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Our EmTech Law Blog provides timely legal and business information on issues impacting companies developing or investing in new technologies, new companies, and new ideas.

 

 

The 2021 Babst Calland Report Highlights Legal and Regulatory Perspectives at a Transformational Time for the U.S. Energy Industry

A Recent Conversation with U.S. Senator Joe Manchin Featured in this Report

Babst Calland published its 11th annual energy industry report: The 2021 Babst Calland Report – Legal & Regulatory Perspectives for the U.S. Energy Industry. Each of our nation’s energy sectors is impacted by local, state and federal policies, many of which are addressed in this inclusive report on legal and regulatory developments for the energy industry in the United States.

For access to the full digital Report, click here.

The Babst Calland Report represents the timely collective perspectives of more than 45 energy attorneys on the current state of the U.S. natural gas and oil, coal, and renewable energy sectors. For the first time, this Report is presented as an easy-to-navigate digital site featuring 12 sections, addressing the following key topics:
  • Business Outlook for the U.S. Energy Industry
  • Climate Change Initiatives from the Biden Administration
  • Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration Priorities
  • Environmental Law Developments
  • Environmental Justice Issues
  • Appalachian Basin Regional Developments
  • Coal Mining Regulatory Changes
  • Expansion of the U.S. Renewable Energy Market
  • Real Estate & Land Use Developments
  • Litigation Trends
  • Changes in Employment & Labor Law
  • Emerging Technologies Affecting the Energy Industry (click link to view this section)

Joseph K. Reinhart, shareholder and co-chair of Babst Calland’s Energy and Natural Resources Group, said, “The energy industry, once again, is at an inflection point and a moment of resiliency as it experiences a rebound in pricing and recovers from the impact of the global pandemic. Evidenced by the signing of several Executive Orders, President Biden has made climate change a focal point of U.S. energy policy. The full impact of the new administration’s “government-wide” approach to regulatory and social environmental policies will be unclear for months.

“This transformational time promises to bring significant changes for the U.S. energy industry. It is vital for any energy organization to consider the forewarnings, the risks, and the legal and regulatory implications to its business.”

Report Features Video Commentary from  U.S. Senator Joe Manchin This edition features commentary from Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, who spoke with Babst Calland energy clients at a special briefing on June 25, 2021. A link to the webinar recording is available in this Report.

Updates on key developments in energy and natural resources law beyond this Report are available directly by the attorneys who represent clients in a wide spectrum of industry sectors and legal practice areas.

Tagged:  Appalachian Basin, Gas drilling, Law, Marcellus Shale, Midstream, Natural gas, Ohio, Oil and gas, Pennsylvania, Regulatory, West Virginia

Guidance on steps to protect your business against cyberattacks

Recent high-profile cybersecurity breaches have highlighted how vulnerable even the largest businesses are to disruption. But even the smallest of businesses face risks, says Ashleigh Krick. “Organizations may think they are not at risk and do not have valuable information, but they should think again,” says Krick, an associate at Babst Calland. “It does not matter what information you have when a hacker just wants money. It’s not just about data; it’s also about shutting down your business to force you to pay a ransom.” Read more.

Tagged:  assessment, cyberattacks, cybersecurity, policies and procedures, practices, ransomware, response plan, threats, vulnerabilities

Protecting your innovations outside the United States

If you’re considering selling your innovative product or commercializing your novel processes in another country, protecting your innovations with a patent in that country may be key to your success. But trying to navigate the process alone can prove difficult.

“It’s surprising how complicated it can be, and there are a lot of places to get tripped up,” says Carl Ronald, shareholder at Babst Calland. “While you can try to do it on your own, hiring a patent attorney can make the process much smoother, ensuring you are including all relevant information and complying with all relevant deadlines to protect your invention in the most cost-effective way possible.”

Read more.

Tagged:  Innovation, Intellectual Property, Invention, Ownership, Patent Cooperation Treaty, Patents, USPTO

Has COVID-19 Escalated Disagreements Between Business Owners?

Business owners faced with extraordinary operational and financial challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic may also be managing special demands and concerns posed by their owners. There is never a good time for an internal ownership squabble to bubble up to the surface, but owner conflicts or differences can be particularly troublesome when the business is already under duress.

Disruption Can Create Conflict

There is no question that the pandemic has impacted many businesses’ finances and strategy, as well as relationships between co-owners. The warning signs of an owner disagreement should never be ignored. If left unchecked, these misunderstandings can cause real damage to a company’s health and vitality including negative impacts on the bottom line, employee morale, and even relationships with creditors, customers and suppliers. A company can be particularly vulnerable at critical moments when its owners may already be dealing with the pandemic ramifications or other financial and operational challenges. Do not wait for the perfect time to deal with owner disagreements because that time will never come. The stability of a company’s day-to-day operations and future financial success are often dependent upon resolution of these multi-faceted disagreements between owners.

Read More.

Tagged:  COVID-19, Ownership

State Clean Transportation Initiatives

The United States is experiencing a wave of state-led clean transportation initiatives that are gaining substantial momentum. Faced with insufficient federal action, states started focusing their efforts on the sector that produces the largest percentage of greenhouse gas: transportation. On November 10, 2020, the Environmental Law Institute and Babst Calland co-hosted a webinar that explored these initiatives, their potential impact, and funding sources. Click here for a transcript of the discussion, which has been edited for style, clarity, and space considerations.

Tagged:  Transportation, Vehicles

Join Babst Calland at Smart Business Dealmakers Conference on March 4 – Attend as Our Guest

On March 4th, the Pittsburgh Smart Business Dealmakers Conference will bring together middle-market entrepreneurs, investors and advisers to discuss the new landscape for business and what you can do today to keep your business growing.

Join Chris Farmakis and a group of entrepreneurs and industry-seasoned service providers offer a deep dive into how to make sure you’re checking the right boxes before you go to market—during the deal and post-close.

Following Chris’ session, join Chris, Sara Antol and Kevin Wills in the “Babst Calland Networking Room” to learn more about some of the latest trends in transactions, including use of artificial intelligence tools in due diligence and the increasing use of representations and warranties insurance in mid-market size deals.

As a sponsor of this event, we extend a special invitation for you to attend as our guest. Below is a link you can use to register for a complimentary ticket. Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you there!

Register Today!  

Tagged:  Artificial Intelligence, Conference, Entrepreneurs, Startups, Strategy, Transactions

Venture debt: Determining when it’s the right path for your business

For startup companies lacking the cash flow or liquid assets to obtain a traditional bank loan, venture debt could be the answer to help elevate them to the next level. Startups often lack many of the characteristics that would give traditional lenders comfort that a regular commercial loan would be a good deal for them. Venture debt can be an alternative to help bridge the gap to a company's next valuation. Read More.


Tagged:  Funding, Startups, Venture debt

Explore Solvaire: Babst Calland’s Affiliated Alternative Legal Service Provider

We understand the unprecedented challenges facing our organizations. Now, more than ever, we realize how critical it is for our clients to seek cost efficiencies while making legal, operational, financial and ‘game changing’ business decisions. Solvaire, Babst Calland’s affiliated Alternative Legal Service Provider – with its enhanced AI-enabled processes and machine learning capabilities – can help to increase efficiency, while lowering project costs. For more than 21 years, Solvaire has effectively designed, performed, and implemented complex buy-side diligence projects, discovery projects and tailored document management solutions. Solvaire’s track record and satisfied clients speak for themselves. Check out Solvaire’s new website and request a free consultation to learn how Solvaire can work with your team to provide superior diligencediscovery and document management services – on time, with accuracy and consistency and within a budget that provides price certainty. To stay informed about Solvaire news, latest case studies and content, as well as innovative business and technology enhancements, sign up for updates here. Explore Solvaire, and unlock the value it provides. On behalf of Babst Calland and Solvaire, we look forward to serving you on your next project. Chris Farmakis Chairman, Babst Calland President, Solvaire

Tagged:  Discovery, Document Management, Solvaire, diligence, e-Discovery

Alert: California Announces the Opening of the Vehicle Fleet Reporting System for Entities with Operations in the State

On January 15, 2020, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced the opening of the reporting system for the Large Entity One-Time Reporting Requirement for vehicle fleet owners. This reporting requirement was passed by CARB as part of its June 2020 adoption of the Clean Trucks Rule. As the California Office of Administrative Law (OAL) has not yet approved the regulation, businesses may voluntarily provide information at this time if they wish to begin the reporting process ahead of the April 1, 2021 deadline.

Please read more about this reporting requirement in this Alert.

Tagged:  Transportation, Trucks, Vehicles, Zero-Emission

FTC Issues Settlement Requiring Zoom to Implement Robust Information Security Program in Response to Years of Deceptive Security Practices

On November 9, 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a settlement agreement with Zoom Video Communications, Inc. (Zoom) that arose from alleged violations that Zoom engaged in a series of deceptive and unfair practices that undermined user security. The FTC found that Zoom made several representations across its platform regarding the strength of its privacy and security measures used to protect users’ personal information that were untrue and provided users with a false sense of security. Specifically, the FTC found that Zoom made multiple statements regarding “end-to-end” and “AES 256-bit” encryption used to secure videoconference communications. However, Zoom did not provide end-to-end encryption for any Zoom meeting conducted outside of Zoom’s “Connecter” product. And, Zoom used a lower level of encryption that did not provide for the same level of security as “AES 256-bit” encryption. The FTC also found that Zoom stored meeting recordings unencrypted and for a longer period than Zoom claimed in its Security Guide. And, Zoom circumvented browser privacy and security safeguards through software updates without notice to users and without establishing replacement safeguards. Read more.

Tagged:  Data Protection, Emerging Technology, Privacy, Remote Working, Technology