Business disputes come from a variety of sources | The Law Office of Peter C. Bronstein

Business disputes come from a variety of sources On behalf of Peter C. Bronstein of The Law Office of Peter C. Bronstein posted in Business Litigation on Friday, October 21, 2016. Few California companies can keep their doors open without encountering issues with customers, vendors or other companies. Business disputes can come from a variety of sources. The question is whether they can be resolved amicably or if litigation will be required.In either case, it would be beneficial to contact an attorney. Even if you have no intention of pursuing legal action in the beginning, matters can quickly degrade if the parties are not able to get on the same page and find an amicable resolution. If there is a contract involved, it might require either mediation or arbitration. Just because these alternative dispute resolution methods do not involve judges and courtrooms does not mean that you should go into them without an attorney to advocate on your behalf. Depending on what the dispute entails, state and federal laws might come into play. For example, if you are being accused of infringing on a patent or trademark, or if someone is infringing on your patent or trademark, the matter would be dealt with differently than an employment contract issue. Matters can become even more complicated if there is a dispute among investors or owners of a business.Many California business owners try to resolve disputes on their own, and by the time they realize that the problem is not going away, it is often too late to avoid litigation. Regardless of the issue, the outcome of business disputes can have a profound effect on the future of the company. Therefore, bringing in an attorney as soon as possible could help avoid any adverse outcomes that jeopardize the economic stability of the business.

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Intellectual property litigation gets a boost from Supreme Court | The Law Office of Peter C. Bronstein

Intellectual property litigation gets a boost from Supreme Court On behalf of Peter C. Bronstein of The Law Office of Peter C. Bronstein posted in Intellectual Property on Friday, September 23, 2016. A patent owner has been given additional protection by virtue of a unanimous decision of the United States Supreme Court in Halo Electronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc. The Court liberalized the test for enhanced damages in intellectual property litigation dealing with the protection of patents. It will now be significantly easier for a plaintiff in a patent infringement case in California and all other jurisdictions to collect treble damages and a much larger verdict against the infringer.The Court essentially dropped the stringent test in the case of In re Seagate Technology, which has been the benchmark for generally sparse patent infringement verdicts and settlements in for the past decade. The Court basically agreed with criticism that the Seagate test was far too hard to prove with its requirement of "clear and convincing" proof of "willful" action by the infringer. The new standard now requires proof by a "preponderance of the evidence." The Supreme Court ruled that the infringement statute at 35 U.S.C. § 284. It calls for the imposition of treble damages and does not require the stingy approach that has been utilized for many years. In instituting a preponderance of the evidence test, the Court also held that appellate courts must pay high deference to the award entered in the court below and not reverse a verdict except for "abuse of discretion," which will make it harder to turn over a high lower court award.In the future, therefore, an award in a federal trial court in California on a patent infringement claim will be more easily turned into an award that is multiplied by three. This

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September 2016 Archives | Los Angeles Business Law Blog

September 2016 ArchivesBizarre contract dispute reveals conspiracy theory On behalf of Peter C. Bronstein of The Law Office of Peter C. Bronstein posted in Contract Disputes on Tuesday, September 27, 2016. Business disputes occurring in California and elsewhere can involve any number of facts and circumstances that may be limited only by the imagination. Sometimes the interconnections between litigants can appear to be surreal, or sometimes, it may look like a bizarre comedy of errors between eccentric personalities. A recent contract dispute appears to take on a somewhat strange line of allegations that are curious to say the least. Continue reading Bizarre contract dispute reveals conspiracy theory... Tags: Contract Disputes Intellectual property litigation gets a boost from Supreme Court On behalf of Peter C. Bronstein of The Law Office of Peter C. Bronstein posted in Intellectual Property on Friday, September 23, 2016. A patent owner has been given additional protection by virtue of a unanimous decision of the United States Supreme Court in Halo Electronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc. The Court liberalized the test for enhanced damages in intellectual property litigation dealing with the protection of patents. It will now be significantly easier for a plaintiff in a patent infringement case in California and all other jurisdictions to collect treble damages and a much larger verdict against the infringer. Continue reading Intellectual property litigation gets a boost from Supreme Court... Tags: Intellectual Property Construction dispute can involve competing interests and claims On behalf of Peter C. Bronstein of The Law Office of Peter C. Bronstein posted in Construction Litigation on Friday, September 16, 2016. California certainly has its share of complex construction disputes. These matters often bring several parties into the mix with different rights and responsibilities that are in dispute. One current construction dispute in another state is

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Construction dispute can involve competing interests and claims | The Law Office of Peter C. Bronstein

Construction dispute can involve competing interests and claims On behalf of Peter C. Bronstein of The Law Office of Peter C. Bronstein posted in Construction Litigation on Friday, September 16, 2016. California certainly has its share of complex construction disputes. These matters often bring several parties into the mix with different rights and responsibilities that are in dispute. One current construction dispute in another state is not overwhelmingly complex, but it does involve several different entities vying for their own respective positions. It also brings negligence principles into a case that at first blush may appear to be about contract breaches.The $36 million project entailed the removal of a lowhead dam and deepening a river's channel so that the river could return to running a more natural course. This also made it possible to add some 33 acres along the river banks for public enjoyment. The river flows into a major city, thus beautifying the environment generally. Despite the clear public benefit of the project, the CSX railroad company recently stepped forward to file a lawsuit against the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation that procured the improvements. The railroad claimed that removing the dam and deepening the channel of the Scioto River undermined the stability of the railroad's four-track bridge that crosses the river. The lawsuit seeks $9.3 million in damages claimed necessary to fix the instability of the bridge.CSX sued the project manager, the general contractor of the project, and the downtown development corporation. It is claimed that the contractor failed to install supportive boulders around the base of the piers of the bridge despite promising to do so. As a result, CSX claims that the bridge shifted and became unstable.CSX also sued an insurance carrier for failing to pay the $5 million property damage coverage limits on the policy. The

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Companies battle over unfair competition and trademark claims | The Law Office of Peter C. Bronstein

Companies battle over unfair competition and trademark claims On behalf of Peter C. Bronstein of The Law Office of Peter C. Bronstein posted in Intellectual Property on Thursday, September 8, 2016. According to a frozen foods company, a competing giant has stolen its trademarked slogan for its own use. The company alleges that the Kraft Heinz conglomerate has recently introduced a line of frozen meals called Devour that is using the slogan, "Satisfy Your Cravings." The problem is that Pinnacle Foods, the plaintiff in the lawsuit filed in a federal district court, has been using the registered trademark, "Satisfy Your Craving." Both brands can be found in supermarkets in California, but the unfair competition battle is being litigated elsewhere.Pinnacle has in fact registered the slogan as a trademark and has been using it for years. It calls the Kraft Heinz choice of words "confusingly similar," and describes the move as being a blatant power grab. Pinnacle makes and distributes the Hungry-Man brand of frozen meals. The suit is asking the court to enjoin Kraft Heinz from further use of the slogan. It appears that Pinnacle is probably correct in arguing that the difference of one letter between the two slogans is not enough to prevent deception and confusion. Pinnacle asserts counts of federal trademark infringement, unfair competition and violation of state consumer protection laws.It alleges that Kraft Heinz has in effect jump started its new line of Devour meals by stealing the Hungry-Man trademark for in-store marketing promotions. The lawsuit alleges that Kraft Heinz has acted intentionally, knowingly and aggressively to basically steal its competitor's trademark. If the plaintiff succeeds in the litigation, the court will order the defendant to cease and desist from further unfair competition and use of the trademark. Various monetary damages will likely be assessed and

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Bizarre contract dispute reveals conspiracy theory | The Law Office of Peter C. Bronstein

Bizarre contract dispute reveals conspiracy theory On behalf of Peter C. Bronstein of The Law Office of Peter C. Bronstein posted in Contract Disputes on Tuesday, September 27, 2016. Business disputes occurring in California and elsewhere can involve any number of facts and circumstances that may be limited only by the imagination. Sometimes the interconnections between litigants can appear to be surreal, or sometimes, it may look like a bizarre comedy of errors between eccentric personalities. A recent contract dispute appears to take on a somewhat strange line of allegations that are curious to say the least.It involves a "gentlemen's club," i.e., a strip club, where the two owners of the club are being evicted by the landlord. In this curious business conflict, the two club owners have a partnership called 2D2G. A lawyer for 2D2G filed a legal response to the building owners' eviction suit. In that response, it is claimed that the landlord and one of the club's partners are best of friends. It is charged that the landlord has conspired to cut the remaining partner out of the business. The conspiring partner allegedly stole more than $100,000 from the business and used it for airline tickets and other improper purchases. The rogue partner is also accused of bringing known drug dealers to the premises and swallowing large quantities of white powder and life savers in front of everyone. The accused partner denied the accusations to reporters.He claims that the airline tickets were legitimate business expenses. He made his own allegations, saying that the other partner was creating facts to fit his slanted picture of things. He stated that the drug allegations are bogus. The claim includes a demand for $15,000 in rent, code violations totaling $15,000 and foreclosure of a lien on a liquor license.The building owner

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Some say patients may suffer if contract dispute is not resolved | The Law Office of Peter C. Bronstein

Some say patients may suffer if contract dispute is not resolved On behalf of Peter C. Bronstein of The Law Office of Peter C. Bronstein posted in Contract Disputes on Wednesday, August 24, 2016. Within the medical industry in California and other states, relationships between unionized hospital workers and management are often fragile. The functioning and success of a business often suffers immediate negative impact if a contract dispute arises. Skilled negotiation and assertive representation are typically key factors toward swift and amicable solutions to such problems. An ongoing disagreement in another state involves a group of union members who are registered nurses.The nurses' most recent contract expired in June 2016. Many of them were joined by an executive from their county as they staged a practice strike in front of their workplace. The county official told reporters that the union has always shown tremendous support for his campaigns; thus, he wanted to make an appearance to show solidarity with its members. The nurses have stated that hospital management is more concerned with cutting costs than quality care. A spokesperson for the nurses said she and her colleagues are constantly faced with added work due to staff shortages. The nurse also said she and others worry that patients are not receiving the high standard of care they deserve because there are not enough workers to do the job right.Authorization to launch an official strike was recently postponed. An official speaking on behalf of the hospital said management is, and always has been, quite willing to negotiate a fair agreement. The spokeswoman also stated that the recently staged protest was simply a demonstration meant to help union members gain the upper hand at the bargaining table when negotiations to resolve the contract dispute resume. With regard to anyone facing similar business

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Pokemon game may incite increased business litigation | The Law Office of Peter C. Bronstein

Pokemon game may incite increased business litigation On behalf of Peter C. Bronstein of The Law Office of Peter C. Bronstein posted in Business Litigation on Wednesday, August 3, 2016. The "Pokemon Go" game is blazing its way to stardom in California and nationwide and is being tagged as the most innovative digital game on the current market. The game has players going out into real-life locations, through a GPS guidance system, to look for the virtual red and white balls that are then thrown at the onscreen Pokemon. The novel gimmick of the game is being used by some businesses to promote themselves by having games take place at their locality; however, some aspects of the game may lead to increased business litigation for those businesses. The fast-growing popularity of the game is not lacking in drawbacks. For one thing, children are a big part of the playing audience. If a business promotes a Pokemon event, it must expect children to appear. That may put a damper on the project, or worse, could lead to injuries to the children from onsite nuisances or dangerous conditions. In that event, the business promotions will actually cause more trouble than they are worth. A business that is contemplating such promotions should enhance its liability coverage, which generally can be done by a simple call to the company's insurance agency. In addition, disclaimers or parental permission slips should be utilized. The whole project should probably be scrapped if the business is a bar or some other place for adults only.The other major area of potential problems involves claims of intellectual property violations. The owner of the game, Niantic, warns users against using its characters and other trademarks for commercial purposes. In practice, a local or small business will have to take special steps to

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Parties maneuver for support in typical construction dispute | The Law Office of Peter C. Bronstein

Parties maneuver for support in typical construction dispute On behalf of Peter C. Bronstein of The Law Office of Peter C. Bronstein posted in Construction Litigation on Monday, August 29, 2016. It is likely fair to say that larger construction contracts in California and elsewhere often contain conflicts between some or all of the various participants. Arguments or disagreements arise over contract specifications, quality of work, deadlines for performance, payment schedules, work approval and a myriad of other potential issues that could at any point erupt into a construction dispute or even litigation. The smooth completion of a multi-million-dollar construction contract is a relatively rare occurrence in the construction industry.A current $7 million project in another state illustrates some common aspects of a construction dispute. The project is slated to build expansions and improvements to a park recreation center, including the development of a historic farm property. The park board trustees are the customers who have ordered the project. Instead of allowing the project architect, Olivierri Brothers, to also serve as the construction manager as per the architect's original bid, the park board voted to bring Henry Bros. Construction into the project as the construction manager. That move apparently rankled the feelings of the architect, who then publicly criticized the board for spending $100,000 more to have a separate construction manager. He asserted that his firm was experienced in handling both functions for park projects.With that background, it was perhaps unsurprising that the Owner of Henry Bros. Construction recently advised the park board that the architect was obstructing progress by not approving certain parts of the work, thus creating a payment logjam. He called it a "battle" working with the architect. The architect responded with surprise, saying that rejecting certain work that does not meet contract specifications was "normal" in

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Intellectual property case concerns critical technology issues | The Law Office of Peter C. Bronstein

Intellectual property case concerns critical technology issues On behalf of Peter C. Bronstein of The Law Office of Peter C. Bronstein posted in Intellectual Property on Tuesday, August 9, 2016. When two companies work together in a joint venture to develop innovative technologies, a later parting of the ways may give rise to litigation between them on a possible variety of issues. In California and other jurisdictions, one of the most likely conflicts to arise would be over the intellectual property rights to technology jointly developed. Such a conflict is currently ongoing between two biotechnology firms that worked together on a vaccine-producing mechanism for about 10 years.The joint effort between iBio and Fraunhofer USA ended in 2013. Fraunhofer had developed a technology that rapidly develops vaccines for several different kinds of diseases. This was an improved technology over current vaccine modalities. The joint agreement was for Fraunhofer to develop the science and for iBio to own and license the technology to pharmaceutical companies. However, iBio left the relationship after discovering that Fraunhofer was secretly working with a competitor firm. Fraunhofer claims it was not sharing the precise technology promised to iBio.The dispute resulted in iBio filing a lawsuit in a Delaware court asking for a declaratory judgment that it was entitled to market the technology under their agreement. It also alleged a breach of contract against Fraunhofer. An equity court judge recently decided that iBio was essentially correct in its claims. This left some issues yet to be decided and a promise by both companies to engage in settlement discussions in the next few weeks.Under the present status, both companies are facing serious financial setbacks based on their inability to continue to work with the technology in light of the litigation. In essence, each is stymied by what the other

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