July 2017 
July 2017 Newsletter
Americans love sports and we certainly love to talk about it! So it is not surprising at all that a lot of terms and expressions are taken from the world of sports and have become omnipresent in both everyday language and the business world, too.

If you have ever wondered what your American business partners are trying to say by referencing "ballpark numbers" or by describing unexpected suggestions as coming "out of left field," then our blog on American Idioms for the Business world is just the right place for you!

  Other interesting topics in this month's newsletter:
  • Robot Technology Skirts Trump Administration Travel Ban
  • Having Children Could Limit Travel for Italian Parents
  • Validated Best Practices in the U.S. May Shift Your
    Global Marketing Strategy
  • The German Green Party Moves Against Online Shopping on Sundays
  • Bitcoin: The Underlying Blockchain Technology
Read more about these and other important updates! Interesting articles can also be found in our blog.  

The USCIS has recently released an app which can help applicants train for the civics test which is part of the U.S. naturalization interview, and for everyone else, it might just be a great way to test their own knowledge. 
The next German American Business Association (GABA) Seminars will be held on September 13. and 14. in Berlin, Germany. The seminars will address important issues and vital aspects for companies looking to enter the American market or companies seeking to expand their position on the American market. Please see our Seminars and Events section below to find sign-up information for this and other events.  

Best regards and viele Grüße 

from the entire BridgehouseLaw Team RvH
Reinhard von Hennigs
Robot Technology Skirts Trump Administration Travel Ban

Living in the 21st century, humans have integrated technology into almost every function of our lives, both business and personal. Technology's evolution grows exponentially in both speed and complexity in order to make tasks, once impossible, relatively easy. With its integrated presence and use in society, people have found ways to apply it in context of social and political issues. This is apparent when we look at the Computer-Human Interaction (CHI) conference held in Denver, Colorado at the beginning of May. With 2,900 attendees in 2017, the annual gathering was the largest of its kind in the world.

For those in the technology field interested in career advancement and networking, events such as this CHI conference are a necessity, but with recent travel restrictions brought by executive orders signed by President Trump, many technology professionals are either unable or unwilling to travel to the United States. In fact, many researchers threatened to boycott the conference if organizers didn't move it outside the United States. Naturally, the organizers sought a solution to this problem by using robotics.

On the conference's website, the organizers called this phenomenon "telepresence attendance." The tech company Beam gave the conference a steep discount to provide mobile, robotic terminals available for rent ($300/day) for conference "attendees" who weren't physically there for one reason or another. German researcher Susan Boll appeared on one of these rolling interfaces as a way to protest the Trump administration's immigration and travel ban targeting seven Muslim majority nations.
Initially, US Courts opposed the ban, both in its original and revised versions, as discriminatory. By the end of June, however, the Supreme Court allowed parts of Mr. Trump's travel ban to go into effect.

Though at the time of the conference, many participants were technically able to enter the US, they still did not attend out of fear or protest. "It is a political statement, right? That we can allow people to come," said Gloria Mark, General Chair of CHI and professor of informatics at the University of California Irving. Even with telepresence robots reserved for people who were denied visas, the conference still lost some attendees over the ban.

Still, the prospect of this technology opens new doors to communication. Think of it as an upgraded version of Skype allowing people to communicate in the middle of a crowded room attended by CHI student volunteers to assist with any technical malfunctions, of which there were a few. In light of this recent development, it appears that technology has an e asier task adapting to the political environment in which we find ourselves. Politics and law have traditionally been slower to adapt to expanding technology, but perhaps developments such as this will significantly assist in bridging the gap.
Having Children Could Limit Travel for Italian Parents
Italian parents of minors now need their partner's consent in order to have a passport issued for their child and themselves. This regulation serves to prevent child abduction, but causes its own set of problems:

Part I of this article is available here

Denial of Consent by Other Parent

In the absence of the other parent's consent to either the spouse or the minor getting a passport, according to the applicable law, the parent requesting the passport must file a motion before the judge having jurisdiction over the matter to obtain consent. The formal motion is filed with the Court having jurisdiction by territory over the minor, based on the residence of the minor.

If the minor resides in Italy, jurisdiction and venue will be before the Family Court of the child's place of residence. If the minor resides abroad, the motion should be filed with the Head of the Consular Office having jurisdiction by territory. (1) The motion will contain the reasons for the denial of the consent by the other party and include contact information for the party denying consent. The Judge, or the Consul, after having carried out all the preliminary assessments deemed necessary to ensure the best protection of the minor, (2) looking at the facts of the matter and informing the other parent of the motion filed to allow him/her to be heard, will issue a motivated decision that will either grant or deny the authorization to issue the document.

In any event, consent to the passport issuance by the authorities is not a given and may be refused in certain instances. The Italian Corte di Cassazione, which is the court with ultimate authority for the interpretation of laws and decrees, (3) recently refused to hear a case where one parent asked for the issuance of a passport to a minor lacking the consent of the other parent (4). The Judge of first instance and later the Appellate Family Court, both denied the authorization to issue the passport because it lacked the consent of the mother and divorce proceedings were taking place between the parents. The father filed a claim with the Corte di Cassazione for violation of the 'one passport one person' rule and for lack of motivation in the lower court's decision because it did not recognize the individual right of the child to the issuance of the passport for safety during travel. The Court found the appeal inadmissible. The Court stated that the authorization to issue the passport to the child at the request of a parent in a case lacking the agreement of the other cannot be considered a given.

The 'best interest of the child' requirement is enhanced if the parents are separated. The Court said that the contested measure was not final nor constituted a Court decision by the lower court, but it was 'an act of voluntary jurisdiction, aimed not to definitively settle a dispute between the child parents' individual rights, but rather meant to evaluate whether the refusal to give consent by one parent was in the best interest of the child.' As such, the Court refused to hear the appeal. (5) The Court stressed that it had no reason to change course even in light of the legislation introducing the principle "one person one passport'. The Court stated that one should also looked at the policy behind that changed rule, which is to enhance the protection of children's best interests; such interests should be even more of an issue when parents are separated. The Court concluded, therefore, that the authorization to the issuance of the passport to the minor without the consent of both parents is not a mandatory act by the court but is subject to assessing the best interest of the child on a case-by-case basis.

1 The Consul will act as a 'Giudice Tutelare', pursuant to the power granted by Section 33 and 34 of the Legislative Decree No. 71/2011.
2 This phase of the proceedings, called 'istruttoria' is the closest to a discovery phase that you can have in the Italian system, although it is extremely simplified compared to the US system.
3 This is the only tribunal in the Italian system whose decisions can set a precedent, together with the Corte Costituzionale, which is the sole interpreter of the Constitution.
4 Corte di Cassazione, Sezione I Civile, Sentenza 18 gennaio - 5 febbraio 2013 n.2696
6 The Corte di Cassazione hears cases to give a true and final interpretation to laws and regulations and does not deal with issues of fact, which are left to the evaluation of the courts of first instance, in this case the Giudice Tutelare or the Consul.

Image courtesy of everydayplus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net 
Validated Best Practices in the U.S.
May Shift Your Global Marketing Strategy

By Sherré DeMao
A national study conducted by my firm within the U.S. compared high-growth companies to stagnant or negative-growth companies amidst the Great Recession. This research documented keys to successful growth realized by companies that thrived regardless of the economic conditions. Tactical best practices were confirmed within five areas of marketing concentration. These core marketing initiative areas are: Customer Relations, Referral Relations, Internet Presence, Strategic Involvements, and Public Relations.
Customer Relations: As obvious as this may seem, how well are you relating to your customers operationally and promotionally?
  • Are you connecting with customers face-to-face and not just virtually and telephonically?
  • Are you communicating information of relevance on a regular basis?
  • Are you exceeding customer expectations and continually monitoring and benchmarking to confirm exceptional performance deliverables?
  • Are you showing customers appreciation and rewarding them for their loyalty?
  • Is doing business with your company an experience that cannot be replicated by any competitor from the customer's viewpoint?
Referral Relations: A referral relations program is not what most companies think. Growth companies know that getting referrals from an entire network of connections in addition to customers is key to exponential growth.
  • Have you established a database of connections with non-competitor contacts going after the same ideal customer profile along with a means of building strategic rapport of mutual benefit?
  • Do you have indirect competitors to whom you refer with mutual referrals coming from them?
  • Do you have a referral protocol in place to track and monitor effectiveness of referrals and engagement?
Internet Presence: High growth companies are using the Internet on a daily basis in business for promotion, communications, operations, and obtaining resources and information. They are also using the Internet to do business better, faster, and smarter, which in turn improves their ability to serve their customer or reach prospects.
  • Is your website a source of information and/or service, as well as a source of promotion and preference building?
  • Do you give your customers a reason to visit and access your website on a regular basis?
  • Do you regularly update and add news and information to your website that increases its chances of being placed higher on the search engines?
  • Are you leveraging appropriate social media networks to further increase awareness and buzz about your business?
  • Do you have a strong "Google Factor" of testimonials, positive reviews, affiliations and recommendations easily found with the click of a mouse?

Strategic Involvements: Strategic Involvements entail being involved with the right organizations in the right way for the right reasons.
  • Is your company engaged in your trade industry association, effecting change and opportunities?
  • Is your leadership selecting involvements based on a high probability of referrals or access to your ideal target customers?
  • Has your organization adopted a charitable cause, and established a protocol for giving back that is meaningful to employees and customers?
  • Have you formed strategic alliances for competitive advantage and expanded opportunities?

Public Relations: Public relations was confirmed to be the most misunderstood of the core initiates, and yet is essential to credibility and preference building.
  • Do you send news and information about your company's growth and advancements to trade, business, and targeted customer media?
  • Have you identified expert authorities within your company as potential resources to media for industry insights, case success stories, and industry trends?
  • Are any of your leadership or experts positioned to speak at industry conferences or target market meetings?
  • Has your company pursued opportunities for awards and recognition within your industry or marketplace?
As we expand our research to an international level, we are seeing further validation of these five core concentration areas as the foundation and basis for building an effective marketing strategy for year-over-year growth on a global level.
Sherré DeMao is CEO/founder of SLD Unlimited Biz Growth Inc. based in Charlotte, NC. Her books, Me, Myself & Inc. - a Synergized World, An Energized Business, Living Your Ultimate Life, and 50 Marketing Secrets of Growth Companies in Down Economic Times have received national acclaim as Top Business Shelf picks. Her newest book, The Profitability Quotient, is expected to be released internationally in 2018, and in select markets in late 2017. She can be reached at 704.483.2941 or sherre@sldunlimited.com.

Image Courtesy of Sira Ananmwong at freedigitalphotos.net
The German Green Party Moves Against Online Shopping on Sundays

Since the dawn of the Internet, online shopping has expanded the boundaries of retail beyond the store's physical location. Just recently Amazon bought the grocery store chain Whole Foods for $13.4 billion.

Over the years, online shopping has proven to have its advantages and disadvantages. Shoppers are able to access almost an unlimited number of choices when it comes to products and prices 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Stores are able to expand beyond their local setting without the burdensome necessity of constructing other physical locations. It has given rise to corporate icons such as Amazon, eBay, and Overstock.

However, not everyone is on the same page when it comes to his or her perspectives and opinions concerning online shopping. Local "mom-and-pop" stores express frustration when potential customers merely walk in to see what products they want and then immediately go to their phones to see which online retailer offers a better deal. But in the expanding globalized economy of the 21st century it makes sense that online shopping would be treated differently by different cultures. This gets to the heart of the reason why online shopping clashes with Sundays in Europe, and Germany more specifically.

There is currently a movement of German retailers participating in the initiative titled "Selbstbestimmter Sonntag" or "self-determined Sunday," including companies such as Karstadt and Kaufhof. The initiative's supporters are calling for shops to be open on Sundays in order to stay competitive with online retailers. On the other hand, the German Green party of Lower Saxony have tackled this issue from the o pposite point of view. They want to limit the opening hours of online trading meaning that customers may place orders on Sundays but they would not be processed until Monday.

The Green Party leader Stefan K örner told the news agency dpa, "It is sufficient, however, if the processing of the order happens on Monday. Then the employees do not have to stay the whole weekend." The measure with which the Greens are trying to "defend Sunday" received support from German Unions such as ver.di and at the same time received pushback from online retailers. The president of Bundesverband Onlinehandel (BVOH), Oliver Prothmann criticized the proposal:

"Any thinking of restriction or regulation is a step backward. [...] In the future, it may be the wish of consumers to have the order already on Sunday or at the latest on Monday [...]. It is precisely the Greens, as a consumer's party, that should not introduce these restrictions but look to the future of the consumer."
 Image Courtesy of renjithkrishnan at freedigitalphotos.net
Bitcoin: The Underlying Blockchain Technology

Bitcoin, which utilizes the underlying technology of all convertible virtual currencies (CVCs), was created by an anonymous user who goes by the name Satoshi Nakamoto. CVCs serve as a digital medium of exchange for goods and services. In his Nakamoto's white paper, Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System, Nakamoto believed that the current financial systems were inefficient by requiring a third party 'clearing house' (1) to alleviate the risk of fraud through double spending. Nakamoto proposed Bitcoin as a solution to the current use of financial institutions when dealing with internet commerce.

Implementing "a purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution." (2) Nakamoto believed that the trust- based system, which we have learned to blindly follow, allowed for any dispute to be mediated by the financial institution, creating an inherent weakness in the way we transfer currency. Nakamoto therefore proposed "a solution to the double-spending problem [by] using a peer-to-peer distributed timestamp server to generate computational proof of the chronological order of transactions." (3)
Compared to a fiat currency (4), CVCs serve a similar use. The Department of the Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network has described CVCs as "a medium of exchange that operates like a currency in some environments, but does not have all the attributes of real currency." (5) In particular, in most environments CVCs do not have a legal tender status, which is one of the reasons why CVCs lack widespread use. Further, this has created difficulty when attempting to utilize CVCs to pay for goods and services. But the main difference between currency and CVCs is the IRS' guidance on the taxation of CVCs.

If you or your company are interested in further exploring your ability to utilize CVCs and the legal aspects connected to it, please feel free to reach out to Bridgehouse Law to schedule a call to better assess your situation.

1 Clearing house - such as a bank or intermediary, a clearing house acts as a middle man to confirm that the transaction takes place and the transaction is not a subject of fraud.
2 www.bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf
3 Id.
4 A government backed currency such as the US dollar or Chinese yen
5 Fin-2013-G001

Image Courtesy of IceHawk33 at freedigitalphotos.net  
Upcoming Seminars and Events
USA-­Markteintrittsseminar und Risk Management Meeting

BridgehouseLaw fördert auch dieses Event durch Sponsorship und die Stellung eines mit den Themen in den USA vertrauten Referenten.

13. September 2017: USA­ Markteintritts-­S eminar
14. September 2017: Risk Management Meeting

Die folgenden Themen werden unter Anderem ausführlich behandelt:
  • Corporate Formation and Governance
  • Standortwahl und Zuschüsse
  • US­ Taxation 
  • Vertriebsaufbau und Marketing  
  • HR und Personalrekrutierung in den USA
  • Visum und Arbeitserlaubnis
  • Datenschutz und Datensicherheit Pr odukthaftung
  • US­ Prozessrecht Haftungsschutz für die deutsche Muttergesellschaft 
  • Hire & Fire in den USA
  • Herausforderungen der transatlantischen Personalführung
  • Contractual Risk Management
Beide Tage sind, je nach Interesse und bisherigem USA-Engagement, sowohl einzeln als auch zusammen buch bar. Die Referenten leben teilweise in den USA oder haben aus Deutschland heraus starke USA ­Erfahrungen, die Ihnen praxisrelevante Anregungen vermitteln. Im Übrigen werden auch Inhaus­-Schulungen angeboten, falls Ihnen diese Termine nicht passen oder Sie die Informationen gerne mehreren Interessenten vermitteln möchten.

Weitere Seminartermine für das Jahr 2017 sowie die vollständige Programmübersicht und  Informationen zu Teilnahme und Anmeldung finden Sie bitte hier.

BridgeAlliance Seminar in Cuba - Save the Date!

Our partners from the Bridge Alliance have prepared a varied agenda of activities, including a visit to the Mariel Special Trade Zone, as well as opportunities to establish relations with major industry sectors, such as energy, food, and tourism, which are open for business with foreign investors. We will also have a chance to hear directly from Cuban companies and government officials on the current portfolio of business opportunities.

It would be our pleasure to have you join us at this event! Please contact us at annual.meeting@bridge-alliance.com for further information.  
Volume 6 Issue 7                       
In This Issue
More interesting articles on our German/American and Immigration Law Blogs:

Brauchen U.S.-Bürger bald ein Visum für Reisen in die EU?

Haribo to build its first U.S. manufacturing facility

To ban or not to ban - Trump's new Executive Order: Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry

The Swiss Have a Fever for More Cowbell, Less Busybody

Ransomware - What it is and How to Avoid it

Strong Dollar as Positive Signal for Foreign Alcoholic Importers

Streit um Sammelbilder - Panini verweist Konkurrenz vom Platz

Adidas Brings its Factory Production Back to Germany

Deutsche Bank Agrees to Pay $95 Million Under Latest Tax Fraud Settlement

USCIS Proposes Rule to increase Investment Thresholds for EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

A summary of President Trumps Executive Order

German American Business Outlook 2017



Reinhard von Hennigs
BridgehouseLaw ®
BridgehouseLaw LLP
Main: + 1 (980) 219 5200
Direct: +1 (980) 219 5225
Fax: +1 (980) 219 5299