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Orange County Business Litigation and Legal Malpractice Law Blog

What you should know about settlement conferences

Despite what they may say about litigation, companies do not want to be dragged kicking and screaming to into lawsuits; especially when they believe that the suit is an organized form of bullying or exploitation. Nevertheless, in today’s business climate, this tends to happen; and if it happens to your business, it is helpful to be prepared for the process.

Indeed, having a good attorney is part of being prepared, but knowing how the process works, especially in terms of settlement conferences is key. This post will highlight a few do’s and don’ts for settlement conferences with the court. 

Is the marijuana injury poised for growth?

The stock market took a beating last week. It appears that fears of a burgeoning economy may lead to interest rate hikes. This effectively led to the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing a considerable amount of points this week. This week’s losses mark a third consecutive week where value has been lost. It appears that the gains realized from the beginning of the year have been wiped out.

If there is one industry that is definitely gaining steam, it is the marijuana industry. With California allowing recreational use and additional states considering such laws, more businesses and entrepreneurs are entering the “pot marketplace.” Indeed, not everyone is growing their own form of marijuana and hoping to cash in on the popularity. After all, growing marijuana is highly regulated and only a few are able to enter the field in this manner. 

Basic considerations with proprietary information agreements

If you are starting a company or are considering hiring employees for your burgeoning enterprise, maintaining secrets and inspiring innovation are important. However, in today’s marketplace, employees come and employees go. In this environment, companies must protect their trade secrets and products that they produce from being poached by disgruntled employees. One way to do this is to have new employees sign agreements acknowledging ownership of proprietary information and ownership of intellectual property while in the employ of the company.

These agreements have a number of different names, including: Employee Confidentiality and Assignment Agreement, Employee Intellectual Property Agreement and Proprietary Information Agreement.

Why setbacks can be helpful for your business

There’s a great deal that entrepreneurs can take from the old adage “life is a continuous series of adjustments.” There’s truth to this because self made businesspeople constantly have to deal with disappointment and failure and find ways to move past them. Even more true, they have to realize that no one else really knows about their setbacks, or really cares.

With that said, it is important to know how to start anew after experiencing disappointment. Even more valuable is embracing the experience as a teachable moment so that you can come back stronger than before. For instance, if you failed to land a bid with a company that would have catapulted your business to the next level, take solace that you had the opportunity in the first place, and learn more about may have contributed to losing the bid. 

Thoughts on managing your online presence

In the olden days (i.e. before the latest generation of smartphones became mainstream), it took a marketing company to generate a shrewd and creative marketing plan to establish a company’s brand. Nowadays, brands can be created in one’s living room. Indeed, an online presence is not terribly difficult to create, but it can be difficult to manage given the competing opinions and assumptions of an open marketplace.

Because of this, businesses must be mindful of their online presence and how they may be losing potential customers without even knowing it. This post will highlight a few things to be wary of. 

Why data collection best practices are essential

If you are creating a brand through a start-up company, customer lists and feedback are nearly as valuable as your offerings. After all, knowing how your customers think, shop and react to new products are essential to remaining relevant in the marketplace. Suffice it to say, collecting information on customers has become a mainstream practice for businesses across industries.

However, there are correct (and incorrect) ways of obtaining such information. The story of VTech settling a lawsuit with the federal government is an example of the wrong way of doing this. According to a recent businessinsurance.com report, the Hong Kong based electronics retailer found itself served with a lawsuit initiated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Common legal malpractice cases

Attorneys should be held to the highest possible standard in every case they work. With large sums of money on the line, from high-stake business interests to multi-million dollar settlements, your lawyer needs to serve your best interest.

Too often, attorneys do not uphold their duties. In these instances, the victims of misrepresentation deserve to bring a case against their attorney for legal malpractice, and understanding the different ways an attorney could victimize you is the first step to taking action.

Basic differences between trade names and trademarks

While National Small Business Month is still a ways away, there is no time like the present to start a new business. In fact, many people view a new business venture as one of their New Year’s resolutions. But as you begin putting your plan into action, creating and maintaining a unique brand is likely one of your biggest questions. With that, it is important to know the difference between a trade name and a trademark.

This post will briefly highlight them and explain the difference between the two. 

Why three tenths degrees of separation is important

The idea behind the adage “six degrees of separation” is that people (or things) are all related to a certain extent, and that they can be connected in a maximum of six steps. This adage becomes especially important in the world of trademarks and intellectual property, where the goal is to stand out from others a product or idea may be related to.

This is ostensibly why Cocona, a Colorado based fabrics company, is suing a New York based business over the proposed use of its trademark. Cocona promotes its fabrics, that it licenses to a number of apparel makers, under the brand “37.5” which is the temperature in Celsius for the body’s normal temperature. It applied for and received marks for the name and the accompanying design in 2014 and 2015, respectively. 

Four letter words could be trademarked

In today’s marketplace, being noticed counts; even if you have to refer to close cousins of four letter words that are considered “immoral” or “scandalous.” In fact, some business owners (and consumers, obviously) appreciate the play on such words. After all, businesses have a First Amendment right to expressions, even to the public, of words or slogans that others may find offensive.

So when a California-based entrepreneur wanted to trademark the name “fuct” for his clothing line, the U.S. Patent and Trade Commission was apparently offended. It rejected his request based on the prohibition of vulgar word utterances and scandalous marks in the Lanham Act. After an examining attorney rejected the request, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ruled in similar fashion. 

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Klein & Wilson

Klein & Wilson
4770 Von Karman Avenue
Newport Beach, CA 92660

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