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Orange County Business Litigation and Legal Malpractice Law Blog

How a contract dispute lawsuit holds companies responsible

A contract is just a piece of paper with some provisions and rules written on it. The document means nothing if the individuals, companies or parties involved in the contract don't hold their partners to task. This is where a contract dispute can arise: when one individual, company or party doesn't uphold their end of the bargain, the other side can file a lawsuit to finalize the contract dispute and figure out what remedies are available to fix the situation.

This may seem obvious and pedestrian, but it is important to realize this because some companies don't stand up for themselves or their rights. As such, their company is damaged.

Discussing copyrights and how to enforce them

Copyrights extend broad legal protections to individuals and businesses that create original works of authorship in a fixed and tangible form. What the latter part of that first sentence means is that the work must be written down or recorded in some way. You can't have an improvised speech or impromptu performance protected under copyright.

But say you have written or recorded your work and want it to be copyrighted. What does it even mean to have something copyrighted?

Qualcomm sued by Apple for royalty, licensing issues

The news cycle has been dominated by the Trump administration and its actions in the last 10 days. While this is certainly understandable and necessary for the media to report on, this is a business litigation blog -- and so in that respect, we'd like to focus your attention on a business story that may not have caught your attention recently given the national issues that are at the forefront at this time.

Apple filed a lawsuit against Qualcomm for $1 billion, claiming that the tech giant -- which now has a massive licensing component to their business -- has been charging them royalties that Qualcomm has nothing to do with (allegedly).

Unfair competition is a difficult matter to pin down

Unfair competition laws are on the books in every state, as well as at the federal level. These rules are in place to ensure companies that they are not being undercut or unfairly treated in the marketplace by their competitors. In addition to that, the law helps to protect the intellectual property that companies have.

In California, the unfair competition law is called Section 17200, and it reads, in part, that "any unlawful, unfair, or fraudulent business act or practice and unfair, deceptive, untrue, or misleading advertising" means that a company has run afoul of the unfair competition law. 

Deadline pushed back as Charter, NBCUniversal try to reach deal

Charter Communications, a provider of cable television and a telecommunications company, was sued back in July of 2016 by Fox News. Charter was allegedly trying to secure Fox programming for cheaper than the market price, and was attempting to do so by illegal means. In recent weeks, Charter has been in negotiations with NBCUniversal over securing their extensive package of TV channels and properties -- and now those negotiations are going south too.

After extending a New Year's Day deadline for signing a contract, both Charter and NBCUniversal are still at the negotiating table trying to work out a deal that is in the interests of both parties. NBCUniversal provided a statement that indicated Charter was looking to secure their properties for less than the market value. It appears Charter's tactics haven't changed since the issues they had with Fox in July.

Banana Republic's 40% Off Sale Leads to Unfair Competition Claim; Misleading Advertisement Could Not Be Cured at Point of Sale

In Veera v. Banana Republic, LLC, a California Court of Appeal recently reversed a judgment in favor of Banana Republic in a false advertising class action based on in-store ads promoting a 40% off sale. The plaintiffs alleged they were lured into Banana Republic stores after seeing ads in store windows stating "40% off." Plaintiffs learned at the cash register that the discount did not apply to the items they wanted to purchase. Out of frustration and embarrassment, plaintiffs claim they bought some but not all of the items they selected at full price. They later sued for violations of California's Unfair Competition Law ("UCL") at Business and Professions Code sections 17200 and 17500, claiming the "40% Off" signs were misleading because they did not disclose that the discount only applied to certain items.

Contract disputes and your Orange County business

In our blog, we often discuss the nature of contract disputes. We choose these kinds of topics because we understand the impact a contract dispute can have on businesses operating in the Orange County region. Most people never expect a dispute to arise, but the reality of the situation is that they often do arise and can be quite damaging.

Contracts are important in developing business relationships. They outline the obligations of all parties involved in an agreement. If a person does not fulfill his or her obligation, a breach of contract may arise. Contract disputes can take several forms including employment agreement disputes, non-compete agreement disputes and many others. One thing all of these have in common is that at least one party has allegedly failed to deliver on his or her end of the contract.

Why business fraud is such a complex legal matter

When you hear of cases that involve fraud and business, you would like to think that it is something that is done to you (or to the victimized party) from the outside, mainly because that seems the most logical way for fraud to occur. But, in fact, many business fraud cases actually happen from inside -- a rogue employee or someone with nefarious intent undermines your company and deliberately neglects his or her fiduciary duty to steal money or assets from the company.

These are very serious issues that need to be addressed as soon and as effectively as possible. Fraud could involve shareholders or business partners who do egregious things that harm the reputation of your company and undermine the financial viability of it too. Fraud could involve outside forces and third parties that become entangled in the case. And fraud can have a lot of different legal factors involved in any particular case.

Acquisition leads to intellectual property lawsuit

Back in 2012, the company CoStar Group Inc., which specializes in commercial real estate data, acquired LoopNet Inc in an $860 million deal. LoopNet held a partial stake in another company, Xceligent, which was a competitor of CoStar's. So in order for the acquisition to go through, the Federal Trade Commission imposed a number of requirement on CoStar to ensure the deal was fair. Two of these conditions involved having LoopNet sell its stake in Xceligent and forcing CoStar to give Xceligent a list of broker that were used by LoopNet in the years prior to the deal.

In the wake of this deal and these conditions, Xceligent posted some 9,000 images that, CoStar says, breaches intellectual property of CoStar as they were republished without permission from LoopNet.

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.

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