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Orange County Business Litigation and Legal Malpractice Law Blog

Labor Department rebuffed in pay discrimination probe

In prior posts, we have highlighted why it is important for companies to protect proprietary information, as such data can be vital to the success of a business. It also can have legal implications because of how negligent perseveration of private information, especially employees’ personal data, can be actionable.

A recent ruling by an administrative law judge exemplifies this. According to a recent mercurynews.com report,  the judge issued a preliminary decision that limited the number of Google employees  whose private information must be turned over to labor department employees. The ruling stems from a department probe into pay discrimination claims raised earlier this year. 

When life imitates art in family business disputes

We have all heard about family squabbles that spill over into the business world, however they often are reflected in soap operas. If you are a fan of “The Young and The Restless” or “Dallas” you can empathize with the struggles over “Brash & Sassy cosmetics” and “Ewing Oil.” But we rarely hear about these types of disputes playing out in real life.

This is arguably why the power struggle over Twin City Fan Companies is so compelling. The company is a global supplier of air-moving equipment and employs 1500 people in five states, and is embroiled in a dispute over whether the patriarch of the company should continue with the company. 

Take steps now to protect your intellectual property

In the world of today, information can spread faster than a wildfire. Even if you have simple ideas or concepts that you are still working on, they are at risk of infringement without proper protection. California has become a gathering place for intellectuals, all of them with valuable concepts that could one day become moneymaking business opportunities.

Without becoming a paranoid person who fears other individuals working in your field, how can you protect your intellectual property from infringement? We address this question often in our practice. Business and commercial law can be complex, but a forward-thinking person can indeed begin protecting property even at the idea stage. Below are three simple tips to put you on the right path.

The basics of a 'shotgun' clause

The beauty of partnerships in startups is that both parties are passionate about making their dreams become reality. There’s a great deal of trust and optimism, and as additional rounds of funding become available, the partnership becomes that much stronger.

But unfortunately, like many successful partnerships, the optimism and good vibes don’t last forever. One (or both) partners may believe that they will be successful on their own and want to break up the company, but neither partner wants to be thrown overboard. So what happens when there is a standoff?

Will the Rams and Chargers' stadium delays lead to cost overruns?

Because of the recent draft, the National Basketball Association has the spotlight in the sporting lives of Southern Californians for now. But it will only be a matter of time before the NFL retakes its media foothold later this summer.  When it comes, most talk will center around the Los Angeles Rams and their new neighbor, the Los Angeles Chargers, who moved from San Diego this winter to play (eventually) in the teams’ $2.6 billion stadium in Inglewood.

Since the Chargers’ announcement, the new stadium project is off to an inauspicious start. Because of heavy winter rains, the stadium is not slated to be completed until 2020; a full three seasons from now. While the stadium may pay dividends in the long run, both teams are poised to lose hundreds of millions in lost revenue from having to play in temporary digs (the L.A. Coliseum for the Rams, and the StubHub Center for the Chargers).

Is your jury waiver agreement enforceable?

It is not uncommon for small businesses and corporations to enter into agreements that have jury waiver provisions that may apply in the event an aggrieved party files a lawsuit. These provisions are arguably as common as arbitration or mediation requirements. After all, preparing for a jury trial can be much different (and perhaps more costly) than preparing for a bench trial. Because of this, some companies may favor them.

However, California has a long standing public policy of favoring an entity’s right to a trial before a jury in civil cases. Because of this, could there be problems enforcing a jury waiver agreements when a lawsuit is actually filed?

Will Nordstrom return to a privately held company?

It’s no secret that brick and mortar retail outlets continue to struggle as online shopping becomes more mainstream. This trend has some analysts predicting that as many as 25 percent of existing shopping malls may close within the next 20 years. These difficult times have retailers searching for answers to bring customers back to stores.

Indeed, different retailers are taking approaches to this issue. Upscale retailer Nordstrom is considering taking the company private. According to a recent cnbc.com report, the retailer’s shares experienced an uptick when news of the company formed a special committee to consider such a deal.

Industries primed for startup growth

Steady growth in America’s economy means that opportunities for individuals to start their own businesses will increase as well. There are a number of trends that speak towards this possibility. This post will highlight specific areas of growth and financial indicators.

Electronic commerce – While traditional brick-and-mortar retailers continue to struggle to draw customers to stores, online retailers continue to enjoy success. With disposable income projected to grow this year and beyond, online businesses are viable investments. 

Trademarks can become the beloved face of a business

You are at the grocery store stocking up on the basics you and your family need for the week. While in the beverage section look around you. What are you drawn to? What did you put into your cart?

Maybe you picked the American classic Coca-Cola. You like the taste. But you probably also like the classic emblem on the packaging. You are devoted to the brand and its essence. That is the potential power of a trademark. 

Coach and Kate Spade to merge

It’s no secret that retailers are struggling in 2017. Recent news about the fall of Macy’s earnings and JC Penney’s struggles exemplify the challenges retailers deal with as more customers search for merchandise online as opposed to in stores. Because of this, retailers are forced to make changes in how they present merchandise and fulfill orders.

The recent announcement of Coach and Kate Spade merging exemplifies these decisions. A CNNMoney.com report highlighted the consolidation between the luxury handbag maker and it main competitor in what is anticipated to be a $2.4 billion deal. By combining their inventory management and supply chains, the two companies expect to save around $50 million each year.  This will undoubtedly add to Coach’s profitability and save Kate Spade money. 

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Klein & Wilson

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