• Benefits Bulletin

    New Law Promotes ESOPs and Expands Benefits for S Corporations


    Signed into law at the end of 2022, the SECURE 2.0 ACT of 2022 includes provisions that, in general, favor and promote employee ownership through Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs).

    ESOPs have long been favored in legislation on a bipartisan basis, and it seems that entrepreneurs and business owners will be able to count on their availability to use as a unique succession planning tool.

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  • Benefits Bulletin

    Retirement Plan Records and the Forever Rule

    Andrew S. Williams

    Retirement plan retention requirements are pretty clear. The retention lapses that do occur both in the Estate of Barton case and in our experience usually result from business acquisitions where the acquiring business either does not receive or fails to retain the “forever” records of the acquired entity. So, any due diligence checklist in a business acquisition should contain a detailed inquiry about the target’s “forever” records. And yes, you can retain your own forever records electronically in accordance with applicable Department of Labor regulations.

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    Will Assign Doesn’t Mean Did Assign

    Beverly A. Berneman

    Agreeing to assign a patent in the future isn’t an assignment at all. %CUT% Three co-inventors of a patent were employed by Company A. The co-inventors signed an employment agreement stating they “will assign” their rights to any patentable invention they created during their employment. Company A transferred its assets to Company B. Only two of the inventors assigned their patent rights to Company B. Based upon the employment agreement between the original company and the third inventor, the USPTO allowed Company B to prosecute the patent without the third inventor actually assigning the patent. Company B dissolved and its assets were transferred to Advanced Video Techs, LLC. Advanced Video then brought a patent infringement suit against HTC Corp. The district court dismissed the case holding that Advanced Video didn’t have standing to bring a patent infringement suit without joining the non-assigning inventor in the suit. On appeal, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the decision that Advanced Video didn’t have standing. The Federal Circuit reasoned that the agreement to assign something in the future, is not an assignment. The third co-inventor only promised to assign a future patent so she still had part ownership of the patent and had to be a party to the infringement suit.

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