BHL Bogen

BHL Bogen
BridgehouseLaw LLP - Your Business Law Firm

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Donald Trump at the World Economic Forum

In January, President Donald Trump visited Davos, Switzerland,and gave a pro-growth, pro-America message at the World Economic Forum where he met with the heads of some of the biggest multinational companies in the world.

The business leaders represent some of the largest companies in Europe across multiple sectors of the economy, from financial services and telecommunications to sportswear, including a few German companies, such as Bayer AG, Thyssenkrupp AG, Siemens AG, SAP SE, and Adidas.
Siemens put Charlotte, NC in the international spotlight when its CEO Joe Kaeser told President Donald Trump that the company intends to develop its next generation of gas turbines in Charlotte thanks to Trump's tax reform.

This announcement was a stark contrast to an announcement last fall in which Siemens stated it intended to cut about 6,900 jobs worldwide, including 1,800 in the U.S., over the next several years to cut costs. 

Siemens currently employs about 1,650 at its Westinghouse Boulevard plant in Charlotte, NC, where workers make steam turbines and electrical generators for energy firms.

Friday, January 26, 2018


o not forget to make sure that your driver license or state issued identification follows the new guidelines set by the Real ID Act. Not every state may ensure compliancy in the same manner, so be sure to follow up with your state's new identification measures. For example, in North Carolina all forms of compliant identification with have a gold star in the top right.
Starting January 22, 2018, domestic air travel for several states has been restricted to compliant identification or having your driver's license/state ID along with another approved form of identification. The following are examples of alternative identification to provide along with a non-compliant license/state id (if needed): U.S. passport/passport card, DHS trusted traveler card, U.S. Department of Defense ID, permanent resident card, border crossing card, DHS-designated enhanced driver's license, federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID, foreign government-issued passport, etc. Some states have been granted extensions for compliancy, but they will expire by October 10, 2018 unless renewed. 

Any questions? Click the links below for further information.
Check to see your state's status: 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Thriving Business of German Board Games

In the digital era where videogames are a multibillion dollar industry board games have surprisingly kept pace. Between Spring 2016 and Spring 2017, U.S. sales of board games grew by 28% and revenues are expected to rise at a similar rate into the early 2020s. 

Much of this growth is attributed to the change of targeted audiences by board game makers from children to adults, specifically young adults. Low-overhead, social, card games such as "Cards Against Humanity," "Secret Hitler," and "Exploding Kittens" have sold exceptionally well. Kickstarter has become one of the catalytic platforms for the expansion of board games where anyone with a great idea and a contact at an industrial printing company can circumvent the usual toy-and-retail gatekeepers who decide which games live and those which remain mere concepts. The largest project category on Kickstarter is "Games" of which board games make up around 75%.

Growth has been particularly swift for a subgenre of "hobby" board games, e.g., "Settlers of Catan," which are aimed at more serious gamers.  Settlers of Catan, a multiplayer board game, was initially designed by Klaus Teuber and first published by Franckh-Kosmos Verlag as Die Siedler von Catan in 1995. While it took more than a decade to achieve notoriety, the board game has become one of the first German-style board games to achieve popularity outside of Europe. 

By 2015, the game had sold more than 22 million copies in 30 different languages. Games like Settlers of Catan, when compared with games like Monopoly and Cards Against Humanity, represent a niche market, but a market which is becoming more than a niche. According the hobby and collectibles trade publication ICv2, sales of hobby board games in the U.S. and Canada increased from an estimated $75 million to $305 million between 2013 and 2016.

One of the striking differences between North American and German board games becomes apparent when looking at the latter half of the 20th century. Successful American board games such as Risk, Axis & Allies, Star Fleet Battles and Victory in the Pacific typically paid homage to the World Wars, which for obvious reasons, wasn't a realistic model for Germans who grew up in the shadow of the Third Reich.

So what makes Germany so attractive to board game designers and enthusiasts? One of the genre's most famous present-day designers, Phil Ecklund, tells how he had not really hit his stride until he migrated from the US to Germany. In the 1970s he became frustrated with the narrow, child-oriented state of board games in the US. In an interview Ecklund stated: "One of the reasons I came to this country [Germany] is because I knew it was the place where people take board games really seriously. The designers have status. They put their name on the box, and people will buy based on their reputation." 

Monday, January 22, 2018

U.S. Lifts Ban on Refugees from 11 Countries

The U.S. announced on January 29, 2018 it was lifting its ban for refugees from high-risk countries but will implement tougher screening procedures to weed out potential extremists and criminals.
Applicants from 11 countries, largely Muslim-majority nations, will face tougher and more extensive risk-based assessments and background checks to be accepted. The list includes the countries of Egypt, Iran, Libya, South Sudan, Yemen, Sudan, Iraq, Mali, North Korea, Somalia, and Syria.
The Homeland Security Secretary and other officials have stated publicly that it is critically important that the U.S. government knows who is entering the country.  As such, the additional security measures will make it harder for extremists to enter the country and exploit the refugee program.
The new measures will include additional interviews of applicant's family members and close scrutiny of potential ties to organized crime. U.S. standards for refugee acceptance are already considered as one of the toughest in the world. The process typically takes one to two years.
Previously, in September 2017 the U.S. government capped the number of refugees the U.S. would accept at 45,000 in 2018. This is the lowest rate since the Refugee Act was created in 1980.

Monday, January 15, 2018

General Data Protection Regulation takes effect on May 25, 2018 in the European Union - Is your company ready?

May 25, 2018 will be a major date for companies operating in the EU that save, share, or collect personal data, as this is the date that the General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR") goes into effect.   

In fact, you might have already noticed that Google, Facebook and other big internet-companies have updated their privacy settings in recent weeks.  

"Personal data" is any data relating to an identified or identifiable person. The GDPR establishes new rules for data privacy and personal data, and the regulation will end the (sometimes vast) differences in data protection between the different EU-countries. 

The GDPR applies to any company that has activities in the EU, regardless of whether or not the actual processing takes place in the EU.
In addition to the well-known Right to Erasure, or more often referred to as "Right to be Forgotten" (Art. 17 of the GDPR), there are numerous other provisions that will require companies to revise their platforms and practices.. Of note is the requirement that a company be able to present evidence of its compliance with the new regulation upon request.  Companies must have a designated Data Protection Officer within the company, if the processed data is of a special category under the GDPR or if the processing is of large scale. An earlier draft where the position of a data protection officer was only mandatory for companies with over 250 employees was dismissed.

Each company will also need to file a record of processing activities, in which the purpose of the processing, the category of recipients and data subjects are laid out. This will also help with the requirement that companies account for all data usage.
Companies will need to have a security plan for collected data, which should address the company's protocol in the event of a breach. Most importantly all data needs to be stored on servers located in the EU and data breaches must be reported within 72 hours of discovery. Also companies must allow their customers to export their data and delete it at any time.
With the GDPR, the consequences of a data breach have also become more expensive. Under Art. 83 of the Regulation, the authorities are now allowed to fine a company up to 20 Million Euros or 4% of their annual turnover for a data breach. The amount of the fine is determined by the severity of the breach, whether there was intent or neglect by the company, how the controller works to clear up the breach, and any previous breaches. Additionally each individual whose data was affected by the breach has the right to compensation under the regulation.
Please contact BridgehouseLaw if you have questions about how the GDPR may affect your company.  

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

And don't forgot - you need your real ID for traveling in the USA!

You may have noticed new TSA signs at the airport recently. It reads "starting January 22, 2018, you will need a driver's license or ID form a state compliant with the REAL ID Act, astate that has extension for compliance, or an alternate ID to fly."

What does that even mean?
Drafted in 2005 in the wake of the September 11th attacks, President George W. Bush signed the REAL ID Act. It is intended to ensure driver's licenses were more uniform from state to state and more difficult to forge. It gave the states more than a decade to "establish minimum security standards for state issued driver's licenses and identification cards". However, this time has run out now for boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft. Starting January 22nd 2018, only IDs from a state in compliance with the REAL ID Act or an extension will be accepted when boarding an airplane in the U.S. for domestic flights.

So why should you care?
Currently, 24 states are still not in compliance with the REAL ID
Act, according to information from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the TSA (for a full map, see This means that as of January 22, 2018, passengers from those states may not board an aircraftwith their driver's license being the only form of identification provided. Passengers will need to have some kind of alternative identification, the most common being passports and military IDs (for a full list of acceptable forms of ID, see For now, all of the noncompliant states have an extension until October 10, 2017. If the extension does not get prolonged, January 22, 2018, will be the deadline for those states. Regardless, even if the extension gets renewed, starting October 1, 2020, REAL ID compliant licenses are the only form
of valid identification for domestic air travel. 

Why are certain IDs not compliant with the act? 
Using South Carolina as an example, the state actively fought against the REAL ID Act. As thengovernor Mark Sanford stated: "The act clearly violates the Founders' intent in offering the 10th Amendment, which states that all powers not given to the federal government are given to the people or the states". He also cited the costs of $17 billion to implement the law, which he considered an unfunded federal mandate. Therefore, in 2007, South Carolina lawmakers passed a bill that forbid the state from complying with the act. On the other hand, states like Michigan, Minnesota, New York, and Washington offer enhanced driver's licenses, which are compliant with the REAL ID Act. Still other states are in the process of switching to REAL ID compliant licenses.

What does this mean for you?
If you are a resident of one of the compliant states, nothing changes for you. The only form of identification you need for a domestic flight is your driver's license. For residents of a noncompliant state, it is advisable to have a valid passport or other form of acceptable ID ready in case there is no further extension granted. Plan accordingly, since it takes 46 weeks to get a new passport.

When you plan to travel with children, nothing changes for them. TSA does not require children under 18 years old to provide identification when traveling with a companion within the
United States.

Friday, January 05, 2018

"Click Here to Agree" to Ancestry DNA Owning Your DNA...Forever?

More than 3 million people have utilized the groundbreaking technology provided by's DNA test for ancestry and genealogy, AncestryDNA, with an increase in use in the last couple of years. With the hopes of discovering forgotten family histories, ethnic backgrounds, and genetic predispositions, users have willingly agreed to the online policy statements or terms and conditions without knowing the potential consequences. Recently, three key terms to which every customer must agree have come into question regarding genetic ownership and the uncertain ramifications thereafter.

AncestryDNA requires its customers to comply with the following: 
1) AncestryDNA will gain limitless royalty-free license of any DNA submitted;
2) AncestryDNA possesses the right to submit DNA for any monetary gain or adversely against customers; and 
3) the customer voluntarily waives all legal rights to file a lawsuit and instead must participate in mandatory binding arbitration.

When it comes to genetic ownership, what does this all mean exactly? 

Terms of service are rarely written with the user's best interests in mind.  One implication of accepting such terms is that AncestryDNA becomes the co-owner to what makes up who you are genetically and sole owner after you die. AncestryDNA, whether it chooses to excerise its right to do so, arguably then has the ability to use your DNA for any profit and would not be required to compensate individuals for use. 

To many, the most concerning implication is the potential use of the AncestryDNA database by insurance companies to validate rejection of coverage. One unfortunate woman, Theresa Morelli, experienced a cancellation of insurance coverage after the insurance agency discovered her relative having been diagnosed with Huntington's Disease. While she was not currently diagnosed, she was dropped from coverage at the possibility. Arguably, had her DNA not been co-owned and stored beyond her knowledge, she would not have, in all likelihood, dealt with this troubling situation. The most improbable scenario of DNA use to solve criminal cases is also potentially implicated through the existence of this vast collection.  

Finally, customers would lose the ability to file a claim against AncestryDNA should a violation occur, and the only remedy for any customer would be mandatory binding arbitration where the settlement may be small in nature without any hope of changing the outcome. 

However, since these policy and terms have been exposed, AncestryDNA has published reassurance that customers have nothing to fear from "unlikely" risks and even changed some terms and conditions.

After all is said and done, disputes over future DNA ownership and use may this serve as a reminder for users to read all privacy policies/terms and conditions before blindly clicking "I agree."