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Orange County Business Litigation and Legal Malpractice Law Blog

BlackBerry files 2 major patent infringement lawsuits in a month

Earlier this month, BlackBerry filed a patent infringement lawsuit against the tech company Avaya. It was their first lawsuit that they filed in relation to their patent library. Now, just a few weeks removed from that first foray into the world of intellectual property lawsuits, BlackBerry has filed another lawsuit. This time, it is against a company called Blu Products. Blu sells unlocked cellphones at reasonable prices, and BlackBerry alleges that as such, Blue has infringed upon 15 of the companies roughly 44,000 patents.

This could be a dramatic shift in BlackBerry's approach to its business. It isn't that they aren't trying to make money off of their cellular products and processors -- but they may be trying to leverage their vast patent library into a money-making part of the company.

Founder of footwear company sued by his old business

A footwear company and the designer that the company is named after have gone to court after the company sued its eponymous founder for a variety of infractions surrounding an alleged breach of contract.

Donald J. Pilner is the designer who broke away from his own company, DJP Holdings LLC, on Aug. 1 of last year. Pilner and his wife sold their shares in the company to a private equity firm. Pilner built DLJ Holdings into a prominent footwear company, but after he left the company he signed a non-competition agreement. He started his own new line of footwear recently, and that has led to the alleged claims that he violated his non-compete, among many other charges that DLJ Holdings has filed against him.

On bad faith insurance, and why legal help is critical

Bad faith insurance is a touchy subject for many reasons. It is a complex claim, one that requires the skilled hand of an experienced attorney to ensure that the case is handled properly. But the "touchy" nature of bad faith insurance claims comes from the very nature of insurance itself. People want their insurance to come through when they need it; and insurers don't want to pay out claims that aren't warranted or covered by the policy.

When very serious matters are involved with insurance -- such as life and death, in the case of life insurance -- then you get touchy, emotional and anxious cases when an insurer denies a client coverage.

Trademark lawsuit over Florida universities' names finalized

You may not have heard about a trademark lawsuit involving two universities that was filed in 2012, but the ruling has finally been made in the case and it warrants some discussion. Florida International University (FIU) sued Florida National University after the latter institution changed it's name from Florida National College to Florida National University.

FIU argued that the change in name constituted a breach of their trademark and that it would cause confusion between the two universities. However, a judge recently ruled that such a claim is not valid. The judge was ruling on an appeal after FIU lost their original case in 2012. The appellate court agreed with the original decision, saying that "international" and "national" are distinct words with separate definitions.

Removing a partner when there is not enough capital for a buyout


There are many ways that a business partnership can fall apart and having a contingency plan for how to treat each partner equitably if that occurs can save both parties massive headaches before they have the opportunity to arise. Even though most individuals who enter into partnerships do so because they believe that the other person will be in it for the long haul, it is always wise to prepare for how you will treat your partner fairly if the business or the relationship does not last as long as you had both anticipated.

Skechers sued again by Adidas for patent infringement

Adidas recently developed a new type of shoe that has a "blade-like" attachment to the bottom of the shoe. This design is meant to give runners and walkers more spring in their step (both metaphorically and literally). The line of shoes are called Springblades, and their overall look and design was so enticing that Skechers simply couldn't help themselves -- again.

Skechers made a similar-looking shoe to the Adidas Springblade called the Mega Flex. It, too, has a blade-like structure to help runners get some more bounce when they are performing their activities. Adidas filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Skechers, marking the third time in the last year that a major athletic gear company has sued Skechers.

Preserve a partnership with proper agreements

Often, when forming a new partnership in business, the excitement of a new business leads to partners putting off establishing the correct documentation to define the business relationship. As with many relationships, it can be tricky to know when to define things officially in a business partnership. However, the sooner that key responsibilities and outcomes are defined with well-crafted documents, the greater likelihood the partnership has of avoiding uncomfortable and costly problems that may arise down the road.

It is easy to understand why a freshly founded business may want to delay crafting documents to define key relationships and roles. When everyone involved in a new business is filled with enthusiasm, it may seem feel like defining terms and responsibilities for the few present members of the business will throw a wet blanket on the thrilling experience of getting a company up and running. However, any loss of momentum felt by taking the time to make official incorporation papers and defining the roles of each member of the team is almost always better than the problems that can arise from leaving these things vague and undefined.

The closely held corporation, and why it can be beneficial

As most people are aware, businesses can either be public or private in nature. When a company goes public, they open up shares for sale that anyone can purchase. This can be very beneficial to a company's growth and bottom line, but it can also present problems. That's why some companies choose to utilize the "closely held corporation" approach to their company.

A closely held corporation is a public company by name, but in actuality it is limited to a few investors that control the company. Occasionally the closely held corporation will offer up a small amount of stock to the public, which can then be bought by anyone. In order to be considered a closely held corporation, it is a requirement that a certain percentage of the shares of the company be owned by the public.

Construction litigation is a complex area of law

Construction is a complicated industry. There are so many moving parts and complex plans in place that a construction project is almost guaranteed to have something go wrong -- even if that defect or problem is extremely minor in nature.

Unfortunately, sometimes the defect or problem is dangerous and catastrophic. Maybe the design of the building was flawed. Maybe the materials used to build the building or renovate a floor were defective or improper. Maybe the contractor failed to follow standard industry or safety procedures, leading to massive problems with the project. In any case, these construction issues not only impact the contractors and construction workers: they impact the people and businesses who intend to use the building under construction.

How customer confusion plays a role in trademark infringement

With most companies, it isn't the product or service itself that makes them successful -- it is their intellectual property and how the company protects it. A trademark is one of the most important parts of the business's intellectual property, because it establishes your certified brand and it conveys to the people that your business, your product, and your services are legitimate and trustworthy.

Now, some companies may try to pilfer that goodwill and expertise by making their company confusing similar. They could make a product that look like your product, or, in the case of a trademark infringement lawsuit, another company may try to use similar logos or names to your company.

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