Customer Collaboration and Predictive Analytics Can Lead to Successful Product Manufacturing

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Advanced manufacturing companies increasingly implement “Intellectual Property Plus,” an expanded view of IP assets and risks. Through this lens, companies incorporate customer expectations and preferences in new product development, on the one hand, and navigate the potential regulatory snares of mining customer data, on the other hand. While integrating the “customers’ voices,” companies should protect their legal interests, through IP and contracts, and understand legal restrictions on data use. Continue reading this entry

4 Simple Tips for Better Supply Agreements

Ten Tips to Develop a Practical Conflict Minerals Approach for 2014

Supply agreements serve as the lifeblood of many manufacturing companies. These agreements outline the terms and conditions controlling the supply of goods and services between various parties. Without this framework, many businesses could not meet the pressing demands of the modern-day marketplace.

With so much riding on these agreements, savvy business professionals must pay particular attention to agreement terms. The negotiation of supply agreement terms and conditions should involve the entire business team, not just the attorneys. Failure to critically think through options and deal terms often leads to lost profits and liability concerns over the life of a supply agreement. While by no means an exhaustive list, these tips below will help your business kick-start the supply agreement planning process. Continue reading this entry

Trade Secrets – Protecting the (Corporate) Family Jewels

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Disputes regarding trade secrets and corporate espionage are becoming perpetual fixtures in the news. One of the most common scenarios is that a key employee departs to join a competitor and his or her former employer quickly learns that, just before departing, the former employee copied critical proprietary information to an external drive or uploaded it to a cloud storage site without permission.

Another news item is the recent introduction by the House of Representatives of the Trade Secrets Protection Act of 2014. The Act seeks to create a basis in federal law for private companies and individuals to file suit to protect their trade secrets instead of under state law where there may be important differences from one state to the next. One of the sponsors of the federal legislation noted that “American businesses face relentless cybersecurity threats every day, costing our economy billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs each year.” This risk could impact your business. Continue reading this entry

Funds Investing in U.S. Manufacturing Companies: Foreign Investor Considerations

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Operators of manufacturing companies, especially those considering a sale or capital raise, should understand investors’ concerns regarding direct investment. Today, investment funds with investors and investments in multiple jurisdictions constitute a large part of the U.S. manufacturing direct investment landscape. However, tax challenges exist for these fund managers and investors.

The tax treatment of foreign investors depends largely on the type of income generated by a fund. For example, assume that an investment fund is structured as a domestic limited partnership, with both U.S. and foreign investors. Further, assume that the fund acquires a U.S.-based manufacturing company, which is also structured as a domestic limited partnership. Unless structured properly, the foreign investors will have to file U.S. income tax returns and pay U.S. income tax on their share of the income from the manufacturing operations. This structure poses little concern for those American investors, but it is quite troublesome for foreign investors. Continue reading this entry

Bring Your Own Device Doesn't Mean Bring in Security Breach

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Bring-Your-Own-Device (“BYOD”) policies have been picking up steam because of increased productivity, improved communications, and the need for employees to work remotely. However, when implementing any BYOD policy there are many pitfalls that accompany these benefits. In some cases, corporations, including manufacturers, overlook risks associated with their current (or lack of) BYOD policies. Here are a few best practices that can minimize some of the risks associated with BYOD policies. Continue reading this entry