Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Three brief items

1. Delaware state bar discussing corporate law change

The Delaware State Bar Ass'n has under consideration a proposal to amend the famously-influential Delaware General Corporate Law. If the bar association approves of them, the changes will be submitted to the General Assembly.

The proposed amendments include the creation of two new DGCL sections, Sections 112 and 113, that would (I quote a memo available through the website of Schulte Roth & Zabel) "greatly increase access to a corporation's proxy statement and the right to reimbursement for nominating directors to the corporation's board."

2. The Mark Cuban case

Mark Cuban is the defendant in an insider-trading complaint brought by the SEC in the US district court, northern district of Texas last fall. The SEC's theory of the case pushes at the outer boundaries of what had been considered 'insider trading,' or even 'tippee' status. That's enough reason to send a cheer or two his way.

I discussed the case when it was filed and won't repeat myself unduly.

Instead, I'll simply note that the judge hearing the matter, Sidney Fitzwater, has signed a scheduling order.

The parties have until July 1, 2009 to join other parties.

The party with the burden of proof on a given issue has until September 1 to designate its expertwitnesses, and the other party has until November 1 to designate its rebuttal expert witness.

They have until March 1, 2010 to file their motions for summary judgment.

After all that is disposed of, if nobody gets a summary judgment, the judge will consider the question of a date for trial.

3. Rambus antitrust case

The U.S. Supreme Court, on Monday, rejected a request by the FTC to review an appeals court ruling in favor of Rambus Inc. and against FTC's antitrust allegations. This should put an end to the controversy, underwy for seven years now, about whether Rambus, the owner of the patents to certain memory chips, had improperly manipulatred an industry standards setting group with anti-competitive intent.

The standards setting group was known as the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council (or JEDEC), and the allegation was in essence that Rambus' participation in the deliberations of JEDEC was that of a classic "mole." JEDEC was trying to enable its members to avoid patent hold-ups, and enable members of the industry to move ahead with common standards and without a lot of litigation. Rambus supposedly hid information about its own plans to patent certain technologies, so that in time it could say "aha!" to firms that had acted in the belief they could rely upon JEDEC standards.

In April 2008 the appeals court sided with Rambus, not because it rejected the general view that anti-competitive conduct could take that form but because the FTC had failed to show that Rambus's behavior gave it unlawful monopoly power.

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