Contract breaches arise from both written and oral agreements between you, vendors, current and former employees, and customers. Contract claims frequently involve business torts.
Business torts are civil wrongs (usually money) as opposed to criminal (incarceration) conduct. These torts include fraud or breach of fiduciary duty by partners or LLC members, wrongful interference by competitors with client relationships or interference with future economic opportunities.
Trademarks are words, phrases, symbols or designs that identify the source of goods of one party from those of other parties. A service mark provides the same protection as a trademark to identify and distinguish the source of a service rather goods. Trademarks registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) provide substantial money damages for infringement regardless of actual monetary loss.
A trade secret is defined as any information that has value in the marketplace as a result of not being generally known in your industry. The longest running trade secret today is the formula for Coca-Cola, dating back to the late 1800’s.
Theft of trade secrets frequently involves a key employee leaving his current job for a competitor. Historically trade secrets were a state court matter. But in 1995, the federal Defense of Trade Secrets Act moved many trade secrets lawsuits to federal court.
Businesses can unwittingly commit infringement by posting images on their website or other marketing materials when the image appeared to be in the public domain. Businesses cannot shift the blame to their web designers and marketing firms. Unfortunately, scammers take advantage of business owners by falsely accusing them of infringement and squeeze "settlements" from businesses wanting to avoid litigation. Copyrights are handled exclusively in federal court.
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