No, Machines Cannot Be Inventors!

by Audrey A. Millemann
The IP Law Blog

Eventually, it was bound to happen. A patent application was filed by a machine. Well, not exactly. A human being filed a patent application naming a machine as the inventor.

The machine was an artificial intelligence machine described as a “creativity machine.” Its name was listed as “DABUS Invention Generated by Artificial Intelligence.” The invention was called “Devices and Methods for Attracting Enhanced Attention.”

The human’s name was Stephen L. Thaler.

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The DFEH’s Free On-Line Sexual Harassment Prevention Training For Non-Supervisors is FINALLY Available

by Lizbeth (Beth) V. West
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

On May 20, 2020, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) announced that it has finally launched free anti-sexual harassment training for non-supervisory employees. The online training, which is available through DFEH’s website – https://www.dfeh.ca.gov/shpt/ – will meet an employer’s obligation to provide training to non-supervisory employees by January 1, 2021.

Section 12950.1 of the California Government Code requires employers with five or more employees to provide at least one-hour of classroom or other effective interactive training and education regarding sexual harassment prevention to all non-supervisory employees in California.

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SBA Releases PPP Loan Forgiveness Application

by Aman Badyal

On Friday May 15, 2020, the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) released the application borrowers will use to request forgiveness of their Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loans.  PPP borrowers have been awaiting additional guidance regarding the forgiveness portion of the program for well over a month.  While the application provides some additional guidance, many questions remain.

BACKGROUND

As our readers already know, the PPP loan program was enacted pursuant to the CARES Act as a tool to help small businesses keep employees on their payroll. 

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The Ninth Circuit Affirms Ruling that COMIC-CON isn’t Generic for Comic Conventions

by Josh H. Escovedo
The IP Law Blog

The battle started almost six years ago. A Utah-based company known as Dan Farr Productions (“DFP”) decided to use San Diego Comic Convention’s (“SDCC”) registered trademark COMIC-CON in conjunction with its own comic and popular arts convention, resulting in SDCC filing suit in the Southern District of California. SDCC alleged in its complaint that it has the exclusive right to utilize its COMIC-CON trademarks and has done so in connection with its comic convention since 1970.

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Further SBA Guidance on Necessity Certification for PPP Loans

by Aman Badyal, Andrew D. McCarthy

Small Business Administration (SBA) guidance published on May 13, 2020 adds clarity to the “necessity” certification that borrowers were required to make when applying for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.  According to this guidance, borrowers that received PPP loans of less than $2 million will be deemed to have made the necessity certification in good faith.  As to borrowers with loans greater than $2 million, if the SBA notifies the borrower that the SBA has determined that the borrower lacked an adequate basis for the necessity certification,

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California Continues to Work With Counties for the Slow Re-Opening of the State

by Lizbeth (Beth) V. West
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

This is a follow up to our previous blog regarding California’s gradual entry into Stage 2 of the State’s re-opening plan – termed the “Resilience Roadmap.”  As Governor Newsom announced on Tuesday, May 13, 2020, counties are able to, and are, submitting their attestations to the State to speed up the reopening of certain businesses within their counties.  As such, the gradual reopening of businesses in Stage 2 is a fluid and rapidly evolving process driven not only by the State’s decisions on what businesses can and cannot reopen (on a modified basis) at this time,

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EEOC Again Updates its Guidance & FAQ’s Regarding COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws

by Katie A. Collins
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

The EEOC has updated its COVID-19 Guidance once again by adding a number of new FAQs to address issues related to the anticipated re-entry into the workplace.  The new FAQs discuss things like: an employer’s right to screen employees before entering the workplace to avoid a “direct threat” to the health and safety of employees; documentation to support an employee’s request for an accommodation; and “undue hardship” considerations when denying an accommodation based on the impact of COVID-19 on the business. 

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Governor Newsom Announces the Gradual Beginning of Stage 2 of California’s Re-Opening Plan

by Lizbeth (Beth) V. West
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

On May 7, 2020, Governor Newsom announced the plan to gradually move into Stage 2 of the State’s Re-opening Plan beginning May 8, 2020.  In addition to the Governor’s announcement in his press conference, the California Department of Public Health issued industry-specific guidance and checklists for phased reopening under the State’s “Resilience Roadmap.”

Under the current State Shelter-in-Place Order, only essential businesses and workplaces are permitted to be open.  However, the State says that as of May 8,

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With Right of Survivorship - or Perhaps Not?

by Carlena L. Tapella
The Trusts & Estates Law Blog

In advising clients regarding the rights afforded to joint tenants on a bank account, most practitioners would say that the agreement with the financial institution generally would control, with the surviving joint tenant succeeding to the funds remaining in the account on the death of the other joint tenant. California’s Multiple-Party Accounts Law (Prob. Code, §§ 5100, et seq.) governs ownership of accounts with multiple parties and the disposition of those accounts upon the death of one of the parties to the account.

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California Employers Likely Immune To Employee COVID-19 Lawsuits, But More Susceptible To COVID-19 Workers-Compensation Claims

by Brendan J. Begley
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

Recent news reports, like this one from the Los Angeles Times, indicate that Congress is hotly debating a proposed law to immunize employers from lawsuits alleging that their workers contracted COVID-19 illness on the job.  While business owners in California may suffer headaches or congestion from other types of lawsuits related to COVID-19 in the workplace, exposure to employee lawsuits of this kind is probably not a feverish worry.

That is because,

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