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Denver Business and Commercial Law Blog

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.

7 ways to protect trade secrets

The movies have conditioned us to believe that trade secrets are most likely to be stolen by Eastern European cyber-criminals or foreign intelligence agents bent on preventing some worldwide disaster. However, a statistical study of trade secret theft shows that trade secret thieves are most likely to be those you already know: former employees.

It's who you know

Montrose Memorial Hospital settles in age discrimination lawsuit

Age discrimination has no place at a company, and hospitals are no exception. A recent lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) highlights how prevalent age discrimination can be and that workers have rights worth protecting.

It was announced that Montrose Memorial Hospital will pay $400,000 and furnish other relief to settle an age discrimination lawsuit

Analyzing risk when acquiring a company

When a credit union or other financial services company in Colorado or elsewhere merges with another entity, it may expose itself to any risks posed by that enterprise. It may be a good idea to have a cybersecurity professional analyze any risks that another business may pose if it is acquired. Such a review should focus on potential problems related to people and processes just as much as it does on issues related strictly to IT.

If a company is supposed to PCI compliant, it could incur significant fines for not following those guidelines. A combined organization may also have to spend money getting certified or deal with lost revenues from not being able to process transactions. A thorough study of a company's cybersecurity policies and capabilities may make it possible to gauge how expensive an acquisition may truly be.

Can posting about your employer on Facebook get you fired?

Your boss is just awful. You know it, your co-workers know it, but you want to inform the world about their terrible ways. What better method to exercise your anger than a rant on Facebook? As satisfying as it would be to unleash the months of built up hard feelings, you should think twice before you let your fingers do the talking.

Privacy settings cannot save you

Financing advice for startup companies

Many new companies in Colorado inevitably run into the need for business loans. An injection of cash can help a growing enterprise keep up with rising demand or acquire new equipment or real estate. While startup companies generally lack the financial track record required to get a bank loan, the Small Business Administration and online lenders could provide access to money. Choosing the right amount to borrow without overextending a youthful business represents the crucial first step when seeking a loan.

When calculating what to borrow, a business owner needs to calculate the debt-service coverage ratio. This figure arises from looking at how a loan payment would impact average cash flow. The payment level that does not put excessive strain on operating cash indicates how much a business can comfortably pay every week or month.

Hidden costs involved in building a startup

For plenty of people living in Colorado, starting a business is a dream come true. After all, the autonomy and freedom that come with being self-employed are enviable, not to mention the ability to shape the world as one sees fit whether it's by selling scrumptious desserts or offering phenomenal customer care in the IT field.

Regardless of the nature of the business itself, entrepreneurs have to dole out cash to get things started, and some of these costs may take them by surprise. For starters, entrepreneurs have to pay for business insurance in order to protect themselves against possible future liabilities. One insurance company asserts that small businesses pay, on average, $741 just to protect themselves against general liability. Another cost that should be taken into account is self-employment taxes, which tend to be higher than taxes for employed individuals. This discrepancy is due to the fact that self-employment taxes pay for both Social Security and Medicare. In addition to increased taxes, entrepreneurs have to contend with the costs of licenses and permits, forcing them to keep reserves for a rainy day.