Category Archives: Publications

Preccelerator® Program Company Ballerz World Featured on U.S. Defense Department Blog

Ballerz World Preccelerator® Program company Ballerz World was featured this week on the U.S. Defense Department Science Blog in an interview discussing how the military helped prepare founders Kyle E. Cox and Nicholas Damuth, for careers in technology.

Ballerz World is the single largest marketplace that is dedicate to all things basketball. The app allows the worldwide basketball market of 500 million, and 30 million in the U.S., to connect and play basketball with one another using geo-location technology. Ballerz World features courts, players, leagues, training, multimedia, and e-commerce all through a digital platform. During its MVP phase, the Ballerz World app received more than 10 awards, including the People’s Choice Award at the CES Mobile Apps Showdown, and the Best GPS-Enabled App at the Mobile App Awards. www.ballerzworld.com.

To read the full article visit the U.S. Defense Department’s Blog here. 

For more about the Preccelerator® Program, contact Heidi Hubbeling, COO at
(310) 746-9803 or hhubbeling@stubbsalderton.com

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Scott Alderton Featured in Built In LA Article

Built In LAStubbs Alderton & Markiles’ Partner Scott Alderton was featured on Built In LA this week giving his expert opinion on essential legal advice for early-stage startups.

To find some of the answers to your most difficult startup-related questions, read the full article on Built in LA here. 

Scott Alderton is a founding partner of the Firm, Managing Partner, and a member of the Firm’s Executive Committee. Scott is co-chair of the Firm’s Venture Capital and Emerging Growth Practice Group and chair’s the Firm’s Interactive Entertainment and Video Games Group. Scott advises both public and private clients across a number of industries, including technology, manufacturing and distribution of goods in commerce, finance, the Internet, interactive video games, and new media industries.

To learn more about Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP contact Scott Alderton at salderton@stubbsalderton.com

For more about the Preccelerator® Program, contact Heidi Hubbeling, COO at
(310) 746-9803 or hhubbeling@stubbsalderton.com

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Founder of Preccelerator® Program Company Voter Acqui-hired by Brigade

Voter Hunter Scarborough, CEO of Preccelerator® Program company Voter, announced this week that Brigade, a civic engagement and activism platform, has brought him on as an acqui-hire.   Brigade hasn’t purchased Scarborough’s company or assets and there are plans to shutter Voter later this year. Scarborough will work on the product team to create tools that’ll enable citizens to become more active in local and state elections.

“I’m thrilled to be joining an such a talented and experienced team tackling some the same problems we were at Voter. We’ll be sunsetting Voter in 2017, but its spirit and mission will live on at Brigade,” Scarborough said in a statement.

Voter is matchmaking for politics.  Voter analyzes exorbitant amounts of data, including public stances, voting records, speeches, and more. All users have to do is answer a few simple questions about their political opinions. Swipe through issues quickly. Need more info about a question? Tap the card to get more information, including bullet points for and against. Voter displays users match score as a percentage, describing how closely their views align with each candidate. On Election Day Voter tell users where to vote, when to be there, and what to bring.

To read the article on Venture Beat click here. 

For more information about the Preccelerator® Program, contact Heidi Hubbeling, Chief Operating Officer at (310) 746-9803 or hhubbeling@stubbsalderton.com

 

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SAM Client Alert: It’s Time to (Re-)Register Your DMCA Agent

Regardless of whether your company has previously designated an agent to receive notification of claimed infringement under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (the “DMCA”)—a United States copyright law which, among other things, provides certain safe harbors for internet service providers who may host infringing material—it’s time to do it (again).

Effective as of December 1, 2016, the United States Copyright Office (the “Office”) issued its final rule (codified as 201 CFR Part 201) regarding designation of DMCA agents via the Office’s new electronic system. Under the new rule, any service provider that previously designated a DMCA Agent must resubmit through the electronic system by December 31, 2017, or it will lose safe harbor protection notwithstanding any prior registration.

If you need to register, or re-register, here’s what you should do:

  • Create an Account. In order to designate a DMCA agent using the new system, you must create an account. You may also engage a third party, including your legal counsel, to complete the registration on your behalf.
  • Register Your Company. Once an account has been created, you or your designated representative can log in and register your company and its current agent within the system. The fee for online registration is $6 per designation, which is a substantial savings compared to the paper-based system’s fees of $140 or more.
  • Designate Your Agent. You may determine your agent in one of a number of ways, as it can be (1) an individual, (2) a title or position at your company, (3) a specific department within your company, or (4) a third party. You must then provide the name, address, phone number, and email address of the agent. If you do elect to register an individual agent, be sure to promptly amend the registration if that person departs your company or the relevant role within your company.
  • Verify Your Information. Verify that the information on your website matches the information you are submitting to the Office, and that both are correct. Failing to maintain accurate information and failing to ensure that the two match each create a risk of losing safe harbor protection under the final rule.
  • Re-Register Every Three Years. The Office’s electronic system will send automated reminders to review and renew your designation, and for that reason you should be sure to register with regularly monitored contact information to ensure you receive the reminders. You will also need to re-register upon any change in your agent, even if prior to the required renewal time; doing so will reset the clock on your renewal period.

If you haven’t registered a DMCA Agent, you should do it now—and if you have, you should renew. Failing to follow the new online DMCA agent designation procedures by the end of 2017 may result in the loss important legal protections.

For more information on this and other Safe Harbor topics, contact Nick Feldman at nfeldman@stubbsalderton.com or (818) 444-4500. Nick’s practice focuses on corporate transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, dispositions, private equity transactions and general corporate matters for both public and private clients, focusing on middle-market and emerging growth companies. In addition, Nick counsels companies in connection with entity formation, corporate governance, federal and state securities laws and compliance, joint ventures, employee incentive plans, executive employment agreements and other executive compensation matters.

 

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Six Stubbs Alderton & Markiles’ Attorneys Listed as 2017 Southern California Super Lawyers

Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP is pleased to announce that six lawyers have been named to the 2017 Southern California Super Lawyers. Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The patented selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.

Super Lawyers Magazine features the list and profiles of selected attorneys and is distributed to attorneys in the state or region and the ABA-accredited law school libraries. Super Lawyers is also published as a special section in leading city and regional magazines across the country. Lawyers are selected to a Super Lawyers list in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP would like to congratulate the following attorneys named to the 2017 Super Lawyers list –

Scott Alderton - Super LawyersScott Alderton is a founding partner of the Firm, Managing Partner, and a member of the Firm’s Executive Committee.  Scott is co-chair of the Firm’s Venture Capital and Emerging Growth Practice Group and chair’s the Firm’s Interactive Entertainment and Video Games Group. Scott advises both public and private clients across a number of industries, including technology, manufacturing and distribution of goods in commerce, finance, the Internet, interactive video games, and new media industries.

Joe Stubbs - Super LawyersJoe Stubbs is a founding partner of the Firm, and a member of the Firm’s Executive Committee. He is co-chair of the Firm’s Venture Capital and Emerging Growth Practice Group, and of the Firm’s Mergers and Acquisitions Practice Group. Joe practices in the areas of corporate and securities law, emphasizing the corporate representation of both publicly-held and privately-held emerging growth and middle-market companies, venture capital and private equity firms, angel investment groups and investment banks.

Michael Sherman - Super LawyersMichael Sherman is an accomplished trial lawyer in high-stakes, “bet-the-company” litigation, and has represented both large and early-stage companies as well as entrepreneurs in all facets of business and complex commercial litigation. He has evenly split his litigation practice on both the plaintiff and defense side of cases, has first-chaired numerous trials in complex matters in industries as varied as energy, securities, healthcare, environmental, consumer products, technology, project development/finance, advertising, real estate and apparel, and is highly skilled in class actions and unfair competition law.

Jeffrey F. GershJeff Gersh - Super Lawyers is a Partner of the Firm. He has litigated, arbitrated, or mediated complex business and commercial matters, for both plaintiffs and defendants, whether individuals, public or private corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies and/or its members, shareholders and partners, involving various types of disputes, including contract matters, trade secrets, intellectual property (trademarks, copyrights and trade dress) negligence and fraud, employment, real estate, license agreements, the apparel and garment industry, and general business matters.

Kevin Debre - Super LawyersKevin D. DeBré is the chair of the Firm’s Intellectual Property & Technology Transactions Practice Group.  Kevin advises entrepreneurs and companies that use intellectual property to build their businesses.  Kevin has particular expertise in structuring and negotiating technology commercialization and patent licenses, strategic alliances, research and development collaborations, trademark licensing and brand merchandising agreements and manufacturing, distribution and marketing arrangements.  He also counsels clients on compliance with data security and privacy laws and regulations.

Tony Keats is a partner of the Firm and Co-chair of the Trademark and Copyright Practice Tony Keats - Super LawyersGroup. Tony’s almost three decade legal career has focused on both the legal and business protection of brands and creative content from consumer products to entertainment, from designer goods to the Internet. Since he commenced practice, he has provided counsel and has litigated cases on behalf of many of the world’s largest consumer product and entertainment companies, as well as individual entrepreneurs, actors, and musicians. Tony’s litigation background also includes related commercial matters involving unfair competition, contract disputes, rights of publicity violations, business torts, domain name infringement, and idea submission claims.

The official Super Lawyers 2017 publication can be read in its entirety here.

For more information about Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, contact Heidi Hubbeling at hhubbeling@stubbsalderton.com or (310) 746-9803.

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Scott Alderton & Preccelerator Program® featured in Super Lawyers Magazine

Super LawyersScott Alderton, founding partner of SAM, was featured in an article in Super Lawyers Magazine this month. The article discusses the firm’s beginnings and expansion in the Southern California tech community with its Preccelerator® Program.  The program provides 24/7 office space,  a robust perks package, access to Stubbs Alderton lawyers and extensive team of volunteer mentors from across the business spectrum.

To view the full article in Super Lawyers Magazine click here. 

For more information about the Preccelerator Program, contact Heidi Hubbeling at hhubbeling@stubbsalderton.com or (310) 746-9803.

Scott Alderton is a founding partner of the Firm, Managing Partner, and a member of the Firm’s Scott AldertonExecutive Committee.  Scott is co-chair of the Firm’s Venture Capital and Emerging Growth Practice Group and chair’s the Firm’s Interactive Entertainment and Video Games Group. Scott advises both public and private clients across a number of industries, including technology, manufacturing and distribution of goods in commerce, finance, the Internet, interactive video games, and new media industries.

To learn more about Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP contact Scott Alderton at salderton@stubbsalderton.com

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SAM Attorney Tony Keats Ranked in World Trademark Review’s WTR1000 2017

January 2017 – Stubbs Alderton & Markiles is pleased to announce that partner Tony Keats has been ranked in World Trademark Review’s WTR1000 2017- The World’s Leading Trademark Professionals. The WTR 1000 is a guide exclusively dedicated to identifying the world’s leading trademark legal services providers. Through an extensive research process conducted by a team of highly qualified, full-time analysts, the publication identifies the leading trademark law firms and individuals in over 70 global jurisdictions.

Nicholas Richardson, research editor for the WTR 1000, explains: “A strong brand is vital to success in today’s intensely competitive and increasingly globalized market. Trademarks are key tools through which businesses can protect the goodwill and reputation inherent in their brands, and build and maintain demand for their products and services. As a result, external advisers play a crucial role in developing and implementing brand strategies for both local and international markets and in protecting these vital assets in the face of infringement. It is thus imperative to choose the best legal counsel and the WTR 1000 serves as an essential guide in today’s brand-focused economy – as well as highlighting the health of the trademark marketplace.”

To full the full press from World Trademark Review release visit here. 

Tony Keats is a partner of the Firm and co-chair of the Trademark and Copyright Practice Tony KeatsGroup. Tony’s almost three decade legal career has focused on both the legal and business protection of brands and creative content from consumer products to entertainment, from designer goods to the Internet. Tony’s litigation background also includes related commercial matters involving unfair competition, contract disputes, rights of publicity violations, business torts, domain name infringement, and idea submission claims.

For more information about our Trademark & Copyright Practice, contact Tony Keats at akeats@stubbsalderton.com

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SAM Client HouseCanary Raises $33M

HouseCanaryStubbs Alderton & Markiles’ client HouseCanary, a real estate analytics company leveraging data science to accurately value and forecast over 18,000 U.S. residential markets and 100 million properties, announced this week that it has raised $33 million in a Series A round of funding. HouseCanary’s investors include Hillspire (Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt’s family office), Alpha Edison, ECA Ventures, Morpheus Ventures and Raven Ventures. Congratulations to HouseCanary on this success!

To read the full press release click here.

Stubbs Alderton attorneys representing HouseCanary in this transaction was Greg Akselrud and Adam Bagley.

About HouseCanary
Founded in 2014, HouseCanary’s mission is to help people make better real estate decisions. Built on a foundation of great data, powerful models and predictive analytics, the HouseCanary platform aggregates millions of data elements, including more than four decades of property data and a rapidly expanding arsenal of proprietary data calculations and analytics, to accurately define and forecast values and market influences. The company is headquartered in San Francisco. www.housecanary.com

For more information about our Internet, Digital Media & Entertainment practice, contact Greg Akselrud at gakselrud@stubbsalderton.com.

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SAM Partner Scott Galer Featured in SFVBJ Article Regarding Sienna Acquisition

SAM Partner Scott Galer was featured in a San Fernando Valley Business Journal article regarding Sienna’s early acquisition. Scott provided his insight on biotech startup Sienna’s buyout strategy, which he described as a roll up.

The full article in the SFVBJ can be viewed here.

Scott’s practice focuses on counseling private and public middle-market and emerging growth companies in areas of mergers and acquisitions, securities offerings, joint ventures, complex brand and technology licensing and other strategic business arrangements. Scott has expertise in managing a wide variety of corporate and financial transactions, including mergers, stock and asset acquisitions and dispositions, roll-up and spin-off transactions, public offerings (representing both issuers and investment bankers), alternative public offerings, debt and equity financing (representing issuers, lenders and investors), secured lending transactions and financial restructurings.

To find out more about Stubbs Alderton & Markiles’ Mergers & Acquisitions practice contact Scott Galer at sgaler@stubbsalderton.com

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The New Partnership Audit Rules

For over 30 years, partnerships have been subject to unified audit rules that permit the IRS to examine a partnership’s (including an LLC’s) tax return and make adjustments at the partnership level that affect all the partnership’s members. [1]  To comply with the existing rules, LLC operating agreements generally provide for the appointment of a tax matters partner and grant that tax matters partner the right to interface with the IRS, the obligation to comply with the requirement to notify the members of the LLC of the commencement of the IRS audit and the terms of any settlement or other disposition.

Effective January 1, 2018, all new and existing partnerships will be subject to new partnership audit rules.  The representative of the partnership will be known as the partner representative, dropping the familiar term “tax matters partner”.  The applicable statute of limitations on auditing the partnership and making adjustments that will affect all the partners will be determined at the partnership level and will be determined, or extended, at the entity level.[2]  The partnership representative may unilaterally extend the statute of limitations with the IRS on behalf of the partnership.[3]  A partnership with 100 or fewer partners that in general are US individuals or C corporations may elect out of the unified partnership audit rules.[4]  That is a significant increase in the size of a partnership eligible to elect out from the 10 or fewer individual partner limit on electing out of the unified partnership audit rules under pre-2018 law[5].  A partnership with pass-through entities as constituent partners may still qualify to elect out of the new rules if the pass-through entity partner discloses the identities of its members so that the master partnership can determine and certify that it has 100 or fewer direct and indirect partners who are US individuals (or their estates) or C corporations or foreign entities that would be treated as C corporations if they were US entities.[6]

All of the partners will be bound by the terms of any settlement, final audit report or court decision affecting the partnership.[7]  In a departure from the prior approach, the income tax deficiency will be computed at the partnership level and assessed against the partnership computed applying the highest individual and corporate tax rate for each partner[8].  This is in contrast to the current rule under which the determination of an adjustment is made at the partnership level but the partners are liable for computing the effect of the adjustment on their own returns.[9]  The partnership may opt out of liability for the partners’ taxes with the result that the tax burden will be passed through to the partners and computed at the partner level.[10]  The election to opt out of the unified partnership audit rules must be made when the partnership return is filed in most cases.[11]

The partner representative of the partnership will have the standard 90 days in which to file a petition for the US Tax Court to review the IRS’s proposed action.[12]  The partner representative, unlike a tax matters partner, does not have to be a partner or LLC member.[13]  That new rule may add some flexibility for the sponsor of a syndicated program.  Unlike the current rules, there will not be an opportunity for partners to file a petition for a redetermination of a final partnership administrative adjustment.[14]  Inconsistent treatment by a partner or member requires notification by the partner reporting inconsistent treatment, similar to current law.[15]  The new law has special rules on the timing of the assessment that permit the assessment and collection of a partnership adjustment in the year in which the adjustment becomes and non-contestable.[16]  It will be up to the partnership, if at all, to cause the economic cost of the collection of the adjustment to fall on the partners in the partnership for the year audited rather than for the year assessed and collected. By contrast, under existing law, a final partnership administrative adjustment, whenever assessed, affects the returns of the partners for the year or years audited, not the year collected—the collection occurs at the partner level based on the pass-through of the adjustment on the partnership’s tax return for the year audited.

For example, if the IRS audits a partnership’s return for 2015 and the examination is completed in 2018, any adjustment would be reflected in the tax liability of the partners for 2015.  Under the new law, when the partnership adjustment is final, the IRS will collect the deficiency from the partnership.  An audit of the partnership’s 2018 return might be completed in 2021 and collected at that time, but in the interim between 2018 and 2021 several placements might have added partners who were not investors in 2018 but who would have their share of available cash reduced in 2021.

As a practical matter, LLC operating agreements should reflect these new rules, appoint a partnership representative, describe the partnership representative’s authority to hire professionals, interact with the IRS, inform the partners of any developments and determine whether to elect out of the unified audit rules if there are fewer than 100 direct or indirect partners, and determine what events the partnership representative should be required to inform the partners pursuant to the terms of the operating agreement.  Existing LLC operating agreements for LLCs with more than 100 members, with pass-through entity members that cannot or will not reveal their constituent members’ identities or with foreign members should be analyzed to determine if the operating agreement authorizes the manager to conform the authority of the tax matters partner to these new rules when they become effective.

Michael Shaff joined Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP in 2011 as Of Counsel. He is chairperson of the Tax Practice Group. Michael specializes in all aspects of federal income taxation. Mr. Shaff has served as a trial attorney with the office of the Chief Counsel of the Internal Revenue Service for three years. Mr. Shaff is certified by the Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of California as a specialist in tax law. Mr. Shaff is a past chair of the Tax Section of the Orange County Bar Association.  He is co-author of the “Real Estate Investment Trusts Handbook” published annually by West Group.

For more information about the Tax Practice Group, contact Chair, Michael E. Shaff at mshaff@stubbsalderton.com
_____________________________________________________

[1]   Internal Revenue Code (IRC) §6221 et seq. all as in effect after December 31, 2017.
[2]  IRC §6232(d)(2).
[3]   IRC §6232(d)(2).
[4]   IRC §6221(b)(1).
[5]   Old Section 6231.
[6]   IRC §6221(b)(2).
[7]   IRC §6223.
[8]   IRC §6221(a).  The statute authorizes regulations for adjusting the tax rate to be used when the highest rate is not appropriate.
[9]   IRC §6225(b).
[10]   IRC §6225(a).
[11]   IRC §6227(c).
[12]   IRC §6235.
[13]   IRC §6223(a) (“Each partnership shall designate*** a partner (or other person) …”)
[14]   IRC §6223(b).
[15]   IRC §6222(c).
[16]   IRC §6232.

 

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