Made in the USA! Reshoring Children’s Products

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For all expecting and new parents, you probably have learned how quickly buying your child’s products adds up! So why would you be willing to pay more for an American-made product when you could purchase a similar product or even the “same” product, produced overseas, for half the cost?

To answer this question, you should ask yourself whether you really want to trust your baby with foreign imports. Although many items produced overseas are superb, sometimes they are not, and your new baby’s products are not something to take a chance on. Each year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“Customs”) seizes literally millions of products being imported into the U.S. because they are defective and/or because the products were manufactured with lead, cadmium, or some other hazardous substance. While Customs has done a commendable job of seizing products at the border, it is able to prevent only a fraction of the number of the potentially dangerous products from making their way into the hands of U.S. consumers. Continue reading this entry

The Government's Strategy to Combat the "Cyber Arms Race"

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In the midst of ongoing, escalating and increasingly troublesome reports of large-scale corporate cyber breaches, the federal government is trying to fight back more forcefully with a dual strategy to shore up agency capability and exchange information with industry in a “shared mission.” Recently, it added five newly enacted cybersecurity laws to its arsenal – or mitigation squad. Their purported goal: to improve the government’s capability to thwart and limit future attacks. The laws generally seek to:

  • Streamline internal agency procedures and implement new strategies,
  • Fill important cyber vacancies at the Department of Homeland Security and improve the effectiveness of its cyber-dedicated personnel, and
  • Promote industry standards and best practices in a fast-evolving cyber world.*

This latest round of legislative tweaks, however, is but one component of a more comprehensive approach that includes executive action and solicits industry participation – and disclosure. Continue reading this entry

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act: A Pitfall in International Trade

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The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) should be top of mind for any manufacturer conducting or considering international business. Indeed, any doubts that the government was still interested in investigating and prosecuting companies and individuals for violations of the FCPA were put to rest in 2014. This is so because government enforcement authorities disclosed two enforcement actions in 2014 that resulted in two of the top 10 fines ever paid for violations of the FCPA. Don’t just take our word for it. “This is a wake-up call for small and medium-size businesses that want to enter into high-risk markets and expand their international sales,” said the chief of the Security & Exchange Commission’s FCPA enforcement group after settling an FCPA case. Continue reading this entry

From Carjacking to Carhacking – Lessons for the Internet of Things

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is coming and perhaps the first place we will see the proverbial rubber hit the road is with something near and dear to Americans – our cars. The ever increasing connectivity of cars is creating a multitude of new security concerns and legal issues. The security concerns that arise from connected cars will not be unique to automobiles, and there are lessons to be learned for a variety of industries, including manufacturing.

On February 9, 2015, U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) released a report on automobile security and privacy vulnerabilities, Tracking & Hacking: Security & Privacy Gaps Put American Drivers at Risk. Key findings from the Report reveal an inconsistent patchwork of security measures across all automobiles including: inability to respond to, or even diagnose, hacking or real-time infiltration; unsecured or unencrypted transmission and storage of data; and, questionable use and sharing of that data. Many of these same concerns are being voiced elsewhere, including by the Federal Trade Commission. Continue reading this entry

Bring on the Bots!

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While what constitutes “advanced” constantly evolves, advanced robotic systems have been a reality on manufacturing floors since at least the 1970s. These technological advancements can reduce costs, increase productivity, fulfill unmet needs, replace labor, create new industries, and more. Issues, which have been discussed for decades, related to developments in robotics still concern people today. Some may rightfully worry that robotic advancements will take their jobs or upend their business model. However, such concerns cannot stem the relentless march of technology. Manufacturers and employees accordingly should stay apprised of new developments in the field of robotics. Staying ahead of the curve can provide a competitive advantage or even save one’s livelihood. (Not to mention, keeping up with advancing technology is fun.) Continue reading this entry