COVID-19: US Patent Office Update

by Greg Geiser

As we all continue to adjust our lives as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is providing relief to those individuals, practitioners, registrants, applicants, or any other person associated with a filing who has a matter before the office and has been impacted by the outbreak.  With the recent passing of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) signed by President Trump on March 27, the USPTO has extended due dates by 30 days for most filings that were/are due between the time period of March 27, 2020 and April 30, 2020.

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Tips on Protecting the Elderly from Fraud During COVID-19

by Laura Vogler

As an Elder Law attorney, these uncertain times have become increasingly worrisome to myself and my clients. Most of my clients are at-risk community members as they are over the age of 60, many have underlying health concerns and/or are residing in a long-term care or assisted living facility. COVID-19 has had a major impact on not only my clients’ daily lives and those of their caretakers, but all at-risk community members. 

In addition to the dangers of the virus itself, COVID-19 has presented the elderly with another potential risk: fraud. With that in mind, I want to share a couple concerns we have been experiencing in our practice and helpful tips to combat them.

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FAQ's: What Employers Need to Know About the Families First Coronavirus Response Act Regarding Employee Leaves

by Shannon Middleton & Karen Young

The federal government passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“Act”) on March 18, 2020 with an effective date of April 1, 2020.  The Act requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide paid leave to employees under an amendment to the Family and Medical Leave Act known as the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, as well as the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act.  This leave is available for employees through December 31, 2020.

The Department of Labor issued FAQs on March 24, 2020 (“DOL FAQs”), which are updated frequently and provide answers to a vast number of topics.  See https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions. Note that even previously answered questions are sometimes modified later. A good practice is to check back daily to the Department of Labor Coronavirus Resources website (https://www.dol.gov/coronavirus) for further information and updates.

The Department of Labor has also issued regulations pursuant to the Act, which can be found at https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/whd/whd20200401 or https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/04/06/2020-07237/paid-leave-under-the-families-first-coronavirus-response-act (the text of the regulations begins at page 83).

Basic questions on the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act as well as the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act are answered below.  Please contact Gutwein Law for further information, to request policies, or to discuss your company’s specific circumstances.

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COVID-19: Force Majeure in Sports (And Everything Else)

by Wes Zirkle

In continuation of our recent commentary on COVID-19, we're going to use this article to examine force majeure clauses. While most of our questions so far have come from our sports clients, all of whom are materially impacted by the sudden and nearly simultaneous prohibition against public gatherings around the world, the issue is applicable to any business that is obligated to provide goods or services to another party.

Translated from French, force majeure means superior force. The idea is that something greater than ourselves caused us not to perform a contractual obligation, despite our earnest desire to do so. 

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Communication on COVID-19

by Gutwein Law

It is no surprise that the health pandemic of COVID-19 is affecting businesses across the globe. To provide greater context on COVID-19, here are a few links to useful resources:

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