TECHNOLOGY, OUTSOURCING, AND COMMERCIAL TRANSACTIONS
NEWS FOR LAWYERS AND SOURCING PROFESSIONALS

A recent jury finding in Energy Transfer Partners LP v. Enterprise Products Partners LP may have far-reaching effects in how relationships formed through nonbinding letters of intent are interpreted, specifically regarding whether conduct can negate a previous agreement between parties.

In numerous documents, including a letter of intent, executed by Energy Transfer Partners LP (ETP) and Enterprise Products Partners LP (Enterprise) the companies agreed that neither party had a legal obligation to pursue a pipeline project until both parties signed a definitive agreement stating their intent to be bound to the venture. Enterprise later abandoned the project citing a lack of concrete interest from shippers and ETP filed suit after learning that Enterprise entered into a similar project with a third party. ETP argued that the parties' conduct formed a state law partnership under Texas law and alleged that Enterprise breached its fiduciary duties.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently voted to make available for public comment a proposal on protecting and promoting an open Internet, and in particular, the concept of “net neutrality.” The FCC’s May 15 proposal stems from its conclusion that “broadband providers have the incentive and ability to act in ways that threaten Internet openness” and two previous invalidated attempts to impose protections. This Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is available for public comment until September 10, 2014.

As a result of new regulations, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has greater authority to regulate drug manufacturers for failing to have adequate controls around supply chain management, including the authority to impose penalties. This authority is derived from new part 711 of the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, which was signed in 2012 to expand the FDA’s authorities and strengthen its ability to safeguard public health.

After six months of being held up by the lumbering technology world, agile lawmakers see an end in sight. Wait, what?

Since California passed California Assembly Bill 370, commonly referred to as “Do Not Track” legislation, website operators have been struggling to determine what compliance entails. This is particularly troubling considering the law has been effective since January 1, 2014.

As part of Morgan Lewis's Technology May-rathon webinar series, Antitrust partners Will Tom, Clay Everett, and Jonathan Rich will discuss lessons from Bazaaarvoice/PowerReviews, Integrated Device Technologies/PLX Technology, and other challenges to high-tech mergers brought by the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission in recent years.

This webinar will be held today, Thursday, May 15, from 1 to 2 p.m. Sign up here >

We recently hosted our 8th annual Women in Shared Services and Outsourcing Executive Roundtable in New York. More than 50 women from across the United States attended the May 8 event, representing a wide range of industries, including financial services, consumer products, energy, and life sciences.

Welcome to Morgan Lewis’s newest blog, in which we highlight the latest developments and trends affecting technology, outsourcing, and other commercial transactions. Sourcing@MorganLewis discusses key issues, pitfalls, and best practices for commercial contract lawyers and sourcing professionals.

Take a look at our posts below, and check back soon for our discussion of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ new contract language requirements related to its regulations on individuals with disabilities and protected veterans.

As the European Union (EU) and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) issue new rules on data protection, companies need to ensure their policies comply with the applicable regulations in this ever-changing landscape. The increasing requirements placed on companies bring to mind a famous quote: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Yes, Spiderman’s Uncle Ben said that, but the quote has particular applicability to the circumstances faced by multinational companies that have now been equipped with technology to transmit and access data across the world in the blink of an eye. Various data protection requirements have accompanied this “great power” of data transfer, particularly with respect to the transfer of personal data.

Recently, I found myself explaining that auto-renewal provisions in contracts may not be so automatic in certain states. The discussion arose when my wife stumbled across a $180 charge on our credit card statement for a subscription to a sports package that she previously was unaware of. I explained to her that I had been ordering the subscription for years and that the subscription auto-renewed for the following season unless I opted out within a certain time frame, which had already passed. Afterwards, the following conversation may or may not have taken place:

A recent opinion from the Supreme Court of India in a case over cricket broadcasting rights settles the score on how the country will deal with foreign arbitration. An online search for cricket—by far the most popular sport in India—will, on most days, yield coverage of the Indian national cricket team or India’s professional cricket league, the Indian Premier League (IPL). These days, a search will return news about the dispute over cricket media rights that made its way to the Indian Supreme Court. In World Sport Group (Mauritius) Ltd. (WSG) v. MSM Satellite (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. (MSM), the Supreme Court signaled that India’s courts will not interfere in foreign arbitration by concluding that a contractual dispute between WSG and MSM must be decided by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Singapore, as agreed to by the parties, despite an allegation of fraud.