Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) unanimously adopted an order formalizing the referral and review process associated with “Team Telecom”—the group of national security and law enforcement agencies responsible for assessing foreign investment in U.S. telecommunications, submarine cable licensees, and broadcast licensees. The order adopts rules and procedures that will govern what has long been an informal process at the agency, both in connection with the issuance of such licenses and with respect to transfers of control.

The FCC’s action is consistent with the agency’s increased focus on, and involvement in, questions around national security and foreign investment in the telecommunications and media sectors. This attention to national security at the FCC is likely to continue regardless of the outcome of the election in November, given that both Republicans and Democrats at the agency have supported the agency’s heightened role in national security matters under its jurisdiction.


Continue Reading FCC Formalizes Foreign Investment Reviews; More National Security Actions Likely to Follow

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission circulated a draft order that will formalize its coordination with what has been known as “Team Telecom”—the national security review process for foreign investments in U.S. telecommunications companies.  The draft order, which the FCC will consider for adoption at its September 30 Open Meeting, includes rules and procedures governing what has long been an informal process.

The FCC’s draft order adopts rules consistent with an April 4, 2020 Executive Order that rebranded the group of executive branch authorities long referred to as “Team Telecom” as the Committee for the Assessment of Foreign Participation in the United States Telecommunications Services Sector.  Despite the name change, Team Telecom will largely follow the existing review process; however, the new FCC rules do make a few key changes.  We highlight some of the basic changes below.


Continue Reading FCC Releases Draft Order Formalizing “Team Telecom” Process

City leaders across the globe are predicted to spend upwards of $41 trillion by 2020 to deploy smart city technologies within their locales. From Toronto to Tokyo, cities are vying to harness the benefits of the Internet of Things (“IOT”) in order to help make their streets safer, transportation more efficient, and their environments greener. While exciting, there are a number of challenges facing cities on their quest to get smart. Resources are scarce, building the required infrastructure is expensive and obtaining the necessary consensus and cooperation amongst municipal stakeholders can be downright impossible. For vendors looking to capitalize on this momentum, learning from successful smart city projects and planning around the common conflicts that tend to arise is crucial. Below are a number of best practices gleaned from the strategies and progress of a number of cities who have found success in implementing smart city solutions.
Continue Reading Covington IoT Update: Best Practices for Outsmarting Common Pitfalls in Smart City Projects

The Court of Justice of the EU (‘CJEU’) has held that an exclusive choice of forum clause can validly be imposed by so-called “click-wrap” contracts in online B2B transactions (see Case C‑322/14, El Majdoub v. CarsOnTheWeb.Deutschland GmbH).   The ruling will make it easier for online businesses in the EU to impose a favorable choice of forum in their online B2B contracts, ensuring that they can sue defendants in courts of their own choosing, rather than the defendants’ local courts.

The general EU-wide rule for B2B contractual disputes is that a defendant must be sued in its local courts only (see “Brussels I” Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 44/2001)).  However, parties can waive the default rule by agreement “in writing” (Article 23(1)).

To deal with contracts concluded electronically, Article 23(2) states – in the English version of the law – that any “electronic communication” that “provides” a durable record of the agreement is equivalent to “writing”; the French and German versions refer to the mere “possibility” of a durable record being formed.

There has been some uncertainty as to whether mere hyperlinking to terms and conditions is a “communication”.  The case before the Court focused on this point, with the claimant arguing that the relevant terms and conditions should at least have been displayed (automatically) before they placed their order.

Taking a pragmatic view, the CJEU stated that the requirements of Article 23 are met if it is possible to print and save the text of online terms and conditions before a contract is concluded – even if the contractual terms are never actually displayed to the person accepting them.  Providing a hyperlink to a printable version suffices.

Although the Brussels I Regulation has been phased out (as of January 10th, 2015, in favor of the ‘recast’ “Brussels Ia” Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012)), it is likely that the CJEU’s ruling in El Majdoub will equally apply to the new law, given that the relevant provisions of the new law (now contained in Article 25) are in effect identical to those in Article 23 of the original.


Continue Reading Court of Justice of the EU Upholds Exclusive Jurisdiction Clauses in B2B ‘Click-wrap’ Contracts

On 26 November 2013, the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) announced that it ended the probe into Amazon’s price parity policy (the “Policy”).  The Policy required that the price of an item offered by a retailer on Amazon’s online marketplace platform, Amazon Marketplace, should not be higher than the retailer’s lowest offer for that item

In February 2013, the German competition authority (Bundeskartellamt) launched a survey into Amazon.de’s price parity policy for its Marketplace platform.  (See our previous post.)  This policy requires that the price of each product that a retailer offers on Amazon.de should not be higher than the retailer’s lowest offer for that product through any other

Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce company, recently made headlines by committing to purchase an 18% stake in Weibo, China’s largest microblogging platform, for $586 million. The deal reportedly gives Alibaba an option to increase its stake to 30%.

The alliance will allow Alibaba to drive more web traffic to its e-commerce sites.  With over

On April 29, Craigslist was successful in fighting off a motion to dismiss filed by three screenscraping sites (3Taps, Padmapper and Lovely) in its pending litigation in the Northern District of California.   In Craigslist Inc. v. 3Taps Inc., No. CV 12-03816 (N.D. Cal.), Craigslist sued these sites, alleging that their scraping of Craigslist content

By Matthew Edwards and Jacqueline Clover

Last month, we blogged about the launch of the London Stock Exchange High Growth Segment. As part of another programme of measures to support UK and EU start-ups, Future Fifty, a new fast-track programme for businesses, was announced by Chancellor George Osborne on 25 April 2013 and aims to help 50 high-growth companies develop so that they can successfully list in the UK.

Future Fifty has been developed in partnership with the Tech City Investment Organisation.  To apply, a UK, EU or UK-controlled foreign business needs to have been trading for at least 24 months and must demonstrate revenue growth of at least 100 per cent. each year.


Continue Reading Future Fifty: A UK Initiative to Help High-Growth Companies