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Los Angeles Business & Commercial Law Blog

Patent infringement case against Google must remain in California

Corporations, especially those in the technology industry, often take out numerous patents to protect their products from being used improperly by other companies. At times, the items protected by a patent may not meet all of the requirements for patent protection or may discourage competition within the market.

A recent ruling in a patent infringement case will require it to be heard in California, rather than be moved to Texas as the plaintiff had attempted. The judge's ruling was based on her feeling that the plaintiff, Rockstar Consortium, had set up a sham company in Texas to have the case heard there. Rockstar is being backed by Apple and has filed the action against Google over seven patents. The plaintiff alleges that Google's search and advertising functions infringe upon their patents, and that any Android phones that use the technology are infringe upon the patents as well. Google's argues that the patents are "standard-essential", meaning they are not considered unique and must be used by others in the industry.

Former CEO seeks to postpone vote on sale of company

In California, corporations range in many different sizes and structures. Regardless of their size, all corporations are required to follow certain guidelines and regulations. A failure to do so may expose the company or its representatives to liability for their actions.

The former CEO and three additional former executives of a California corporation are seeking to block the sale of the company to Disney. Disney is seeking to purchase the company for $500 million to increase their standing in the YouTube channel market. Shareholders are planning to vote on the proposed sale on April 15, but the former executives are seeking a temporary restraining order to postpone the vote. They are basing their request on the allegation that documents provided to shareholders regarding the vote did not mention pending litigation. The business litigation in question concerns directors of the company issuing shares to themselves to minimize the former CEO's interest in the company.

California business litigation considers implied contracts

A California breach of contract case recently had many in Hollywood concerned about the potential consequences of the ruling. The case involved allegations that a production company used materials for a show that were provided to them years earlier by others not involved with the show or compensated for it.

NBC Universal recently resolved the business litigation case in California involving the show "Ghost Hunters." Two people claimed that they came up with the idea for the show and presented it to the company with multiple materials from 1996 through 2001. The initial legal action was for copyright infringement, and they later sued for breach of an implied contract. Under this action, if a plaintiff submits materials for review, and they are later used, the presenter will be compensated. Although appellate rulings found in favor of the plaintiffs claims, their case was eventually thrown out as it was filed outside the statute of limitations and NBCUniversal was granted summary judgment.

Apple and Samsung continue multi-billion dollar patent battle

Companies tend to pursue patent infringement lawsuits when competing businesses profit from patented ideas. Sometimes, too, it is about more than just the money. A patented idea can become central to a company's brand. Therefore, when a competing business infringes on that patent, the competing business can rob the brand of some of its power. Patent infringement can be seriously harmful to companies and their ideas, which is why many choose to aggressively pursue business litigation when such issues arise.

Apple and Samsung are in a heated legal battle over an intellectual property dispute, according to reports. Continuing a conflict that has been escalating for years, the two mega-companies will soon take their patent infringement case to a federal court in California.

California land developer accused of altering flood area

Thousand Oaks residents may be aware that business transactions occur nearly every day. However, commercial land developers should be cautious about the impact their development may have on neighboring properties.

A land developer in California recently agreed to restore areas that they performed work on which allegedly increased the likelihood of flooding. The development company performed grading work in a housing development that the California Department of Water and Fish felt was disturbing the surrounding area. They ordered the company to stop its development activities, as it had negatively altered the wetlands and swales from a nearby creek. The department requested that the area be restored and the city had an aerial assessment performed to determine the extent of the damage. The owner of the company felt that the damage in question occurred before he became owner and may have been the result of mistakes by drivers. However, he has agreed to restore the land to its previous condition, as well as pay the $100,000 aerial assessment.

Tortious interference possible in California licensing agreement

Businesses enter into agreements meant to benefit each party. If a third party disrupts such an agreement to the detriment of one of the businesses, the impacted business may be entitled to damages as a result.

A business dispute in the biopharmaceutical industry may have future implications on much larger corporations regarding their relationships with subsidiaries and the loss of expected profits. At issue is a licensing agreement entered into by a Japanese company and a California company. in which the Japanese company would create a drug that had not yet been approved by the FDA. The California company was later acquired by a Swiss company, which sought to produce a different drug and requested them to order the Japanese company to stop producing the other drug because of possible side effects. The Japanese company brought an action against the Swiss company for tortious interference with the licensing agreement and sought damages for the loss of expected profits.

California digital music company brings suit against HSN

When a business enters into a contract, it seeks to receive a benefit of some form from the other contracting party. However, sometimes contracts do not work as planned and the parties may have to pursue other options to achieve a desired outcome.

A digital music company based in California recently brought a suit against HSN, the Home Shopping Network, alleging that HSN improperly used its system for selling digital media. The music company, Digital Trellis, claims that they entered into a contract with HSN to make a store for digital media but HSN breached the contract and used their technology to create the store with another company. Digital Trellis claims that it proposed the idea to HSN to sell digital media and later signed a letter of intent to do so with a planned launch date. After HSN felt that Digital Trellis failed to respond quickly enough to a request, HSN decided to stop doing business with Digital Trellis and began working with another company. Digital Trellis feels the digital store that HSN eventually ended up using was similar to the one they had created and that they were fully capable of providing the same services. Digital Trellis is seeking $15,000 in damages and an injunction against HSN to prevent them from using its trade secrets.

CA investors in commercial real estate battle

Businesses often reach out to investors to assist them with gathering capital for their business without having to pursue other, often stricter, avenues. Those investing in businesses should be aware or their rights and obligations in such transactions.

Investors are currently engaged in a commercial real estate dispute with the developer of a Hard Rock hotel in San Diego. The investors bought condominium units in the hotel, but claim that they lost millions of dollars when the developer sold the units. They allege that the sales were a violation of federal and California securities laws because they failed to file their offering of investment agreements with the SEC and California Department of Corporations. They also claim that the invested money was misappropriated and used for the hotel, rather than the units. The developer claims that they were not purchasing investments, but instead real estate and therefore assumed the risk of losing their money.

Apple and Samsung in litigation over smartphone features

Intellectual property disputes can arise amongst competing companies if they feel their technologies or products are being copied or improperly used by a competitor. Such activities can lead to significant financial consequences for the infringed party, and they should therefore protect their property rights when applicable.

Apple and Samsung failed to come to an agreement over their dispute regarding technology in their smartphones after another round of mediation. Executives from both companies attended the mediation after it was recommended by a judge prior to their trial for patent infringement. The case has been filed in U.S. federal court in the Northern District of California, and Apple is claiming that Samsung copied some of their smartphone features. They have requested that a ban be placed on Samsung, preventing them from selling 20 of their phones models. Although Apple continues to win legal decisions in the case, it is not slowing down Samsung's sales. Apple is seeking an injunction against Samsung, an order requiring them to remove certain features from their phones.

Dispute over fuel supply contract leads to cancellation

Businesses and entities contracting with each other for services agree to meet certain requirements. A failure to do so can lead to significant consequences for all parties involved.

A recent dispute between a municipal airport and the company that it contracted with to supply fuel has presented numerous unique circumstances. For starters, the LLC status of the company was listed as suspended on the Secretary of State's website for California. However, a letter from the Franchise Tax Board revealed that it was a mistake and the company is in fact still in good standing.

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