New Jersey Bytes Archives
Monday, November 28, 2011
Federal authorities on Monday announced the seizure of 150 domain names for Web sites that featured alleged knock-offs of authentic jerseys, handbags, sports equipment and other items.
The results of the undercover operation "In Our Sites" top last year's crackdown, when investigators shut down 82 web sites.
In most cases, the person or people operating the commercial sites do not challenge the domain name seizure in court, Lanny Breuer, the assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s criminal division, told reporters.
“The sale of counterfeit goods cheats consumers and robs legitimate businesses — both large and small — of the fruits of their hard-earned work,” Breuer said in a statement today. “We will not tolerate those who seek to profit by abusing the Internet and stealing intellectual property at the expense of authors, artists and inventors.”
John Morton, who heads the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, told reporters on a conference call: “We want to promote a lawful online environment as much as we can and that means going after the small but significant number of Web sites that are engaged in frauds on consumers.”
Morton and Breuer said law enforcement officers worked with copyright holders in an undercover sting to determine whether any targeted Web site was offering counterfeit goods for sale. Investigators bought sports jerseys, golf equipment, DVDs, shoes, sunglasses and other items.
DOJ officials said in most of the cases the goods were shipped to the United States from a supplier in another country. China was a main source for much of the goods, according to law enforcement officials.
The domain name becomes the property of the federal government if no person challenges the seizure. Since 2010, federal authorities have shut down 350 domain names through “Operation In Our Sites.” Of the 350, 116 sites are now the property of the government.
The authorities post a banner on any site the government has seized. “MyJerseyShop.com,” for instance, is no longer up and running. The banner on the site notifies the visitor of the seizure and provides the penalties for willful copyright infringement.
Click here for a list of the web sites the authorities seized. A sampling from the list: louisvuitton-bags-forcheap.com, mlbjerseyswell.com, texansjerseystore.com and shopsbag.com.
Posted by Mike Scarcella at 12:37 PM.
Friday, November 18, 2011
In a sign that antitrust work is rebounding, the number of mergers reviewed by the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission increased for the second year in a row after bottoming out in 2009.
In fiscal year 2011, companies submitted 1,450 Hart-Scott-Rodino Act filings to the antitrust agencies, up from 1,166 filings in 2010 — and a mere 716 in 2009. Under the act, companies are currently required to obtain pre-merger review for deals worth more than $66 million.
In a Nov. 17 speech at the American Bar Association’s fall antitrust forum, acting Antitrust Division head Sharis Pozen said DOJ ”allowed 98 percent of the transactions it reviewed to clear its process without requesting any further information from the parties.”
As for the other 2 percent where there’s a second request for information? “In many of these matters, the parties proposed remedies that the division agreed would solve the competitive problem it had identified,” she said. In other cases, DOJ lawyers went to court, recently blocking the merger of H&R Block and TaxACT. A challenge to AT&T's acquisition of T-Mobile USA is still pending.
As for the Federal Trade Commission, which released its annual report this week, it had less to brag about.
The FTC reported that it missed one key antitrust goal in fiscal year 2011. The agency’s target was to “obtain a positive result” 40 to 60 percent of the time when bringing antitrust actions, whether via wins in court, consent decrees, abandoned transactions or restructured transaction remedies.
In 2011, the FTC came out on top in only 14 of 44 “significant merger and non-merger investigations” — or 32 percent of the time. (In 2010, the FTC succeeded in 23 out of 58 cases, or 40 percent of the time).
Of the 14 wins, nine involved consent decrees, four were merger transactions that were abandoned, and one matter was won on appeal.
Among the losses: a bid to block the merger of clinical laboratory testing companies and an appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit involving a drug for premature babies with heart defects
The FTC did note that although it missed its target, the tally doesn’t count one additional merger investigation and one restructured transaction. According to the report, these were excluded because ”they did not involve the use of compulsory process. (Compulsory Process refers to a resolution, or vote, adopted by the Commission that authorizes staff to issue subpoenas and civil investigative demands (CIDs); it is the adoption of a Compulsory Process resolution that would have made these cases fall under the definition of substantial as specified by this measure.)”
Posted by Jenna Greene at 01:08 PM.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
A bill to overturn the ban on federal recognition of same-sex marriage cleared a key hurdle in the Senate Thursday. But the prospects of it becoming law are dim.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10-8 to report to the full Senate legislation repealing the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996. The Respect for Marriage Act, which is sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), garnered no support from committee Republicans, who expressed doubts about the likelihood that the bill would clear the full Senate, let alone the Republican-controlled House.
“I obviously think we should be spending our time now on bills that can pass, and bills that can help solve some of the serious employment, budget and financial problems that are facing our country,” said Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the panel.
It is unclear when or if the bill will receive consideration on the Senate floor.
Assistant Senate Majority Leader Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) said it is “very difficult” to make a prediction on when the measure may come to the floor, citing past Republican filibusters.
Committee Democrats acknowledged that they are waging a tough battle to make the bill law. But they said they are willing to fight for the legislation.
“If this is called on the floor and only the 30 cosponsors vote for it, it’s worth the effort,” Durbin said.
In the House, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) introduced companion legislation on March 16. But the bill is unlikely to advance.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) hired Bancroft's Paul Clement for $1.5 million to defend DOMA after President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. said they would no longer advocate for the law in court.
Posted by Andrew Ramonas at 12:53 PM.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's Enforcement Division filed an all-time high 735 actions and collected $2.8 billion in penalties in fiscal year 2011, the agency announced today.
Among the areas seeing an uptick in enforcement: insider trading, investment adviser wrongdoing and actions related to broker-dealers.
Division director Robert Khuzami in a news release called it a “record-breaking performance during a period of resource constraints,” and said the “remarkable accomplishment has its roots in the talent, grit and determination of the staff, as well as their creativity and willingness to consider new tools and approaches to stopping and deterring fraud and misconduct.”
In 2009 and 2010, Khuzami led a fundamental reorganization of the division, its biggest overhaul since it was established in the early 1970s. Initiatives included flattening the management structure, revamping how tips and complaints are handled, establishing a program to reward cooperation from individuals and the creation of specialized units in five complex areas of securities law.
The 2011 stats reflect the first full year since the reforms were implemented. “Markets and investors alike benefited substantially,” the SEC boasted. “This is evidenced by the filing of more enforcement actions in FY 2011 than ever filed in a single year in SEC history.”
According to the SEC, FY 2011 cases included 15 separate actions naming 17 individuals, including 16 CEOs, CFOs and other senior corporate officers, involving wrongdoing related to the financial crisis.
The agency went after JP Morgan for misleading investors in collateralized debt obligations and Wachovia Capital Markers for misconduct in the sale of two collateralized debt obligations tied to the performance of residential mortgage-backed securities. The SEC also charged six executives at Brooke Corp. and three executives at IndyMac Bancorp for misleading investors about the deteriorating financial condition at their companies.
The SEC brought 57 insider trading cases, an 8 percent increase over 2010. Among the targets: a Goldman Sachs employee and his father, a FDA chemist, and a former NASDAQ managing director.
The SEC brought 89 actions in FY 2011 for financial fraud and issuer disclosure violations. Also, the SEC filed 146 enforcement actions related to investment advisers and investment companies, a single-year record and 30 percent increase over FY 2010.
Posted by Jenna Greene at 01:54 PM.
Friday, November 4, 2011
The legal sector added 400 jobs in October according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' monthly employment report released Friday. The modest rise was not enough to counter two consecutive months of job losses in an up-and-down year that has left the industry with substantially fewer positions than it had in October 2010, the BLS reported.
According to adjusted figures released Friday by the BLS, the legal sector shed 1,200 jobs in September and 300 in August. The last month during which the industry enjoyed positive job growth was July, when the legal sector added 4,100 jobs.
The national economy grew by 80,000 jobs and the national unemployment rate declined from 9.1 percent to 9 percent in October, according to Friday's BLS report. The New York Times reported that the figures fell below most economists' estimates.
Several Am Law firms have taken steps this year to reduce staff in favor of outsourcing work to professional services companies. Last month, O'Melveny & Myers said it would eliminate about 75 staff positions nationwide and send the staffers' work to legal outsourcer Williams Lea (The Recorder, subscription required). Also last month, The Am Law Daily reported that Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman has decided to relocate some back-office functions to a professional services center in Nashville in a move that may require cutting jobs.
Posted by Tom Huddleston Jr. at 02:37 PM.