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Hogan Lovells and Reed Smith advise on the sale of Softomotive

Hogan Lovells and Reed Smith have both played advisory roles in the sale of Softomotive, one of the leading worldwide providers of Robotic Process Automation solutions, to Microsoft. The addition of Softomotive brings Microsoft closer to its 2020 resolution to ’empower tech intensity in its customers and partners’ including in RPA, which is forecast to reach an estimated $7.2 billion by 2025.

The Hogan Lovells team advising the shareholders of Softomotive, including UK-based growth equity firm Grafton Capital, was led by corporate partner Richard Diffenthal, with support from senior associate Simon Grimshaw and associate Joseph Platt (corporate), partner Karen Hughes and senior associate Tom Eyre Brook (UK tax), partner Fiona Bantock (ESI), partners Nancy O’Neill and Kurt Lawson and senior associate Caitlin Piper (on US Tax) and partner Matt Eisler and counsel Ryan Adrian (US corporate).

The Reed Smith team advising Microsoft was led by corporate partner Mike Young, supported by partners Casper Fox (corporate), Gregor Pryor (entertainment & media), David Ashmore (employment), Ramsey Hanna (entertainment & media) and Anthony Poulopoulos (corporate), counsels Stephen Mooney (corporate), Christina Nikiforaki (regulatory enforcement), senior associates Tufayel Hussain (corporate) and Nick Breen (entertainment & media), and associates Harrison Stimson (corporate), Charlotte MacArthur (real estate), Haig Siranosian (litigation), Roch Glowacki (entertainment & media) and Tom Baxter (corporate).

Commenting on the transaction, Hogan Lovells partner, Richard Diffenthal said: “RPA is undoubtedly the future of IT automation and Softomotive have already proven to be pioneers and innovators in this marketplace. It was a real privilege to support Softomotive on this deal, and to work closely with co-founders Marios Stavropoulos and Anargyros Kaninis, as well as Oliver Thomas and his team at Grafton Capital.”

Mike Young, corporate partner at Reed Smith, added: “We are pleased to once again have supported Microsoft on an important acquisition that ensures they remain at the forefront of RPA solutions.”

Spicy trademark suit over descriptive marks

Trademark law protects a trademark if it is primarily unique and non-descriptive of the goods or services for which it is being used. For example, you cannot register the mark Computer to sell computers or computer related products, you have to name it differently, such as Apple, Microsoft, Dell, Ubuntu etc. This is one of the basic tenets of trademark law.

Sky Enterprise Private Limited (“Sky Enterprise”) is engaged in the business of processing, manufacturing and marketing of various types of spices, condiments and masalas (mixture of spices). It has, inter alia, registered the marks “Star Zing”, “Black Chinese Pepper Masala” and “White Chinese Pepper Masala”, in Class 30 for spices. A cursory glance at these marks would portray that Star Zing is the brand and the other marks are describing the different Masalas sold under this brand. However, Sky Enterprise, thought differently. According to them, the terms “Black Chinese Pepper Masala” and “White Chinese Pepper Masala” were so closely associated with their brand, such that the customers could identify products described in this manner only with Star Zing. Sky Enterprise filed a suit against proprietor, Abaad Masala which was found to be using the marks viz., “Black Chinese Pepper Masala” and “White Chinese Pepper Masala” along with its brand name AMZ on their masala packets. Sky Enterprises alleged that the use of these terms amounted to infringement of its rights in the trademark.

The Defendant argued that the words ‘Black Chinese Pepper Masala’ and ‘White Chinese Pepper Masala’ are used by the Defendant in its trade dress, just as in the case of the Plaintiff, for identifying or indicating the kind, quality, and intended purpose of the goods.

The Court held that the defendant may use the words ‘White Chinese Pepper Masala’ and ‘Black Chinese Pepper Masala’ however, not in this particular sequence. It may use these words in some other sequence or in combination with some other words. However, this particular combination was associated distinctively with the Plaintiff, and it being the registered proprietor of the marks, was entitled to protection.

This case goes against the conventional notion of not allowing descriptive marks to be registered in the first place, let alone protecting them in an action for infringement.

Armanino recognised for excellence in Technology Consulting

Armanino LLP, one of the 25 largest accounting and business consulting firms in the United States, today announced it has been named a finalist for the 2019 Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations Partner of the Year Award and to Bob Scott’s Top 100 VARs for 2019. The firm was selected by Microsoft as one of only 164 companies to be recognised in its Partner of the Year Awards from a field of nearly 3,000 nominees across 115 countries. Bob Scott’s Top 100 VARs are chosen from organisations specialising in the sale and implementation of enterprise resource planning and accounting software based on annual revenue.

“These recognitions tell a larger story about the level of detail and client service we put into every engagement. At each level, we strive to be the most innovative and entrepreneurial firm so we can make a positive impact on our clients,” said Matt Armanino, CEO at Armanino LLP. “We are excited to be named a finalist for the 2019 Microsoft Partner of the Year honour and to Bob Scott’s Top 100 VARs, because it means that impact is being felt with results and success for clients.”

Armanino was recognised for providing outstanding solutions and services in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations. As a Gold Certified Microsoft Dynamics partner, Armanino serves on the Worldwide Partner Advisory Committee and has been named a Microsoft Dynamics Inner Circle member six times since 2012. In March 2019, Armanino opened its Seattle office, providing direct access to the Microsoft ecosystem. The firm serves clients by defining digital transformation with cloud technologies and supports business process reengineering with a selection of solutions including AI, IOT and BI/Analytics created through Microsoft Business Applications.

The Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards recognise Microsoft partners that have developed and delivered exceptional Microsoft-based solutions during the past year. In addition to Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Armanino offers a host of software solutions including Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement, Dynamics GP, Salesforce, Sage Intacct, Adaptive Insights, Microsoft Power BI, Workiva, BlackLine and more.

About Armanino LLP

Armanino LLP is one of the 25 largest independent accounting and business consulting firms in the nation. Armanino provides an integrated set of audit, tax, business management, consulting and technology solutions to companies in the United States and globally. The firm helps clients adapt and change in every stage of business, from start-up through rapid growth to the sale of a company. Armanino emphasises smart technology, leading a cloud revolution of financial, operational, sales and compliance tools that are transforming the way companies do business. The firm extends its global services to more than 100 countries through its membership in Moore Stephens International Limited, one of the world’s major accounting and consulting membership organisations. In addition to its core consulting and accounting practices, Armanino operates its division, AMF Media Group, a media and communications services agency. Its affiliate, Intersect Capital, is an independent financial planning, wealth and lifestyle management firm.

If you would like to find out more information, please visit https://www.armaninollp.com/

Cryptocurrency in 2019: Things to Expect

Cryptocurrencies continue to surprise us with their behavior through the years. Amidst all the instability and unpredictability in terms of performance, trading, litigation, regulation, and taxation, miners and investors brave the odds and explore what these cryptocurrencies have to offer. Pessimists and optimists alike have much to say about the future of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin – such as bitcoin’s supposed nearing end because of the consistent drop in bitcoin price after reaching its peak. But it’s more viable to focus on observable trends in order to have an idea on what to expect as far as these cryptocurrencies are concerned. Here are some of them.

The Market

The word “bubble” is thrown around in the finance world, and if you’re wondering what it means, it is simply the cycle created by the fast escalation of asset prices followed by a contraction. The bubble deflates when investors cease to buy at elevated prices and massive sell-offs occur. As for bitcoin, yes it is a bubble, and it indeed popped. The market is expected to calm down a bit after the Crypto bubble and cryptocurrency trading will remain profitable.

Cryptocurrency as Payment

Retailers are starting to accept cryptocurrency as payment. At this point in time, including cryptocurrency in the list of payment methods can potentially boost income, in the same way that establishments that accept credit cards do have a wider reach than those who do not. Now you can book flights, purchase household goods, get web domains, buy computer products, and so much more with bitcoin. As of December 2018, more travel services, web services, food, and general merchandise have started to accept bitcoin payments. Those with a Microsoft account, for example, have the “Redeem Bitcoin” option upon checkout and can add up to $100 at a time via Bitpay.

Cybersecurity

In the recent years, crypto traders and holders have seen security threats such as phishing and mining malware. Cryptocurrencies, in theory, are secure; however, we expect that new crypto exchanges and platforms will bring about new cybersecurity threats and challenges.

Blockchain

The blockchain industry has always been associated with cryptocurrency, and in 2019, it is expected to work on its image as an industry that has a lot more to offer. If the industry wants to operate on a larger scale, it needs to be communicated that the blockchain technology has a lot of uses that are unrelated to cryptocurrency.

Taxation and Regulation

2019 is set to be the year of more widespread, formal, and international crypto regulation. In cryptocurrency news this year, Malta became the first country to have a clear regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. Countries such as Russia and India have also begun to draft national legislation for cryptocurrencies; and we expect other countries to follow suit – giving way for cryptocurrency to become more legitimate. Preventing money laundering, fraud, and terrorist funding is a prime motivation in putting these regulations in place. If cryptocurrencies are safely policed, more and more people will be confident to use and adopt them.

Contact us at Hogan Injury for expert legal advice.

None of the content on https://www.hoganinjury.com/ is legal advice nor is it a replacement for advice from a certified lawyer. Please consult a legal professional for further information.