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Insider Trading: What Public Companies Should Know Now

September 1, 2013

Recent high-profile insider trading cases brought by the SEC and the DOJ have resulted in hefty prison sentences, fines and settlements. The SEC has made it clear that insider trading continues to be a high enforcement priority and that it will pursue criminal trading aggressively. In particular, the SEC says it will continue to scrutinize trading around significant corporate transactions, such as a merger.

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New Guidance on Tax Treatment for Same-Sex Spouses

September 1, 2013

The Internal Revenue Service recently issued guidance in how the Federal Tax Code will tax employee benefits with respect to married same-sex couples. Same-sex couples who are legally married in a state or foreign jurisdiction will be treated as spouses under the Code, even if the couple currently resides in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage.

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A Sleeping Tax Technique Comes to Life

September 1, 2013

A new tax tool has been added to our transaction tool kit. It may prove useful in certain bank transactions where the acquired bank (or holding company) is an S Corporation. These new rules have been languishing in the wings since their addition to the Internal Revenue Code in 1986. Twenty-two years later, in 2008, Proposed Regulations provided a preview of the intended scope and detail of the provisions. The Proposed Regulations were finalized on May 15, 2013, and 27 years after Congress acted, the Code provisions have now become applicable. The Code Section was not self-executing and was therefore unusable until final regulations were adopted.

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Immigration Barriers for Same-Sex Couples Removed by DOMA Ruling

July 1, 2013

We are delighted to report that bi-national same-sex couples no longer have to choose between separation from their spouse or separation from the United States. Prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling, same-sex couples have been prevented from receiving federal immigration benefits. The limiting definition of marriage as only between a man and a woman found in the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is no longer valid, granting same-sex spouses equal benefits.

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Changes on the Horizon for European Patenting

July 1, 2013

Just as people were starting to gain a sense of comfort dealing with changes to the U.S. patent system brought on by the America Invents Act of 2011, we now find that Europe is also planning changes to its own patent system. The changes will include introducing a unitary patent and a unified patent court. What are the further particulars regarding these changes and how should they factor into your European patent filing strategies?

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New E-Verify Email Tool Aligns with Recent Changes to Form I-9

July 1, 2013

As of July 1, 2013, employers participating in E-Verify are required to enter an employee’s email address into E-Verify if that employee voluntarily provided the information in Section 1 of Form I-9. This new data field was added to E-Verify to bring it in line with the new version of the Form I-9, which went into effect in March 2013 and added data fields for employees’ emails and telephone numbers in Section 1.

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New Vermont Law May Create Liability for Alleging Patent Infringement

June 1, 2013

A new Vermont state law set to go into effect on July 1, 2013, creates penalties for “bad faith assertions of patent infringement.” While this law may eventually be struck down due to preemption by federal patent law, patent owners should be aware of its provisions before engaging in enforcement activities directed to any entity that may be considered a “Vermont person” or the customer of one.

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Minnesota Enacts Significant Changes to Minnesota Estate and Gift Tax Laws

May 24, 2013

On May 23, 2013, Governor Dayton signed an Omnibus Tax Bill into law that may have a significant impact on clients who reside in Minnesota and those who reside outside of Minnesota but own property located in Minnesota. Minnesota will now become the second state after Connecticut to impose a gift tax at this time. The new law also imposes a Minnesota estate tax for all property located in Minnesota held in pass-through entities. The following are some of the key provisions of the law:

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Customs and Border Patrol Starts Rollout of Automated Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record

May 1, 2013

As of April 30, 2013, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) began phasing out the paper Form I-94 cards at airports and seaports in the U.S. and U.S. territories. CBP will still issue a paper Form I-94 card to foreign nationals seeking admission at land border crossings.

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Are You an “Applicable Large Employer” for Health Care Reform?

May 1, 2013

As you are no doubt aware, many aspects of the Affordable Care Act become effective on January 1, 2014. One of those requirements is the “shared responsibility” (sometimes called the “pay or play”) penalties that may be assessed on “applicable large employers.” An “applicable large employer” is an employer that has 50 or more full-time employees and/or full-time equivalent employees (FTEs). An applicable large employer may be subject to a penalty if the employer does not offer group health coverage to its full-time employees and their dependents, or if the employer does not offer group health coverage that is affordable and provides minimum value. An employee is “full-time” if he or she works, on average, at least 30 hours per week. Part-time employees also count for purposes of determining the number of FTEs.

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