The Week at Ropes & Gray: Protecting IP Assets; Blockbuster Settlements Over Sanctions and Export Controls; Regulatory Developments in D.C.

In The News
March 17, 2017

Weekly highlights of what’s happening at Ropes & Gray:

  • With market reports suggesting robust deal activity in 2017, protecting IP assets increasingly becomes a key consideration in M&A and other commercial transactions. In Bloomberg BNA’s World IP Report, attorneys from our IP transactions group discuss ways to secure these assets and effectively exchange confidential information—a critical factor to getting the deal done—while mitigating the threat that the information could be stolen or misappropriated by the other side should the deal go south.
  • Last week saw the debut of the House Republicans’ American Health Care Act, the first step in the new administration’s pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare. Health care partner Tom Bulleit spoke with Bloomberg BNA on the impact of the proposed elimination of Obamacare’s individual mandate, suggesting that fewer Americans will buy insurance and more insurers will back out of the market. On the other side of the coin, Tom explains, insurers will like the fact that they will be able to offer lower cost policies with limited coverage, but they will receive less in subsidies. You can read about this and more of the fast-moving regulatory changes afoot in Washington on our Capital Insights website.
  • Another item potentially on the Trump administration’s chopping block is the U.S. Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule. On March 10, the DOL adopted a temporary non-enforcement policy for non-compliance with the rule, which is dependent on whether the proposed delay is finalized prior to April 10, the current applicability date, or if it’s ever finalized at all. As explained in our alert on the topic, the non-enforcement policy should provide some comfort to financial institutions that are having difficulty completing preparations for the April 10 compliance date, but the policy does not protect institutions from private lawsuits for failure to comply with the rule. 
  • Last week, China-based telecommunications giant Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment Corp. (ZTE) reached blockbuster settlements with multiple U.S. regulators to resolve alleged violations of U.S. sanctions and export control laws. If approved, it will represent the largest fine and forfeiture imposed to date in an export control case: an $892 million combined penalty. And if ZTE violates the terms? The penalty balloons to $1.19 billion. In this alert, also published this week in Law360, Ropes & Gray attorneys provide one of the first analyses of the ZTE settlements and what they may portend for future sanctions and export control enforcement.
  • Finally, in deal news out of Asia, a Shanghai-based Ropes & Gray team steered Aier Eye Hospital Group in its acquisition of a majority stake in Wang Vision Institute. Aier is the largest eye hospital chain in China, operating 100 freestanding eye hospitals providing LASIK and cataract surgery, among other optometric services.