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Dallas Business Litigation Blog

Employers can take measures to protect intellectual property

Most Texas companies have unique strategies and secrets that help them operate in a manner that differs from their competitors. Though trade secrets and other intellectual property tend to remain closely guarded, information often needs sharing with employees and partners in order for tasks to be completed as needed. Of course, when employees leave the company, business owners may worry about the safety of their trades secrets.

Unfortunately, some competitors may try to use the data or other intellectual property of companies in hopes of gaining an edge. However, this type of action could constitute theft. If employers fear that this could happen, they may want to remain vigilant about protective measures from the beginning. When hiring new employees, employers may want to ensure that they conduct background checks and screenings that could help them give the right individuals proper clearance and access.

Joint ventures: Richard Gere involved in project dispute

When individuals have an undertaking in mind, they may not feel that going at it alone is in their best interests. For many, joint ventures can allow parties to pursue certain endeavors more easily. Of course, because these ventures mean bringing other people into the fold, it is possible that disputes and business litigation could occur.

Texas residents may be interested in such an issue involving actor Richard Gere. Reports stated that Gere had entered into a joint venture agreement with the owners of Random Acts Entertainment in order to produce a project. However, Gere claims that the owners have breached their contract and have attempted to extort him for $500,000. His claims indicate that creative differences caused the parties to have a falling out, and he has recently filed a lawsuit against them.

Lease agreements could help avoid commercial litigation

When a Texas resident has commercial property, renting or leasing that property to a prospective business can often prove lucrative. However, when entering into any type of business arrangement involving property, the possibility for real estate disputes exists. As a result, individuals looking to lease their property may want to ensure that they prepare for the possibility of commercial litigation.

One way that property owners could work to protect themselves is to have a solid lease agreement. It may be wise to include as much detail and specificity into the contract as possible in hopes of avoiding any confusion that may lead to conflict. Even if a person does not think a certain aspect is significant, it may be better to include it rather than omit it just in case it could cause issue later.

Contract violations could lead to business dispute

It is not unusual for Texas business owners to utilize various contracts when working with outside parties. They may create general employment contracts for employees, partnership agreements, noncompete contracts and nondisclosure agreements. The terms in these documents can often help individuals better protect their intellectual property and other assets associated with their companies. However, when an apparent violation of a contract takes place, a dispute could arise that leads to litigation.

It was recently reported that this type of issue is currently taking place in another state. A company that sells commercial cleaning supplies to various establishments, such as hotels and schools, claims that a former employee violated the terms of a noncompete agreement by starting his own company. The agreement reportedly stated that the man could not work for a competitor for one year after ending his employment with the company.

Unfair terms could lead to employment contract disputes

When a person obtains a new job, signing a contract may seem like a good idea. The agreement can help individuals on both sides of the arrangement understand expectations in regard to the services provided. However, when terms prove to be too strict or outlandish, or when a party violates the terms, employment contract disputes could take place.

Texas residents may be interested in this type of situation currently surrounding Sinclair Broadcast Group. Apparently, reporters and other individuals working for Sinclair-affiliated news stations worked under contracts indicating that the company could take up to 40 percent of the employee's annual pay in the event that the employee left his or her job early. It was reported that many workers indicated that this clause has prevented them from leaving their jobs, despite disagreeing with certain actions carried out by the company.

Patent ideas must be concrete

As a businessperson, innovator and entrepreneur, you know that much of your day is spent making big ideas into reality - a business plan becomes a standard operating procedure, a goal breaks down into quantifiable objectives and the like. This same "idea to reality" principle applies to patent law in the United States. How are you turning your big ideas into reality?

Ideas are essential to your business because their very existence and creation are what makes you an innovator and entrepreneur. You can take steps to protect your ideas through non-disclosure agreements and similar tools, but in order to qualify for a patent, your idea has to be a tangible and concrete.

Partnership disputes may arise despite agreements

When going into business, many Texas residents understand the importance of contracts and agreements. Often, having an agreement could help prevent partnership disputes from taking place or at least outline how to handle disputes in the event that they arise. Because of these benefits, creating an agreement could prove wise.

Knowing what to include in a partnership contract may not always be clear, and details may differ from business to business. However, certain information may be needed in most agreements. For instance, parties may want to ensure that they put in conditions regarding the amount of shares or percentage of profit as well as how much loss each person may end up absorbing. It may also prove wise to limit how much money each individual can draw from the company.

Commercial property owners may face real estate disputes

When individuals have commercial property they want to utilize, they may rent it to other businesses. Typically, contracts are drawn up to ensure that each party involved understands the obligations expected. Unfortunately, even with agreements in place, real estate disputes can still occur, and parties may need to take legal action.

Texas readers may be interested in one such situation that recently took place in another state. Reports indicated that a rental property owner had filed suit against an individual who was utilizing two of the man's rental locations. The two had entered into a 10-year commercial lease back in 2006, and the owner claimed that the other party breached the terms of the contract.

Match Group sues, alleges intellectual property infringement

Particular aspects of a product or service can mean the difference between success and failure in many endeavors. Often, individuals and groups work hard to determine exactly what they need in order to reach their goals. Unfortunately, some similar services may attempt to infringe on the intellectual property of a company in hopes of garnering the same success. 

When such infringement or theft takes place, companies in Texas and across the country may need to take legal action in order to protect their property, services and business overall. It was recently reported that Match Group, Inc. has filed a lawsuit against competitor Bumble for such infringement. Match Group owns and operates several dating apps and websites, including Tinder and OkCupid. Bumble itself is also such an app. However, Match Group claims that Bumble has directly taken aspects of its apps.

What should be included in a shareholder agreement?

Going into business with others is a lot like getting married. The hope at the outset is positive and the legitimate expectation of the parties involved is that they will face the difficulties that come together and share in the eventual rewards. It doesn't always work out that way.

One way many marrying couples in Texas seek to manage risk is to lay out clear plans for what should happen in the event of a divorce. This is done through a prenuptial or perhaps an antenuptial agreement. Similarly, individuals entering a business relationship deserve the benefit of knowing that there is an exit strategy should things not work out as planned. The way to do that is through a Shareholders' Agreement.

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