Trademarks and Trade Secrets

Posted by on Dec 2, 2016 in Business Laws | 0 comments

A company’s reputation will surely suffer if its trade practices are found to be deceptive or misleading, unless such deception is the work (and proven to be the work) of another, such as a competitor. Trade secret, which can be a simple formula, program, device, method, technique, process, practice or any critical information that can be the source of economic gain to someone who discloses or uses it, is what makes one company more successful than its competitors. Thus, to protect a company’s competitive edge or trade secret, it has been considered as one the categories that need to be put under the protection of the Intellectual Property Law.

Obtaining trade secrets through illegal means is a violation of federal and state laws. The state, generally speaking, is the one primarily tasked to enforce trade secrets laws, however, a law passed in 1996, the Economic Espionage Act (EEA), gives the federal government the authority to take charge over certain cases. This same Act also gives the U.S. Attorney General the power to prosecute anyone (individuals or companies), who/which will be proven as involved, in whatever way, in the misappropriation of trade secrets. The Attorney General has, likewise, been given the authority to impose severe punishment on whoever will be found guilty of deliberate stealing, copying or receiving of trade secrets. And, if a foreign government or business firm will benefit from a trade secret misappropriation, then the punishments to be imposed on those found guilty and caught will be doubled.

Besides trade secrets, another category placed under the protection of the Intellectual Property Law is trademark. A trademark, also called brand name or service mark can refer to a slogan, logo, mark or symbol that will directly identify the provider or source of goods or services.

A trademark, even by itself, can distinguish quality goods and services from substandard ones. Thus, some have just have the inclination to make their brand name, symbol, logo, as well as the colors of the symbol, as close as possible to the original, in an attempt to lure or mislead inattentive and unassuming customers.

In its website, the law firm Williams Kherkher points out the importance of being competitive early on in the business, as well as the importance of protecting and defending business rights and interests against anyone out to ruin a company’s good name. Trade secrets and other intellectual property rights represent one of the cornerstones upon which the U.S. economy has been built. If a company’s rights have been infringed upon or misappropriated in any way by a competitor, it will certainly be in the best interests of the owner for the dispute to be resolved in the courts. Even if the other party offers to settle out of court, consulting with an attorney before making any decision will be more advantageous and may even be necessary.

Read More

Overtime Pay – A Legal Right of Non-exempt Employees

Posted by on Jan 5, 2014 in Business Laws | 0 comments

Opening your own business is an exciting time, however, with all of the business laws that come along with starting your own business, it can be a bit discouraging. When planning to start a business, a business lawyer would be the best person to assist you due to his or her knowledge of all the local and federal procedures and legal requirements that you will need to prepare and submit. Your lawyer will also be able to help you plan the course your business will take, as well as help you take care of the many different business essentials, including compliance with federal and state laws on safety in the workplace, company taxes and liabilities, company debts, workers’ insurance benefits, business deal contracts, employment contracts, hiring new employees, company policies and employee compensation and benefits.

Compensation or salary is a very important element in the growth of a business. Competitive pay will enable you to hire the best people and when these people see and feel that you value them by giving them what they believe is their due, you will never worry about their loyalty. This includes incentives and pay for overtime work.

Sadly, many employers deny their workers payment to work rendered beyond their regular working schedule. This is why overtime disputes are very common even in big companies in the U.S. As far back as 1938 the federal government has already addressed this issue by passing into law the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to ensure that, besides getting just wages, employees eligible for overtime work are paid justly.

Not all employees, though, are eligible to render overtime work and, thus, receive overtime pay; only non-exempt employees are. Workers who are considered to be exempt, or not eligible to do overtime work are professional, administrative and executive, employees, some skilled computer professionals, employees in certain recreational establishments, outside sales employees, switchboard operators in small telephone firms, seamen in foreign vessels, fishermen, farm workers in small farms, casual babysitters and care-takers, among so many others.

Those who are non-exempt and can render overtime work include both full-time and part-time employees, hourly or salaried workers and temporary employees. Non-payment of overtime pay is a violation of federal laws. Employees who are denied the pay that is due them are given the legal right to bring erring employers to justice and to receive whatever pay the law stipulates to be their right to have.

Read More