Category Archives: Business Law

Louis Lehot Talks About Successful Leadership & Beyond

Palo Alto, California, USA, 2020-Aug-17 — /EPR LAW NEWS/ — Louis Lehot, the founder of L2 Counsel, P.C., talks about his seven habits to being a better leader, especially when everyone is remote and distributed.

We sat down with Louis Lehot, the founder of L2 Counsel, P.C., and talked to him about his seven habits to being a better leader, especially when everyone is remote and distributed.

Louis Lehot

Louis Lehot is a corporate, securities, and M & A lawyer. His clients are public or private companies, financial sponsors, venture capitalists, investors, investment banks, in forming, financing, governing, buying, and selling companies.

According to Louis Lehot, here are some of the leadership qualities that good leaders strive towards:

Have Vision: Good leaders have a vision and purpose. They share their vision with their followers. A great leader explains why they are moving the team in one direction or another, shares their strategy and includes others in their action plan to achieve the desired goal.

Be understanding of evolving circumstances: Great leaders have empathy. Unfortunately, many leadership positions follow a dictatorial style failing to make a closer connection with their base. Understanding issues others in your circle have is the first step to become an effective leader.

Be ready to adapt to change: Covid-19 has thrown us for a loop, but as they say, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Great leaders follow this rule. They are resilient, have a positive attitude, and rally their followers. Great leaders also focus on solutions, not problems.

Strong EQ: Good leaders understand people, connect with people emotionally, and understand the problems of others. Emotionally intelligent leaders have a higher degree of social awareness, more effective communication styles, and are good at resolving conflicts. Leaders who have EQ not only handle conflict in a better way, but also play an essential role in conflict resolution.

Inspire Others: Probably the most challenging job for a leader is to persuade others to see things as they do. They also know you inspire others by setting a good example. When the going gets tough, people look to see how leaders react to the situation. As a leader, thinking positive and a positive approach should be visible, inspiring others through your actions.

Louis Lehot Trusted Corporate and M&A Lawyer

Decision-Making Capabilities: Many leaders have a futuristic vision; great leaders can make the correct decision at the right time. Decisions in any situation will have a profound impact on others’ lives, which is why a leader should think long and earnestly before acting. Once the decision is made and executed, stand by it.

Accountability: When it comes to responsibility, make sure that you are accountable for what you are doing. Good leaders are self-aware, realize their mistakes, and work diligently to improve. Holding themselves responsible for their actions goes a long way in creating a sense of responsibility among your staff. It will serve as an example so that they go about the business more seriously.

Louis Lehot is the founder of L2 Counsel. Louis is a corporate, securities, and M & A lawyer. He helps his clients, whether they be public or private companies, financial sponsors, venture capitalists, investors, or investment banks, in forming, financing, governing, buying, and selling companies. He is formerly the co-managing partner of DLA Piper’s Silicon Valley office and co-chair of its leading venture capital and emerging growth company team.

L2 Counsel P.C. is an elite boutique law firm based in Silicon Valley designed to serve entrepreneurs, innovative companies, and investors with sound legal strategies and solutions.

Via EPR Network
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Billionaire Richard Branson Called a Trademark Bully by the Trademark Law Professors of University of Washington, School of Law

Westborough, MA, 2020-Jul-30 — /EPR LAW NEWS/ — Virgin has targeted to attack over 300 small companies & non-profit charities. Common sense says that the word ‘virgin’ cannot be owned by one individual or organization but Virgin has deep pockets to destroy those who dare to fight for their rights.

“Opposing trademark registrations in unrelated fields is the classic behavior of a trademark bully,” says Mike Atkins, an attorney at Atkins Intellectual Property who teaches trademark law at the University of Washington, School of Law.

That’s why it came as a surprise that Branson decided to send a threatening cease-and-desist letter (where he tells the small start up to either commit a business suicide right away or else Virgin lawyers will destroy it within 30 days) to I Am Not A Virgin, a small eco-friendly denim label, claiming that the company’s name infringes on his copyright, as the Telegraph’s Laura Hubbert reported on the case.

Richard Branson’s lawyers demanded environmentally friendly start up jeans label ‘I Am Not A Virgin’ to cancel their trademark (a trademark they have been lawfully granted and owned for almost 4 years before they received the threat letter from Branson – reports Ms. HUBBERT in her article.

“I guess I could rename my jeans Not Made By Richard Branson” – comments sarcastically the founder of the brand. Branson also demanded the small business owner cease to sell current stock of the jeans and removes them from the stores which for a small business is a financial suicide and a loss of all start up investment costs essentially leading to the end of a business.

“Common sense says that the word ‘virgin’ cannot be owned by one individual or organization. In other words, it’s stupid to claim a colour of your own, let say a word. Branson, who’s also well known for his support of environmental causes, apparently has failed to see that” – says Anderson Antunes in his Forbes article about Virgin’s abuse on small entrepreneurs.

Attorney at law, Widerman Malek, summaries in his comments: “If Richard Branson has his way, it might be. ” He adds: “Although sometimes considered a bully in the trademark office, they remain unapologetic for their stance.”

According to multiple news reports, in the past several years, the Virgin group has targeted over 300 companies who used the word Virgin in their name, URL or marketing slogan. Unfortunately, many of these 300 companies are small businesses who do not have the resources to fight back against a multi-billion dollar company with hundreds or even thousands of lawyers on their retainer. These small businesses almost always settle simply because they cannot afford to fight.

Widerman Malek brings up some of the companies Virgin attacked:

  • Virgin Vapors – a small vapor company located in California whose owner currently refuses to change its name despite being threatened by Virgin.
  • The owners of domain names virginthreads.com, virginpublishing.com, virginstar.net, and virgincigar.com. The Virgin group alleges cyberpiracy for any company using the name virgin in their domain, even if it is not their business name.
  • Author Cristina Crayn, who named one of her published books, “Tales from the Virgin Vault.”
  • Virgin Valley Cab – a cab company in the Virgin Valley geographic location of Northwest Arizona, who recently came to an agreement with conglomerate to stop using the name.
  • Las Virgenes United Educational Foundation – a nonprofit organization in the Las Virgenes School District. The Virgin Group attempted to block the trademark application. Evidently, any virgin will meet their criteria – no matter which language it’s in and if destroying charities for children is to take place.
  • I Am Not A Virgin – a New York clothing company which specializes in creating and selling denim products.
  • Virgin Air, a small airline in the American Virgin Islands, which no longer exists under this name due to Virgin’s lawsuits.
  • CBS Studios, who may be opposed by the Virgin Group in an attempt to trademark the name Jane the Virgin, which they will use as a sitcom name.
  • Last year, the Virgin group attempted to stop Valle Grande from trademarking a phrase that contained the words “virgin olive oil”, using the argument that Valle Grande currently only sells vinegar.
  • In 2004, the conglomerate sued a tiny apparel retailer called Virgin Threads in federal court in New York; the retailer dropped the name a year later as they could not afford to battle with Virgin any longer.
  • VIRGINIC – Purity Perfected – small cosmetics brand, selling “beyond organic”, handcrafted, allergy-free face creams in small batches. Virgin has been suing them with malicious, aggressive litigations, on the ongoing basis from 2018-2020 in multiple countries to starve them financially to business death, as Virgin did with other start ups. Interestingly, Virgin abandoned selling cosmetics years ago making public statements on their own website that they have no intention to sell beauty products. As of July 2020, VIRGINIC still refuses to be bullied and to give up their name.

Via EPR Network
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Virgin’s unethical business practices against small start ups and non-profit foundations

Louisville, Kentucky, 2020-Jul-16 — /EPR LAW NEWS/ — When it comes to big business versus small business, the deck is, and always has been, heavily stacked in favor of the giants, making sure it stays that way. Yes, there will always be David and Goliath stories held up as the reason for hope in these battles, but reality dictates that they are almost insurmountable obstacles in the path of a small entrepreneur.

There is, however, a more insidious and corruptive side to the competition that few, if any, really see or understand at all. The legal teams.

Companies like The Virgin Group and Sir Richard Branson retain the type of law firms that see no ethical issue in destroying anything and anyone on their way, no matter the cost, the merits and the human lives and dreams destroyed along the way.

Take billing, for example. Virgin Enterprises uses Norvell IP and A. A. Thornton, type of companies that sees fit to charge by the half hour for anything that they do, including a single phone call, running up bills of around $300 per call. Yes, you read that correctly…$300 PER CALL! Equally absurdly, they charge the same to write a letter, to attend a meeting or to send an email!

 

Ok, so Virgin and Sir Richard is worth billions, they can afford these costs and who cares? It’s their choice and their wallet, right?

Well, no. They make their pray pay for it.

The thing is, as the relentless (and oftentimes frivolous) stream of trademark infringement lawsuits are filed across the globe, those costs are, almost exclusively borne not by Virgin, but by the small business that they are making their claim against.

Take the case of Wyoming start-up, VIRGINIC LLC. Virgin decided, as they have done on so many occasions in the past, that they were unhappy with the UK Intellectual Property Office awarding VIRGINIC LLC their own brand trademark “VIRGINIC”. For a little context, let’s not forget that this is the same company that sued a Virgin Olive Oil producer, the TV show “Jane The Virgin” and even a Non-profit Educational Foundation, “Las Virgenes” for children, staffed entirely by volunteer parents! If you’re like most people, this alone can leave anyone speechless. Clearly, Virgin is not afraid to throw their litigation budget around even against non-profit children care foundations.

So, Virgin took umbrage to the idea of a company VIRGINIC LLC, regardless of the fact that the UKIPO had already awarded their trademark for their name to them. Virgin attacked and yet again the UK courts decided that there was no case to be heard and VIRGINIC should keep their own trademark.

Virgin lost the case, and the subsequent appeal, with VIRGINIC being awarded the princely sum of £300 in costs, and that, in any sensible judicial process, should have been that. However, Virgin’s lawyers managed to get the UK High Court of Appeals to agree to review the appeal of the case which, upon doing so, intrestingly awarded in favor of Virgin this third time around.

And here is the fun part; When VIRGINIC, a small “David” went up against the behemoth “Goliath” of Virgin and managed to not only show that common sense is still alive and well in some legal systems, but managed to do it on a shoestring budget, whilst a mammoth task and stupendous result given the odds, it appears that the ultimately necessary penny-pinching that all start-ups are likely to be forced to adopt, is the largest chink in their armor.

The reason for this is simple: Virgin lose and the judge awards costs in the order of £300 to the start-up. £300 which Virgin never actually saw fit to pay, regardless of the fact that they spend so much time in courtrooms arguing that their rights are being infringed upon and crowing for justice. This in itself is a pointer towards where this all goes wrong. You see, they cry foul and plead for justice as if the courtroom is a sacred place where all shall find their truth. In reality, when that truth is contrary to their opinion, they simply disregard the orders of the court and find somebody else to cry to.

Now, what happens when, at the third time of asking, they manage to find themselves a “friendly” judge? Well, their costs are awarded against VIRGINIC in the sum of…

Ready for this…?

£33,000 + £10,000!
With no right to appeal any further, conveniently.

So, Virgin “loses” and the bill is £300. I would guess that the lawyers charging $300 to make a phone call would probably be happy to pay that off themselves with the cash that they dropped down the sofa last night. However, when VIRGINIC loses, all those cups of coffee that the world’s most expensive secretaries were making suddenly add up to a sum of £43,000, so exorbitant, so utterly defiant of anything even approaching a reality that is in any way sustainable, that all suddenly becomes so very clear.

Virgin and, more importantly, Virgin’s lawyers LOVE finding random reasons to drag volnurable, small businesses (and apparently non-profit foundations too) into a courtroom because it is a no-loss situation for them. They literally don’t even bother paying the measly costs generated if they lose (Virgin pays) whilst running up such absurd bills themselves that, if they win, the small business is basically financially crippled to the point where it either ceases to exist or exists only for the purposes of paying off the legal bills. Small educational foundations like “Las Virgenes” for children, staffed entirely by volunteer parents are a no match with this malice legal practice backed by deep pockets of Virgin.

Is there a happy ending here? VIRGINIC is well off its knees trying to write one as we speak. Keep your fingers crossed and maybe the Wyoming case will prove more uncorrupted justice system in the US than the UK one.

Via EPR Network
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Virgin hires private investigators to spy and find out where VIRGINIC employees live in the US. VIRGINIC wins with Virgin twice in the UK

Austin, Texas, 2020-Jun-09 — /EPR LAW NEWS/ — Hypocrisy continues. Richard Branson claims to support small entrepreneurs and yet Virgin lawyers attack and destroy small start-ups.

Jolly Santa figure or a Business Bully?

Common sense says that the word ‘virgin’ cannot be owned by one individual or organization. After suing VIRGINIC, will Virgin now go after British Virgin Islands, the country? Or after Madonna for a song “Like a Virgin?”. Welcome to the Jungle where you can hire the most ruthless and manipulative lawyers, shall your deep pockets allow the cost.

Richard Branson, he of the goatee beard, shaggy hair and permanently fixed grin is not a man who needs to worry about money. His personal net worth is as of 2020 approximately 4.2 billion USD according to Google. The Virgin Group had an annual turnover in 2016 of around 25 billion USD. The Group’s business interests extend, to use the legal phrase, ad coelum et ad inferos. For those of us without a Classical education, that means up to heaven and down to hell, from trains on the ground to telecommunications in the atmosphere around us up to commercial space flight, Virgin has many fingers in many pies.

Of the many classes of goods and services marketed under the Virgin name cosmetics is not one of them. In June 2009, Virgin explicitly announced its intent to not use any mark containing the term “Virgin” in connection with the sale of cosmetics, skincare, and beauty products by announcing that it was “moving away from glamorous adventures in this particular retail sector.” A crystal clear statement of intent that stands to this day as Virgin still doesn’t sell cosmetics under the Virgin name and has long abandoned its mark with respect to cosmetics and skincare goods.

Enter stage right VIRGINIC LLC. Virginic was created two and a half years ago and is a startup specializing in mission-based, allergy-free, chemical-free beauty products with “virginic” level of purity, sold strictly through ecommerce channels. Small company with big ethos of superior standards of ingredients purity and ethics, vegan and unprocessed. Despite the fact that Virgin has no current or future interest in goods of this type, and that VIRGINIC is a different brand name than Virgin, Virgin has been aggressively pursuing a frankly absurd and bullying course of action against VIRGINIC for the past 2 years.

The logos of the two companies look nothing alike, the name of VIRGINIC is not similar and no person is going to think their VIRGINIC face cream has anything at all to do with Virgin Atlantic airline. There is no reason for Virgin to maliciously keep trying to destroy a company like VIRGINIC. It poses no threat whatsoever to Virgin’s business interests or to consumers but it is under attack by an army of lawyers in multiple countries, where employees are spied by lawyers, their linkedin profiles invigilated and people straight abused.

This sad state of affairs began when VIRGINIC LLC applied to register their trademark in the UK. In January 2018 the mark was accepted and published in the Trade Marks Journal in respect of Class 03, which covers cosmetics and skincare goods. The UK IPO governmental trademark officer accepted the trademark as it concluded no marketplace confusion nor even similarity. Virgin opposed it despite the fact that it does not sell cosmetics. As any reasonable person would expect, Virgin’s opposition failed, another senior UK IPO specialist decided VIRGINIC wins for a second time on the basis that the average consumer would not make a connection between VIRGINIC chemical-free cosmetics and Virgin Mobile.

However Virgin has massive resources and aggressive lawyers who appealed to the UK Court claiming that the original hearing officer was incorrect and his decision should be overturned. Additionally, aiming to destroy at all cost and against all merits, the lawyers attacked further demanding $50,000 from VIRGINIC.

Thomas M Monagan from Norvell IP, USA, together with Geo Hussey from A.A. Thornton in UK continued by opening more lawsuits in the USs and UK, serving litigation papers to unrelated companies that managers of VIRGINIC used to work for, all to harass the small company to the extreme point so they give up and destroy themselves on Virgin’s request. Virgin also hired a private investigators, as they disclosed to Court in Wyoming, to find out where employees and managers physically live.

In May 2020 same lawyers served VIRGINIC employees lawsuits via their private Linkedin profiles and to random email addresses found on the internet. Such actions could have been a Monty Python sketch, but sadly these days lawyers are apparently allowed to invade people’s privacy.

VIRGINIC stood strong and refused to be destroyed. A fight with multi billion dollar bully can cause significant hardship to any startup in its early stages. While Virgin has the resources to indulge in frivolous and harassing court cases, VIRGINIC does not.

This could bring any other company to its knees, halting operations and causing the lay offs of valuable and experienced staff, impacting the company and making its people jobless. Malicious lawyers applying a technique of continued harassment to burden financial resources of a smaller company and take an emotional toll on its staff is a technique called bullying. Where VIRGINIC should be concentrating on growing and developing its allergy-free and ethically-sourced products, which could change the face of the beauty industry, it is instead being forced to fight for its very survival even though it has done nothing against Virgin whatsoever.

Virgin’s lack of good faith and attempts of its lawyers to harass and destroy is even more clear looking at Virgin’s long history of trademark abuse. Even a cursory search of online sources will reveal multiple examples of trademark abuse and bullying small start ups.

Via EPR Network
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VIRGINIC defends its case and stands up to Virgin after attack on Linkedin profiles of shocked VIRGINIC employees

SEATTLE, Washington, 2020-Jun-02 — /EPR LAW NEWS/ — Last week Virgin launched a new attack on shocked VIRGINIC employees and threatened in court to serve them lawsuits directly to their Linkedin profiles. Virgin then followed its threats and served its lawsuits to unrelated email addresses of those individuals it found on the internet. Virgin revealed it has been spying on VIRGINIC employees social media and private Linkedin profiles and provided the Court daily screenshots of such profiles as evidence.

“Put it simply, it is bullying and VIRGINIC will stand up to it” – says a former employee of VIRGINIC, Mark Russell.

Thomas M Monagan from Norvell IP is the lawyer hired by Virgin in USA, together with Geoff Hussey from A.A. Thornton in UK to tear apart the business fabric of VIRGINIC and to destroy the start up company and force it to stop selling allergy-free organic creams.

According to Mark Russell, “the harassment Virgin lawyers have been maliciously applying for the past 2 years have adversely and financially affected many workers employed who lost their jobs because of the hardship caused by Virgin. Virgin has been trying to starve a small start up company financially to death for past 2 years and it’s a miracle VIRGINIC is still standing up straight by pure force of resilience, integrity and business pride”.

The former worker adds: “Virgin opened multiple lawsuits in multiple countries and demanded we close and commit a business suicide. VIRGINIC heroically stood up to it. All employees gave their 200% knowing it costs a fortune to hire lawyers in all those countries and a lot of us declared to work for reduced wage to support our mission-based company and stand up to bullying. Everyone with common sense knew Virgin’s claims were not only lacking factual merits but were in bulk part a legal manipulation aiming to attack for no reason, just like Virgin successfully destroyed through litigation many other start ups in the past including small Virgin Olive Oil producers”.

Question remains, should Virgin and its lawyers be held liable for damages they have caused including loss of jobs of VIRGINIC employees and financial hardships caused to many families? VIRGINIC is defending its case vigorously with the limited means it has but the irony is, what wrong did they do at the first place.

VIRGINIC is an honest, cruelty-free and natural-ingredients-only beauty company. The name is different from Virgin. They sell entirely different products. Their logo and branding is different. Customers buying VIRGINIC oraganic face cream jars online are certainly not confused thinking they are buying from Virgin Airlines/Mobile or Virgin Galactic.

Nevertheless VIRGINIC workers who lost their jobs due to high costs of multiple international lawsuits and whose private social media profiles are daily watched and taken screenshots of, are the ones to shoulder the burden. At the event of US Court eventually ruling for VIRGINIC, will the multi-billion dollar giant Virgin be ordered to compensate those employees for loss of income and privacy invasion?

Mark Russell comments: “US judges have a good reputation regarding protecting the rights of their citizens and US companies so despite Virgin’s army of lawyers and their tactics of spying and harassment on privacy, I hope the judge will make things right to VIRGINIC. I hope the saying that the party with more money for lawyers always wins, despite the merits and common sense, will not turn out to be a sad truth here. Maybe Richard Branson will be notified about what’s happening and will make things right”.

He adds: “There comes a point when you have to stand up to behavior of ruthless lawyers, because they destroy people and they destroy lives, just because there is a company with deep pockets willing to pay for it. Bullying like this scares and silences people but we all know this is not an acceptable practice. There needs to be accountability for false and malicious storytelling in courts and daily spying on private profiles and hiring private investigators to find out where those employees live, which is also what Virgin said in Court they did and presented those private investigators findings to Court as evidence. Virgin’s infamous and low litigation and personal harassment tactics are now a part of a public record so everything is out there to be seen and accounted for.”

A former employee who fell victim to this case, finishes by saying: “There is a human cost to this malicious bullying. VIRGINIC has continued to put on a brave face and has been boldly fighting back for the past two years, but I cannot begin to describe how painful it has been to many VIRGINIC employees. They lost their jobs, their privacy was violated. The multi-billion dollar giant attacked a small mission-based start up with no merits, because they could and because lawyers had to justify their fees. All this at the direct expense of many honest and hard working young people, their family income and the better mission-based future they have been building”.

The case progresses and it is unclear how quickly the Court might rule.

Via EPR Network
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Virgin adds to VIRGINIC case new groundless litigation against 3 more small startups

MIAMI, Florida, 2020-Apr-29 — /EPR LAW NEWS/ — Sir Richard Branson and his Virgin Group do not trade in… Virgins! Furthermore the word ‘virgin’ is itself a common word and an arbitrary one when used in connection to Virgin’s various business pursuits. For context purposes, here’s some more fun with trademarking Apple.

The word itself, Apple, is a common word and contrary to popular belief it is possible to trademark a common word. This is allowed because the word is arbitrary when used in connection to the manufacturer of iPhones and computers etc. Apple doesn’t sell apples, and neither does the Apple Rubber Co and many others who also own the trademark to the word ‘Apple.’ Multiple companies can own the trademark to the same common word, as long as the products they sell aren’t so similar that they cause confusion for consumers.

In spite of being a globally recognized brand, Virgin is currently pursuing a court case against a small online beauty company named VIRGINIC LLC, attempting to force them to close their store and demanding a hand over of their website domains and social media accounts to Virgin Group.

VIRGINIC LLC is a startup with a visionary desire to keep creating chemical-free, allergy-free, raw face cream formulas, for the direct benefit of an organic-minded female consumer. VIRGINIC brand name is to recall beyond-organic level of purity with no chemical additives and a holistic approach to ethical and all natural sourcing. Their production practices are mindful of protecting the planet through sustainable packaging materials and supporting local farming for ingredients sourcing. Yes, they are lovely people with an ethos that we can all support as it’s hard not to.

As for Virgin, they don’t sell cosmetics currently and neither do they have any intention to do so in future. From our common sense lesson in trademark law this should be an open and shut case, should it not? It seems crystal clear that two companies selling completely different products with names using a common word in an arbitrary manner, no virgins being sold, should both have the right to trademark that word.

Or in this case an invented word similar to that word, it would be like Apple vs Appleic. What’s more in the UK where this case started 2 years ago, a quick search reveals many companies trading under the word ‘Virgin’ offering various services. They’re able to do so for the reasons already stated above.

So why would Virgin target a small startup that doesn’t even use the name “virgin” and doesn’t trade in phones, planes and spaceships but natural face creams? It appears to be nothing more than pure speculative spitefulness by certain lawyers needing to justify their retainer and earn exorbitant fees from their client.

One can almost imagine those lawyers idly examining new trademark applications looking for marks that look somewhat similar to their client’s, no matter how tenuous the connection and salivating over the thought of the juicy fees to follow.

This sort of behavior is no better than the ‘ambulance chaser’ stereotype that looms large in the public’s imagination. In fact, under common law there was historically an offence referred to as ‘barratry’ referring to people who are “overly officious in instigating or encouraging prosecution of groundless litigation” or who bring “repeated or persistent acts of litigation” for the purposes of profit or harassment. Sadly for VIRGINIC, this is no longer an offense in England and Wales. Now the turn is for the US court system to judge on the merits vs manipulative discourse of Virgin’s lawyers justifying their retainers.

Some of the investigative journalists following VIRGINIC case point out that the actual litigation is indeed pointless and harassing in nature. Furthermore it is destructive and punitive. VIRGINIC was already denied the appeal in UK, Virgin got paid £35,000 but since that wasn’t enough, Virgin’s lawyers proceeded to open more lawsuits against VIRGINIC in more countries, including countries where VIRGINIC doesn’t trade.

VIRGINIC refused to commit business suicide and close the shop, just because Virgin said so. Virgin’s lawyers responded by opening personal lawsuits against key employees and managers of VIRGINIC in both US and UK, using an alter ego theory as a legal crutch. In David vs Goliath cases, a big corporation can starve a small company financially to death, break their spirit by forcing them to give up simply because a small company is no longer able to afford piling up legal fees (in this case internationally) – a common tactic of a common bully.

Virgin opened personal lawsuits against shocked and distressed key employees and managers of VIRGINIC calling them in Wyoming court an “alter ego” of VIRGINIC company itself. When VIRGINIC and its management heroically kept refusing to be destroyed, more personal lawsuits were opened in the court of England.

VIRGINIC stated on their website that they felt it was morally wrong to close the business and stop making natural cosmetics for people with allergies that asks for them every day, just because a multi-billion dollar attacker has such a wish. In response to that, Virgin’s lawyers just recently added to the ongoing lawsuit 3 unrelated to VIRGINIC start up companies (in both court of both Wyoming, US and London, England) – companies where VIRGINIC employees used to work based on same “alter ego” legal crutch theory, causing even greater surprise to all spectators and a real financial damage to other small entities that stated no connection to VIRGINIC.

VIRGINIC announced on their social media that directly due to high legal fees causing hardship to its business half of their employees had to be laid off. At the expense of a great personal toll to those individuals and at a great loss of human capital in general, Virgin is further magnifying the damage caused.

If any business case is the personification of vicious, pointless litigation that only serves to enrich overpaid lawyers then this is it. Let us hope that a fairytale ending lies in store for the good folks at VIRGINIC and their spirit of not giving up on their dream, with a deserved comeuppance for the villain of the piece.

Via EPR Network
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Virgin Demands Small Cosmetic Company VIRGINIC Closes and Opens Lawsuits Against its Main Employees

New York, NY, 2020-Apr-23 — /EPR LAW NEWS/ — One of the greatest challenges currently facing the business world is the relentless pursuit of ownership of brand names, logos, typefaces, slogans and even colors! The judiciary are constantly inundated with cases regarding the alleged illegal or improper use of any, or any combination, of these.

But how much of this is a waste of the court’s time? How often is a case being brought simply because an in-house legal beagle needs to justify their salary? How many cases are brought that should simply, in any real world of common sense, never make it out of the split second of foolishness of that very thought’s creator?

Now, the idea that somebody really believed it necessary to protect their idea/investment/invention by receiving confirmation that it was indeed theirs, does, of course, make some sense. Invent the perfect diet in the form of a single daily dose tablet and you should be able to protect that invention and make as much money as the marketplace deems it to be worth until somebody comes up with a way of simply breathing in the perfect diet, and your invention becomes worthless.

And there is, in and of itself, the answer to many of our questions, whether or not we really knew that we had them. Money. Without this fiendish instrument of perceived wealth, where would we be? Would anybody, anywhere ever need to know who invented something of great use to the general populous? Would anybody give you the pats on the back and the “attaboys” that your genius deserved? Well, maybe, and, more likely the case, maybe not.

But would you care? I mean, let’s be honest, if you honestly did all this just for the kudos, you wouldn’t have needed the patent application form in the first place, right? You did it for the money, as is your absolute right to do, and you are simply protecting your investment and the value that your invention has.

Trademarks are, however, a whole different ball game. Take the example of Odysseas Papadimitriou’s company trademark application for his WalletHub brand, a brand that offered a website able to compare various offers such as insurance, loans, mortgages etc. The trademark application for his logo, a white “W” set in a green square, was disputed by, of all things, Major League Baseball! The claim was that the MLB had not one but TWO similar logos that would be infringed upon were the application allowed. One of these is a logo that has not been used in baseball since 1960, the year that the Washington Nationals became the Minnesota Twins whilst the other is a flag that the Chicago Cubs fly in their stadium if they win!

How are either of these “uses” threatened in any way, financial or otherwise, by a website that offers financial documentation organization services? Are WalletHub suddenly getting calls from angry customers, unable to get seats for the game? Are the MLB getting calls asking for financial advice?

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the key to this whole mess…IS THE CONSUMER CONFUSED ABOUT WHO OR WHAT THEY ARE ENGAGING WITH FOR GOODS OR SERVICES? That is the acid test. That is the reason the law uses to justify its very existence. That is the fly in the inhouse legal beagle’s ointment…Can they PROVE that this brand confusion would exist?

A perfect example of this is the case of Virgin Group PLC v VIRGINIC LLC (you already see where this is going, right?!). VIRGINIC is a young start-up specializing in all-natural, organic beauty products. Not trains. Not planes. Not telephones.

In fact, not any product that is even similar to anything that the Virgin group does or even has ever produced. Clearly there can be no confusion here. But what’s that, I hear you cry? The name is similar? Surely name similarity is not enough. For example, Ford once manufactured a car called the Capri. Now we have the Capri Sun brand all over the world. Is there an issue? Are people buying juice boxes worried that they are made in a car factory? Of course they are not. That would be silly, wouldn’t it?!

VIRGINIC was dismissed by a judge in the UK at the THIRD time of asking, having already beaten Virgin’s trademark infringement case on two previous occasions.The virtue of the freedom of speech that we protect so rigorously, is not an objective virtue any more in the common legal sense, apparently.

For as long as there exists a particular judge able to be swayed by vague and ridiculous arguments, such as those employed by the Virgin lawyers, on a particular day, in a particular place, we will carry on down this absurd legal rabbithole, wasting both the time and money of the taxpayer and of both businesses in question, meanwhile doing nothing for the consumer other than limit their access to the products that they may actually wish to purchase.

And are those not the people that these very laws were enacted to protect in the first place?

Trademark case numbers (UK00003283156)

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BYK’s attempt to invalidate Nanto Cleantech’s European patent was unsuccessful and the patent remains in force

NEW YORK, USA, 22-Jul-2019 — /EPR LAW NEWS/ — Nanto Cleantech Inc., a US based industrial intellectual property and technology holding company with affiliates in the United States, Europe and Israel, is pleased to announce that the European Patent Office has upheld European Patent EP 2352789, rejecting an opposition launched by BYK-Chemie GmbH, a global leading supplier in the additives sector. “This is a great win which further emphasizes the strength of our patent portfolio in industrial applications of modified aluminosilicates and nanoclays for rheological and thixotropic properties in paints and coatings”, said a representative of the Board of Directors of Nanto Cleantech Inc.

The opposition filed in November 2017 with the European Patent Office by BYK-Chemie GmbH was intended to demonstrate an alleged lack of sufficient disclosure, novelty and inventiveness of the European patent held by Nanto Cleantech, but on January 16, 2019 the opposition division of the EPO decided to reject the opposition in total so that the given patent has been maintained in its original granted version.

Thus, even though BYK filed appeal against the decision, Nanto Cleantech Inc.’s patent protection in all European countries remains today unchanged.

The main claims of EP 2352789, owned by Nanto Cleantech Inc. and licensed to Nanto Protective Coating Srl, covers a wide range of rheologic and high barrier properties relating to formulations for anticorrosion protection in paints and coatings, based on epoxy, polyurethane, acrylic, alkydic, polyester resins and mixtures thereof, and comprising a multitude of mostly bi-dimensionally developed nanoparticles. Nanto Cleantech additives provide exceptional durability and resistance offering numerous solutions in many applications in the protective and marine sector.

Similar versions of the patent have already been issued in many countries all over the world, including CA, CN and all member states of the European and Eurasian Patent Organizations.

Nanto Cleantech’s cross functional IP team, including Prof. Shmuel Kenig, inventor and CTO of the Company and the General Manager Roberto Cafagna collaborated with the expert of legal protection of the patent law firm “Grättinger Möhring von Poschinger” to defend the subject patent against the BYK opposition.

“We are satisfied with the outcome of the opposition proceedings, confirming the inventiveness of our patent”, Roberto Cafagna, Nanto Cleantech General Manager, says. “BYK’s attempt to invalidate our granted European patent was unsuccessful and the patent remains in force. Throughout the R&D, sales and marketing process, we respect the intellectual property of other companies and individuals and expect others to similarly respect Nanto Cleantech’s intellectual property rights. We remain committed to pursuing legal enforcement against those who do not respect our intellectual property, keeping at the same time an open innovation approach, with an IP licensing program, industrial partnerships and JV, related to worldwide patented technologies,”

SOURCE: EuropaWire

Digi Communications NV: legal acts in accordance with law 24/2017 (Article 82) and FSA Regulation no. 5/2018 for September 2018 made publicly available on the Romanian Stock Exchange (“BVB”)

BUCHAREST, Romania, 15-Oct-2018 — /EPR LAW NEWS/ — Digi Communications N.V. (“Digi” or the “Company”) announces that on October 15, 2018 the Company submitted a current report according to the requirements of Law 24/2017 (Article 82) and FSA Regulation no. 5/2018 for September 2018 to the Romanian Stock Exchange (“BVB”). The Report is also available on the Company’s website.

For details regarding the reports, please access the official website designated of Digi: www.digi-communications.ro (Investor Relations Section).

SOURCE: EuropaWire

Digi Communications N.V. announces the publishing of Report of legal acts concluded by DIGI Communications N.V. in accordance with Romanian Law no. 24/2017 and FSA Regulation no. 5/2018

BUCHAREST, Romania, 26-Jul-2018 — /EPR Law News/ — Digi Communications N.V. (“Digi” or the “Company”) announces that on July 26, 2018 the Company submitted the Independent Limited Assurance Report on the information included in the current reports issued by the Company in accordance with requirements of Law 24/2017 (Article 82) and FSA Regulation no. 5/2018 for H1 2018to the Romanian Stock Exchange (“BVB”). The Report is also available on the Company’s website.

For details regarding the reports, please access the official websites designated of Digi: www.digi-communications.ro (Investor Relations Section).

SOURCE: EuropaWire

RCS & RDS S.A. entered into a settlement agreement with Antena TV Group S.A. and Antena 3 S.A.

BUCHAREST, Romania, 18-Jun-2018 — /EPR Law News/ — The Company would like to inform its shareholders and the market that RCS & RDS S.A., the Romanian subsidiary of the Company (“RCS&RDS”), entered on 15 June 2018 into a settlement agreement with Antena TV Group S.A.and Antena 3 S.A. (“Antena Group”).

This settlement ends all lawsuits between RCS&RDS and Antena Group and related entities, which we have previously disclosed in detail to the market and to our investors in the initial public offering prospectus dated 26 April 2017, in the bond public offering memoranda from 2016 and 2017, as well as in the subsequent periodic public reports.

Also, RCS&RDS and Antena Group entities have also concluded a carriage agreement based on which RCS&RDS will continue to retransmit the Antena Group channels as pay-tv stations as soon as the Antena Group channels will exit the must-carry regime.

For details regarding the reports, please access the official websites designated of Digi: www.digi-communications.ro (Investor Relations Section).

SOURCE: EuropaWire

Judge in Ramsey County, Minnesota dismisses suits alleging 3M warming device caused infections

Minneapolis, MN, 2018-Jan-11 — /EPR LAW NEWS/ — 3M won a major victory this week in the ongoing legal battle that has seen numerous lawsuits already dismissed based on lack of evidence that the company’s forced air warming system, the Bair Hugger, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bair_Hugger) causes post surgical infections.

On Monday, Ramsey County District Judge William H. Leary III issued a ruling that dismissed dozens of lawsuits filed by Minnesota residents against 3M. Judge Leary based his ruling on the fact that he believed the plaintiffs had presented no evidence showing that the Bair Hugger causes surgical site infections post surgery.

Judge Ramsey wrote of the ruling, “There is no generally accepted scientific evidence — and plaintiffs offer none — that the risk of infection associated with FAWs [forced-air warming systems] is greater than that associated with patients who are not warmed during surgery.”

The object of the lawsuits, the Bair Hugger, is a forced air warming system that has been used in hospitals all over the nation. The lawsuits claim that there is a design flaw in the Bair Hugger (http://www.truthaboutbairhugger.com/) that allows the system to harbor harmful bacteria and spread it to the surgical site thus causing an infection but no evidence has been presented to prove that link.

The FDA supports the use of the Bair Hugger and says that using the system before and after surgery can result in less bleeding, faster recovery time and lower the risk of infection. According to 3M, the Bair Hugger has been used successfully in over 200 million surgeries since its inception.

A spokesperson for 3M said that the ruling, “affirms our position that there is no generally accepted science that the 3M Bair Hugger system causes infections.”

Contact-Details: Sarah Jones, service@emeraldcityjournal.com, www.emeraldcityjournal.com

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FOURTEEN ADDITIONAL COMPANIES ENTER INTO PATENT LICENSE AGREEMENTS WITH CHRIMAR

Longview, Texas, 2017-Oct-05 — /EPR LAW NEWS/ — Chrimar Holding Company, LLC today announced that fourteen (14) more technology companies and/or certain divisions within these companies have entered into non-exclusive licenses for certain equipment under certain Chrimar patents including certain Power over Ethernet (PoE) equipment designed for deployment within a BaseT Ethernet network.

”We are very pleased to see that the trend of taking licenses for this critical technology is  again continuing to increase, with the number of licensees totaling forty (40)” said John F. Austermann III, President & CEO of Chrimar.

ABOUT CHRIMAR
Chrimar was the first company to employ DC current within a BaseT network in the early 1990s and has received a number of US patents for this very important technology. Chrimar continues to market its EtherLock™ family of products for asset control, management and security. The Chrimar portfolio includes US patents numbers 7,457,250, 8,155,012, 8,902,760, 8,942,107, 9,019,838 and 9,049,019.

Chrimar Contacts:

Amanda N. Henley, 903-500-2021
John F. Austermann III, 248-478-4400
Steve W. Dawson, Sales and Marketing 248-478-4400

911 NW Loop 281, Suite 211-30, Longview, Texas 75604
Phone: 903-500-2021
Email: Amanda@chrimarholding.com

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SIXTEEN NEW COMPANIES ENTER INTO PATENT LICENSE AGREEMENTS WITH CHRIMAR

Longview Texas, 2016-Jun-07 — /EPR LAW NEWS/ — Chrimar Holding Company, LLC today announced that sixteen (16) technology companies and/or certain divisions within these companies have entered into non-exclusive licenses for certain equipment under certain Chrimar patents including certain Power over Ethernet (PoE) equipment designed for deployment within a BaseT Ethernet network, ten (10) of the new licensees include:

– Allied Telesis, Inc.
– Black Box Corporation
– Buffalo Inc.
– Edimax Technology Co. Limited
– Keyscan Inc.
– Korenix USA Corporation
– Moxa Inc. & Moxa Americas Inc.
– Phihong USA Corporation
– Transition Networks Inc.
– Tycon Systems Inc.

”We are very pleased to see that the trend of taking licenses for this critical technology is continuing to increase, with the number of licensees totaling twenty-five (25)” said John F. Austermann III, President & CEO of Chrimar.

ABOUT CHRIMAR
Chrimar was the first company to employ DC current within a BaseT network in the early 1990s and has received a number of US patents for this very important technology. Chrimar continues to market its EtherLock™ family of products for asset control, management and security. The Chrimar portfolio includes US patents numbers 7,457,250, 8,155,012, 8,902,760, 8,942,107, 9,019,838 and 9,049,019.

Chrimar Contacts:

Amanda N. Barnes, 903-500-2021
John F. Austermann III, 248-478-4400

Steve Dawson, CHC, 911 NW Loop 281, Suite 211-30, Longview, TX 75604, 248-770-5780

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FOUR MORE COMPANIES ENTER INTO PATENT LICENSE AGREEMENTS WITH CHRIMAR

Longview, Texas, February 10, 2016 — /EPR NETWORK/ — Chrimar Holding Company, LLC today announced that four (4) more technology companies and/or certain divisions within these companies have entered into non‐exclusive licenses for certain equipment under certain Chrimar patents including certain Power over Ethernet (PoE) equipment designed for deployment within a BaseT Ethernet network.

‐ Aastra USA, Inc. (now a Mitel company acquired by Mitel Networks Corp.)
‐ Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.
‐ Grandstream Networks Inc.
‐ Microsemi Corporation (formerly PowerDsine – licensee of equipment including Midspans, but not integrated circuits)

“We are very pleased that these companies have joined many others in taking licenses to cover certain equipment sales” said John F. Austermann III, President & CEO of Chrimar.

ABOUT CHRIMAR
Chrimar was the first company to employ DC current within a BaseT network in the early 1990s and has received a number of US patents for this very important technology. Chrimar continues to market its EtherLock™ family of products for asset control, management and security. The Chrimar portfolio includes US patents numbers 7,457,250, 8,155,012, 8,902,760, 8,942,107, 9,019,838 and 9,049,019.

Chrimar Contacts:
Amanda N. Barnes, 903‐500‐2021
John F. Austermann III, 248‐478‐4400
Contact-Details: John F. Austermann III, 248‐478‐4400
911 NW Loop 281, Suite 211-30, Longview, Texas 75604
Phone: 903-500-2021

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Dietary Supplement Firm Kaeng Raeng Inc Sues Former Contract Manufacturer For Alleged Idea Theft And Unfair Business Practices

Kaeng Raeng Inc., which develops and sells dietary supplements, filed suit against the firm that manufactured its private-label products for allegedly stealing its confidential and proprietary information to create and distribute a competing product that’s “substantially similar.”

The suit accuses San Jose-based contract manufacturer Multivitamin Direct, Inc. and its employees — President Paul Huang, Vice President/Business Development Viola Lee and Vice President/Product Development Alisia Cheuk — of breaches of contract, confidentiality and loyalty, intentional and negligent interference with prospective economic advantage, fraud and deceit, and unfair competition.

The suit also says defendants actively misled Kaeng Raeng about their relationship with the brand Raw Green Organics, which allegedly was created by Multivitamin Direct to sell competing products based on Kaeng Raeng’s confidential and proprietary information.

“There’s a presumed level of trust between brands and contract manufacturers,” said Kaeng Raeng’s Founder, President and CEO Lindsay Reinsmith. “Without this trust, conflicts of interest arise and business relationships are undermined.”

The suit, filed late Friday in Santa Clara County Superior Court, seeks “disgorgement of all revenues, earnings, profits, compensation and benefits” received by Multivitamin Direct, Huang, Lee and Cheuk because of their “wrongful business practices.”

It also asks the court to grant an injunction against Multivitamin Direct, Huang, Lee and Cheuk, prohibiting them from disclosing and using Kaeng Raeng’s confidential information, saying that otherwise Kaeng Raeng “will suffer further immediate and irreparable injury, loss and damage.”

The suit says Multivitamin Direct was established in 1987 and is a leading USDA-certified organic contract manufacturer in Northern California. Kaeng Raeng was founded by Reinsmith in 2009 as a small business in Palo Alto. Later that year, Multivitamin Direct signed a non-disclosure agreement and was engaged to produce Kaeng Raeng’s private-label dietary supplements.

In May 2011, the suit says, Kaeng Raeng shared details with Multivitamin Direct, Huang and Lee about a new greens-based detox cleanse product, and Huang and Lee shared the information with Cheuk. Details included ingredients, formulas, packaging, branding, marketing, advertising, pricing, sales, distribution, retailers, customers, vendors, product suppliers and industry trends.

Soon thereafter, the suit says, Multivitamin Direct’s production of Kaeng Raeng’s products “started to run consistently behind schedule” and Kaeng Raeng “became strained financially” waiting for inventory. Its final delivery, scheduled for September 2012, wasn’t delivered until February 2013, it says.

The suit says Raw Green Organics began gearing up to offer a “substantially similar” product in June 2011 — only one month after Kaeng Raeng revealed details of its new detox cleanse to Multivitamin Direct, adding that Raw Green Organics also adopted similar packaging, advertising, marketing and other matters.

When Reinsmith asked the defendants about the Raw Green Organics, they repeatedly told her it was simply a “client” they were “helping get started” and that none of Kaeng Raeng’s confidential information had been disclosed, the suit says.

At the same time, it says, Multivitamin Direct told Kaeng Raeng to find another manufacturer, forcing Kaeng Raeng to incur “lengthy and costly search efforts” and resulting “in the unnecessary disposal of valuable raw materials.”

Not until March 2014, did Kaeng Raeng discover evidence that Raw Green Organics is owned by Multivitamin Direct and managed by Huang, Lee and Cheuk, the suit says.

About Kaeng Raeng
Kaeng Raeng Inc, based in Sunnyvale, CA, develops and sells natural dietary supplements. Kaeng Raeng was founded in July 2009 by President and CEO Lindsay Reinsmith and still is a privately-owned, small corporation.

Contact Details: Roger Gillott
Gillott Communications
323-497-7868
roger@gillottcommunications.com

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No duty to avoid tax. No kidding. Lebowitz Edelman advises that directors will lead the way

Recently, the Tax Justice Network sent a letter to every CEO in Hong Kong to tell them about a legal opinion they obtained from a firm of solicitors. The opinion deals with whether directors have a positive duty to shareholders to avoid tax. It concludes that they do not.

This is in fact uncontroversial, but it is only part of the story.

A key duty of a director is to promote the success of the company for the benefit of its members as a whole. When deciding what best promotes the success of their company, the directors must take into account all relevant factors and assess their relative merits.

Relevant factors for the directors to consider include how to increase the company’s post-tax profits. One way this can be done is by reducing the company’s tax bill, so that is likely to be a relevant consideration. There will also be other factors to consider, such as the company’s business relationships, maintaining a reputation for high standards of business conduct, and the impact of the company’s actions upon the community. Any of these may counterbalance the desire to minimize tax liabilities.

Some tax planning will be likely to promote the success of the company. Some may go too far and be outweighed by other considerations. And it is up to the directors of a company to decide where to draw the line in relation to the company’s specific circumstances.

So long as directors give all relevant factors proper consideration when making decisions about tax planning, and provided they can justify the decisions that they make, they should not incur liability for breach of their duties.

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Lebowitz Edelman has advised the trustees of Leading Hotel Group’s pension scheme on its purchase of a bulk annuity policy with Leading Life Insurance Company

The HKD 440m bulk annuity policy insures the defined benefit benefits of the pension scheme.

Lebowitz Edelman pensions partner Dana Cheng said “Lebowitz Edelman worked closely with the pension scheme trustees to strike a deal which provides security for members of the pension scheme while also removing a volatile liability from its balance sheet, and was completed in exceptionally short timetable”.

Sam T. Lai, Chairman of the Trustee of the Hotel Group Pension Plan, said: “The Trustee’s first priority has been to ensure the future security of members’ benefits. The Plan’s strong funding, following additional financial support from its corporate sponsor, prompted consideration of a buy-in/ buy-out of the Plan’s liabilities. Following a comprehensive review of insurance providers, the Trustee chose the Life Insurance Company on a combination of product structure, value-for-money, price certainty and the long-term security it brings as a low risk regulated insurer. All parties worked professionally and collaboratively to agree the final price and terms over a short time, resulting in a great outcome for the members of the Plan.”

This buy-out is part of a continuing trend of pension schemes and their employers going to the insurance market to secure scheme liabilities. Lebowitz Edelman has worked on a number of high profile buy-ins and buy-outs including the buy-out of the Retirement Benefit Scheme and the purchase of a bulk purchase annuity for the Fund to insure pensioner liabilities.

The Lebowitz Edelman team was lead by pension partner Dana Cheng with support from senior associate Jane Chiao, consultant Derek Sloan and associates Joan Gim Gong.

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Lebowitz Edelman advises Leading Bank and Investment Fund on refinancing and Commercial Mortgage-backed Securities Securitization in the Amount of EUR 406.1 million

Lebowitz Edelman has advised Leading Bank and Investment Fund as arrangers and lead managers on the refinancing of the securitization by a new CMBS in the amount of EUR 406.1 million.

With this transaction, the volume of European Commercial Mortgage-backed Securities transactions entered into this year has increased to approximately EUR 5.5 billion.

The major part of the new securitization serves to refinance the matured Commercial Mortgage-backed Securities and is secured by a portfolio of Hong Kong multi-family residential property controlled by leading Investments Fund; in addition and subject to certain conditions, it may be used to refinance the real estate portfolio. The issue is split into four classes of notes. The senior class bears interest at a rate of Euribor plus 1.92%. The notes have a term of 8 years, maturing in 2021.

Lebowitz Edelman has advised Leading Bank and Investment Fund across all aspects of the financing and securitization, from the structuring of the transaction, negotiating the loan and CMBS documentation, through to the execution of the new facility agreement and the issue of the Notes.

The Lebowitz Edelman Team was led by partner Matt Law-Yone (capital markets and securitization) and included partners Glen Fee, Dr. Gus Gin (both finance), Dr. Helen Jung (tax, all Hong Kong), Judy Zia (finance, Hong Kong), Dr. Tao Wong (capital markets and securitisation, all Hong Kong.

Another Lebowitz Edelman team amongst Martin Ming (Counsel) supported by Niketa Tahori (Associate) has advised the Security Trustee and the Trustee and Issuer Security Trustee (Hong Kong Trustee Company).

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Chief Litigation Counsel Matthew Sheng to Leave Lebowitz Edelman

Lebowitz Edelman announced that Matthew T. Sheng, the Chief Litigation Counsel for the Division of Enforcement, will leave the firm next year.

Mr. Sheng has led the Enforcement Division’s litigation program, managing cases pending both in courts and administrative proceedings at the Commission. The trial unit has 40 attorneys at the Lebowitz Edelman’s Hong Kong headquarters as well as litigators throughout the agency’s offices.

Mr. Sheng served as lead trial counsel in the Lebowitz Edelman’s successful prosecution of Chi Mingus in addition to directly assisting in litigation efforts for several other significant matters. Mr. Sheng also developed and directed the Lebowitz Edelman’s litigation response to significant changes in the securities laws such as the Supreme Court’s decisions.

Last year, Mr. Sheng was the recipient of the Lebowitz Edelman Chairman’s Award for Excellence.

“Matt’s outstanding stewardship of the trial unit and his impressive command of the securities laws have resulted in many favorable outcomes for our litigation program,” said Justin R. Long, Co-Director of the Lebowitz Edelman’s Division of Enforcement. “Matt will leave a legacy of great service to the agency and the investing public, and we wish him every success in the future.”

Mr. Sheng said, “It has been a privilege to lead such a talented and dedicated team of professionals committed to prosecuting wrongdoing in the securities markets. During my time in the Enforcement Division, I have been fortunate to work with great people on significant and challenging matters on behalf of our international clientele.”

Mr. Sheng began his legal career as a law clerk at the Court of Appeals for the Hong Kong Circuit. He then served as a law clerk for then-Chief Justice of the Hong Kong Supreme Court. After his clerkships, Mr. Sheng worked as a litigation associate for a national law firm and later held several positions in the Criminal Division of the Hong Kong Department of Justice, eventually becoming chief of staff to the Assistant Attorney General.

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