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Denver Business and Commercial Law Blog

Workplace accommodations under ADA

You may have learned long ago that having a disability does not mean you are unable to live the life you want to live. However, you simply cannot carry out certain actions, and that often means finding ways to adapt.

The same is true at home and in the workplace. Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act, you can seek employment in your field of training and knowledge knowing that the law allows you to request reasonable accommodations so you can get the job done. It is important that you understand the protections included in the ADA so you know your rights and can recognize when an employer is violating those rights.

Steps to closing a business

A business owner in Colorado may decide to close their business for a number of different reasons. Sometimes, a business isn't profitable anymore, so selling it makes good financial sense. In other cases, a business owner may simply wish to move on to other interests. Whatever the reason for closing, the owner must take appropriate steps to dissolve the business correctly.

How many steps must be taken to dissolve a business will depend on how many business relationships the owner has. If a person owns a sole proprietorship, then closing the business will be relatively easy because there will be no partners to notify or business organizational documents to file. A person who is in a general partnership without any partnership agreements will have to notify partners in writing about their wish to withdraw from the business.

Why those interested in selling a business should start now

Business owners in Colorado who are thinking about selling their business may want to start the process sooner than later. Economic uncertainty makes timing critical. If an owner can wait about five years, there is no problem. However, if a person wants to sell in one to three years, now would be a good time to start the process.

Not that long ago, it was assumed that a person would pass their business on to the next generation. However, things have definitely changed. Many business owners do not want to force their children into a role they do not want and often use the funds from the sale of a business to help their children invest in a new venture. Nowadays, it is more common for families to pass on entrepreneurship as opposed to actual businesses.

American says it owns trademark for 'Flagship'

Colorado residents who have flown American Airlines may be familiar with the term 'Flagship' in connection to the airline's premium services. American says that it began using the term 'Flagship' in the 1930s and officially protected the term as a trademark in 1999. On Dec. 17, American sued Delta Airlines for allegedly infringing on its 'Flagship' trademark.

According to American, Delta has been using 'Flagship' to promote the same types of premium services that American uses the term to promote. A spokesman for American says that Delta is aware of the trademark and the similarity in marketing is no coincidence. He also said that the unauthorized use of the term is creating confusion among airline passengers. American is asking the court to place an injunction on Delta's use of 'Flagship.'

Former Apple employee and designer facing breach of contract suit

A new data-processing chip may be poised to set the next standard for data centers, but the lead and his new startup must first get past legal challenges brought by Apple. The tech giant brought several claims to bear against a former employee and his new company, Nuvia. Apple's list of complaints includes breach of contract and intellectual property theft. A look at state law and similar cases provides insight on the possible outcomes.

The man served Apple as a chief processor architect over six months prior to going public with Nuvia. Apple claimed in a complaint filed in California that the former employee used knowledge gained working at Apple, violated duty of loyalty and recruited other design executives. The breach of contract charge related to the contract signed in the course of his employment.

Complexities of intellectual property in Baby Yoda cases

When companies perceive that a violation of intellectual property rights has occurred, they may want to pursue the party that has committed the violation. However, there are also situations in which the company might determine that there are better courses of action. Colorado fans of "The Mandalorian" might have noticed this playing out around the image of Baby Yoda.

The website Giphy was one of the first that hosted Baby Yoda images as GIFs. They were pulled not longer after they appeared. It is unclear whether Giphy came under any pressure from Disney, which is known for aggressively protecting its intellectual property. The GIFs may have fallen under "fair use" policy given that the creator probably did not make money from them, they did not threaten Disney's income, and they were most likely satirical. Soon after, the GIFs returned along with a statement from Giphy that they had taken them down temporarily in order to review the situation.

The best defense to discrimination claims is to avoid them

As an employer here in Colorado, you certainly don't want a reputation for having a bad working atmosphere. If employees don't feel as though they work in a place free from hostility, discrimination, retaliation and harassment, word will get around. More importantly, as a business owner, you genuinely want to make sure that your employees feel safe.

Despite your best intentions as an employer, you could still face discrimination claims from employees. One of the best ways to defend your business from these claims is to take steps to avoid them in the first place. One way to do that is to make sure you put policies and procedures in place to make it clear you will not tolerate certain behaviors.

Judge puts a halt to Nike's "Sport Changes Everything" campaign

Colorado residents who watched the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in July may have seen Nike commercials that featured the tagline 'Sport Changes Everything." The Portland-based athletic apparel maker invested $16 million in the campaign hoping that it would associate the brand with youth sports, but future ads were put on hold on Dec. 2 when a U.S. district court judge issued a preliminary injunction that prevents the company from using the 'Sport Changes Everything" slogan.

The judge issued the injunction because she determined that a trademark infringement lawsuit filed by a North Carolina-based sports shoe retailer was likely to succeed. Fleet Feet, Inc. filed a 23-page complaint just weeks after the All-Star Game aired that claimed Nike was infringing on its trademarks. The company has trademarks that protect the terms 'Running Changes Everything" and 'Change Everything." Fleet Feet says that it has been using the slogans in its advertising since 2012.

Food company accuses Target of trademark infringement

Trademark infringement lawsuits are often filed in Colorado and around the country when business owners discover that another company is using branding elements much like their own to sell similar products. One such lawsuit was filed recently by a Georgia entrepreneur against Target Corporation. The woman behind the lawsuit owns a company called Garnish & Gather that promotes food growers in the Atlanta area, and she took legal action when she found out that the big-box retailer had named their new line of premium foods Good & Gather.

The woman says that she filed her lawsuit after Target ignored a notice of trademark infringement. She claims in her litigation that approximately 50 items being sold under the Good & Gather brand overlap with Garnish & Gather products. She says that consumers may be confused even further because both brands use a leaf motif in their logos. The lawsuit was filed on Nov. 8 in New York. Target has petitioned the court to transfer the case to Minnesota.

Calculating capital gains when selling a company

When business assets are sold in Colorado or any other state, the seller may have to pay capital gains taxes on any profits realized. Capital gains can be categorized as short-term or long-term gains depending on how long an asset was held. Short-term gains are generally taxed at an individual's ordinary income tax rate while long-term gains were taxed at 17% as of 2018.

There are several different types of capital assets a company could have. Examples include land, buildings or a company car. Inventory that is sold to customers may also be considered a capital asset as well as intellectual property that a business owns. A business may also have stocks, bonds or other investments that gain value over a period of months, years or decades. It is vital to note that capital assets can depreciate in value, and a company may be able to reduce its tax burden when a loss occurs.

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