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Orange County Business Litigation and Legal Malpractice Law Blog

Experience is a must in employment law cases

Employment law extends far beyond the issues of salary or claims of discrimination, and the manner in which employment litigation is handled makes a big difference in outcome. Experienced employment law professionals know there isn't always one path to what might be deemed success for a case. Winning in court is not always going to provide the best outcome for every situation, for example.

Our firm is experienced in a range of employment litigation matters, and we have had success at negotiating positive outcomes to keep businesses or former employees out of court. While negotiation and settlement can be a very powerful tool, we also know that a trial win can be as valuable in other cases. We take the time to understand both the nature and facts of your case and your goals with regard to litigation. With that information in mind, we recommend possible courses of action that we believe are most likely to result in fair outcomes for you.

What are the requirements for tortious interference?

All business owners, managers and sales people know about competition. Competition is actually a vital part of most marketplaces, as it drives the market forward. That doesn't mean it isn't sometimes frustrating for those involved, and there are times with other businesses or individuals do cross the line. Sometimes when those lines are crossed, there might be a case for a lawsuit for tortious interference.

Tortious interference occurs when one person or entity acts willfully and with intent to undermine or get in the way of a contract or business agreement. For example, if someone attempts to make it impossible for a company to follow through on a contractual obligation by delaying a delivery on purpose, then tortious interference might be involved.

What types of things are intellectual property?

Many people automatically think about copyright when the topic of intellectual property comes up. If you haven't written or created something, do you need to worry about your intellectual property rights? The answer is yes, because many other things are defined as intellectual property, especially in a business environment.

The World Intellectual Property Organization defines a number of high-level categories for this type of property. Copyright, patent, trademark, industrial design and geographic indication can all be a form of intellectual property that you need to protect. As a business, your intellectual property often goes hand-in-hand with your brand and reputation. It took time to develop and is valuable, and you don't want someone stealing it or misusing it.

Are your storm water permits in order?

If you are involved in an construction project in California, it's a good idea to ensure all the legal details are being attended to. Whether you are the contractor, the investor or another interested party, if a project is derailed because permits or other legal issues weren't handled correctly, then you can lose time and money. One legal consideration for projects in the state has to do with storm water.

According to the California Water Board, a storm water discharge permit is required for certain construction projects. If a construction project will disturb an acre or more of soil, then one of these permits is required. If a project is connected to or a part of larger building plans, then a permit might also be required. Permit costs are calculated per project and are based in part on the risks the project might pose regarding erosion or pollutants.

Facing construction defect claims

Construction defects occur for many reasons. They might occur because a builder cut corners with supplies or procedures, but they can also occur because of an innocent mistake. Sometimes, construction defects may simply be the result of an unintended consequence of the environment. Whatever the reason for a construction defect, if the owner of a new property discovers the defect within a reasonable time period, they might take action against the construction company for restitution.

Construction defects also have a wide range when it comes to the cost associated with them. Some defects are very minor fixes that require a few minutes to a few hours of work to correct. In these cases, construction companies usually just fix the problem, especially if the defect was reported during a warranty period.

Trademark registration has a long history in California

The California State Archives have made thousands of old trademark images available for viewing online. These trademark images are from the 1861 to 1900 period, and regard all different sorts of products. 

This online digital archive of California trademark images not only presents an interesting resource for history enthusiasts and individuals interested in commercial art. It also serves as a reminder of how long of a history trademark registration has here in California.  

39,000 Verizon employees on east coast go on strike

Big companies are no stranger to controversies hitting the headlines. They are also no stranger to complex labor negotiations and issues, which are inherent to the business world. Along these lines, we are going to talk about the problems that have enveloped Verizon in recent weeks.

About 39,000 Verizon employees -- all on the east coast -- are on strike after the two unions that represent them couldn't reach an agreement with Verizon on a new collectively bargained agreement. The original agreement actually ran out in August of last year, but the employees have been working during this time as Verizon and the unions try to reach a new agreement.

Missing money at center of construction contract dispute

Construction projects are complex on so many different levels. Many different companies and parties are involved, and they each have their interests and stakes in the project. Then there's the actual project itself. Building or renovating something isn't exactly a "quick" or "simple" process. And on top of all of that, there are the contracts and deals that are signed between the parties.

These contracts are far from a small undertaking. So much goes in to the details and the provisions that when they are violated, the parties involved are understandably upset. Holding the violating party responsible is crucial, not just for the sake of responsibility, but there are often massive financial implications to a contract violation too.

Let's talk about patents

Patents are a vital part of protecting a novel invention, and they can be imperative to a company protecting its most successful products. If you are granted a patent, it means you have the right to exclude other people from making, selling or using that product.

If you apply for a patent, there will be three types to choose from, though the type of patent will largely depend on what your product is. The most common type of patent is a utility patent which applies to machines, chemicals and processes. Design patents relate to the look and appearance of a product so as to protect the uniqueness and ornamentation of a product. Last but not least is a plant patent which, you guessed it, deal with plants. Specialized or hybrid plants fall into this category of patents.

Conflicts of Interest Can Lead to Disgorgement of Fees

Anytime an attorney represents more than one client in a matter where there is a potential for a conflict of interest, it is critical that the attorney obtain informed written consent to proceed with the representation pursuant to CRPC, Rule 3-310. Failure to evaluate and properly address conflicts of interest can result in disgorgement of fees.  See, Sheppard, Mullin v. J-M Manufacturing (2016) 244 Cal.App.4th 590.  Boilerplate conflict waivers are not sufficient.  The attorney must provide "informed written consent" which requires a description of the factual scenario creating the potential (or actual) conflict of interest.  It has always been important to evaluate conflicts of interest, but now there is clear precedent supporting an order for disgorgement of fees.

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