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Denver Business and Commercial Law Blog

The first 100 days of a business acquisition

When a Colorado business looks to make a change and boost their profits through mergers and acquisitions, they may realize why advance planning can be so critical to success. In up to 80 percent of business mergers, predicted value increases do not live up to initial expectations. Sometimes, this could be due to unknown facts about the company that was acquired, but in many cases, these problems can be attributed to a lack of preparation on the part of the company leading the merger. Businesses seeking to integrate an acquisition should start their planning for the process long before the deal is completed, while they are continuing the due diligence steps before a contract is signed.

Experts note that the first 100 days of a merger can be a critical time to judge the potential of success. While this may seem like an extremely quick time frame, businesses can accomplish a great deal in their first three months after a merger so long as they are prepared. Companies should expect to see their value grow during that period. When positive results are not realized shortly after a deal, it may not take long for stagnation to set in.

Muslim workplace discrimination rises in Colorado

Despite how long the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act has been present, many employers continue to commit discriminatory behavior towards workers of different genders, ages, races and religions. Religion has become a particularly touchy subject because some workers use their beliefs to potentially justify their actions against someone with a different creed or sexual orientation.

One religious group that has certainly not been exempt from unfair treatment are the Muslims. There have been multiple reports in the last decade of employers not adhering to their religious practices or associating them with terrorists. Unfortunately, Colorado has seen an increase in this toxic behavior in the last decade and has denied them working privileges solely based on their religious beliefs. It is important for Muslim workers to be aware of this rise in behavior and what they can do in response.

Tips for finding angel investors and impressing them

Entrepreneurs in Colorado often look for angel investors after the initial development of their new products or services. Angel investors can be individuals or groups of investors. A typical angel could be prepared to invest between $25,000 and $100,000 with the expectation that the investment will produce a return within three to five years. Angels and investor groups often focus on certain industries in which they possess expertise. Entrepreneurs should research appropriate investors to approach with proposals and prepare thoroughly for those meetings.

The founder of a startup company could search for angel groups within the immediate geographical area. When researching potential investors, the entrepreneur should check into the types of companies a group has funded previously. This information will provide insights about the preferred industries of certain angels and when they provide funds.

Lawsuit accuses Heaven's Door whiskey of trademark infringement

The company producing a new brand of whiskey inspired by Bob Dylan's 1973 hit song "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" could soon be knocking on the courthouse door. Heaven Hill, a whiskey brand established since 1937, has filed a lawsuit claiming that the new brand name and logo for Heaven's Door whiskey is substantially similar to Heaven Hill's products and could confuse alcohol consumers in Colorado and elsewhere.

In addition to filing the trademark infringement lawsuit in federal court, Heaven Hill had also sent a cease-and-desist letter to Heaven's Door Spirits, LLC, instructing the company to stop its use of the name and logo. A representative from Heaven's Door said the company disputed the likelihood of consumer confusion and intended to defend its Heaven's Door brand in court.

How startups should handle intellectual property

Colorado entrepreneurs who are starting new ventures must take steps to identify and protect their intellectual property. They should keep in mind that IP is more than just the product they are developing. It may also include logos, website copy, taglines and other assets. The best way to make sure that all intellectual property is identified is to list all creative assets and then consider whether each one needs protection.

Next, it is necessary to make sure that none of these assets infringe on existing IP belonging to another company. Business owners can search the databases of the U.S. Copyright Office and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office before filing for registration. The paperwork itself can be complex, and errors can be costly to fix. Therefore, business owners might want to consult an attorney. An attorney may also be helpful in drawing up agreements that ensure that the intellectual property created belongs to the startup. Failing to address this may also be expensive and time-consuming in the long run.

How companies benefit from social media

The Q3 2018 Small Business Index found that only 54 percent of companies surveyed said they would increase their social media presence. This is partially because of the declining user rates reported by Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook. However, social media can still be a powerful tool for companies in Colorado and throughout the country. Perhaps the greatest benefit of using social media is that it allows a company to communicate with its customers instantly.

Small businesses do not need to have a profile on every social media site that exists. In many cases, simply having an active Facebook or Instagram account can be enough. Business owners should do their research into the different social media outlets and find the ones that best allow the brand to shine. They should also choose the ones that allow the brand to gain the most visibility in the search results.

Filing a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC

As an employed adult in the United States, you have the right to work without encountering any type of discrimination. Still, many individuals face the threat of an unsafe and unfair work environment daily.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enacts laws to protect individuals from discrimination in their workplaces. Should you find yourself affected by discrimination at your job, the EEOC provides steps for bringing a claim against your employer or a coworker, and the state of Colorado works to remedy your claim with compensation. When filing a claim, it is essential to discuss your situation with an attorney because their expertise may aid you in receiving the best outcome of your case.

Social media presence and small businesses

Many small business owners may believe that is it good business sense to pull back their social media efforts to focus on other aspects of their business. However, small business owners in Colorado may be interested to know that experts believe having an online business presence is important. Small business owners are able to increase the visibility of their businesses by having an active social media profile.

Social media can be an indispensable means of communication for small businesses. It allows businesses of all sizes to have almost immediate contact with their customer base. While it may not be necessary to maintain a presence on every social media platform, maintaining a few active accounts is ideal for small business owners who want to ensure that their customers know where to find them online.

Judge rules rights to Marilyn Monroe images belong to trust

Colorado readers may be interested to learn that a landmark ruling has been made regarding the copyright interests of the last professional photographs ever taken of Marilyn Monroe. On July 20, a federal judge in New York ruled that 2,571 images from the late photographer Bert Stern's famous "Last Sitting" collection belong to a trust set up for his heirs.

The rights to the photographs, which were taken weeks before Monroe's death in 1962, were a point of contention between Stern's widow and two women who were once Stern's assistants. Stern's widow, who is the acting trustee of his trust, filed a lawsuit against the two, who are twins, claiming they were illegally reproducing the photos and selling them online.

Getting startups ready for venture capital investors

For every Twitter, Snapchat and Tesla Motors, there may be two or more promising Colorado startups that fail to take off because they are not adequately positioned for success. In a major tech hub such as Denver, quite a few startups that should have skyrocketed instead languished after dubious efforts to attract venture capital investors.

What Colorado tech entrepreneurs should do is adopt a mindset similar to those of actors who move to Hollywood in search of stardom: always be ready to look great for the camera. Likewise, people should adopt strategies to position their companies in a way that they are always interesting and attractive to investors.