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Orange County Business Litigation and Legal Malpractice Law Blog

What forms of bankruptcy are available to businesses?

When a business is deciding whether to go bankrupt or not, there are usually three chapters of bankruptcy that they would be considering. The first is Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a fairly standard form of bankruptcy whether you are a business or an individual. In Chapter 7, liquidation is the process by which the bankrupt entity fulfills its debts, while also clearing out other debts through discharge. For a business, Chapter 7 usually means the end. It is also a good option for companies that don't have significant assets.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy, meanwhile, is usually meant for individuals and not businesses. But a business can be an extension of an individual via a sole proprietorship. In this case, Chapter 13 can be used by a business. This form of bankruptcy will see the business restructure its debts and come up with a payment plan to satisfy creditors.

Iceland vs. Iceland: trademark dispute embroils country, store

Iceland is a tiny country off the eastern coast of Greenland and to the north and west of Europe. Iceland is also a supermarket that primarily is known for its frozen foods in the United Kingdom. Why are we talking about these two entities?

Well, Iceland Foods has a trademark in the European Union for the word "Iceland." This was granted to them in 2014. Iceland the country is not a member of the European Union. As a result, Iceland Foods has a stranglehold on the name Iceland in Europe. They can dictate quite a bit about the frozen food market and their brand as a result.

When a breach of contract arises, get legal help

When a contract is breached or two parties have a dispute over a business-related matter, there can often be difficult legal issues that have to be figured out. Contract disputes are relatively common, but that doesn't mean that the solution to these disputes is easy to reach. We talked about partnership disputes in our last post, and this is just one form of a potential contract dispute. Shareholder disputes can arise, as can disagreement over purchases and sales, leases and contracts that involve employees.

Contract disputes are simply a part of the business world. You may not want to be involved in them as an owner of a business, but you should be prepared for one just in case.

Disputes between business partners can lead to legal claims

A partnership implies that two or more people are agreeing to work together to strive towards a common goal. A partnership is also a type of business that, unsurprisingly, sees two or more people own and run a company.

Given the fragile nature of business relationships, it is common for partners to, over time, have disagreements with each other. They may disagree over business philosophy; they may disagree with the way the company is approaching employment or other business relationships; and, in general, they may disagree over how to address tangible, important issues. These disagreements can lead to partnership disputes, and often these disputes require legal help to untangle and settle.

Pet food companies settle contentious lawsuit

Pet food may not be the industry that you would immediately consider when you hear the phrase "business litigation," but for a few years, two rival pet food companies have been locked in a false advertising lawsuit. Nestle Purina, which makes numerous pet food brands, filed a lawsuit against Blue Buffalo, which is a pet food company that says they use natural ingredients in their products. It is central to their ad campaign and packaging.

However, Nestle Purina alleged that Blue Buffalo's pet food actually contained poultry byproducts and thus filed a lawsuit since such ingredients would contradict their packaging. Blue Buffalo denied the claim, but later disclosed that their pet food did have poultry byproducts in them, but only because a supplier lied to them about the contents of their food.

Movement against non-competes gains steam

As you may have heard, there is a movement by the federal government to roll back non-compete agreements. The White house wants a crackdown on these contracts so that employees have more freedom in their movement if they want to change jobs. This is certainly understandable -- but it also puts a lot of pressure on employers too. Companies want their secrets, work processes, services and products protected, and these non-competes do help them in this regard.

Non-competes have always been a bit contentious and controversial, and for good reason. They restrict the options of an employee if they want to move on to a different company. They can restrict them in terms of time; they can restrict them in terms of geography; they can even restrict them in terms of industry.

On trade secrets and the litigation they can be involved in

If every soda company knew the ingredients to make Coca-Cola, don't you think there would a flood of new versions of sodas that mimicked Coca-Cola? If every car company knew who to make Tesla vehicles, wouldn't it be logical to assume that they would all make "Tesla-lites"? If every manufacturing process was the same because every process was optimized, would there be any differentiation between certain products?

The gist of what we are getting at here is that trade secrets and valuable information that companies safeguard are integral to the competitive nature of business, and they are what allow businesses to pursue greatness in the marketplace. To a very real degree, trade secrete and intellectual property not only protect businesses, they force other businesses to strive for greatness -- which can only benefit the consumer.

On trade libel and the controversies it can create

Imagine that you are a small business and you are trying to grow into a successful company. In order to do this, there are a lot of factors that need to fall into place just so. You need a great product or service; you need to implement that product or service efficiently; and you need to have a great reputation as a company with good customer service and dependable products. It is very difficult to achieve all of these factors.

So while you are journeying towards this tough objective, a person or organization comes out publicly and disparages your company or product. Criticism is one thing -- but what this person/party did is lie about your company or product.

What business structures are available?

Newer businesses and companies are popping up all the time. Some of these businesses are started by people who are brand new to the idea of starting their own business. These entrepreneurs probably have a lot of questions about this new adventure they are starting on, and they will need help.

One of the first questions many entrepreneurs have is "what type of business structure should my company follow?" The answer to this question depends on a wide variety of factors, from the product or service you are offering to the size of your company. But, more to the point, what are the types of business structures that a company can choose from?

Another twist in the Yosemite contract dispute tale

About six months ago, we wrote a blog post about the wild story regarding Yosemite National Park. The name, as well as the names of may different locations, buildings and other landmarks, was under legal challenge by Delaware North, a company that trademarked "Yosemite National Park" and laid claim to a number of other titles. The case was being challenged by both sides.

But the story doesn't end there. A new twist in the tale has seen the new concession company for Yosemite National Park thrown into the legal fracas. Officials are determining if the company, Aramark, should be a part of the lawsuit. Delaware North says no; the Justice Department says yes. Now, it goes to court.

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