Key Takeaways From Georgia’s Primary Election

Democrats will try to unite around their candidate for governor, Republicans are heading toward a runoff, and eight incumbent lawmakers were defeated after the final results came in for yesterday’s primary election in Georgia. More than 1.1 million Georgians headed to the polls to vote for candidates vying for their party’s nomination for statewide elected constitutional officers, members of Congress, state lawmakers, county commissioners, and regulators.  Continue Reading

New Proposal Would Create Consistent Standard Between USPTO and District Courts for Interpreting Patent Claims

On May 8, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced a proposed change to how it will handle challenges to patents. In essence, the proposal would result in a consistent claim construction standard between how district courts and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) interpret claims in trial proceedings.  Continue Reading

Qualified Opportunity Zones Open Greater Development Opportunities in Georgia

Much ink has been devoted in recent years to the widening income gap in our country, but as we noted in our January blog, “Rural Development Council Works to Keep Georgia On Your Mind,” geographic disparities since the Great Recession have hit rural and low-income communities in Georgia particularly hard. In yet another proactive move to address this problem, the state has positioned itself to take advantage of the new Qualified Opportunity Zone (QOZ) program under the recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

The QOZ program is structured to promote development in economically distressed communities by providing tax incentives for investors to divert their investment gains – tax-deferred – into funds (a qualified Opportunity Fund) that invest in businesses and property development within a QOZ. Additional tax incentives are available the longer the Opportunity Fund investment is held. Continue Reading

How the U.S. Supreme Court Ruled on Inter Partes Review and What It Means for Future Patent Challenges

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday on two closely monitored cases affecting how patents could be challenged. In the more high-profile case, the court upheld the constitutionality of the inter partes review (IPR) process enacted by Congress in the America Invents Act, enabling entities to continue to challenge the validity of issued patents in a forum other than federal court. And in a second case, in a narrow ruling, the court refined how the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) rules on challenged claims, requiring an all-or-nothing approach to the analysis. Continue Reading

How Fintech Helps Power Georgia’s ‘Transaction Alley’

Georgia is often lauded as a top state in the nation for business (WE’RE #1!). One of the primary industries supporting this tremendous growth is financial technology (colloquially referred to as “fintech”), with small and large (Fortune 1000) technology-based companies calling the region home. At Parker Poe, we understand the importance of fintech to the overall growth of metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia.

Fintech companies are perhaps uniquely prepared to take advantage of certain Georgia-specific opportunities. In and around the state’s urban centers, they enjoy relatively inexpensive locations. The state’s strong system of higher education provides a pipeline to millennial talent looking to change the world via technology. Moreover, state and local governments have helped advance Georgia’s fintech industry in many ways, from helping companies eliminate restrictions on raising funds, to historically allowing credit card companies to charge competitive rates to customers. Continue Reading

What Looming Supreme Court Decisions Could Mean for Patent Litigation

The U.S. Supreme Court is poised to rule soon on a case that could fundamentally change how patent litigation plays out in America, as well as a second case that is more of a tweak around the edges.

The potential game-changer is Oil States Energy Services v. Greene’s Energy Group. Its central question is whether Congress set up an unconstitutional method of analyzing the validity of existing patents: the inter partes review process. Continue Reading

‘Where’ Is Patent Infringement Committed, and What Could It Mean for Georgia-Based Companies Sued Outside of Georgia?

Is patent litigation coming home to Georgia? Last year the U.S. Supreme Court holding in TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods Grp. Brands significantly affected the law of venue jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b) for patent infringement cases. One result was to shift new patent complaint filings away from federal district courts that had been perceived to be plaintiff-friendly, such as the Eastern District of Texas, as I recently wrote in the Daily Report. TC Heartland only clarified one of the tests for patent venue in § 1400(b), holding that the provision “where the defendant resides” is limited to only the district where the defendant is incorporated.

What about the other provision to satisfy venue, the two-part test: (1) “where the defendant has committed acts of infringement” and (2) “has a regular and established place of business”? Both of these clauses must be satisfied for proper venue outside of the defendant’s state of incorporation. Much of the post-TC Heartland case law has focused on the latter clause, including the Federal Circuit’s September 2017 In re Cray opinion, which it limited only to clarifying the “regular and established place of business” phrase. Continue Reading

Rural Development Council Works to Keep Georgia On Your Mind

When singers croon about the old yellow moonlight spilling through the pines of the Georgia woods, the “Georgia rain on the Jasper County clay” and taking the “midnight train to Georgia,” they evoke nostalgia for the state’s graceful beauty and the simpler feel of rural life.  The hard reality is that today, rural areas throughout the state are losing people and jobs to urban centers; currently “53 percent of Georgia counties are in distress,” according to a state House council. 

Rural areas are especially impacted by the continuing loss of young people who leave rural hometowns for school or jobs and do not return. Of the 159 counties in Georgia, 36 now have death rates higher than their birth rates and all of those are in rural Georgia, resulting in an aging population with rising health care needs. Continue Reading

Textualism Is the Law of the Land in Georgia: What to Do About It?

As we see it, the most important trend coming from the Georgia Supreme Court in 2017 is the court’s adoption of textualism as the guiding principle of statutory interpretation in Georgia. Because of the growing impact of textualism on litigation, and the potential effect it will have on contracting parties, it is important that you take this trend into account both in the way you operate your business in Georgia and in any formal legal dispute.

We first wrote about the lengthy opinion issued by the Georgia Supreme Court in Lathrop v. Deal in an article for the Daily Report. While notable for its subject matter – holding that the doctrine of sovereign immunity restricted the manner and method in which state laws could be challenged as violating the Georgia Constitution – we opined that the bigger impact of the decision is its forthright embracing of textualism as an interpretative tool. To put it simply, textualism requires the court to apply the plain meaning of the statutory text at the time the statute was originally adopted. In Lathrop, the court clearly adopted this principle as reflected by its analysis of the applicable law’s first draft, written in 1861, and what particular words meant at the time that statute was originally written. Continue Reading

Welcome to Georgia On Our Mind!

Welcome to Georgia On Our Mind: Updates from Parker Poe Atlanta! This is our first entry in a new blog intended to bring to the fore issues, thoughts, and ideas related to Parker Poe’s legal practice in Atlanta. Each month, we intend to publish as part of this blog legal items of interest that, most importantly, impact the way you run your business in the City of Atlanta, the State of Georgia, and the Southeast overall.

Part of Parker Poe’s strength is the way all our different offices are integrated as a whole. This blog will not change that. You will see over time that several of our participant bloggers will be lawyers whose practices touch both the Carolinas and Georgia. We pride ourselves on our collaboration (and collegiality) between different offices.

However, we do want to highlight for our friends and clients some of the things that are perhaps unique to Atlanta and that we think will influence the ways in which you approach your business and your disputes within the State of Georgia. Every month, we will be blogging about those issues. Our goal is to help identify them and explain how they’re impacting our clients and others who do business in the state. Continue Reading