Articles Posted in Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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USPTO-seal-300x300Though the USPTO typically examines trademark applications in the order received, special circumstances can from time to time justify examination out of order. The USPTO has determined that the COVID-19 pandemic is such a special circumstance, recognizing the need to bring COVID-19-related medical products and services to market as quickly as possible.

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GettyImages-1166134576-ai-privacy-300x183As the world continues to deal with the unprecedented challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems have emerged as a potentially formidable tool in detecting and predicting outbreaks. In fact, by some measures the technology has proven to be a step ahead of humans in tracking the spread of COVID-19 infections. In December 2019, it was a website-leveraging AI technology that provided one of the key early warnings of an unknown form of pneumonia spreading in Wuhan, China. Soon after, information sharing among medical professionals followed as experts tried to understand the extent of the unfolding public health crisis. While humans eventually acted on these warnings, the early detection enabled through use of AI-supported data aggregation demonstrates both the promise and potential concerns associated with these systems.

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SEC-logo-300x300As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect industries worldwide, companies are working to stay abreast of—and to proactively react to—the effects and the unique risks of this pandemic. The inherent uncertainty concerning timeframe and magnitude of market disruptions has caused many companies, and even industries, to reevaluate status quo operations and adjust both short-term plans and long-term risk assessments. In light of this, the Division of Corporation Finance of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has recently released guidance for public companies regarding its current views on such companies’ risk factor disclosures in light of COVID-19’s distinctive disruptions.

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ABC_TTB-300x169As many of us venture into our third month of sheltering in place, businesses have been forced to be creative in their operations despite the many restrictions. Wineries are no exception. In the past several weeks, there has been a proliferation of “virtual” wine tastings via remote videoconferencing and social media platforms, and it seems every major winery player is offering one. Virtual wine tasting allows consumers to try new wines from the comfort of their own home as winery experts explain the tasting notes, winemaking process, favorite pairings and answer questions, all in full compliance with the social distancing orders.

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An exponential increase in telework prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a parallel increase in cyberattacks, requiring companies to actively monitor cyber risks. On Pillsbury’s Industry Insights podcast series, colleague Brian Finch, a partner in the Public Policy group and co-leader of the COVID-19 taskforce, discussed two types of threats that have skyrocketed in the current crisis. The following describes three key takeaways on the increased risk for cybersecurity and measures businesses should take to mitigate threats in the case of a cyberattack.

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iStock-1158859023-ip-sharing-300x214As the COVID-19 outbreak continues its spread across the globe—resulting in more than four million infections worldwide and thousands dying of the virus every day—a growing community of scientists, software developers, health organizations, public consortia, private companies, and federal agencies (e.g., NIH) have been collaborating and sharing their patented technologies and IP rights with the shared goal of understanding and responding to COVID-19.

We briefly look at some of the mechanisms, including open source software, patent pool, and open patent pledge, that are helping facilitate this open innovation paradigm.

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Please join us May 21, 2020, at 11:00 am PT / 1:00 pm CT for an Industry Insights webinar series designed to help clients spot issues, mitigate risk and navigate challenges specific to their industry. During this 30-minute webinar, David Tsai, Chris Kao and Josh Tucker will discuss what the COVID-19 crisis means for technology companies and their IP. Major topics will include the current patent litigation climate, considerations for buying and selling IP portfolios, and a look ahead at the opportunities and implications of emerging tech.

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iStock-1177157871-cannabis-300x200While everyone is chilling at home, well into over a month of mandatory social distancing, demand for cannabis products has never been higher. Sales of cannabis products broke records last months, helped by the transition of many stores to delivery or curbside pick-up. Sales have spiked in California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington—all of which are states in which recreational usage of marijuana was legalized. Cannabis-related beverages and edibles have especially seen an uptick in interest, with edibles being estimated to have an impressive 28% increase in growth. Customers in some states have also been observed to be panic-shopping cannabis products in bulk, along with their stockpiles of toilet paper, yeast, alcohol and other groceries, indicating the increasing importance of cannabis-related products as everyday consumer products.

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iStock-577965144-contact-tracking-300x200‘Contact tracing’ is a process used by public health officials to identify individuals who may have come into close proximity with a contagious virus, such as COVID-19. Traditionally, infected persons are asked to identify interactions with people whilst infected or in the days leading up to infection being diagnosed. Health practitioners can then contact those at risk to warn them of potential exposure, what steps to take and how to avoid infecting others.

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With every day that passes under various shelter-in-place and similar orders, life before COVID-19 seems less and less familiar. Yet prior to the pandemic, businesses were just starting to recognize and deploy an employee benefit demand that went beyond the traditional employer offerings of health insurance, life insurance and 401k contributions—holistic wellness. A decidedly positive, albeit fragile, trend was emerging that prioritized mental health and community building in the workplace. It was not uncommon in small and large companies alike to see direct offerings, stipends or discounts for meditation, therapy, yoga, gym memberships, life coaches, meal plans, etc. More than ever, wellness in the workplace was being recognized as being about more than sick days and family leave—it can be key to remaining competitive in drawing talent and, in turn, enabling sustained growth. As tellingly, health insurance providers were rolling out and investing in preventative health programs—becoming more aware that their own long-term savings were tied to having a healthier pool of participants.

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