New Massachusetts Trade Secret Laws Effective October 1, 2018

The retail industry closely guards customer and distribution lists, the software and code for the operation of its websites and downloadable mobile apps, and, in many cases, algorithms used to evaluate and monitor sales trends. In many cases, these valuable assets are not protected by patent, trademark or copyright law. As...
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Down But Not Out: Using Showrooms to Revamp Brick and Mortar Retail

Recent trends such as pop-ups  suggest that consumers and retailers alike are not prepared to give up on brick and mortar stores, but that they are looking for more creative alternatives to the traditional arrangement. Clothing retailers have begun exploring use of showroom-style spaces to revitalize and reframe the shopping...
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Updates to California Proposition 65 Affect Retailers and their Suppliers

On August 30, 2018, significant changes to California’s Proposition 65 (“Prop 65”) warning regulations take effect. In the retail context, Prop 65 requires businesses with 10 or more employees to warn individuals in California about products containing certain listed chemicals “known to the State of California to cause cancer,...
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Sales Tax Holidays: Serious Savings or Serious Stunt?

This past Friday, consumers across Massachusetts were pleasantly surprised with news of the last-minute approval by the Baker administration of a weekend sales tax holiday. Despite local retailers griping about the eleventh hour prep involved with planning, stocking, staffing and marketing such an event, consumers were rewarded with savings...
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On Retaildential Densification: Unpacking the Jargon and Trends of Adding Residential Uses to Shopping Centers

Retail follows rooftops. Few real estate adages are more axiomatic. Increasingly, however, the reverse is becoming true, and rooftops, or residential uses, are cozying up to retail . We’ve written previously that residential developers are increasingly finding shopping centers to be an irresistible tenant amenity . Whether residential uses...
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The Times They Are A-Changin’: Movement in the Retail Brokerage Industry

When selecting a broker, clients consider a host of factors, including both the firm’s and individual broker’s experience, building and client portfolio, and industry contacts. While some may feel better served by a small, dedicated team that can arguably offer more personalized service, many elect to engage larger industry players. Larger...
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International Council of Shopping Centers New England Conference and Deal Making

ICSC hosted the New England Conference and Deal Making  event at the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center last week, from July 16-18. Given the summer timing of the conference, attendance appeared light at times, but conference attendees reported busy schedules and productive meetings. A number of attendees...
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A Trademark Licensee’s Rights after its Licensor’s Bankruptcy May Vary Depending on the Venue of the Bankruptcy Case

In this tumultuous retail climate , a string of recent conflicting court decisions remind retailers that the potential impact of a licensor bankruptcy on a trademark licensee’s rights may vary dramatically depending on the location of the licensor’s bankruptcy proceedings.  In some jurisdictions a licensee may be entitled to...
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Leveraged Returns: How Big Box Retailers are Using In-Store Fulfilment Centers to Bring Consumers Back to Brick-and-Mortar

The growth of e-commerce over the last two decades has forced traditional brick-and-mortar retailers to rethink their operations in order to remain competitive in a rapidly evolving market. For some, this means developing websites and mobile apps to entice consumers with an omnichannel shopping experience. However, a few large retailers...
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“We’ve Updated Our Privacy Policy”

How the EU’s New Data Protection Law is Changing Data Policy Considerations for American Retailers
If you have ever made an online purchase, chances are that you have received at least one  email  in the last month notifying you that a company’s privacy policy has changed. These emails are part of efforts to comply with the  General Data Protection Regulation (known as the “GDPR”),...
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A Changed World: The Supreme Court Permits State and Local Taxation of Online Sales by Retailers with No State Presence

A Changed View of Online Sales Tax for Out-of-State Retailers
With the growing and evolving retail world, which we have  discussed   before , one thing had remained constant: retailers did not have to collect sales tax for online sales to states in which they had no physical presence. Thanks to the Supreme Court, that principle  had  remained a...
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A World of Trademarks at INTA 2018 Annual Meeting in Seattle

During the week of May 20, 2018, members of the Goulston & Storrs  Intellectual Property Group  joined over 10,500 attendees from around the world for the 140th Annual Meeting of the  International Trademark Association (INTA) . Held in Seattle, Washington, the INTA 2018 Annual Meeting attracted an incredibly diverse...
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ICSC RECon 2018--Stepping Into the Future

The Las Vegas Convention Center hosted  ICSC RECon 2018  last week from May 20-23. Upon their entry into the Convention Center’s Central Hall, this year’s RECon attendees were greeted by the ICSC Innovation Exchange. This interactive exhibit showcased a broad range of new technologies, including autonomous security systems, digital...
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ICSC RECon In Full Swing

ICSC is in full swing at the Las Vegas Convention Center this week. This is the  world’s largest gathering of retail real estate professionals . With 37,000 industry professionals and 1200 exhibitors, it promises to be an amazing week. Last year, the mood at the convention was largely positive...
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The New Dawn of Retail: Apocalypse or Evolution?

Major retailers that once reigned supreme with brick and mortar stores now face unparalleled challenges. Historically, major retailers dominated the retail industry by opening stores in the most desirable locations and offering fetching merchandise at a great value. But, numerous trends – including a dramatic shift in shopping habits,...
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No More Lifetime Guarantees – The Importance of a Balanced Return Policy

In February 2018, L.L. Bean made the tough decision to  change its lifetime return policy , which had been in existence for over a century. Following the policy change, the company received backlash from its customers , with many of them voicing their frustrations on twitter. One user tweeted...
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Does Trademark Protection Extend to On-Line Advertising- Apparently It All Depends

It seems that nearly every day another retailer announces the large-scale closure of brick-and-mortar storefronts, with such household brands as Toys “R” Us and J. Crew, just to name two,  planning to shutter stores in 2018 . The significant challenges faced by traditional retailers are often attributed to the...
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Preparing for a Retail Storm

In the past few years, we have seen increasing temperatures, rising sea levels and extreme weather across the globe. According to NASA, 2016 was the  hottest year on record  and 2017 was the  second warmest year on record . In 2017 alone, the world witnessed massive heat waves in...
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Credit Card Evolution: Goodbye John Hancock

For years, the signature requirement for completing a credit card transaction has felt something like an  obsolete means of confirming a user’s identity . Effective this month, however, four of the country’s largest credit card providers: American Express, Discover, Mastercard and Visa, will no longer require a signature to...
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Pop-Up Stores- From Mall Kiosks to Dedicated Mall Spaces

It seems that everywhere we turn, there is another story about how the traditional, enclosed shopping mall is facing a slow and painful death. Big box and other brick and mortar stores are closing, and mall landlords are  desperate to fill increasingly empty space . To do so, landlords...
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Following An Evolving Retail Scene In New York City

New York City, one of the world’s premier shopping destinations is about to get over one and a half million square feet of new retail space. Some will be delivered to Long Island City, an area that has been waiting for a retail resurgence for over 2 decades, and...
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Bankruptcy Lease Auctions – Landlords Can Play Too

Toys “R” Us filed for bankruptcy in September 2017, with hopes that a strong holiday season would facilitate a successful reorganization. After holiday sales proved to be far less lucrative than the company and its professionals had hoped, the  announcement was recently made  that the company would commence  store...
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No Relief in Sight from Website Accessibility Lawsuits

In February 2017, we reported on a surge in website accessibility lawsuits brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). This litigation trend has accelerated over the past year and shows no signs of slowing down . Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination against disabled persons in places...
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#Trending: Omnichannel Loyalty and Leveraging Social Media Channels

Technological advancements in the current digital age allow consumers to browse and buy products on smartphones and tablets, bringing an unlimited number of retail options to their fingertips—literally. Thus, in an effort to distinguish themselves, many brands are adopting omnichannel-based customer loyalty programs in favor of more traditional programs....
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Bringing Residential Uses to Existing Shopping Centers--A Win Win

Tenant curation, experiential retail , and social media-based marketing are thriving trends in today’s brick-and-mortar shopping center industry. Retail is not the only real estate asset class susceptible to trends, and a recent dominant trend in the multifamily residential sector may offer valuable opportunities for shopping center owners. For...
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Settlement Opens Door For Outer Borough Outlet Centers

In August 2017, Simon Property Group (“SPG”) and the Office of the Attorney General of the State of New York (“NYAG”) entered into an Assurance of Discontinuance (the “Settlement”) regarding alleged anti-competitive effects of radius restrictions used by SPG in leases at the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets (“Woodbury Commons”)...
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A Grocery Attack on Multiple Fronts

Amazon has entered the grocery store space with a bang. From the recent opening of its AmazonGo store , to its acquisition of Whole Foods last August, Amazon has threatened to disrupt the grocery store industry and has jolted the stock price of many of its competitors. But will...
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Foreign Retailers Entering New Markets: Finding A Home Of One’s Own

The first task facing a retailer entering a new market ? To find its customer. This chore takes on more significance for foreign retailers venturing into a complex, expansive and heterogeneous market such as the United States. Depending upon the soundness of the choice, the proverbial pot at the...
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