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Denver Business and Commercial Law Blog

Taking time with negotiations may help avoid contract disputes

New entrepreneurs often have an idea of how contracts can play a role in their businesses. However, contractual agreements can actually be one of the most vital tools that a company uses, which is why it is important that they are created correctly. If there are mistakes with the terms or other issues, contract disputes could occur.

Colorado business owners may need to negotiate the terms of a contract with the other party or parties involved. While wanting to get through the negotiations is certainly understandable, it is important that owners understand how certain terms could affect their business in the future. If they focus solely on finishing the deal and not the potential ramifications, they could find themselves in a difficult spot later on.

Want to start a business? Remember to delegate

Many future Colorado business owners want to take on this venture because they are optimistic about their idea. Optimism is important as an entrepreneur because it is immensely difficult to start a business, especially one that garners success. Still, it can be wise to recognize potential issues that could cause a business to falter in efforts to avoid those problems.

Starting a business can be overwhelming, but often, new business owners do not trust others to carry out important tasks. They want to ensure that everything goes as it should, but trying to handle too much can actually be detrimental to a business. If one person tries to handle daily business operations, customer service, payroll, management and marketing, he or she could easily end up spread too thin and make mistakes that could damage the company.

Led Zeppelin defeats copyright infringement claim on appeal

Classic rock fans in Colorado instantly recognize the song "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin, but a chord sequence from the famous song has been at the heart of a copyright dispute. The members of the British rock band have now resolved the case after an 11-judge panel at a U.S. appeals court affirmed the original ruling in 2016 that declared that the songwriter accusing the rock group of infringement could not prove a violation of copyright.

A three-judge panel in 2018 had overturned that original ruling on the basis that the jury instructions in the original trial had been inadequate. Instructions had not informed jurors that original works could be derived from elements already in the public domain. When this happened, the members of Led Zeppelin sought reconsideration of the case by a larger panel of judges, whose decision ended the case in the rock stars' favor based on the laws specified in the 1909 Copyright Act.

Religious discrimination in the workplace is unacceptable

If you are a person of faith, there may be many aspects of your life that you are not willing to compromise. The way you live and express your faith is deeply personal, and the freedom to practice and worship as you choose is one of the protections the U.S. government provides. However, you may not always experience this freedom in the workplace.

You should be aware that when your Colorado employer or coworkers mistreat you because of your religion, they are violating your rights. This is a form of discrimination prohibited by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and you have every right to seek legal advice and advocacy to learn the most appropriate options to take in this situation.

Getting prepared for a successful business sale

While some Colorado business owners may want to spend their lives with their companies, others look forward to selling off the business. Some people may look for potential in selling to a larger company, while others may look forward to retirement. In either case, people want to see all of their work result in a profitable outcome. However, some business owners may face unexpected difficulties. There are certain guidelines that people can keep in mind that may help them make the most of selling their business.

One of the most important elements for a profitable business sale is planning in advance. Some people do not take steps to sell off their company until they fall ill or are otherwise forced to make a move. While people can still succeed in selling their businesses in these situations, the process may be much easier if a plan is already in place. By keeping information about potential buyers on hand, business owners may also have a better time finding an ideal purchaser when they do decide to pull the trigger.

T-Mobile/Sprint merger moves forward after judge's approval

For many Colorado business owners, mergers and acquisitions can be an important way to expand their enterprise by bringing on former competitors. However, negotiating a successful one can be complex for companies of any size and in any industry. Especially for larger corporations, some mergers may even face official opposition. In New York, officials announced that they were joining Colorado in ending their legal battle to stop the combination of two major wireless companies after a judge approved the agreement. T-Mobile and Sprint, two of the nation's largest mobile phone service providers, are merging in a $40 billion deal.

According to the New York attorney general, it was ending its opposition to the 2018 merger agreement, which will create one combined company from the third- and fourth-largest mobile phone service providers in the country. She said that the state planned to work with the companies to protect the access of residents to affordable and reliable mobile service. The merger was approved in federal court in February 2020 after several states sought to block the agreement.

Hard seltzer companies in fizzy trademark dispute

One of Colorado's best-known companies is locked in a trademark battle over the name of its hard seltzer product. Molson Coors is facing a trademark infringement lawsuit over the name of its newly announced Vizzy brand, which is scheduled to launch in the future. Future Proof Brands, which manufactures an alternate hard seltzer called Brizzy, said that the company should be barred from using the name due to a risk of consumer confusion in the marketplace. Brizzy was created in 2018 and launched in the market in September 2019, and its manufacturer expects to exceed $2 million in sales in its first year of availability.

In a statement, Future Proof Brands said that it welcomes competition, including from large brands, but that the name the large brewery chose was too similar. The company also said that Molson Coors admitted to viewing the Brizzy website, seeing its trademarked name and recognizing that its seltzers were the first to hit the market. Still, Future Proof Brands said, the larger company chose to proceed with naming its own product Vizzy despite the likelihood of confusion caused by the similar name. The lawsuit follows a cease-and-desist letter earlier sent to Molson Coors by Future Proof Brands, which warned against using pre-launch information about Brizzy's formula, design and packaging.

Older workers may struggle in the modern workplace

Much of the American workforce is over the age of 50. Statistics indicate that as many as 35% of employees are in this particular age bracket. People are living longer, healthier lives, and retirement is expensive, so more people are choosing to remain in the workplace longer. One of the challenges that many older workers face is a specific type of discrimination.

Age discrimination is a type of mistreatment that older workers can experience in various aspects of their employment. This, like other types of discrimination, is illegal, yet it remains a problem. Unfortunately, the people who are most likely to experience this type of discrimination are less likely to speak up when treated poorly by their employers or their coworkers.

H&M wins long-running trademark dispute with Adidas

Trademark owners in Colorado and around the country sometimes find themselves embroiled in legal battles with infringers that drag on for years, but few of them last as long as the dispute between Adidas and H&M. The case began in 1997 when Adidas filed a lawsuit against the Swedish clothing company over allegedly infringing merchandise, and it was finally resolved in favor of H&M on Jan. 28.

The German sportswear manufacturer took action because H&M launched a line of clothing featuring sleeves and sides with two parallel lines. Adidas claimed that these items infringed on its iconic three-stripe trademark. The District Court of the Hague examined the branding elements and ruled in favor of Adidas, which prompted H&M to file an appeal. During the next two decades, arguments were made by attorneys representing the two companies in the Breda District Court, the Court of Appeal of 's-Hertogenbosch, the Court of Justice of the European Union and the Supreme Court of the Netherlands.

Mistakes buyers make when acquiring a business

Individuals in Colorado or elsewhere who are buying a business for the first time may be vulnerable to making critical errors. For instance, they may neglect to do due diligence before agreeing to purchase a company. While a company may be doing well today, it is important to figure out why it is successful. Performing due diligence can also help a potential buyer determine if there are any issues that may impact a company's chances of future success.

Ideally, a prospective buyer will ask why the company is being sold. In many cases, established companies are put on the market because their current owners want to retire. However, it is also possible that a competitor is coming to town and an owner wants to sell before his or her company becomes less valuable on the open market.

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