For as long as cars have existed, three fundamental truths appeared to be eternal. First, every car contains safety critical components, second these components are mostly metal and third, they are manufactured by one of two methods—stamping or cold forming. These eternal truths always led to an equally durable legal reality, that if the safety critical component fails the manufacturer will be liable to the injured party. It’s hard to think of a more trite and dependable set of principles. But these timeless precepts are about to become disrupted as the automotive industry continues to explore the innovation of 3D printing.
The United States Supreme Court refused to take up a request to revisit the Federal Circuit’s decision regarding design patents covering automotive repair parts. The Supreme Court’s denial to revisit the decision keeps the long-standing principles of functionality with regards to design patents unchanged. The decision stands, however, as a reminder of the importance and usefulness of design patents to protect repair parts in industries that have significant commercial interests in preventing third-parties from copying designs of repair parts. Continue reading “U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Revisit Decision Upholding Design Patent Validity for Automotive Repair Parts”
On February 26, 2020, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a final rule changing the standard for determining joint-employer status under the National Labor Relations Act. This final rule will affect companies across industries, but could be particularly impactful on entities operating in the transportation, automotive, and logistics industries. Continue reading “The National Labor Relations Board Changed Its Joint Employer Standard… Again”
Pennsylvania could be joining the ranks of states that require employers to pay employees for time spent in post-shift security screening (federal law does not require employers to do this). In December 2019, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court agreed to consider whether the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act (PMWA) qualifies such security screenings as compensable time in Neil Heimbach v. Amazon.com, Inc. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision has the potential to affect a wide range of industries operating in Pennsylvania, including those in transportation, automotive, and logistics. Continue reading “Security Screenings and Overtime Pay: Could Pennsylvania Join Other States in Requiring that Employees Remain “On-the-Clock” for Mandatory Security Protocols?”
It’s hard to imagine any sector where developments arise faster, and legal issues are more volatile, than transportation, automotive and logistics. Our clients sit in the cross hairs of innovation, regulation and risk. They face challenges from all sides, from contracts to procurement, though commercial issues, regulatory risk, safety compliance, litigation risk, product recalls, insurance and even ethical issues. Continue reading “Introduction”