Technology

Technology companies are notorious for believing the solutions they propose to a potential user’s pain points are the best possible answer. When it comes to ERP software systems, however, too often many developers, vendors and integrators ignore or overlook the reality that the technology they sell is actually a business solution, not simply a technology tool. In the process of reviewing pitches and proposals from sellers, C-suite executives – including chief technology officers – need to remember that SAP, Oracle, Microsoft and all the rest are in the technology business – this is what they focus on selling. For an…
Many lawyers have just not taken the time to get training in e-discovery. The rules have changed.  It’s no longer about “documents” in the sense of paper.  It’s about getting information in a digital format, which is why the rules now refer to ESI – which refers to Electronically Stored Information. What is e-discovery?   It has been defined as “the process of identifying, preserving, collecting, processing, searching, reviewing and producing Electronically Stored Information (“ESI”) that may be relevant” in a legal proceeding.  [See, Maura Grossman and Gordan V. Cormack, The Grossman-Cormack Glossary of Technology-Assisted Review, Federal Courts Law Review, 2013 Feds. Cts. L.…
It seems as if nearly every week, a major business or technology publication carries an article about migrating processes to the cloud. In many circumstances, this makes sense for a range of good reasons. However, for users of ERP software systems, migrating a very complicated and sophisticated management tool with countless “moving parts” to the cloud can easily become a nightmare. This is becoming a serious issue, as some of the large software vendors and integrators are making a push to get users to move their ERP from a company’s private servers to the cloud. For instance, SAP will require…
The U.S. Supreme Court has granted certiorari for Romag Fasteners Inc. v. Fossil Inc., No. 18-1233, and trademark practitioners are hopeful that the ruling will finally adjudicate the long-standing issue of whether a plaintiff must prove willfulness in order to obtain an award of a trademark infringer’s profits for violating 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a) of the Lanham Act. In Romag Fasteners Inc., Plaintiff Romag succeeded on its trademark infringement claim against Defendant Fossil for the infringing use of the ROMAG mark. Although Romag and Fossil had previously entered into an agreement to use Romag’s fasteners—which bore the ROMAG mark—on Fossil’s…
Massive and costly failures of corporate ERP software system installations and integrations are becoming legendary. Nearly every week comes news of another train wreck. But as the public sector adopts ERP to serve a variety of purposes ever-more frequently, digital transformations are carrying a growing number of risks for government entities. In June 2019, we wrote about Maryland’s lawsuit against IBM. While the matter involved a website that the state needed built so state residents could enroll for benefits under the Affordable Care Act, we noted that it stemmed from an IBM subsidiary overpromising and under-delivering on its capabilities.…
Good chief executive officers pay close attention to every aspect of the business they are charged with running, from yesterday’s sales and production numbers, to the look and feel of next winter’s advertising campaign. As well they should: After all, the board, shareholders, employees and even the public hold the CEO accountable for the success or failure of the entire enterprise. Yet the number of malicious and accidental data leaks and privacy abuse scandals seems to be expanding exponentially. Just in the past few days, organizations ranging from the neurology department of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston to the Mastercard
The general counsel at any sized company knows how to draft everything from employment contracts and leases to complicated sales agreements. But few are familiar with what Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software systems actually do, let alone the traps lurking in these types of contracts. This isn’t surprising given that the lifespan of most ERP systems can be 15 years or longer. So, chances are a general counsel may only see one or two such contracts in their entire career. Because the ERP implementation and software licensing contracts are as complicated as the software itself, there are a number of…
Technology is advancing at a rate that is increasing exponentially.   Other industries are moving faster to adopt tech into their business than the legal industry.   What was once fanciful is becoming real.  Self-driving cars are just one thing that comes to mind, but robotics is invading every industry.   And technology is being developed to take over legal tasks. AI in the Legal Profession Alternative Legal Service Providers (“ALSPs”) are popping up everywhere.   Large accounting firms are using tech to perform traditional legal services  23% of large law firms surveyed in a recent report by Thomson Reuters said that they had…
Taft Chicago Intellectual Property attorneys Adam Wolek and Rashad Simmons contributed, “A District Court Split on Curing Copyright Timing Defects,” to Law360 on Aug. 15. The article discusses the differing opinions of district courts on whether parties can file copyright suits before the copyright registration is issued. Read the full article here. Wolek protects the intellectual property of some of the world’s largest companies, including those in the wireless, internet, agriculture and manufacturing industries. He has successfully litigated and negotiated numerous patent, copyright and trademark infringement, trade secret and business disputes for his clients. Wolek also assists clients with intellectual property…
Taft was a co-sponsor with the Third Stage Consulting Group of the Digital Stratosphere Conference 2019, which was held in Chicago on August 7-9, 2019. The conference was an independent educational and peer-networking event for organizations about to embark on a digital transformation or ERP/CRM/HCM implementation. Attendees learned real-world lessons, shared battle scars and heard best practices that will equip project teams for success. Learn more about the conference by clicking here. On the opening day, Chicago partner Marcus Harris and Indianapolis partner Jeff Kosc spoke on best practices of negotiating with your ERP software vendor and system integrators.…
If you are a foreign company or foreign attorney used to directly filing U.S. trademark applications from overseas, be prepared for a big change on August 3. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has announced that, effective as of August 3, 2019, all foreign-domiciled trademark applicants, registrants, and parties to Trademark Trial and Appeal Board proceedings must be represented by a U.S-licensed attorney. To read the full law bulletin authored by Indianapolis partners Zach Gordon and Russell Menyhart, click here.…
We often write about the mounting number of failed digital transformations, especially those involving an ERP software system. More often than not, the underlying cause of the failures involve either the vendor or integrator biting off more than they can chew. They misrepresent the capability of their ERP system or their experience at integrating a system into the user’s existing software and hardware. But seldom is management blameless when there is a failure. One common mistake we see as ERP contract litigation attorneys is that the executives along mahogany row see the ERP software acquisition as only a technology project.…
Three court cases reveal the importance of ensuring that contracts for an ERP software system and other digital transformations be carefully negotiated to remove the possibility that a lawsuit over a failure can be blocked by, seemingly harmless clauses that vendors and integrators insert as a matter of routine in their template agreements. The first case involves an ERP software system sold by IBM to Lufkin Industries LLC (Int’l Bus. Mach. Corp. v. Lufkin Indus., LLC, No. 17-0666 (Mar. 15, 2019)). The system failed and Lufkin sued, claiming IBM had promised an “out of the box” solution that didn’t exist.…
After retiring from a wildly successful career running Ford and then saving Chrysler from bankruptcy, Lee Iacocca was asked by an interviewer how American automakers could have allowed their globally dominant position in the market to be eroded by foreign car companies. Iacocca replied, “There is nothing more vulnerable than entrenched success.” It’s not just car manufacturers where hubris has cost a business its market position. Who remembers that photocopiers were invented by 3M using a sticky, coated paper and the company ignored the advent of plain paper copying machines because it had a lock on the market? Or that…
When an ERP software system implementation fails, sometimes it’s because the vendor told a potential buyer that its round peg would fit into the user’s square hole in order to make the sale. But maybe even more often, the failure is because the integrator either did not fully understand the user’s industry or business, the client’s relationship with its supply chain, customers and employees, or how the digital transformation was intended to improve corporate performance. As an ERP software system attorney who has litigated disputes between users and integrators, we’ve learned from experience that many of the larger integrators are…
Offer and Acceptance . . . by Inquiry Notice.  This is not a traditional understanding of contract law, but then again, Internet sites do not always provide traditional contracts.  Recently, a district court cited 9th Circuit precedent in deciding that because an online user had “at least inquiry notice of his need to comply with the Terms in using the website, and he continued to use the site knowing he was bound by the Terms, the user accepted the Terms by using the site.” Gutierrez v. FriendFinder Networks Inc., No. 18-CV-05918-BLF, 2019 WL 1974900, at *8 (N.D. Cal. May 3,…