BHL Bogen

BHL Bogen
BridgehouseLaw LLP - Your Business Law Firm

Monday, October 16, 2017

Green Card Lottery 2019 – Registrations Begin on October 3, 2017

Green card lottery 2019Applications to enter the DV-2019 program (Green Card Lottery 2019) will be accepted by the U.S. Department of State between “Tuesday, October 3, 2017 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), and Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Standard Time (EST) (GMT-4)”.
Under this DV lottery program, commonly known as the green card lottery or the diversity visa lottery program, 50,000 immigrant visas will be made available to a category of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants.” The diversity immigrants usually are the ones who belong to countries that have not sent many immigrants to the U.S. Anyone who belongs to an eligible country can register for this program at no cost.
Apply for the Green Card Lottery Program

However, belonging to an eligible country alone will not make a person eligible for the lottery. Applicants will have to meet the age and the education or the work experience requirements.
A computer will randomly pick the winners of the lottery. Winners who are deemed eligible will receive their immigrant visas after they appear for interviews and undergo the required medical examination. Immigrant visas will be issued to people belonging to six geographical regions equally and no single country will receive more number of visas than the other. Usually, every eligible country receives around seven percent of the available diversity immigrant visas.
Eligibility requirements have not changed this year and the same countries that were ineligible for the lottery last year are still in the list of DV lottery ineligible countries. Following are the countries on the ineligible list.
“Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.”
Similar to the previous years, applications to enter the lottery program can be filed online at dvlottery.state.gov. Applicants must make sure that their entries are complete.
Register for green card lottery 2019.

Friday, October 13, 2017

USA Workshop in München vom 15 - 16. November

Trotz oder wegen Trump: USA go west ! Wer will in USA eine Firma aufbauen, M&A oder sonst den Markt erobern? am 15. und 16. November der GABA Workshop in München https://www.xing.com/events/usa-markteintritt-risikomanagement-1869183 - Rückfragen gerne an mich und .... es gibt noch ein paar freie Plätze http://www.gaba-forum.org

Wir begleiten Sie gerne!

Amerika ist immer noch das Land der unbegrenzten Möglichkeiten!

Die German American Business Association bietet Ihnen Praxistipps für Ihre US-Unternehmen,  für bestehende oder noch zu gründende.  Unsere Referenten sind Experten mit langjährigen Lebens- und Berufserfahrungen in den USA und bieten Ihnen in den Seminarreihen  im Jahr 2017 / 2018 kompakte Informationen, die Ihnen den Markteintritt und die Risikominimierung in den USA erleichtern.  
Wir machen Sie fit für den Markteintritt und das Risikomanagement  Ihres Unternehmens in den USA. Wir beantworten Ihnen  diese und viele weitere Fragen, die sich Ihnen stellen. Zum Beispiel:

  • Wie werden die amerikanischen Märkte erschlossen?
  • Wie werden  320 Millionen Menschen erreicht?
  • Gibt es amerikanische Vertriebsstrategien?
  • Welche Anforderungen hat das deutsche Management im Rahmen der Corporate Governance der US-Tochter zu beachten?
  • Welche Produkthaftungsstrategie ist die richtige?
  • Wie funktioniert erfolgreiches Recruiting geeigneter Mitarbeiter in den USA?
  • Wie bereite ich Mitarbeiter auf Ihre Entsendung vor?
  • Wie erhöhe ich interkulturelle Kompetenz in multinationalen Teams?
  • Wie führe ich die Führungskräfte an ihre internationale Rolle heran?

Sie wählen zwischen zwei Seminartypen (Markteintritt und Risikomanagement) - wir bieten an jedem Seminarort jeweils an einem Tag  alles, was Sie zu diesem Thema wissen müssen. Gerne begrüßen wir Sie natürlich auch an beiden Seminartagen - oder Sie buchen unsere Angebote ganz bequem als Inhouse-Veranstaltung bei sich in der Firma.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Drohnen-Piloten aufgepasst - das ändert sich zum 1. Oktober 2017
    
Der deutsche Gesetzgeber hat sich dem Problem der zunehmenden Anzahl von Drohnen angenommen und im April 2017 die Drohnen-Verordnung erlassen. Zum 1. Oktober 2017 traten zudem die Pflicht zur Kennzeichnung und zum Kenntnisnachweis im Kraft. Was dies nun für deutsche Drohnenpiloten bedeutet, soll im Folgenden kurz erläutert werden.

Zunächst unterscheidet der Gesetzgeber zwischen dem Betrieb auf Modellflugplätzen und außerhalb von diesen. Während bei Ersterem nahezu alles beim Alten bleibt - mit Ausnahme der Kennzeichnungspflicht - wurde der Bereich außerhalb von Modellflugplätzen nun vollumfänglich geregelt. Zu Ende ist die Zeit, in der für nahezu jeglichen Betrieb außerhalb von Modellflugplätzen eine Erlaubnis notwendig war.

Zunächst gilt für jedes unbemannte Fluggerät ab 250 Gramm eine Kennzeichnungspflicht, egal ob es sich um eine Drohne oder ein Modellflugzeug handelt und gleichgültig wo dieses geflogen wird. Die Kennzeichnung muss sichtbar, dauerhaft und feuerfest sein und den Namen und Anschrift des Eigentümers bzw. Piloten enthalten. Dies kann beispielsweise durch die Befestigung einer Aluminium-Plakette erfolgen.

Außerhalb von Modellflugplätzen gibt es eine Reihe weiterer Rahmenbedingungen: Private Nutzer dürfen bei einem Startgewicht von über 250 Gramm das Fluggerät nur im Sichtbetrieb fliegen, d.h. Das Fluggerät muss dauerhaft sichtbar sein und darf nicht lediglich über eine Kamera betrieben werden. Möglich ist jedoch, dass ein zweiter Pilot Sichtkontakt hält und den Steuerer auf Gefahren hinweist. Drohnen müssen zudem bemannten Luftfahrzeugen stets ausweichen.

Des Weiteren ist eine maximale Flughöhe von 100 Metern vorgeschrieben. Darüber benötigen Drohnenpiloten eine Ausnahmeerlaubnis der örtlichen Landesluftfahrtbehörde. Eine Genehmigung ist ebenso notwendig, wenn ein gewerblicher Betrieb außerhalb des Sichtweite erfolgt oder ein Nachtflug stattfinden soll.

Im Übrigen werden die Drohnen in verschiedene Gewichtsklassen unterteilt, für die dann gestaffelte Anforderungen notwendig sind:

Während Drohnen unter 250 Gramm keinerlei Beschränkungen unterliegen, benötigen Drohnen ab 250 Gramm eine Kennzeichnung. Haben die Drohnen ein Startgewicht von mehr als 2 Kg, benötigt der Pilot zusätzlich einen Flugkundenachweis (auch Drohnen-Führerschein genannt). Dieser kann durch Prüfung bei einer durch das Luftfahrt-Bundesamt anerkannten Stelle oder einem Luftsportverband erlangt werden. Beträgt das Startgewicht über 5 Kg, dann ist für jeden Flug eine Aufstiegserlaubnis bei der jeweiligen Landesluftfahrtbehörde zu beantragen. Für Fluggeräte ab 25 Kg gilt ein allgemeines Betriebsverbot.

Zukünftig ist auch der Betrieb nahe sensibler Bereiche grundsätzlich verboten. So herrscht künftig über Gebäuden der Verfassungsorgane, Bundes- & Landesbehörden, Flugplätzen, Industrieanlagen und Naturschutzgebieten ein Flugverbot, ebenso bei Menschenansammlungen und Einsatzorten der Polizei und Rettungskräfte. Über Wohngrundstücken sind Drohnen, die optische oder akustische Funksignale empfangen, aufzeichnen oder übertragen können oder schwerer als 250 Gramm sind verboten. Kameradrohnen können daher nicht über bewohnten Gebieten eingesetzt werden - mit Ausnahme des eigenen Grundstücks. Einzig der Betrieb von Drohnen mit Startgewicht von unter 250 Gramm und ohne Kamera, Lautsprecher bzw. Mikrofon bleibt in Wohngebieten erlaubt.

Es bleibt letztlich fraglich, wie die Einhaltung der Verordnung gewährleistet werden soll und ob es zu einer Verbesserung der Sicherheit des Luftraums kommt. So ist etwa die Kennzeichnung während des Flugs mit dem bloßen Auge nicht zu erkennen und auch die Einhaltung der Grundstücks- und Höhengrenze dürfte sich in der Praxis als schwierig gestalten. Jedenfalls stellt ein Verstoß gegen die Drohnen-Verordnung eine Ordnungswidrigkeit dar, die zur Verhängung eines Bußgeldes führen kann. Dessen Höhe liegt in der Zuständigkeit der einzelnen Bundesländer, so dass eine pauschale Angabe hierzu nicht möglich ist. Bisher wurden Bußgelder in einer Größenordnung von 500-1.500 EUR verhängt, theoretisch möglich wäre gar ein Betrag bis zu 50.000 EUR.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Boarding a Plane in the U.S.? Better Have Your Passport Ready 
  
You may have noticed new TSA signs at the airport recently. It reads "starting January 22, 2018, you will need a driver's license or ID form a state compliant with the REAL ID Act, a state that has extension for compliance, or an alternate ID to fly."

What does that even mean?

Drafted in 2005 in the wake of the September 11th attacks, President George W. Bush signed the REAL ID Act. It is intended to ensure driver's licenses were more uniform from state to state and more difficult to forge. It gave the states more than a decade to "establish minimum security standards for state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards". However, this time has run out now for boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft. Starting January 22nd 2018, only IDs from a state in compliance with the REAL ID Act or an extension will be accepted when boarding an airplane in the U.S. for domestic flights.

So why should you care?

Currently, 24 states are still not in compliance with the REAL ID Act, according to information from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the TSA (for a full map, see https://www.dhs.gov/real-id). This means that as of January 22, 2018, passengers from those states may not board an aircraft with their driver's license being the only form of identification provided. Passengers will need to have some kind of alternative identification, the most common being passports and military IDs (for a full list of acceptable forms of ID, see https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/identification). 
 
For now, all of the non-compliant states have an extension until October 10, 2017. If the extension does not get prolonged, January 22, 2018, will be the deadline for those states. Regardless, even if the extension gets renewed, starting October 1, 2020, REAL ID-compliant licenses are the only form of valid identification for domestic air travel.

Why are certain IDs not compliant with the act?

Using South Carolina as an example, the state actively fought against the REAL ID Act. As then-governor Mark Sanford stated: "The act clearly violates the Founders' intent in offering the 10th Amendment, which states that all powers not given to the federal government are given to the people or the states". He also cited the costs of $17 billion to implement the law, which he considered an unfunded federal mandate. Therefore, in 2007, South Carolina lawmakers passed a bill that forbid the state from complying with the act.

On the other hand, states like Michigan, Minnesota, New York, and Washington offer enhanced driver's licenses, which are compliant with the REAL ID Act. Still other states are in the process of switching to REAL ID compliant licenses. 

What does this mean for you?

If you are a resident of one of the compliant states, nothing changes for you. The only form of identification you need for a domestic flight is your driver's license. For residents of a non-compliant state, it is advisable to have a valid passport or other form of acceptable ID ready in case there is no further extension granted. Plan accordingly, since it takes 4-6 weeks to get a new passport.
 
When you plan to travel with children, nothing changes for them. TSA does not require children under 18 years old to provide identification when traveling with a companion within the United States.

for more information

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Recent Cybersecurity Breach Allows Hackers Direct Access to US Power Grid Controls

In 2016, spending and rendered services for cybersecurity rose to more than $80 billion, and there is no sign of the industry slowing down. The development of new technology poses new challenges for cybersecurity firms under pressure to evolve at the same pace. The recent announcement of the security breach at the credit-reporting company Equifax put approximately 143 million people at risk of identity theft. However, Equifax is but one of a string of recent cybersecurity breaches. In early September 2017, the security firm Symantec warned that a series of recent hacker attacks not only compromised energy companies in the U.S. and Europe, but also resulted in intruders' success gaining access to power grid operations enough to induce blackouts on American soil at will.

A new wave of cyber attacks by a group calling itself Dragonfly 2.0 targeted dozens of energy companies earlier this year. In more than 20 cases, Symantec says hackers successfully accessed their targets' computer networks. While Symantec did not name the companies affected by the attacks, it says that forensic analyses for a handful of U.S. companies and at least one company in Turkey revealed that hackers obtained what is known in the field as "operational access": control of the interfaces power company engineers use to send actual commands to the equipment such as circuit breakers, enabling them to stop the flow of electricity to U.S. homes and businesses.

Eric Chien, a security analyst for Symantec, stated, "[t]here's a difference between being a step away from conducting sabotage and actually being in a position to conduct sabotage...being able to flip the switch on power generation... We're now talking about on-the-ground technical evidence this could happen in the U.S., and there's nothing left standing in the way except the motivation of some actor out in the world."

Symantec's report on the new intrusion's details revealed that the company has tracked the Dragonfly 2.0 attacks back to at least December 2015, but found that they ramped up significantly in the first half of 2017, particularly in the U.S., Turkey and Switzerland. These attacks were designed to harvest credentials from victims and gain remote access to the machines they operate. So if the hackers had actually gained access to these systems why did they stop short of utilizing their access? Chien reasons that the hackers may have been seeking the option to cause an electrical disruption when it became strategically useful to do so.

Symantec claims it has assisted the power companies that experience the deepest penetrations, helping them eject the hackers from their networks. They also sent out warning to more than 100 companies who might be exposed to the Dragonfly 2.0 attacks as well as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Nonetheless, Chien warns any company that thinks it may have been the target of hackers to not only remove any malware its identified but also refresh their staff's credentials. Given hackers' focus on stealing passwords, even flushing malware out of a targeted network might still leave vulnerabilities if they still have employees' working logins.
 
Hackers Gain:

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Kroger v. Lidl: End of The Trademark Litigation
 
Shortly after opening its first stores in the U.S., German grocery giant Lidl has become subject to a lawsuit filed by Kroger supermarkets, accusing Lidl of copying their brand of products and demanding financial compensation.
 
In an amended complaint filed in late June in a Virginia court, Kroger, the owner of more than 2,796 supermarkets in the U.S. including Harris Teeter, stated that Lidl had violated Kroger's home-made brand. The German discount chain offers in its American stores located in Virginia, South Carolina and North Carolina products with the "Preferred Selection" label, whose prices are ultra competitive. For Kroger, this label was too similar to its own brand "Private Selection," which created, according to Kroger, confusion with consumers and the general public.
 
Consequently, Kroger petitioned the court to prohibit Lidl from continuing its use of the "Preferred Selection" trademark and to remove all labels referring to it in physical stores as well as on the Internet and social networks. In addition, Kroger claimed damages of an unspecified amount. "Lidl has competed unfairly and continues to compete unfairly with Kroger," the lawsuit stated. "As a direct result of Lidl's wrongful conduct, Kroger has suffered and will continue to suffer irreparable injury, including, but not limited to, injury to its trademarks and to the goodwill and business reputation associated with those trademarks," the U.S. group wrote in their complaint.
 
However, a few weeks ago, the court dismissed the case with prejudice, meaning the court made a final determination on the merits of the case. As a result, the court forbade Kroger from filing another lawsuit based on the same grounds.

At a time when the major American distribution groups are affected by the competition of online commerce, Lidl's arrival raises fears among competitors such as Kroger, Wal-Mart and Target of growing competition in the sector, especially since the German group intends to offer low prices.

Lidl plans to establish 20 stores this summer and then 100 in the next year. After Virginia and the Carolinas, the group hopes to tackle the East Coast and continue expanding in the South and Central-East in states such as Georgia and Kentucky.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Congress Starts Regulating the Safety of Personal Care Products After Almost 80 Years
 
Since 1938, the federal law designed to ensure that personal care products are safe has remained largely unchanged. The number of personal care products used by men, women and children across the country continuously rises and more and more artificial ingredients are added almost every day. On average, men use six personal care products, exposing themselves to 85 unique chemicals, whereas women use 12 personal care products and exposing themselves to an incredible amount of 168 chemical ingredients. Regarding those numbers, almost no legislation is in place governing said chemicals.
 
For this reason, a bipartisan bill has been introduced to Congress by Senators Feinstein and Collins, the so called "Personal Care Products Safety Act". Its goal is to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to ensure the safety of cosmetics. The bill would give the FDA far greater authority and oversight over the safety of beauty products.
 
Until now, the FDA has had almost no power over personal care products, even though such products fall under its jurisdiction. In fact, beauty products avoid regulation, because do not require FDA approval before going to market. The FDA can only prohibit adulterated or misbranded cosmetics from being sold. Perhaps even more alarming to the public is the fact that product recalls with hazardous chemicals are described as "voluntary" on the FDA's website.
   
However, the proposed Personal Care Products Safety Act would empower the FDA to review the safety of ingredients and gives more oversight over beauty-product safety. The act would give the FDA the same tools for ensuring the safety of personal care products as it uses to regulate food and drugs. Among such tools would be the power to:  
  • evaluate a minimum of five ingredients per year for safety,
  • order recalls of questionably safe beauty products,
  • require complete ingredient information for products to be available online and printed on labels,
  • require companies to register facilities and permit FDA inspection, and
  • require companies to report serious adverse events to FDA within 15 days.
The bill has already received support from a number of beauty companies, including L'Oréal, Johnson & Johnson, Proctor & Gamble, and Unilever.
 
Sources: