Posts in Business.
Disaster Loan Assistance for Small Businesses

In the midst of the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many state and local governments are recommending or imposing restrictions on gatherings of people, including at places of business. In some cases, certain businesses such as bars and restaurants are being required to close or modify their business operations. Additionally, many individuals are staying home and avoiding public places.

Tax Relief - Federal and State Governments Extend a Helping Hand

As more and more businesses shut down or scale back due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Federal, State and local governments are quickly realizing that these businesses and their employees are facing devastating financial consequences. 

Categories: Business
Tags: tax
An Ounce of Prevention:  Some Easy Solutions To Avoid Personal Liability for Company Obligations

Owners conducting business through a legal entity often do so to limit personal liability and to protect assets unrelated to the business from commercial risks.  However, once formed, owners sometimes jeopardize those exposure limiting objectives by filing away their incorporation documents and neglecting corporate formalities.  That approach may work fine until, of course, an adverse party argues that the business entity should be disregarded as an ‘alter ego’ of the owners. 

Categories: Business, Litigation
California’s Policy Against Non-Compete Agreements Does Not Necessarily Shield An Employee’s Actions During His Or Her Employment

In Techno Lite, Inc. v. Emcod, LLC, the California Court of Appeal recently affirmed the finding that an employee can be liable for fraud when said employee violates his promise not to compete with his employer while still employed.  Though public policy in California places strict limitations on non-compete agreements after an employee has left employment, this shield was never meant to become a sword by which an employee could undermine his employer with impunity even before his employment ends.

On December 11, 2019, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Peter v. NantKwest, Inc. that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) cannot recover the salaries of its attorneys or paralegals as “expenses” in district court cases filed under 35 U.S.C. § 145.

Categories: Business
Substantial Performance When Time Is (Not) Of The Essence

In Magic Carpet Ride LLC, et al. v. Rugger Investment Group, LLC, the California Court of Appeal recently reversed a trial court’s decision to grant summary adjudication on a breach of contract claim where the defendant was eight days late in depositing a required lien release.   Even though the contract stated that “time is of the essence” and the late deposit violated the strict terms of the contract, the Court of Appeal clarified that it could be considered substantial performance, creating a triable issue of material fact which made summary adjudication improper.

Categories: Business, Litigation

Several recent decisions have addressed the applicability of California Code of Civil Procedure § 425.16, known colloquially as the “anti-SLAPP” law, which provides a procedure by which a defendant can secure the early dismissal of lawsuits that are filed primarily to discourage the free exercise of speech and petition rights.  Under the anti-SLAPP law, defendants are permitted to file a special motion to strike claims “arising from any act…in furtherance of that person’s right of petition or free speech.” 

Tags: SLAPP
Infringers Profits and Willfulness:  Supreme Court Set to Resolve Circuit Split Regarding Trademark Damages

October marks the opening of the new Supreme Court 2019-2020 term and there is one case in particular that trademark practitioners are anxiously awaiting for the Court to weigh in on to resolve a longstanding circuit split and definitively answer the question whether willful infringement is a prerequisite for an award of an infringer’s profits in an action for trademark infringement.

Categories: Business, Litigation
Words Matter in Design Patents:  Federal Circuit Rules that Claim Language Can Limit the Scope of a Design Patent

On September 12, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held for the first time that “claim language can limit the scope of a design patent where the claim language supplies the only instance of an article of manufacture that appears nowhere in the figures.”  The Federal Circuit’s order affirming the dismissal of a complaint for design patent infringement based on a narrowed construction of the patent-in-suit makes clear that words matter in a design patent.

Categories: Business
U.S. v. Connolly and the Importance of Independent Counsel When Cooperating with Government Investigations

In May of this year, Chief Judge Colleen McMahon in the United States District Court for Southern District of New York issued a highly anticipated opinion and order in U.S. v. Connolly, finding that the government improperly “outsourced” its criminal investigation to Deutsche Bank and its outside counsel. The decision could significantly impact how companies and outside counsel cooperate with government and enforcement investigations in the future.  While Judge McMahon’s opinion was primarily an admonition to the government, companies facing investigations need to be aware of potential conflicts that could arise when interviewing employees regarding potential wrongdoing. 

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