BHL Bogen

BHL Bogen
BridgehouseLaw LLP - Your Business Law Firm

Monday, November 27, 2017

North Carolina Legislative News

The North Carolina Legislature has been pretty active on different topics over the past few months. Below is a quick overview of some bills dealing with the Bright Futures Act, personal injury bankruptcy trust claims, the alcoholic beverage control commission laws, and small wireless communications infrastructure.

House Bill 68 (February 9,2017)

This act encourages the establishment of bright markets by enabling the lease of additional digital infrastructure necessary for economic development and innovation in key markets, including broadband, retail online services, internet of things, gridpower, health care, training, and education.

Prior to making any detailed statement, the responsible official shall consult with and obtain the comments of any agency which has either jurisdiction by law or special expertise with respect to any environmental impact.

Finally, cities are authorized to sell or lease any public enterprise that it may own upon any terms and conditions that the council may deem best.

Senate Bill 470 (March 30, 2017)

This act amends Rule 26 of the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure relating to discovery in bankruptcy trust personal injury claims.

Senate Bill 155 (June 30, 2017)

This acts aims at making various changes to the alcoholic beverage control commission laws, among which the following:

  • Create Spirituous Liquor Special Event Permit to Allow Distilleries to Give Free Tasting
  • Allow Sale of Specified Alcoholic Beverages at Auction by Licensed Auctioneers
  • Allow the Sale of Alcoholic Beverages Before Noon on Sundays, Subject to Local Government Approval
  • Authorize Sale of Crowlers by Retail Permittees
  • Authorize Off-Site Storage Location for Breweries, Wineries, and Distilleries
  • Authorize Sale of Unfortified Wine on Premises by Retail Businesses
  • Authorize Tastings During Brewery Tours
  • Authorize Certain Persons to Sample Alcoholic Beverages for Purposes of Sensory Analysis, Quality Control or Education
  • Amend Homebrewing Laws
  • Clarify Law Governing Relationship between Breweries and Affiliated Retailers
  • Authorize Brewery Taprooms to Sell Other Alcoholic Beverages upon Receiving the Appropriate Permit
  • Authorize Breweries With Production Facilities in Other States to Distribute to Wholesales
  • Authorize Farm Breweries
  • Amend Law Governing Brewery Sales at Additional Retail Locations
  • Tax Compliance and Reports
  • Simplify Local Licensing Applications
  • Clarify Winery Special Event Locations

House Bill 310 (July 21, 2017)

This act reforms collocation of small wireless communications infrastructure to aid in deployment of new technologies.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Wage-Fixing, No-Poaching Agreements to be Prosecuted Criminally under new Antitrust Guidance 

On October 20, 2016, the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division (Antitrust Division) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) jointly released important Guidance aimed at informing human resource professionals (and others involved in hiring and compensation decisions) on the topic of how the antitrust laws apply to the field of employment.
The DOJ and FTC announced that agreements between companies not to hire each other's employees (no-poaching agreements) and agreements not to compete on salaries or terms of employment (wage-fixing agreements) would be "criminally investigated and prosecuted as hardcore cartel conduct." 
To date, both types of agreements, whether entered into directly or through a third-party intermediary, have consistently been considered per se illegal, but have been treated as civil violations of the antitrust laws. Moving forward, the stakes are much higher, with both companies and individual employees facing potential felony convictions for the same conduct.
However, not all interactions or agreements with a competing company or their employees regarding hiring and compensation practices violate the antitrust laws. The new Guidance recognized exceptions to the general rule against no-poaching and wage-fixing agreements and explained that competitors could exchange information regarding hiring and compensation practices through a neutral third party.
With companies and their employees expecting an increasing antitrust scrutiny regarding their hiring and compensation practices, companies across industries should review their hiring policies pre-emptively to avoid compliance and enforcement consequences.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

"Google" is not Generic

The case involved whether a trademark owner should lose rights in instances when the trademark is frequently used as a verb such as in the phrase "Google it."
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found that "googled" may have become synonymous for Internet searching, but that does not mean that the company cannot protect its name.
Under federal law, anyone can wipe out a trademark as well as the legal protection it officer, if it can be shown that most of the public thinks of the mark as a common work for a good or service. This has happened to other brands in the past, including Kleenex. This has come to be known as "generocide."
The court cited an earlier decision involving a restaurant that replaced customers' order for "a coke" with a non Coca-Cola beverage. Coke won the case because the restaurant failed to show that people thought of cola and coke interchangeably.
While Google is dominant for search engines, it is not dominant that its trademark is in doubt. Even with the verbing of its trademark, consumers still clearly understand that there are other search engines such as Bing and Yahoo! and that Google merely denotes one of them.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Trump Sparks Controversy with Talks of Ending Diversity Visa Program
On November 1, 2017 President Donald Trump called upon Congress to end the United States' diversity green card lottery in response to a terror attack in New York City which left 8 people dead and 12 others seriously injured. The perpetrator, Sayfullo Saipov, 29, was identified as an immigrant from Uzbekistan who entered the United States in 2010 through the Diversity Visa Lottery Program. The Diversity Visa Lottery program is aimed at boosting immigration from countries which traditionally send fewer immigrants to the US. The program was created as a part of a bipartisan immigration effort in Congress in 1990 and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush. The program grants 50,000 green cards per year to countries with low immigration rates to the United States, mainly from Africa and Eastern Europe.
President Trump stated, "This program grants visas not on a basis of merit, but simply because applicants are randomly selected in an annual lottery and the people put in that lottery are not that country's finest."
Trump argued that instead of the lottery, the United States should institute a "merit-based system" in which only those with valuable trade skills would be permitted to immigrate to the US. In August, he endorsed a bill introduced by two Republican senators which would streamline the merit-based system and cut legal immigration in half by 2027. The Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act has been in the Senate Judiciary Committee since last February and similar legislation was introduced to the House Judiciary Committee in September.
However, the President has received backlash from experts in the immigration community. In an interview with Associated Press, Fatina Abdrabboh, Director of the American Muslim Advocacy League, stated, "The ending of this program certainly, I think, would be a symbolic defeat and loss in terms of our standing, really, with the whole world."
Washington immigration attorney Kenneth Rinzler concurs with Trump in that the Diversity Visa Program has some deficiencies but argues that the problem is not the vetting of these individuals.
"It's not legitimate to use the recent terrorist attack to knock this program because they (applicants) have to go through the same vetting as everybody else," he says. Rinzler, like other professionals, believes that there are concerns about all green card vetting, therefore, it makes no sense to single out diversity visas.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

SCAM Alert: USCIS Does Not Request Form I-9 by Email

Please watch out for FAKE email accounts pretending to come from USCIS and requesting Form I-9 information by email.

The USCIS has confirmed this email account is FRAUDULENT: This is NOT a USCIS address, and you should not respond to any emails coming from this address.

The body of the email may contain USCIS and Office of the Inspector General labels, your address, and a fraudulent download button that links to a NON-Government Web Address ( Do NOT respond to these emails or click the links in them.

Note: Employers are NOT required to submit Forms I-9 to USCIS. Employers are required to keep these forms on file for a certain period of time for each person on their payroll.

If you receive an email from the fraudulent email address “”, please report it to the Federal Trade Commission. If you are not sure if it is a scam, forward the suspicious email to the USCIS webmaster at . USCIS will review the emails received and share with law enforcement agencies as appropriate.


Full notice is available at the USCIS website: