online reviews

Dealing with Online Comments

Word of mouth is the lifeblood of attracting new customers, and now it travels faster than ever before thanks to the internet. Customers can snap a picture, post a comment, or leave an online review of a business in a matter of seconds. These reviews can often be found on popular websites like Angie’s List or Yahoo! Local Listings where customers post about their experiences with businesses—many of them small businesses.  Read more

Privacy Shield

EU-US Privacy Shield Now in Effect

On July 12, the European Commission formally adopted the EU-US Privacy Shield, a bilateral data privacy agreement hastily assembled from the wreckage of the Safe Harbor Framework, which was invalidated by the European Court of Justice in 2015. U.S. companies immediately lined up to apply the new framework, with tech giants like Google, Salesforce and Microsoft broadcasting their willingness to abide by the deal’s strictures. As of August 26th, over two hundred companies had adopted Privacy Shield, and the list is growing. Read more

Madrid Protocol Trademark Registration

Using the Madrid Protocol to Protect Your Trademark Internationally

Do you have international ambitions for your business? Are you looking to expand the impact of your goods or services across different markets? Are you anxious about protecting your trademark outside U.S. borders? The Madrid Protocol offers a centralized, easy and efficient way to apply for trademark protection in ninety-seven countries. This article discusses the benefits of the Madrid Protocol, the application process, and some disadvantages.  Read more

Data Transfer

Update: EU-US Privacy Shield

UPDATE: Since this article was drafted, Privacy Shield has been formally adopted and is now in effect. Please see this article for more information.

After four months of frantic negotiations, the U.S. and the European Union have a new deal on cross-border data transfer. The agreement, dubbed the “Privacy Shield,”replaces the Safe Harbor Framework, a bilateral agreement governing transfer of personal information that was struck down by the European Court of Justice in October of last year. News of the detente was greeted with a mixture of skepticism and relieved adulation, tempered with a dash of confusion. What do you need to know about Privacy Shield?  Read more

trademark registration

Trademark Registration: Benefits of Registering Your Trademark

Are you searching for a way to distinguish your business and protect the essence of what makes your company unique? Federal or state trademark registration can be an excellent choice for entrepreneurs looking to leverage brand recognition and reputation. This posts outlines the basics of trademark and benefits of trademark registration for your trademark.  Read more

benefit corporations raising venture capital

Benefit Corporations Raising Venture Capital

B Lab, the nonprofit responsible for the passage of benefit corporation statutes in over 30 states (as of the writing of this post), has released a report on the status of venture capital raised by benefit corporations. While skepticism remains among the entrepreneurial and investors communities around the ability of benefit corporations to raise traditional venture capital, it appears that benefit corporations are able to break into the venture capital ecosystem, including at some of the nation’s top venture capital firms.

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Laureate Education First Benefit Corporation to File for IPO in U.S.

Etsy made news when it went public as a B Corp in April 2015. And now we have the first Benefit Corporation to file for an Initial Public Offering (or IPO) in the U.S.: Laureate Education, an online education platform. On October 1, 2015, Laureate became a Public Benefit Corporation in Delaware. On October 2, 2015, it filed an S-1 Registration Statement with the Securities Exchange Commission, making official its plan to become a publicly-traded company. What does it all mean?

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ECJ Strikes Down US-EU Safe Harbor for transfer of personal data

Not So Safe: The ECJ Strikes Down U.S.-EU Safe Harbor

The Safe Harbor Framework governing transfer of personal information from the European Union to the United States is no more. On October 6, 2015, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) struck down the vaunted bilateral data protection and transfer agreement, impacting over 4,700 companies that relied on the Safe Harbor for transporting and storing European data overseas. The decision, which took effect immediately and left no grace period for international organizations to make alternative arrangements, vigorously reinforces European legal protections for data privacy while leaving a broad swath of data-related commercial activity on tenuous legal ground.

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SEC Approves Equity Crowdfunding

SEC Votes to Approve Equity Crowdfunding Rules

On Friday morning (October 30, 2015), the Securities and Exchange Commission voted 3-1 to approve final rules relating to equity crowdfunding to non-accredited investors.

What Does the Vote Mean?

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Ryan Shaening Pokrasso

SPZ Attorney Ryan Shaening Pokrasso on Innov8social Podcast

SPZ attorney Ryan Shaening Pokrasso recently sat down with Neetal Parekh of Innov8social to discuss his path to law and social entrepreneurship. You can listen to Ryan’s interview below or at the Innov8social Podcast websiteRead more