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Reining in the patent trolls

State lawmakers on Monday sent to Gov. Bill Haslam a bill that will hit with damages and costs entities filing bad-faith patent infringement cases — so called "patent trolls" — against Tennessee companies. A trio of Bass Berry & Sims attorneys has some insights on the legislation.

Under the bill, intended recipients of communications that meet any of these requirements may file suit in any Tennessee circuit or chancery court. Those who prevail shall be awarded litigation costs and fees, including attorneys’ fees, and may be awarded actual damages as well as punitive damages equal to three times the amount of actual damages. In addition, the office of the attorney general is empowered to enforce the bill through its investigative and prosecutorial authority.

Apr 15, 2014 2:11 PM

'Rolling Stone Country' taps Hudak as senior editor

Fledgling publication Rolling Stone Country has named Joseph Hudak, a former managing editor at Country Weekly, its senior editor, according to MusicRow.com. Read the details here.

Apr 15, 2014 12:52 PM

Murfreesboro Pike strip center sells for $5.57M

A Percy Priest Lake-area retail strip center has changed ownership hands for $5.57 million.

Summit Retail LLC sold The Shoppes of Edge-O-Lake to Denver-based BDFIF IV Edge of Lake LLC, according to Davidson County Register of Deeds documents. The center is located at 2510 Murfreesboro Pike.

The mailing address for BDFIF is the same as that of Baceline Investments. According to the company website, Baceline has real estate holdings in 10 states, with Edge-O-Lake the company’s first acquisition in Tennessee. Baceline officials could not be reached for comment. 

In February 2011, Shoppes of Edge-O-Lake developer Murfreesboro Edge-O-Lake LLC deeded the project back to The Bank of Nashville in lieu of foreclosure, according to the Nashville Business Journal. At the time, the NBJ reported the developer did so to satisfy two loans with a combined unpaid balance of about $7.4 million.

Summit Retail would later buy the property in June 2011 for $3.5 million.

Apr 15, 2014 11:49 AM

Music/event-focused hackathon set around Bonnaroo

The organizers of the Bonnaroo festival also are again organizing Hackeroo, a local hackathon where participants will build apps, services and technology that serve live events, in conjunction with sponsor Emma. The hackathon will take place at Emma's Bistro on Rolling Mill Hill on May 10 and 11. The winner will receive VIP access to Bonnaroo, where the winning product will be marketed to the festival's audience of 80,000 and to the Southland technology and entrepreneurship conference being held in Nashville just prior.

Travis Laurendine, who started Hackeroo last year, will once again host and mentor developers throughout Hackeroo. Also participating in Hackeroo will be Sarah Lacy, founder and CEO of PandoDaily, which is co-producing Southland with Launch Tennessee.

"Last year, we were empowered by Bonnaroo to test the concept of a hackathon that takes the technology developed and integrates it into the festival," Laurendine said. "Now, with the backing of Southland in addition to Bonnaroo producers Superfly and AC Entertainment, we are going to scale this event into the premier yearly music hackathon in Music City USA."

Check out more info here.

Apr 15, 2014 11:37 AM

Healthspek to present at AARP expo

Developers of the Nashville-based personal health management app Healthspek have been invited to pitch their product at AARP's national expo in May.

The expo, to be held in Boston, will showcase 10 startups in the "50 and over" health technology market, with access to consumers, venture capitalists and other investors. Healthspek is a free iPad tool that safely tracks, collects and disseminates personal health care information.

"Today's health care environment is putting the power back in the hands of the people, and we see that as very positive," Randy Farr, Healthspek CEO, said in a release. "Consumers now have an opportunity to manage their own care, working with their doctors to streamline the flow of information. The benefits in cost reduction, efficiency, disease prevention and peace of mind are significant, and we believe we're just scratching the surface of how this technology could revolutionize American health care."

Apr 15, 2014 9:50 AM

TPAC announces hires, promotions

The Tennessee Performing Arts Center has announced the promotion of Teresa Ellithorpe to vice president of events sales and services and Ronda Helton to vice president of marketing and Communications.

The promotions are two of many personnel changes at TPAC.

The non-profit performing arts center has hired Katelynn Baker as an events sales and services manager, Caitlin Cuppernull as HR and payroll coordinator, Phillip Lunsford as web services manager and Daniela Medina as manager of public relations and community outreach.

Also, TPAC has promoted Tony Marks to director of communications and public relations, Karen Palin to director of technical operations and Kathleen Cecil to ticket sales supervisor.

Ellithorpe, a graduate of the IAVM Facility Management School at Ogelbay, joined TPAC in 1999. She will maintain oversight of booking for TPAC and the historic War Memorial Auditorium and be responsible for venue rental sales initiatives as well as contract negotiation and compliance. 

Helton, who joined TPAC last year to direct the marketing department, will supervise all aspects of marketing, communications, and branding campaigns for TPAC and the historic War Memorial Auditorium.

Marks, who joined TPAC in 2012 to manage publicity of the Broadway season, will direct the organization’s broad communications strategies for programming, education and community outreach.

Palin, who has worked with TPAC since 1994, will supervise technical staff and maintenance of facilities as well as coordinate with clients and internal departments on technical advance or productions and use of the theaters.

Cecil, who started at TPAC in 2011, will supervise TPAC’s box office during events, serve as ticketing contact for a variety of productions, including the Nashville Opera, which is one of TPAC’s resident companies.

Apr 15, 2014 8:36 AM

Image use case against MoonPie maker dismissed

The Tennessee Court of Appeals has ruled that the use by the makers of MoonPies and RC Cola of a more than 30-year-old photograph did not violate the rights of the area resident depicted. Bradley Wells had sued CBI and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group two summers ago, claiming the companies had, among other things, violated the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act and unjustly enriched themselves off his image. But the defendants won the day both in trial court and before the appeals judges by arguing that the case centered on federal copyright issues and this couldn't be heard in local courts.

Bone McAllester Norton attorney Stephen Zralek writes here about how he helped win the case.

This case highlights the intersection between the right of publicity and copyright, serving as a reminder that questions of preemption are always decided on a case by case basis.  Not all photographs qualify for protection under either copyright law or the right of publicity; sometimes they invoke rights under one body of law, sometimes both and sometimes neither.  The legal nuances surrounding copyright and the right of publicity are complicated, rapidly evolving and sometimes overlapping.

Apr 15, 2014 7:12 AM

Belcourt Theatre board elects trio of officers

The Belcourt Theatre Board of Directors has elected new officers for three-year terms.

Van G. Pond Jr. (pictured), principal of Van Pond Architect, will serve as the board chairman; Neil B. Krugman, a partner at Waller Law, will serve as vice chairman; and Scott Manzler, a Belcourt supporter, will serve as treasurer.

Board member F. Clark Williams, an administrator at the Vanderbilt University Office of the Dean of Students, will continue to serve as secretary.

In addition to new officers, five new board members were elected in March. They include Terrance Hurd, founder and director of the Hurd Modeling & Talent Agency; Dean Masullo, an English teacher at the University School of Nashville who has also developed an independent study program in film studies at the school; M. Todd Sandahl, an attorney and CPA in private practice; John M. Sloop, professor of communication studies and incoming interim dean of the Vanderbilt University College of Arts and Science; and Renato Soto, co-founder and executive director of Conexión Américas.

“We’re very fortunate to have board officers and members with such passion and enthusiasm for our mission,” Belcourt Executive Director Stephanie Silverman said in a release. “As the Belcourt’s education and engagement programs expand throughout the community and as Nashville itself grows, our board is vital in helping us guide the Belcourt’s future.”

The current Belcourt Board of Directors include Greg Bailey, Jennifer Fay, Nan Flynn, Terrance Hurd, Barbara Freeman, Paz Haynes, Holly Hoffman, Neil Krugman, Paul Kuhn, Chris Lalonde (board intern), Monica Mackie, Scott Manzler, Marcia Masulla, Dean Masullo, Van Pond, Sonata Stanton Rayburn, Todd Sandahl, Sloane Scott, John Sloop, Renata Soto, Sissy Stevinson, Georges Sulmers, Bob Webb, H.G. Webb, F. Clark Williams, and Marcus Whitney.

Apr 15, 2014 6:55 AM

More Genesco, Acadia insiders sell stock

The tide of share selling among local public-company executives has ebbed a bit, but there have still been a few noteworthy transactions in the past week and change at companies where leaders have been active of late. At shoe and hat retailer Genesco, Senior Vice President Jonathan Caplan took in more than $900,000 from the sale of more than a sixth of his stock while fellow SVP Mimi Vaughn pocketed about $245,000 by selling more than 3,000 of her more than 48,000 shares.

Over at Acadia Healthcare, former COO and Eastern Division President Karen Prince unloaded all but 100 of her remaining shares for about $250,000. Prince left Franklin-based Acadia in the spring of 2012.

SEE ALSO: Other recent insider trades of note

Apr 15, 2014 6:46 AM

Litigation services company opens downtown office

A provider of legal discovery services headquartered in Kansas City has opened an office in downtown's Fifth Third Center. The outpost is the 12th for the seven-year-old company and is being overseen by Zeke Alicea, who is based in South Florida.

"We have experienced tremendous growth in this market and are excited to offer increased local service to firms with growing amounts of complex litigation," said the president of Iris, Major Baisden. "Real, comprehensive consultative services and support are requirements of electronic discovery. This office makes it easier for our clients to centralize all aspects of discovery so they can focus on delivering higher value to their clients."

Apr 14, 2014 1:54 PM