Business & Employment Law Attorney
866-693-5541 | 303-424-4286

Denver Business and Commercial Law Blog

Network and production company tangle over name and image use

The company behind the iconic television series "I Love Lucy" is suing the network the show originally ran on over a name dispute. The company, founded by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in 1950, alleges that the television network is using an identical image and name. The company claims that the use of the same name by the network is causing issues with the studio's existing creative-development deals.

The case revolves around whether the network holds the common law trademark rights to the production studio's name, a type of intellectual property, and any images related to it. The company, which relaunched as a group of technology-based media companies in 2013, also alleges that the network's actions have contributed to reduced commercial potential for the studio.

The epidemic of employment discrimination against minorities

It's been 70 years since the civil rights movement yet racial discrimination in both hiring practices and retaliation in the workplace continues to be as prevalent as ever. Blacks and Latinos are facing the worst of it with countless studies showing that employment discrimination when it comes to race has anything but stopped.

Luckily, applicants and employees have stood up to their employers to end the biases once and for all.

Microsoft sues CHS for copyright infringement

Software giant Microsoft recently filed a lawsuit against Community Health Systems, a Kentucky-based hospital management company. Microsoft believes CHS used copyrighted software without an appropriate license.

According to the lawsuit, Microsoft believes that CHS both willfully infringed upon the Microsoft copyrights and breached their contract. Microsoft entered into a 17-year agreement to provide CHS with a variety of software. According to Microsoft, CHS was barred from allowing anyone outside of its registered users to have access to the software. The contract also granted Microsoft the right to audit CHS and verify compliance.

A failed attempt to buy a competitor leads to a lawsuit.

Sometimes failed merger negotiations lead to litigation. And sometimes litigation can lead to a countersuit or a separate lawsuit. This is precisely what is happening in Texas. Business owners in Colorado who are contemplating a merger or a buyout of another company should pay attention to developments in this case.

The Texas lawsuit involves two online dating websites. The first site is an older established site with several subsidiaries. The second site was founded by a former executive of the first site in 2014. She had left amid claims she was sexually harassed during her tenure.

Lowe's settles ADA discrimination case for $8.6 million

Lowe's Companies, Inc. has settled a lawsuit in which the hardware store was accused of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit against the retail chain last year, alleging that the company had discriminated against a disabled employee.

A department manager who had a spinal injury that limited his range of arm motion says that he was demoted with lower pay rather than provided a reasonable accommodation. The company will pay the EEOC and the employee a total settlement of $8.6 million.

Mega funds may change how startups operate

Venture capital firms are raising billions of dollars to put into companies in Colorado and elsewhere. For example, SoftBank has a $100 billion fund and placed $7 billion into Uber alone. Sequoia Capital is looking to raise as much as $12 billion for its global growth fund as well as funds in the United States and China. It is believed that Sequoia is trying to position itself as an alternative to SoftBank for business owners.

While the larger funds may allow companies to stay private for a longer period of time, they may also be creating an elite subset of businesses. This may impact how venture capitalists think about investing in new companies because there may be pressure for a startup to reach this level to justify an investment. In some cases, companies that have hundreds of millions of dollars in funding may not be able to compete.

Intellectual property is a major factor in tech deals

For many entrepreneurs and business people in Colorado, intellectual property is a highly prized asset. Indeed, for the tech industry in particular, copyrights, trademarks, patents and other IP have led to some particularly well-known disputes that have required extensive litigation to resolve. During acquisitions and mergers, many technology corporations view handling potential intellectual property issues as paramount.

Companies need to review the intellectual property they already own in line with their acquisitions when planning new products in order to avoid any risks or gaps that could lead to problems. From allegations of industrial espionage and misuse of trade secrets to long-running disputes over patents, intellectual property litigation has become a major part of the tech industry. Smartphone manufacturers Apple and Samsung have battled over patents while Apple and Microsoft disputed copyrights. In some cases, former high-ranking employees at one company have been accused of bringing confidential documents to a new employer.

Is the #MeToo movement having an impact on workplace harassment?

Months after the #MeToo movement's beginnings, the Harvey Weinstein fallout, Oprah's impassioned speech and the countless tweets, you may wonder what, if anything, has changed. Certainly awareness around the issue of sexual harassment has increased throughout society. Prominent figures in a variety of industries have been ousted from positions of power, from Kevin Spacey to Matt Lauer to Al Franken to Garrison Keillor.

But does this mean sexual harassment is on its way out for good?

Startups should reduce costs to increase their chance of survival

Startups, whether in Silicon Valley or Denver, Colorado, are infamous for being extremely lavish with their resources. Although this extravagance is explained as a necessary tool to attract and retain top talent, it often causes startups to experience undue stress and requires them to seek extra funding, which can be problematic in the long term. Moreover, it is worth pointing out that the notion of entrepreneurs being overindulgent with their startups is backed up by data as opposed to being purely anecdotal.

With that said, the drawbacks of squandering money, especially when a company is still starting out, are serious. First off, it forces an entrepreneur to waste an inordinate amount of time raising funds instead of focusing on establishing his or her main business.

Does the ADA protect recovering drug addicts?

According to the latest statistics gathered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), more than 42,000 people died from opioid overdose in 2016. That amounts to 116 people per day. Of those, 40 percent were the result of prescription drug abuse.

Needless to say, the opioid crisis has reached pandemic proportions, and could be one of the greatest public health crises of our time. Thankfully, the government's response has been to step up its efforts not only to research the scope of the problem but also to take specific actions to correct it, such as increasing research and support for drug rehabilitation programs.