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

We recently issued a reminder of the September 1 effective date of China’s new Data Security Law (DSL) and its potential impact on all business operators in China, including multinational corporations. But the DSL is not the only development from Chinese regulators that affects technology companies operating in the country, specifically ecommerce companies.

We recently highlighted the Morgan Lewis financial services team’s overview of proposed guidance released by the three federal banking agencies with respect to third-party relationships within the fintech industry. The federal banking agencies, though, are not alone when it comes to guidance on third-party vendors.

As further guidance and regulations are proposed and begin to take shape with respect to relationships between banking organizations and third parties, including those in the fintech industry, our multidisciplinary teams here at Morgan Lewis are tracking each development. In July, shortly after the three federal banking agencies (the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency) released their proposed risk management guidance regarding third-party relationships, our banking and financial services team provided a general overview highlighting the key takeaways from the proposal. If you have any specific questions, please reach out to your Morgan Lewis team for assistance.

With the recent onslaught of ransomware attacks, it’s time to revisit force majeure clauses (again). Earlier in the pandemic, we reviewed how COVID-19 could impact force majeure provisions. Since then, there has been a flurry of analyzing, renegotiating, and testing contractual language, as parties work through, or anticipate, pandemic-related difficulties. While contracting parties focus on striking a balance of when, and to what extent, a party’s performance will be excused due to pandemic-related circumstances, a different threat could follow a similar trajectory.
Exceptions to confidentiality obligations are largely standardized, but in some contracts a copy-and-paste approach could, at best, lead to uncertainty and, at worst, undermine key aims of the transaction.
A recent judgment by the High Court of England and Wales in the case of Jamp Pharma Corp v. Unichem Laboratories Limited has held that agreements reached as part of contract negotiations for contracts governed by English law may be impliedly “subject to contract” without the need to expressly state that the discussions and documents are “subject to contract” prior to a formal executed agreement.
Planning for major service disruptions and disasters, such as prolonged power failures, fires, flooding, and other extreme weather events, is an important element of strategic technology and service agreements.
Changes to complex commercial contracts are inevitable. These contracts, such as large outsourcing agreements, typically include a master services agreement (MSA) and a high number of exhibits and attachments describing the scope, performance standards, financials, and other contractual requirements in detail. Some deals can end up containing over 50–75 documents (or more!) in total. Given their strategic importance, these agreements often require numerous amendments as the relationship evolves over time and changes need to be formally documented.
For UK companies choosing between hiring employees or using independent contractors, there are important legal risks that must be taken into consideration. In addition, agile and remote workforces are a hot topic as companies around the world are considering new ways of working following the COVID-19 pandemic. However, in the post-Brexit United Kingdom, the idea that people can work in any place at any time presents tax, data protection, and employment law challenges.
Autorenewal provisions (sometimes referred to as evergreen provisions) are common in commercial agreements for the provision of technology and related services. Vendors may want their agreements to autorenew to save time negotiating new contracts and to continue the customer relationship. Customers often desire to terminate an agreement, thinking they have the right to do so, only to realize the term of the agreement has been automatically renewed for another year or number of years.