Last fall, California voters approved Proposition 64, legalizing the recreational use of marijuana for persons 21 and older.  In the wake of Proposition 64’s passage, many employers have been puzzled about the impact of the new law upon their human resources practices.  The good news is that Proposition 64 should not have a substantial effect on employers.

Our firm recently sent out a client alert that goes into greater detail about what the new law does and doesn’t do. Continue Reading Dazed and Confused by Prop 64? Here’s What Employers Need to Know

It appears that 2016 saw a surprising and dramatic drop in patent litigation filings. As reported by Richard Lloyd of IAM Magazine,[1] recent studies released by the intellectual property firms Unified Patents[2] and RPX confirmed patent litigation filings were down almost 25% in 2016 from the prior year, the lowest volume of cases since 2011. Paradoxically, however, the risk of a patent lawsuit being brought against middle market companies may be higher than before.

Continue Reading New Patent Litigation Risk to Middle Market Companies

Take an extra bow if you own or run a Middle Market company. 

2016 was a great year for the Middle Market. Reports on company performance in 2016 are surfacing, and show the Middle Market continued to be a turbocharged engine driving economic growth in the U.S. The National Center for the Middle Market compiled 20 full quarters of data through Q4 2016 in its recently-released Middle Market Indicator (MMI).[1] Annual revenue growth in the Middle Market in 2016 was 6.9%, far above the S&P 500 rate of 4.4%. The Middle Market led hiring growth at 5.4%, exceeding its five-year historic average rate of 3.4%, and blasting ahead of large businesses at 2.4%, and small businesses at 1.4%.

The MMI estimates that Middle Market revenue in 2016 increased at almost double the rate of national GDP growth. Already employing approximately 47.9 million people, the Middle Market created three out of every five net new private sector jobs in 2016. That’s 60% of net new jobs last year, for a sector comprised of about 200,000 companies and making up about 1/3 of the private sector GDP.

What drives the Middle Market success? Organic growth fueled by upside opportunity not always available to large corporations or within the reach of resource-limited small companies.  Innovation to stock pipelines of new products and services.  MMI reports that 40% of Middle Market companies introduced a new product or service in 2016. Unlike large public companies, private companies making up most of the Middle Market can more easily exercise conservative fiscal management with low debt and high reinvestment or savings rates, and cautious hiring practices.  And a five-year run of overall domestic economic growth, low interest rates, cheap energy, and almost no inflation to drive up the cost of materials and wages, certainly set a perfect stage for great performance.

Will there be an encore performance for the middle market in 2017?

Continue Reading A 2017 Encore?