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Pinning Down Your Brand: Pinterest Issues of Consideration to Brand Owners

We?ÇÖve all heard of it.?á It?ÇÖs been in the news.?á You?ÇÖve seen it on Facebook.?á Charlie Sheen is probably even getting in on it.?á The latest buzz in social media: Pinterest (#Pinning!).   Pinterest describes itself as a virtual pinboard.?á Users of the site ?Ç£pin?Ç¥ images they discover on the internet to their own pinboards.?á Other users can view the images pinned to someone?ÇÖs pinboards, click through those images to the original site where the content was found, and share those images with others (?Ç£Repinning?Ç¥).   Pinterest has enjoyed an enormous increase in popularity over the last year, rising to over 17 million users as of last month?Çöhitting the 10 million user mark faster than any independent site in history, according to one study.?á Alexa shows that Pinterest.com is now the 16th most popular website in the U.S., and the 62nd most popular worldwide.?á And it drives significant referral traffic… Continue Reading

IRS Uses Section 409A Analysis to Determine if ?Ç£Retirement?Ç¥ Occurs for Pension Plan Purposes

A multiemployer pension plan, in an effort to permit employees to ?Ç£retire?Ç¥ under an early retirement benefit before that benefit was eliminated, proposed to let eligible participants ?Ç£retire?Ç¥ and then immediately return to work. In a private letter ruling, the IRS concluded these employees were not legitimately retired. In analyzing ?Ç£retirement?Ç¥ for qualified pension plan purposes the IRS looked at Section 409A and other sources. Although Section 409A addresses a nonqualified plan, the IRS stated that Section 409A?ÇÖs definitions regarding termination and separation from service are consistent with the definition of ?Ç£severance of service date?Ç¥ under the elapsed time method of crediting service. It also cited a prior revenue ruling that concluded an employee is not separated from service if the employee continues on the same job for a different employer post-corporate transaction. Based on this authority, the IRS concluded that ?Ç£retirement?Ç¥ requires the employee to stop performing services for… Continue Reading

California Federal District Court Finds DOMA Unconstitutional

A federal district court in California recently held that the Defense of Marriage Act (?Ç£DOMA?Ç¥) unconstitutionally discriminates against same-sex married couples. In the case, the plaintiff, who was employed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, challenged the denial of health insurance coverage for her same-sex spouse. The same-sex couple had married on August 21, 2008 during the period that same-sex marriage was permitted under California law. The district court granted summary judgment to the plaintiff on her claim that Section 3 of DOMA violated her 5th Amendment right to equal protection of the law. In its decision, the court determined that a previous 9th Circuit decision was no longer binding precedent and instead ruled that discrimination based on sexual orientation is considered a suspect or quasi-suspect class which is entitled to a heightened scrutiny standard of judicial review. The court?ÇÖs decision found that DOMA does not… Continue Reading

March 2012