The October issue of New Jersey Lawyer Magazine provides readers with a useful glimpse into the legal issues related to telecommunications today. While these topics may not be essential to every attorney’s practice, they do play a vital part in every attorney’s life, from cell phone usage to wifi connectivity.

“While the industry is well-established and mature, it is also constantly evolving and changing, so we have done our best to provide a snapshot or time capsule of the legal trends impacting the telecommunications field today,” write the edition’s co-editors, attorneys Angela Foster and Donald J. Cox Jr. “Historically, advances in this invaluable field have been a key component of New Jersey’s industrial makeup for more than 175 years.”
 
The issue includes articles on spectrum policy and the nation’s broadband future by Robert Barber and Michael Goggin, standards and patents by Martin Finston and David La Bruno, an introduction to cloud computing by Lawrence Freedman and Richard Davis, federal broadband policies by John Janka, telecommunications and public safety by Paul Josephson, municipal broadband regulations by James Laskey, smartphone patents by Robert Leonard and Amber Stiles, telecommunications service provider competition by Hesser McBride and intercarrier compensation by Donna Urban and John Messenger.    
 
The next issue of New Jersey Lawyer Magazine, the New Jersey State Bar Association’s award-winning bi-monthly magazine, due out in December 2012, will focus on contracts. 
 
 
Newsletter Roundup
 
Following are excerpts from newsletters recently published or soon to be published by various sections of the New Jersey State Bar Association. These briefs represent a small sampling of the informative articles available to NJSBA section members, who also have access to back issues of newsletters online at www.njsba.com by logging in using their member identification number. 
 
Business Law Section Newsletter
 
Maximizing Value Through IP:
Failure to Register Trademarks or Intellectual Property Can Cost a Business in the Event of a Sale
by Denise Walsh and Robert Shepherd
 
When starting a business, most business owners think about financing, hiring employees and marketing to potential customers and clients. The last thing a new business owner may think about is the sale of the business. However, most investment bankers advise business owners to start preparing for sale from day one. This means that, from the date of its formation, the business should be organized so a future buyer could step in at anytime and seamlessly take over operations. 
 
One fairly inexpensive method of preparing for sale at the outset of a business is to register the company’s intellectual property with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Registration with the USPTO helps insure that the purchase price a business owner receives upon sale includes the value of the company’s goodwill. Some key elements of goodwill are the company’s name, trademark and/or service mark. For example, the name and symbol of a fast-food chain, as well as the name of its signature hamburger, may be some of the most valuable assets of the business.
 
Failure to register an entity’s mark may result in a holdback, or even a reduction of the purchase price.
 
New Jersey Family Lawyer
The Enforcement of Agreements Reached in Mediation Post-Harrington
by Michele E. D’Onofrio
 
Parties participate in mediation for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, they simply wish to be amicable or avert a costly trial and resolve their differences through mediation, and at other times they may have been required to attend through court-ordered mediation. Whatever brought the parties to the mediator’s table, the hope is that they have a genuine desire to settle their differences and end this difficult chapter of their lives.
 
By the conclusion of a single mediation session, or possibly after several sessions, if the parties appear to be in agreement, the mediator praises their hard work and effort in settling, everyone shakes hands, and they leave the mediation table satisfied that negotiations are over.
 
Prior to dispersing, the mediator, or perhaps the attorney for one of the parties, outlines the terms of the agreement, either verbally or in writing. Perhaps it is signed by the parties; perhaps not. Either way, the verbal recitation of the terms reached in the mediator’s office or the written outline contain a basic understanding of the parties’ agreement, which is to be incorporated into a settlement agreement or other form of consent order.
 
But what if one of the parties changes their mind or states they didn’t understand they were bound by the resolution, and opposing counsel replies by threatening to file a motion for a Harrington hearing? Is there a binding agreement or not? When is a settled case truly settled? Can the mediator be called upon to testify? Are the settlement discussions in mediation admissible into testimony? How has the law evolved in the years since the appellate court’s 1995 decision in Harrington v. Harrington, enforcing a purported settlement reached during a court-ordered mediation session after a plenary hearing?