Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
November 20, 2001, 9:00 AM ET, Alert No. 312.
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Insider Trading at nVIDIA
11/19. The SEC filed seven civil complaints in U.S. District Court (NDCal) against 15 individuals alleging illegal insider trading of nVIDIA stock. The complaints name 11 employees of nVIDIA and 4 persons who were tipped by nVIDIA defendants. See, SEC release. (N.D.Cal, San Jose Div., Case Nos. 01-21067 through 21073.)
nVIDIA is a Santa Clara, California, based maker of computer graphics processors. The SEC states that on March 5, 2000, nVIDIA notified all of its employees by e-mail that it had won a lucrative contract to provide graphics components for Microsoft's video game console known as the X-Box. A second e-mail notified the employees that the information was confidential. The SEC continues that 11 employees, mostly engineers, nevertheless used this confidential, material, non public information to purchase nVIDIA stock, and to tip 4 others outside of nVIDIA, who also purchased stock. When Microsoft announced the contract on March 10, nVIDIA's stock price rose to more than twice its March 6 close.
In addition, a grand jury of the U.S. District Court (NDCal) returned indictments against four nVIDIA engineers, Atul Bhagat, David Chang, Geoffrey Chang, and Robert Prevett, charging insider trading. The indictments were returned on November 13, but unsealed on November 19.
See, indictment [PDF] of Robert Prevett charging securities fraud, insider trading, and tipper liability, in violation of 15 U.S.C. 78j and 78ff, and 17 C.F.R. 240.10b-5. See also, indictment [PDF] of Geoffrey Chang, indictment [PDF] of David Chang, and indictment [PDF] of Atul Bhagat. Another employee, Jon Lin, was changed by information [PDF].
People and Appointments
11/15. Charles Greenwood was confirmed by the Senate to be Coordinator for Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).
11/19. Alan Beller was named Director of the SEC's Division of Corporation Finance, and Senior Counselor to the Commission. See, SEC release.
11/14. The law firm of Fenwick & West announced an expansion of its Washington DC office. David Hayes (Chairman of the firm's Intellectual Property Group), Kevin Kelso (Corporate Group), Stuart Meyer (Litigation and Intellectual Property), Brian Kelly (Licensing), and Christopher Tobin (Patent) will work in the Washington DC office either full or part time. See, FW release.
11/15. Behrooz Shariati joined the Silicon Valley office of the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery as a partner in the firm's Intellectual Property Department. He practices in the area of intellectual property counseling and litigation relating to Internet related software, hardware and networking technologies. Prior to practicing law, he was a programmer. See, release.
11/15. Tony West joined the San Francisco office of the law firm of Morrison & Foerster as of counsel in the firm's litigation department. He is a former Special Assistant Attorney for the State of California, and former Assistant U.S. Attorney in San Jose. As Special Assistant AG he advised AG Lockyer on high tech crime, Internet policy, civil rights, elder abuse and crime prevention issues. See, MoFo release.
11/16. Three international antitrust law specialists joined the law firm of Latham & Watkins: Abbott Lipsky, Michael Egge and John Colahan. All three previously worked at Coca Cola. See, release.
11/12. Michael Solender rejoined the Washington DC office of the law firm of Arnold & Porter as a partner. He was previously General Counsel of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). See, release.
11/16. John Milliken was named director of Virginia Governor Elect Mark Warner's transition team. He is also the partner in charge of the Venable law firm's McLean, Virginia, office. See, release.
11/16. Jody Westby was named Consulting Counsel to the law firm of Wiley Rein & Fielding. She specializes in e-commerce and information and infrastructure security. She was previously Chief Administrative Officer and Counsel for In-Q-Tel, the CIA's venture capital firm. Prior to that, she was a Senior Fellow and Director of IT Studies for The Progress & Freedom Foundation and Director of Domestic Policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. See, WRF release.
11/13. Sunil Bhardwaj was named VP of Finance and CFO of the law firm of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. See, WSGR release.
EU Commissioner Addresses Internet Policy
11/19. Erkki Liikanen gave a speech in Washington DC in which he reviewed recent EU Internet related legislation, and offered policy recommendations. He is the EU Enterprise and Information Society Commissioner. He spoke to the European American Business Council.
Telecommunications. He stated in the prepared text of his speech that "we should continue to democratise access to new communication services by completing telecoms liberalisation to drive prices further down, both within the EU and outside via the new WTO/GATS negotiations on services." However, he added that "much remains to be done to create a level playing field for all competitors. Indeed, the EU telecoms market remains fragmented along national lines within the EU."
Convergence. He stated that "Another major challenge is to adapt telecoms regulation to the Internet driven convergence between telecoms, computers and the media. A new regulatory package for electronic communications based on convergence and technological neutrality, should be accepted in the next few weeks by the EU member countries and European Parliament."
Areas to be Regulated. Liikanen said that "The European e-commerce framework is a light one. Legislation is limited to what is strictly necessary in order to avoid any over regulation which would act as a deterrent. It sets rules and principles that are valid throughout the European Union only in essential areas such as personal data, privacy, copyrights, legal responsibility, illegal and harmful content, cyber crime, and taxation."
Privacy. He stated that "we need to cater for the need for security and confidence in cyberspace." He continued that "Legislation has been adopted to protect personal data. It grants individuals the right to access and correct their personal data, and to opt out of their use for direct marketing."
Spam. "A proposed piece of legislation aims to secure the confidentiality of electronic communications, and foresees prior consent (or opt-in) to receive unsolicited commercial communications is now in the hands of the legislators," said Liikanen.
Other Legislation. Liikanen also addressed recent EU legislation in the areas of liberalization of encryption restraints, electronic signatures, network security, and cyber crime.
Promoting Content. He stated that government in the EU plays an important role in providing content and applications for the Internet. He cited electronic government services and digitizing Europe's cultural heritage as examples.
Digital Divides. Finally, he addressed "digital divide" issues. He said that schools must be connected, and "Schools must provide all young Europeans with the essential digital skills they need to live and work in the digital age." He also advocated "life long learning", "public Internet access points", and investing in technologies for the sick, elderly and disabled.
FTC Cautions Internet Retailers
11/19. The Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Division of Enforcement sent 72 letters to online retailers warning them to comply with federal regulations pertaining to quick ship claims. The FTC reminded online retailers that the Mail or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule (aka Mail Order Rule) also applies to online orders. It requires merchants to ship orders to buyers within the time stated, or, if no time is stated, within 30 days. The FTC conducted a surf of 110 Internet retailers, and found that 72 made quick ship claims. See, FTC release.
16 C.F.R. 435 provides, in part, that "In connection with mail or telephone order sales in or affecting commerce ... it constitutes an unfair method of competition, and an unfair or deceptive act or practice for a seller: (a) (1) To solicit any order for the sale of merchandise to be ordered by the buyer through the mails or by telephone unless, at the time of the solicitation, the seller has a reasonable basis to expect that it will be able to ship any ordered merchandise to the buyer: (i) Within that time clearly and conspicuously stated in any such solicitation, or (ii) if no time is clearly and conspicuously stated, within thirty (30) days after receipt of a properly completed order from the buyer."
Thanksgiving Schedule
The Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert will not be published on Thursday, November 22, or Friday, November 23.
Tuesday, Nov 20
The Senate and House are in recess for Thanksgiving.
9:00 AM. There will be a press conference titled "WTO Last Week in DOHA". For more information, contact Judge Morris at 463-5075. Location: First Amendment Room, National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor.
10:00 AM. The Commerce Department's Technology Administration will hold a public meeting on existing public and private high tech workforce training programs. The meeting is being held pursuant to 115(a) and 115(b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty First Century Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-313), which requires the Secretary of Commerce to conduct a study and prepare a report to Congress. Location: Room 4813, Commerce Department. See, notice in Federal Register, September 10, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 175, at Pages 47016.
Wednesday, Nov 21
The Senate and House are in recess for Thanksgiving.
2:00 - 5:00 PM. The National Science Foundation's (NSF) Advisory Committee for Cyber Infrastructure will hold a meeting to develop a plan for the preparation of a report to the NSF concerning advanced cyber infrastructure and the evaluation of the existing Partnerships for Advanced Computational Infrastructure. See, notice in Federal Register, November 2, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 213, at Pages 55702. Location: Room 130, NSF, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA.
Thursday, Nov 22
Thanksgiving day. The Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert will not be published.
Friday, Nov 23
The Senate and Senate are in recess for Thanksgiving. The Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert will not be published
Monday, Nov 26
The Senate and House are in recess for Thanksgiving.
SEC Chairman Gives Another Speech
11/16. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Harvey Pitt gave a speech in Washington DC. He stated that "one of our major initiatives is to improve our disclosure system, supplementing it by putting more meaningful information into investors' hands more promptly". He suggested that "we have an incredible array of new technologies to assist us. We should aggressively take advantage of technology, and harness it to make our markets even more efficient, and more responsive to investor needs."
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