Business Law Advisory

March 2006

INFORMATION MANAGEMENT & ELECTRONIC DISCOVERY (IMeD): Effective data management and retention programs have never been more important. For businesses ranging from healthcare to financial institutions to publicly-held companies, new standards impose drastic penalties for failure to maintain both paper and electronic data responsibly. During 2005, for businesses in litigation, the failure to identify, preserve and produce electronic data has resulted in millions of -- and in one case, more than a billion -- dollars in judgments.

Grant Cowan 513.651.6745

GOVERNMENT RELATIONS: 2006 is an important election year. Federal midterm elections are on tap (all seats in the House of Representatives and a third of Senate seats will be up for grabs), and numerous state elections will also be contested. It will be vitally important for businesses regulated by or doing business with the government to make their voices heard. Corporations are barred by law from making contributions to candidates at the federal level and in most states. Corporations are allowed to participate in the political process by organizing PACs, which may accept contributions from individuals affiliated with the corporation and then give direct contributions to candidates. Navigating the election law minefield -- from providing advice on formation of PACs to filing of periodic campaign finance reports with the Federal Election Commission or related state agencies can be safely maneuvered.

Amy Cubbage

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW: The U.S. Supreme Court won’t review the patent infringement dispute between Research in Motion Ltd. and NTP Inc., foreclosing an appeal by the BlackBerry mobile device maker against NTP’s suit. An injunction against RIM in the case could force the company to shut down the BlackBerry service or find a technical workaround to avoid the contested technology. RIM is currently trying to have NTP's patents declared invalid by the U.S. Patent Office.

Stephen Albainy-Jenei

TAX LAW:IRS Scrutiny of Tax-Exempt OrganizationsInternal Revenue Service Commissioner Mark Everson recently announced that the IRS will begin stepping up efforts to identify abuses occurring among tax exempt organizations. Everson noted that the IRS intends to focus its efforts on four issues: (i) abusive tax avoidance transactions; (ii) excessive compensation; (iii) credit counseling agencies; and (iv) diversion of funds to support terrorist activities. The Commissioner was also quoted as saying that recent events such as September 11, 2001, the collapse of several publicly-traded corporations due to executive mismanagement and the loss of billions of dollars in tax revenues due in part to tax shelters, have contributed to the heightened scrutiny.

Jud B. Sims