August 2012

At-will employment language at risk

It's quite common for employment agreements and employee handbooks to include language that the employee's employment is at-will, that either employer or employee can terminate the employment relationship at any time for any reason, and that the at-will nature of the relationship can only be changed by the signature of a senior employer officer. The US agency charged with overseeing union elections and stopping unfair labor practices has publicly and successfully challenged this rather standard employment practice. Employers should take heed.

Proposed US legislation takes direct aim at patent trolls

US House of Representatives members DeFazio (D-Oregon) and Chaffetz (R-Utah) have introduced legislation that would require a losing party in a patent infringement or validity lawsuit to pay the other side's legal fees if the lawsuit "did not have a reasonable likelihood of succeeding", but only for computer or software patent lawsuits. The bill is called the SHIELD Act, or the "Saving High-tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes" Act.

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