TECHNOLOGY, OUTSOURCING, AND COMMERCIAL TRANSACTIONS
NEWS FOR LAWYERS AND SOURCING PROFESSIONALS

In April, we shared a LawFlash Outsourcing and Managed Services Agreements During COVID-19: Our Perspective. With the continued and unprecedented impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on business operations, we thought it would be timely to provide a brief update on five top-of-mind issues that we are addressing with outsourcing and managed services clients.

Remote Working

  • Many outsourcing and managed services agreements include strict requirements on the location of personnel, including the location of certain personnel onsite at a customer site and/or the location of offshore personnel at secure delivery centers with no permitted remote working. These physical location restrictions often are coupled with requirements with respect to the type of technology that can be used when connecting to or accessing the customer’s systems or interacting with end users (such as hardened desktops only, no personal devices), security requirements and detailed connectivity and bandwidth requirements (particularly if there are end user facing activities such as call centers).

The unprecedented conditions created by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and resulting government shutdown orders have placed significant roadblocks for the last step of documenting a contract or other legal document: authentication. The steps to overcome these roadblocks are highlighted two recent Morgan Lewis LawFlashes.

In COVID-19: How to Notarize Documents During a Pandemic, Jeannine Bishop and Kathleen Keyser describe both existing and recent emergency legislation that allows either temporary or permanent remote online notarization (RON) so that documents can be effectively notarized.

The conditions created by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and resulting government shutdown orders have raised questions across various industries regarding contractual rights and obligations during the crisis. One contract provision in particular is garnering signification attention: the force majeure clause. Recently, these clauses have evolved from boilerplate provisions at the end of a contract to now being front and center in many contract negotiations. In this blog post, we will review considerations for drafting force majeure clauses within the current environment.

Please join us in our Philadelphia office for our annual Technology, Outsourcing & Commercial Contracts Networking Roundtable. The roundtable will feature an in-depth discussion of hot topics relating to the increased connectivity of our businesses, including privacy concerns, data rights, cloud solutions, and contracting for the use of connected devices. Stay connected with us at the networking reception following the discussions.

We hope you’ll join us in Philadelphia on Thursday, April 16, 2020, from 3:30–5:30 pm ET.

Register now >>

In a long-term outsourcing, software as a service (SaaS), or other services agreement, the customer will typically push for a termination right relating to the service provider’s breach, and perhaps for an insolvency event or change in control of the service provider. However, the customer should also consider including the right to terminate for its convenience (without cause), which could cover any of the following situations:

  • The customer is not satisfied with the service provider’s performance under the contract even though the provider is meeting its service level and other performance requirements under the contract.
  • Many alleged breaches by the service provider are initially “black and white” in the view of the customer, but they turn “gray” when the service provider pushes back and alleges nonperformance, nonresponsiveness, lack of cooperation, and the like on the part of the customer. Adding the customer’s right to termination for convenience can avoid the potential dispute over whether the customer has the right to terminate on other grounds.

Morgan Lewis has recently issued several LawFlashes on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, providing a number of resources for businesses across the globe dealing with various compliance challenges and unanswered questions. In this rapidly changing situation, for example, employers must carefully balance concerns related to employee and public safety with protecting employees from unnecessary medical inquiries, harassment, and discrimination.

To help guide companies through this multifaceted public health crisis, Morgan Lewis has launched Responding to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus to keep on top of developments as they unfold.

Are you about to sign a service agreement with a third-party service provider under which it will access and use technology of your company? Have you checked your applicable third-party contracts to see if you need any consents? The contracts under which your company uses technology every day, from the mundane to the critical, may contain hidden restrictions on the third party’s access and use for your benefit under the services contract.

There is an endless number of arrangements a customer could have with its third-party service providers, but this Contract Corner will discuss the case where the customer authorizes a service provider to access and use licensed software either while remaining at the customer site, or by moving it to the service provider’s site. More specifically, it explores just some of the issues and language in the customer’s license agreements with those third-party software providers to be checked during pre-signing due diligence.

The US–China trade deal signed on January 15 aims to strengthen intellectual property protection for US intellectual property holders.

The deal increases the scope of actors liable for trade secret misappropriation to include all natural persons, groups of persons, and legal persons. The deal also enumerates additional acts constituting trade secret misappropriation, such as electronic intrusions and a breach or inducement of a breach of duty not to disclose information that is secret or intended to be kept secret. To further strengthen the protection of trade secrets, the deal provides that “China shall prohibit the unauthorized disclosure of undisclosed information, trade secrets, or confidential business information by government personnel or third party experts or advisors in any criminal, civil, administrative, or regulatory proceedings conducted at either the central or sub-central levels of government in which such information is submitted.”

The terms “reseller” and “distributor” are often used interchangeably to describe entities that purchase goods or services from a manufacturer and then distribute or resell such goods or services to retailers and consumers. However, there are some key differences between a distributor and a reseller and important issues to consider in agreements with resellers and distributors.

You signed a long-term deal. It would be embarrassing if, in a few years after signing, the pricing is significantly higher or your service levels are significantly lower than market. Benchmarking provisions are intended to provide a mechanism for ensuring that your pricing and/or service levels are within market (taking into consideration the unique factors applicable to your deal). Set out below are some of the key components of a meaningful benchmarking provision.