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Orange County Business & Commercial Law Blog

The value of a notary in avoiding contract disputes

One way that a number of contract disputes in California actually start is when someone who feels they are getting the worse side of a deal say that they did not sign the agreement. Once a person states that they did not actually sign when they did, a large and expensive legal battle may ensue. However, by having a notary witness signatures to the contract, this is no longer the case.

The point of having notaries present during signing is that they not only view individuals signing a document or contract, they also verify that the person is who they say they are, usually through some form of acceptable photo indentification. Notaries are required by state law to keep a log of all signatures that they witness as well as stamping the document. The benefit of using a notary is that a number of state courts and all federal courts have decreed that a notarized signature is automatically considered authentic.

Billionaire facing lawsuit from his son's business partner

Pacific Investment Management Company's co-founder remained a partner at the company until very recently. After his departure, however, other partners at the firm claimed that billionaire damaged the company. Now, in addition to those allegations, the man is facing a lawsuit from his son's former business partner.

The complainant met the billionaire's son while involved in the music industry, and after some time, the two decided to start a company known as G Squared. The two each went to Monte Carlo, a firm that the co-founder of Pacific Investment does business through, and borrowed $1.5 million each to fund their new venture. In a lawsuit filed by the partner, however, it is claimed that the father began to dislike the arrangement.

Protecting a trademark against infringement

California business owners recognize that a trademark is an important facet in a commercial world, enabling a company to establish its identity while encouraging easy recognition by customers. Unfortunately, successful trademarks can be easy targets for copying due to the desire of others to capitalize on the success of the companies that have created them.

There are various options for addressing and stopping trademark infringement. The dates for use of a trademark are not factored into consideration as attorneys for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office evaluate applications. However, the trial and appeal process may include consideration of dates of use. It may be important for a company alleging trademark infringement to substantiate claims of use preceding that of another entity. A company may also seek to cancel a competitor's mark by engaging in opposition proceedings. Trademark infringement action can also be filed in order to obtain an injunction against another entity's use of a mark.

Monster to 'face the music' over Beastie Boys flap

California based energy drink maker, Monster, has been embroiled in legal troubles stemming from accusations about the amount of caffeine in its drinks and how it reportedly has caused a number of deaths. Now it is fending off allegations that it used several recordings without permission in promoting an event.

According to a Bloomberg.com report, Capital Records, LLC and Universal-Polygram International Publishing Inc. are suing Monster over the drink maker’s alleged use of several Beastie Boys tracks in a video shown at a snowboarding event in 2012. The recording companies reportedly own the rights to the songs and claim that Monster did not seek their permission before using them to promote the event.

What is a trade secret?

Ever wondered what Apple does to make its products cool, even though it has competitors who essentially sell the same products? Ever wonder how McDonald's makes its fries so crispy and irresistible? What about the way Krispy Kreme doughnuts are made, or the special way that BMW cars hug the road?

If you had questions about what goes into these products (or how they are made), you are not alone. Yet, they all have a distinction that sets them apart. The recipes or makeup behind these unique identifiers are called trade secrets. 

Appellate court rules for Yelp over reviews placement dispute

In a prior post, we highlighted the possibility that businesses who received bad reviews on Yelp.com could sue customers who posted such reviews. We explored the threshold of proof a company would have to meet in order to be successful given that customers are free to make their feelings known about a company or its products in any way they choose, as long as they are not providing false information.

Yelp is in the news again because of how negative reviews were allegedly posted on some businesses’ profiles. Four different businesses brought suit against Yelp claiming that it extorted (or at least attempted to extort) larger advertising fees out of the companies by threatening to post negative reviews higher on a business’ profile page if it did not purchase a costlier advertising package. 

What are some common business torts to be aware of?

 To even the most sophisticated business person, a business tort is not a familiar term. They may even confuse it with a dessert. Unlike a pastry torte, a business tort can derail the progress of an emerging company and cost it a great deal of money in future losses. As such, businesses can be sued in California under several different claims.

This post will highlight a few of them.

How a 'naked' contestant is suing the 'pants' off a TV network

If you agree to appear on a show entitled “Dating Naked” chances are that you are going to be seen in your birthday suit at some point during the show. However, given that the show is not on a premium cable network (i.e. one that allows nudity) much of the naked body will be blurred out or pixilated.

Despite this, a model who appeared on the show is suing VH-1 for failing to keep her nudity concealed. She claims that she was “manipulated and lied to” when she was told that her private parts were going to be blurred for the show. It appears that an editing error may have led to her privates being seen during a segment of the show.

Did you hear the one about the monkey who sued over his selfie?

Have you heard the one about the monkey who took a selfie and tried to get a copyright? Or the one about the elephant who tried to protect the rights to his video that wound up going viral on YouTube?

No…these aren’t just intros to classic animal jokes. Rather, they are examples of the new limitations on who...or what, can obtain copyright protection under federal law.

The U.S. Copyright office recently released an update to its manual,the first in nearly 30 years, where it explains that the office will not register creative works produced by “nature, animals or plants.” 

Ruling against NCAA could change college sports

In what was described earlier this summer as the case that could fundamentally change the NCAA has come to an end…at least for now. A federal judge recently ruled that the NCAA violated antitrust laws by denying college football and basketball players the right to sell the rights to their images and likenesses, essentially striking down long held regulations that prohibit college athletes from earning money other than scholarships and the cost of attending the schools they play for.

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