannabis business must first secure local approval to proceed. Each local community (if they even permit commercial cannabis activity) has a different regulatory regime for each “new” business. From permitting to local licensing to comprehensive development agreements, would-be cannabis licensees experience a myriad of barriers

Who would anticipate a pandemic? L Brands did

In February 2020, Sycamore Partners agreed to buy 55% of Victoria Secret's lingerie brand for $525 million. Then, the majority of the US was shut down by COVID19. Because of L Brands actions in response to COVID19, Sycamore attempted to renegotiate the terms of the acquisition. L Brands declined. On April 22nd, Sycamore sued L Brands in Delaware Chancery Court claiming that L Brands breached the acquisition agreement and that they would not complete the acquisition (see Sycamore complaint, hosted on Mega.nz. On April 23rd, L Brands countersued Sycamore in Delaware Chancery Court asserting that the parties agreed in the acquisition agreement that Sycamore would bear the direct and indirect

HAL-9000 cannot be an inventor

In response to a petition requesting that an artificial intelligence be named an inventor on a patent application, the USPTO issued a decision stating that inventors must be a person (see April 22, 2020 Petition Decision Application No. 16/524,350). In making that determination, the USPTO found the plain reading of the patent statutes to require an inventor to be a person. The USPTO also found that the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that inventors must be natural persons. And, that the regulations issued by the USPTO requires inventors to be people. As an interesting note, the American Invents Act (AIA) states that only "persons" can petition for post-issuance review of gra

Georgia's Official Code Annotated is not copyrightable

On April 27, 2020, the US Supreme Court held that the State of Georgia's Official Code Annotated is not copyrightable (see Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org, Inc., No. 18-1150 (Sup. Ct) hosted on Mega.nz). The Annotated Code includes not only the laws but also annotations to judicial opinions, opinions of the state attorney general, and other secondary resources. The Annotated Code is updated by the Code Revision Commission which is mostly made up of state legislators. The Commission is funded by the State and it is staffed by the Office of Legislative Counsel which services the legislative branch. Every year the Commission submits proposed changes to the legislature which then approves the

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