The New Federal Rule Banning Noncompetition Agreements: What Tech Companies Should Know

By Business, Labor and Employment

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has adopted a new regulation that is poised to gut a longtime fixture of the U.S. tech sector: the employment non-competition agreement, or non-compete. The popularity of non-competes has waned in recent years, driven partly by a trend toward state laws limiting them, but many tech workers have signed one at some point. These contracts typically bar an employee from working for the employer’s competitors during the employment relationship and for some period of time after it.

The new FTC rule was adopted on April 23, 2024 and should take effect in late August 2024, 120 days after its publication in the Federal Register. Numerous business groups have already sued to try to prevent it from taking effect. Unless a court orders the FTC to delay the rule’s implementation, however, it will take effect this year.

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Harnessing Renewable Energy Tax Credits for Businesses

By Banking and Financial Services, Business

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, Pub. L. No. 117-169, 136 Stat. 1818 (the “IRA”) provides businesses, including banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions, with an opportunity to reduce their tax liability by channeling investments into eligible renewable energy projects—simultaneously improving the economic and environmental condition of their communities.  Two of the IRA’s biggest opportunities for businesses are the production tax credit for electricity from renewables (the “PTC”) (26 U.S.C. § 45) and the investment tax credit for energy property (the “ITC”) (26 U.S.C. § 48).  Developers, lenders, and investors can use either, but generally not both, of these tax credits to defray the costs of completing and operating eligible renewable energy projects while reducing the amount of taxes that they owe. Read More

Legal Tips for Investors in Artificial Intelligence (AI) Startups

By Business, Intellectual Property, Software & Startups

Investors have poured staggering amounts of cash into Artificial Intelligence (AI) startups since late 2022. In 2023, a year that was otherwise lukewarm for tech investment, AI funding seemed to buck the trend.

Interest in AI companies is not limited to large Venture Capital firms. Private AI companies have raised cash from angel investors, friends and family members, and other small-check investors. While smaller investors often lack the legal budget to conduct rigorous due diligence before investing, they have useful tools at their disposal to de-risk AI deals. This article describes legal methods investors can use to do so.

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10 Tips for Creating Enforceable Online Software Agreements

By Business, Intellectual Property, Software & Startups

For providers of Software-as-a-Service applications, an online agreement with the product’s users is critical. Whether called a Terms of Use, End User License Agreement (EULA) or some other name, the agreement gives providers a host of benefits. It can reduce liability in the event of a lawsuit, secure intellectual property rights that providers need from users, help providers comply with privacy laws and more. Read More

Maine Paid Family and Medical Leave: How Maine Businesses Should Prepare for 2025 and Beyond

By Business

In July 2023, Maine became the 13th state to pass into law paid family and medical leave.  Although employees cannot start requesting paid family and medical leave benefits until May 2026, employers will be required to make payroll contributions into the fund starting January 2025.  It is therefore important that businesses begin to consider how they will implement Maine’s Paid Family and Medical Leave requirements into their policies and procedures.

This article provides an overview of the Maine Paid Family and Medical Leave law’s timeline, payroll‑deduction and employer‑contribution obligations, employee benefits, and other considerations for Maine businesses.  This article also considers how Maine employers should start preparing for 2025 and beyond.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Corporate Transparency Act

By Banking and Financial Services, Business, Corporate Transparency Act Resource Center, Software & Startups

This article answers common questions that companies and individuals have about the Corporate Transparency Act (“CTA”). Please note: these answers are general and may not apply to you. Please consult an attorney for advice regarding the CTA and how it may apply to you or your company.

The law and best practices relating to the CTA change frequently, and portions of this page may be outdated at the time that you read it. Read More

How Investors Should Prepare for the Corporate Transparency Act

By Business, Corporate Transparency Act Resource Center

Investors in privately held companies face new legal considerations due to the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA), a new federal law taking effect January 1, 2024. This article recommends approaches that investors can use to protect their investments as well as their portfolio companies. These investors include angel investors, participants in friends-and-family rounds and others. Read More

Non-Fungible Tokens Make First Appearances in U.S. Courts

By Blockchain & Digital Assets, Business, Intellectual Property, Software & Startups

Nearly one year after they became a household term, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have begun to make their first appearances in American court decisions. These early cases involve two of America’s best-known names in media: recording artist Jay-Z and Playboy. While many legal questions about NFTs remain, these first decisions suggest that courts will apply traditional legal principles to at least some of the issues these tokens raise. Read More

When Should a Tech Startup Form a Company?

By Business, Intellectual Property, Software & Startups

Before a technology startup becomes a company, it spends a period of time as simply a project. The founding team is usually one or two individuals building and testing products as they try to validate a demand for them in the market. At some point, founders ask themselves: when is it time to turn this project into a company?

This article tackles that question with respect to a particular type of business venture, which is a growth-oriented tech startup. By this, we mean an organization whose products incorporate intellectual property (I.P.) and which seeks to scale quickly after confirming product-market fit. Read More

A Legal Checklist for Early-Stage Tech Companies

By Business, Intellectual Property, Privacy, Software & Startups, Start-Up and Entrepreneurship Law

Download the Legal Checklist for Early-Stage Tech Companies

In a tech company’s early days, it’s easy for the founders to make legal missteps.  Most mistakes are unintentional and result from a lack of knowledge or legal budget rather than bad intent. Nonetheless, it’s critical to remedy them as the company moves forward.  Failure to do so can place the company in breach of its business-to-business contracts; it can create uncertainty about the company’s ownership of its intellectual property; and it can create a host of operational risks.  It can also kill or devalue outside investment deals when investors discover these problems in their due diligence. Read More

Reopening the State and Your Business – A Resource Guide

By Business, Coronavirus

UPDATED MAY 22, 2020

When and how you may reopen your business after the COVID-19 shutdown is a question that initially will be answered by federal and State government, and then by individual business owners and managers.  For example, Maine Governor Janet Mills has set out a four-stage program for when Maine businesses may reopen with specific checklists for each business to follow, but whether to reopen on that schedule or later is up to each business owner or manager. Read More