Business Transactions

Company Legal Name v. DBA

Every business has a “legal” or “true name.” When researching a company, it is important to identify its legal name. In the case of a corporation or limited liability company, the legal name is the one on its formation document — e.g., the articles of incorporation or articles of organization.  As an example, Scherzer International’s legal name is Scherzer International Corporation.

If the company does business under another name, it is commonly referred to as a DBA – which stands for “doing business as.” DBAs are also sometimes referred to as an “assumed name,” “fictitious business name,” or “trade name.” State and local laws generally require a company to register a DBA it is using; however, it is important to note that registering and doing business under a DBA name is not the same as forming a business or a business entity.

The Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework is approved

The Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework (the “Framework”) made its debut on January 12, 2017 without much fanfare when Swiss federal councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann announced the Framework’s approval as a valid legal mechanism to comply with Swiss requirements for transferring personal data from Switzerland to the United States. The Framework, designed by the U.S. Department of Commerce (the “DOC”) and the Swiss government to align with the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, will immediately replace the U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor. The DOC will begin accepting self-certifications starting April 12, 2017 to give organizations ample time to review the new Framework’s principles and compliance requirements. For more of Scherzer International’s coverage of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, click here.

European Commission Adopts EU-US Privacy Shield as Replacement for EU-US Safe Harbor Framework

What this is about 
On July 12, 2016, the European Commission formally adopted the EU-US Privacy Shield (the “Privacy Shield”) which will provide organizations a mechanism to comply with EU data protection requirements when transferring personal data from the EU to the US. This new privacy framework reflects the requirements set out by the European Court of Justice in its October 2015 landmark decision in Maximillian Schrems vs. Data Protection Commissioner, which declared the EU-US Safe Harbor privacy regime invalid.
Privacy Shield overview: The framework provides a set of robust and enforceable protections for the personal data of EU individuals, as well as transparency regarding the use of such data by participating companies, strong US government oversight, and increased cooperation with EU data protection authorities. For more information, see US Department of Commerce (“DOC”) factsheet and FAQs.
Joining the program: 
The DOC will start accepting self-certifications beginning August 1, 2016. Organizations must identify and register with an independent dispute resolution provider prior to submitting their self-certification.
About self-certification:
The decision to participate in the program is voluntary; however, once an organization publicly commits to comply with the framework’s principles through self-certification, that commitment is enforceable under US law by the relevant authority–either the US Federal Trade Commission or the Department of Transportation. To receive the Privacy Shield’s benefits, an organization must self-certify annually to the DOC that it agrees to adhere to the framework’s requirements, based on the privacy principles that include notice, choice, access, and transfer accountability. See the DOC’s guide for more information about participation and compliance requirements.

Disclaimer: This communication is for general informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice. No recipient should act, or refrain from acting, on the basis of any information provided here without advice from a qualified attorney licensed in the applicable jurisdiction.

For further information, please contact us at 1-866-723-2287.

Tenant screening laws update: passing background check costs to the applicants

The states of Washington and Oregon recently enacted laws in connection with tenant screening. Among the provisions in both Washington’s RCW §59.18.257 and Oregon’s OAS §90.295, is that the entire cost of the background check can be charged to the applicant, if the screening is performed by a consumer reporting agency (“CRA”). However, if the landlord conducts the background check, it may not charge in excess of the customary fees of the CRAs in its geographical area.

Notably, California’s Civil Code §1950.6(b) provides that a landlord cannot charge (or pass-through) to the applicant more than $30 for a background check. This application screening fee may be adjusted annually by the landlord or its agent commensurate with an increase in the Consumer Price Index. (The current adjusted amount is $41.50.)

SEC rule amends certain broker/dealer reporting, audit and notification requirements

The amendments issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) last month include:

  • a requirement that broker-dealer audits be conducted in accordance with standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (the “PCAOB”) “in light of explicit oversight authority provided to the PCAOB by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act  to oversee these audits;”
  • a requirement that  a broker-dealer that clears transactions or carries customer accounts agree to allow representatives of the Commission or the broker-dealer’s designated examining authority (“DEA”) to review the documentation associated with certain reports of the broker-dealer’s independent public accountant, and to allow the accountant to  discuss the findings relating to the reports with those representatives when requested in connection with a regulatory examination of the broker-dealer;  and
  • a requirement that a broker-dealer file a new form with its DEA that elicits information about the broker-dealer’s practices with respect to the custody of securities and funds of customers and non-customers.

“Misspelling to defraud,” a case study from our files

The subject’s biography provided along with our client’s request for due diligence in connection with a private equity funding transaction was ridden with misspellings. And it did not say much, apart from boasts of professional accomplishments and financial success, and the subject’s self-description of being a “people-person who likes to travel.” But even with the biography’s vague statements and typos, our research quickly found that the subject’s company, which contained a transposed letter in its name, was affiliated with a Mexican multi-level marketing operation whose executives were recently arrested or are wanted by authorities for setting up allegedly fake websites whereby they defrauded investors for millions of dollars. As our research continued, we located media reports and online documents which indicated that the fraud spanned across three continents, and involved at least four other entities closely held by the subject, whose names were not listed in the biography. And according to various government sources, there is also mounting evidence of money laundering. Our client, although somewhat surprised by our findings, immediately halted the funding transaction.

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