The Business Technology Group is a multi-disciplinary team of lawyers that combines practical industry experience and in-house understanding with the skills of a leading private practice. Our lawyers use a proactive approach by assisting businesses to take advantage of the opportunities available to them and acting quickly and decisively to provide creative solutions. Companies count on us to secure, leverage and defend their business interests, from intellectual property and technology rights to outsourcing business processes and the development of electronic commerce initiatives.
Our Business Technology Group clients include Fortune 500 companies, mid- and small- cap enterprises and Internet start-ups. They include businesses in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, entertainment, media and broadcasting, manufacturing, merchandizing, franchising, consulting, accounting, insurance and financial services industries throughout the world. Our lawyers have the transactional experience to help clients complete deals, acquire technology and establish relationships in today's digital environment, as well as the dispute experience to pursue or defend claims when needed.
We counsel our clients on all their business transactions, from e-commerce and high-speed communications to in-house research and development and software development. The goal is always to protect our clients' businesses and help them grow - even in difficult economic times.
With our skill in the details of technology transactions, our lawyers are proficient in the everyday contracts needed to run and develop a business as well as in the special needs of companies involved in mergers and acquisitions, debt and equity financing, and domestic and international strategic alliances and joint ventures. We have a strong focus and background in venture financing, Internet/e-commerce law and computer law.
We have an excellent reputation throughout the high tech world for our comprehensive e-commerce legal representation to numerous clients.
Our lawyers have substantial experience in cross-town or cross-border commercial business transactions and agreements for the licensing, distribution, creation and protection of technology and information. We also have the hands-on knowledge that comes from our members serving as the in-house general counsel in global Internet companies, e-commerce businesses, software providers and telecommunications leaders.
Every company buys and sells products and services all the time. Companies frequently execute consulting, services, purchase and sale, supply, distribution, alliance, marketing and other similar agreements that are critical to their business. These agreements can raise a number of complex issues.
Locke Lord can provide insights into various alternatives to address these issues based on our extensive experience in negotiating commercial transaction agreements. We help our clients make the most of commercial transactions by making certain that we understand our clients' short term and long term business objectives; offering clear, practical suggestions based on decades of experience with commercial transactions; and matching the experience levels of lawyers that work on commercial transactions to the complexity of the issues presented.
Cross-Border/Export & Import/Customs
With the globalization of the supply chain, clients routinely enter into international supply agreements to import components and license software and technology, use those components to develop new products and services, which they then sell to and use in the global marketplace through direct sales, agency, sales representative, distributor, reseller, sublicense, and other cross-border agreements. But working in the global arena adds additional layers of governmental (both foreign and domestic) bureaucracy to the transactions. The Customs Regulations apply to all imports of goods into the United States. A number of different government departments may get involved and require licenses when certain types of goods, materials, software, or technology are exported, or in some cases, simply disclosed to foreign nationals.
The Business Technology Group can provide the legal, regulatory, litigation, technological and other practical risks associated with an e-sign process. Our lawyers have helped clients design and implement effective electronic signature processes, from voice signatures to clicking "I Agree" on web sites to signing a hand held device. We have worked with a number of electronic signature vendors and understand the role technology plays in an effective e-process. With our assistance, our clients have confidently designed and implemented effective electronic signature processes.
Financial institutions and other companies increasingly wish to provide customers with the option of using online payment alternatives. Commercial customers of banks also have opportunities to use online banking and ACH options to provide more efficient and cost effective services to their own customers and to consolidate banking relationships. Market and technological developments have created opportunities for financial institutions to use ACH to provide services requested by consumers as well as to generate revenue.
The legal and regulatory landscape of e-payments is changing rapidly but in some cases is not able to keep up with the technology developed by financial services companies and third party technology providers. The adoption of laws and regulations intended to permit the use of electronic signatures has provided a platform for financial institutions of all kinds to begin offering online payments services. Locke Lord works with financial institutions of all types, including insurance companies and banks, to develop authentication methods for use in online banking that meet business and regulatory requirements.
Information Management and Privacy
Information is the currency of our economy and the lifeblood of organizations. The management of information to achieve optimal productivity, relationships and risk management is one of the most fundamental management challenges, yet one that is constantly changing along with technology, threats and compliance standards. These challenges are almost never best viewed in a vacuum as an issue of compliance with a particular privacy law, for example given the complexity of information management and of the many layers of regulatory and liability standards that apply to it. We help our clients to identify their most important information management legal challenges, and to meet those challenges.
In recent years, the largest information management legal risks faced by organizations have involved breaches of unencrypted personal information and spoliation of information relevant to a dispute or investigation. We have helped our clients respond to these and other risks with strategies, policies, processes and assistance in technology evaluation, as well as contributing to crisis management and other incident response. We have also helped our clients transform the relationships between law, IT, compliance and risk and records management departments within their organizations to better respond both to current and future risks. Whenever needed, we can respond immediately with recommendations reflecting a depth and breadth of practical experience in the area and well-seasoned processes, practices and other knowledge. Our lawyers are also involved in helping to define changes in the law, providing our experienced perspective on the impact of law and standards governing privacy, security and records and document management.
Intellectual Property Protection
We provide assistance in the acquisition and development, protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. The Business Technology Group regularly drafts and negotiates research and development agreements, licensing agreements and other agreements involving the creation or acquisition of rights to intellectual property rights. We assist clients in the protection of their intellectual property rights by assisting with the selection and screening of trademarks and the registration of trademarks and copyrights, both domestically and internationally. Finally, we assist our clients in the commercialization and leveraging of the intellectual property rights they develop and acquire through the negotiation of licenses, joint ventures, manufacturing and supply agreements and similar arrangements.
IT Disputes and Litigation
Every company uses software and hardware to acquire, process and exchange information. They routinely enter into Information Technology (IT) transactions involving the acquisition, development or provision of access to software, hardware, databases, web services or other technology that is used to process information. Agreements for IT transactions can include software and data licenses, implementation and installation agreements, development agreements, consulting agreements, maintenance and support agreements, escrow agreements, web hosting agreements and telecommunications agreements. Each type of agreement has unique issues and often involves complex issues that are not always readily apparent, but can have far reaching impacts on both the licensor's and licensee's business.
Having negotiated thousands of IT transaction agreements, Locke Lord can spot these issues and provide insights and practical alternatives to address them, up front before they impact your business. We understand the IT marketplace. That understanding coupled with our focus on understanding our clients' short and long-term business objectives allows us to offer clear, practical suggestions to resolve complex issues cost effectively by matching the experience levels of lawyers that work on IT transactions to the complexity of the issues presented.
Outsourcing and IT Transactions
The Business Technology Group provides insight into the critical outsourcing and licensing issues such as structuring fair limits of liability, handling the regulatory aspects of the transaction, and ensuring that any early termination can be accomplished at a reasonable cost with minimal business disruption. Relying on our experience in traditional legal disciplines, such as finance, tax, intellectual property, and regulatory counseling, our lawyers have provided some of the world's leading companies with focused and practical advice for handling the particular issues presented by outsourcings and other IT transactions.
Our multi-disciplinary team also includes lawyers focused primarily on dispute resolution and litigation, including avoiding and managing potential disputes before they occur and, when necessary, using proven alternative dispute resolution methods for resolving the often complex, technical issues at the heart of any unsuccessful IT project.
The Business Technology Group regularly assists clients with responding to actual or suspected data security breaches. Clients look to us for help on determining whether any notices are required or otherwise appropriate (to mitigate non-statutory risk, for example) and if so, the content and recipients of the notices. Often, a security incident will involve multiple states' security breach laws. The security standards issued under HIPAA will also require companies handling protected health information to comply with HIPAA-specific notice rules. We help clients with preparing information security policies that address data security breach readiness and response procedures. We also help clients in developing the appropriate provisions for their contracts with vendors and suppliers having access to sensitive consumer data.
We are leaders in the deregulation of the telecommunications industry. Our lawyers handle all phases of the deregulated market, performing work for wireline and wireless companies as well as transactional and litigation matters. We have significant experience negotiating agreements for the provision of telecommunications circuits which include the provision of DS and OC level circuits to CLECs and businesses, dark fiber, the provision of satellite communications links, outsourcing agreements, wired and wireless phone and internet service and service level agreements to support each of the forgoing services. Additionally, our lawyers have handled the sale of IRU's, negotiated with applicable governmental entities to secure rights of way to permit the installation of fiber optic cable, have worked on behalf of telecom providers and building owners regarding telecommunications access to tenants and have negotiated wiring agreements on behalf of developers of apartment complexes. We have a strong background in technology and software licensing as they relate to the provision of and use by telecommunications services and have handled cases regarding cellular towers and equipment manufacturing.