FUELING WORK – M&A may have slowed in 2022, but Texas lawyers practicing in the energy sector told Law.com’s Brenda Sapino Jeffreys they have remained busy, particularly with renewables, energy transition and infrastructure projects, and with investors raising money for the sector, they expect demand to remain strong in 2023. The bottom line is this: Even though M&A may have been a little slower in 2022 than in 2021, project development demand has been strong. “When people talk about energy M&A being down, that’s mostly referencing traditional oil and gas being down. Midstream M&A has been very active this year … driven on the buy side [by] the desire to consolidate, and on the sell side [by] a bunch of private equity companies that have been getting long in the tooth,” said Bill Swanstrom, co-chair of the energy practice group at Locke Lord.
DEPRIVATION OF INDEPENDENCE – A recent report from the Government Accountability Office showed an overwhelming majority of Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) judges feel their independence is being threatened by political appointees, Law.com’s Brad Kutner reports. The report comes after calls from Congress to review the administrative court’s transparency in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Arthrex. That ruling found the PTO director has final say over PTAB decisions because the director is the agency’s only presidentially appointed principal officer. The report, released just ahead of the holiday weekend, found 75% of PTAB judges believe “oversight practiced by U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) directors and PTAB management has affected their independence.”
ON THE RADAR – Printing company Multi-Color Corp. was hit with a $15 million breach-of-contract lawsuit Tuesday in Ohio Southern District Court in connection with the company’s partial acquisition of WS Packaging Mexico, S.A. de C.V., a Mexican printing label company. The suit was brought by Baker & Hostetler on behalf of Ricardo Martinez-Porte, who founded WS Packaging. The plaintiff alleges that Multi-Color Corp. improperly removed him as chairman and sidelined him from the company in order to consolidate WS Packaging with a separate Mexican subsidiary. Counsel have not yet appeared for the defendant. The case is 1:22-cv-00768, Martinez-Porte v. Muti-Color Corporation. Stay up on the latest deals and litigation with the new Law.com Radar.
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