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Business Litigation Archives

When litigation pushes a business to shut down

We have covered many different topics related to business litigation on this blog, but some are especially tough for business owners. There are many reasons why businesses are taken to court, from contract disputes to matters involving employment law (unpaid overtime, sexual harassment, discrimination, etc.). Sometimes, the penalties and other consequences associated with a lawsuit are so severe that they prompt a business to shut down. Whether you own a large corporation or small firm, litigation can be incredibly damaging with respect to your company's future and it is important to be prepared for the challenges that may lie ahead.

Should I be concerned about intellectual property protection?

If you are a resident of Florida and concerned about whether you need to protect intellectual property, there is a good chance you do. According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, intellectual property refers to any creation or invention that you have thought up and then transferred to a tangible form, which could be used by another to recreate or build upon. There are some situations where protecting intellectual property is imperative and certain people who should most certainly prioritize it.

Intellectual property protections

If you are one of the many entrepreneurs in Florida, you may well end up wanting to secure some type of protection for a variety of intellectual property. This may be in the form of a trademark, service mark, copyright or patent. Understanding the differences between these is important so that you pursue the appropriate ones for you. You should also know that at different times you may want to pursue more than one type of protection.

My vendor overseas has breached our contract. Do I have recourse?

If you as a Florida company did business with a foreign company, such as a seller of a product that you retail here in the United States, and that company breached the contract, you will want to receive compensation or some other remedy for that breach. Perhaps the foreign seller sent you defective goods that you now cannot sell in your business.

Understanding and identifying intellectual property infringement

The many companies operating in Miami hold many assets outside of their revenue and property holdings. The intangible assets that give them their unique identities and help establish them in their respective markets are just as valuable. These things comprise a company's intellectual property. According to the Cornell University Law School, any intellectual product that is protected by law from the unauthorized use of others meets the definition of being intellectual property. Common examples include patents, trademarks, copyrighted content and trade secrets. 

Detailing deceptive and unfair trade practices

As a business owner or executive in Miami, you understand that the dealings between your company and your competition can become cutthroat. After all, your success often comes at their expense (and vice versa). However, this does not give either you or them the right to do anything in order to get ahead. Many of the client companies that we here at Welbaum, Guernsey, Hingston, Gregory & Black, LLP work with come to us believing that they their competitors have unfairly gained a market advantage over them. If you believe your company is facing the same predicament, then the question becomes when is a company simply outperforming competitors, and when is it dealing in unfair and deceptive practices? 

Break of fiduciary duty

Many corporations in Florida place their trust in another party in order to grow their business. Once an agreement is reached between a company and another person, there should be an expectation of trust. According to Cornell Law School, fiduciary duty is the responsibility of a person who has been entrusted with the care of a business or corporation to act in the business's best interests. The fiduciary may violate the duties of fiduciary trust in a variety of ways, but the primary breaches involve lack of loyalty and care.

$11 million Florida settlement may put developers on notice

According to a recent article published by The Real Deal in Miami, Florida, a judge approved an $11 million settlement in favor a homeowners’ association after the trial revealed the developer and its agents breached fiduciary duties to the association and acted in a manner that violated public policy. The judge also found that the developer, D.R. Horton and its employees “engaged in ‘immoral, unethical, oppressive, and unscrupulous’ trade practices.” Evidence presented at trial showed that the developer’s agents had not only failed to act in the best interests of the homeowners’ association for Majorca Isles in Miami Gardens, Florida but had engaged in “practices ‘that offend established public policy for its financial benefit.’”

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