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Orange County Business Litigation and Legal Malpractice Law Blog

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.

Complex litigation necessitates legal help

It goes without saying that business law is a complex area that requires skilled and experienced legal representation. There are a lot of very convoluted disputes and issues that can arise when companies are involved in legal battles, so have that experienced counsel in your corner is vital.

Consider the complexity of contracts in general. These are substantial documents that need to cover a lot of bases in order to ensure both parties involved are protected, and also held accountable for their actions. The legality of certain provisions can become a central issue during contract disputes, as well as what the punitive measures should be given a breach of contract.

Yosemite trademark case a bewildering issue

Most Californians associate the name "Yosemite National Park" with natural beauty. The national park is one of the most well-known and beloved areas in the state, let alone the country. With all of the great trails, beautiful wilderness, and of course the famous Half Dome, there is no doubt that Yosemite National Park is a major part of the state's culture and the national landscape, both literally and figuratively. 

However, a company in New York has actually trademarked the name "Yosemite National Park" and many other name associated with the park. The recent trademark has transformed the park, as it can no longer use many names that visitors have come to know, understand and love.

City sued by construction company for unpaid bills, negligence

While the following story didn't occur here in Orange County, it does demonstrate how construction litigation is a major part of real estate law.

A construction company that was contracted to build a parking garage is suing the city where it was built, alleging that the city is failing to pay its bills and that the city was negligent during the construction, causing construction workers to be placed in a risky position that could have caused them injury.

Why is the hiring process legally risky for companies?

Don't let that question in the title scare you. It isn't as if companies are going to stop hiring people because of legal risks that are inherent to the process. Instead, the question is merely meant to warn companies against the potential pitfalls of the hiring process.

It may not seem like something that carries a lot of legal risk, but hiring a new employee really does. First and foremost, you are going to have to interview your prospective employees, and obviously the one you choose will have gone through many meetings with you before he or she becomes part of the staff. During those interviews, though, you can't ask the interviewee many questions, such as their marital status, their religion, their desire to have a child someday, and their citizenship, just to name a few topics that are off-limits.

Defining a copyright and some of the issues it involves

One of the most prevalent and immediately noticeable elements of the world of intellectual property is the copyright. Everyone recognizes the "C in a circle" logo near many products and original works. But what does a copyright do, and why is it so important for companies and content creators?

Let's define the term first. A copyright is a form of legal protection for creators of original content, such as musical works, literary works pictures, software, broadcasts and other similar forms of work. The copyright forbids other people from utilizing the copyrighted work in a number of different contexts, such as derivative works (basing work on the copyrighted work), repurposing the work and displaying or distributing the work in public.

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