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Orange County Business Litigation and Legal Malpractice Law Blog

The dos and don'ts of contract negotiation

Contracts are an essential component of any business, from initial startup to everyday operations to continued development. As such, it is vital to possess skills and knowledge of the contract negotiation process.

When negotiating contract terms, it is important to reach an agreement that is in the best interests of your business. At the same time, you want to foster positive relationships with business partners through fair compromise. Knowing what to do or not do during negotiations can help to achieve the above objectives, as well as avoid potential contract disputes.

Defend yourself against copyright infringement

Copyrights are potent legal tools that can benefits individuals and companies. A copyright is a legal right that protects an original work of authorship that is fixed in a tangible form. This "fixed" form means that the work must be written down or recorded in some reasonable or permanent way. Without the "fixed" form of the authorship, it can't be copyrighted.

When something is copyrighted, the person or company that holds the copyright is granted a number of exclusive rights:

Google partner company sues Uber for theft of technology

Uber has been having a rough few weeks. After the company reduced surge pricing at a New York airport when protesters of the recent travel ban flooded the gates, users of Uber deleted their accounts en masse. Then there have been the sexual harassment claims over the last week that have haunted the company, in some form or another, since its inception.

Now comes word that a company created by Google's parent company Alphabet is suing Uber for stealing their laser technology for self-driving cars. Waymo says their system called LiDAR, which shoots millions of lasers outward to create "a 3D picture of the world" so a self-driving car can navigate it, was stolen by a former employee and given to Uber. Waymo alleges 9.7 gigabytes of data were stolen from them.

How a contract dispute lawsuit holds companies responsible

A contract is just a piece of paper with some provisions and rules written on it. The document means nothing if the individuals, companies or parties involved in the contract don't hold their partners to task. This is where a contract dispute can arise: when one individual, company or party doesn't uphold their end of the bargain, the other side can file a lawsuit to finalize the contract dispute and figure out what remedies are available to fix the situation.

This may seem obvious and pedestrian, but it is important to realize this because some companies don't stand up for themselves or their rights. As such, their company is damaged.

Discussing copyrights and how to enforce them

Copyrights extend broad legal protections to individuals and businesses that create original works of authorship in a fixed and tangible form. What the latter part of that first sentence means is that the work must be written down or recorded in some way. You can't have an improvised speech or impromptu performance protected under copyright.

But say you have written or recorded your work and want it to be copyrighted. What does it even mean to have something copyrighted?

Qualcomm sued by Apple for royalty, licensing issues

The news cycle has been dominated by the Trump administration and its actions in the last 10 days. While this is certainly understandable and necessary for the media to report on, this is a business litigation blog -- and so in that respect, we'd like to focus your attention on a business story that may not have caught your attention recently given the national issues that are at the forefront at this time.

Apple filed a lawsuit against Qualcomm for $1 billion, claiming that the tech giant -- which now has a massive licensing component to their business -- has been charging them royalties that Qualcomm has nothing to do with (allegedly).

Unfair competition is a difficult matter to pin down

Unfair competition laws are on the books in every state, as well as at the federal level. These rules are in place to ensure companies that they are not being undercut or unfairly treated in the marketplace by their competitors. In addition to that, the law helps to protect the intellectual property that companies have.

In California, the unfair competition law is called Section 17200, and it reads, in part, that "any unlawful, unfair, or fraudulent business act or practice and unfair, deceptive, untrue, or misleading advertising" means that a company has run afoul of the unfair competition law. 

Deadline pushed back as Charter, NBCUniversal try to reach deal

Charter Communications, a provider of cable television and a telecommunications company, was sued back in July of 2016 by Fox News. Charter was allegedly trying to secure Fox programming for cheaper than the market price, and was attempting to do so by illegal means. In recent weeks, Charter has been in negotiations with NBCUniversal over securing their extensive package of TV channels and properties -- and now those negotiations are going south too.

After extending a New Year's Day deadline for signing a contract, both Charter and NBCUniversal are still at the negotiating table trying to work out a deal that is in the interests of both parties. NBCUniversal provided a statement that indicated Charter was looking to secure their properties for less than the market value. It appears Charter's tactics haven't changed since the issues they had with Fox in July.

Banana Republic's 40% Off Sale Leads to Unfair Competition Claim; Misleading Advertisement Could Not Be Cured at Point of Sale

In Veera v. Banana Republic, LLC, a California Court of Appeal recently reversed a judgment in favor of Banana Republic in a false advertising class action based on in-store ads promoting a 40% off sale. The plaintiffs alleged they were lured into Banana Republic stores after seeing ads in store windows stating "40% off." Plaintiffs learned at the cash register that the discount did not apply to the items they wanted to purchase. Out of frustration and embarrassment, plaintiffs claim they bought some but not all of the items they selected at full price. They later sued for violations of California's Unfair Competition Law ("UCL") at Business and Professions Code sections 17200 and 17500, claiming the "40% Off" signs were misleading because they did not disclose that the discount only applied to certain items.

Contract disputes and your Orange County business

In our blog, we often discuss the nature of contract disputes. We choose these kinds of topics because we understand the impact a contract dispute can have on businesses operating in the Orange County region. Most people never expect a dispute to arise, but the reality of the situation is that they often do arise and can be quite damaging.

Contracts are important in developing business relationships. They outline the obligations of all parties involved in an agreement. If a person does not fulfill his or her obligation, a breach of contract may arise. Contract disputes can take several forms including employment agreement disputes, non-compete agreement disputes and many others. One thing all of these have in common is that at least one party has allegedly failed to deliver on his or her end of the contract.

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Newport Beach, CA 92660

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