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Orange County Business & Commercial Law Blog

Former punter Chris Kluwe likely to bring discrimination lawsuit

When NFL training camps open this week, there will be some thousands of free agent players trying to win a spot on a team. While a relative few will make it, everyone relishes the opportunity. Unfortunately, one player will not get such a chance, even though he is healthy and talented enough to get on a team.

Punter Chris Kluwe last played for the Minnesota Vikings. His contract was not renewed after the 2012 season and has spent most of his time since then living in Southern California. While the official reason was that his numbers were not consistent enough, Kluwe believes that he was discriminated against because of his views on gay marriage. Kluwe was particularly outspoken in his beliefs before more than a dozen states allowed such marriages. 

Arguments in O'Bannon trial completed, now a judge will decide

The trial that arguably could change the financial landscape of college athletics, O’Bannon v. NCAA is now in the hands of a federal district court judge. The class action antitrust case began more than four years ago, and has involved hundreds of filings and a 15 day trial. On Thursday, the plaintiff’s class submitted its final argument. Through it, the class reiterated the fundamental problems in the NCAA’s argument and insisted that the class members were on the rights side of the law. 

Sterling probate trial delayed over jurisdiction questions

The much anticipated probate trial pitting Shelly Sterling against her estranged husband, Donald Sterling is on hold for now as the LA County probate court waits to hear from a federal district court judge as to whether Sterling’s motions, and the probate case itself, will be heard in federal court.

According to a recent USA Today report, Sterling’s attorneys filed a motion on Thursday asking a federal court judge to exercise jurisdiction over the case. They explained that in the course of removing Sterling as a trustee of the Sterling Family Trust, which owns the Los Angeles Clippers, his federal rights regarding privacy of medical records were violated. Because of this, Sterling claims that he was improperly removed and does not desire to sell the team. 

FTC sues T-Mobile over bogus billing

In the continuing battle between cell phone providers, T-Mobile has offered to pay the early termination fees that consumers could be subject to if they decide to leave another provider. While this may be an enticing proposition, T-Mobile has gotten into hot water with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over its billing practices.

According to an ABC News report, T-Mobile has allegedly been billing their customers with bogus charges for years. Essentially, customers with premium text messaging services were billed $10 per month for horoscope services even though they may not have requested the services. T-Mobile collected as much as 40 percent of the charges, despite complaints from their customers that the horoscopes were basically scams. 

Paramount execs try to resolve Beijing premiere dispute, lawsuit

The latest movie in Paramount Studios’ “Transformers” franchise is expected to be the largest grossing film of the franchise. It comes on the heels of “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” raking in $172 million in China, one the fastest growing movie markets. Paramount expected to release the new film in China this weekend, but a sudden legal issue threatened to halt the opening.

According to an LA Times report, owners of the Pangu Plaza, a luxury hotel in Beijing, became upset over product placement deal with the movie studio that was not being adhered to. Essentially, one contract that was drafted in Chinese was allegedly not being followed because a similar contract, executed in English, was ostensibly controlling.

Are more major sports cases going to the Bay Area?

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has become the epicenter for sports related litigation in the past few years. Much has been said about O’Bannon v. NCAA, where former UCLA basketball star is the named plaintiff representing thousands of former college football and basketball players are challenging the NCAA’s right to determine them “student-athletes,” thus denying them a share of lucrative television and sponsorship deals that universities and college conferences enjoy.

 Many major college football and basketball programs have become multi-million dollar enterprises because of these athletes, and the strict regulations about players receiving benefits has been the subject of many debates. Some say that the O’Bannon case, and others like it, could chance college athletics forever. 

Tesla to make patented information public

The electric revolution with regard to cars is about to take a dramatic turn. Indeed, electric motors have paved the way for highly efficient and wildly popular vehicles such as the Toyota PRius, but what automaker Tesla Motors is proposing seeks to change the way the industry will manufacture cars.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, Tesla is reportedly making a number of its technology patents available to other automakers. CEO Elon Musk announced that it would  perpetuate the “open source” movement and would not initiate lawsuits against anyone who uses the company’s technology in good faith. The move is based in part on creating demand for Tesla’s batteries and to encourage development of cars that rely on electric engines. 

What to do with trade secrets in a lawsuit

It may be inevitable, but a successful company may be forced to pursue a former employee who has left the company with unauthorized trade secrets. This type of employee is likely to use the information and trade secrets to start a new venture that competes with the company he or she just left.

 In these situations, what is a company to do? After all, you don’t want to disclose the very trade secrets you are trying to protect. This is a conundrum that confronts many companies, and the answer to this question may be just as complicated. One federal case,  Syngyny v. ZS Associates, Inc., may provide some guidance.

What to make of Donald Sterling's antitrust lawsuit

The business world of sports management received a shock when it was announced that the Los Angeles Clippers, which were recently put up for sale after the racist comments made by owner Donald Sterling, were sold to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. The purchase price is reportedly $2 billion, making  the impending sale the largest for an NBA franchise. In fact, the sale dwarfs the $550 million sale of the Milwaukee Bucks, made only several weeks ago.

To complicate matters, the circus/cesspool of controversy that has surrounded the Clippers also included an antitrust lawsuit against the NBA that was initiated by Donald Sterling himself. In his complaint, he accuses the NBA of meting out a punishment that was “capricious, arbitrary, unreasonable, and grossly discriminatory compared with ‘similar’ speech offenses.” Essentially, Sterling did not believe that he should be exiled from the NBA owner’s suite because of his comments. 

Why your company's brand is so important

When you think of the most valuable brands in the world, it may not be surprising that you think of a tech company. According to the market research firm Millard Brown, Google is the most valuable brand. The tech giant’s name recognition is worth an estimated $158.8 billion. Also significant is the fact that Google has leapfrogged Apple for the top spot. It is estimated that the value of Apple’s brand has fallen 20 percent.

The other companies at the top of the brand value list include IBM and Microsoft.

The list is an example of the value of a company’s brand, and how important it is to protect it. 

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