Arthur R. Lehman, L.L.C.

New York Business Litigation Blog

Target being sued for trademark infringement by Burberry

Intellectual property is important for many businesses. When there are suspected trademark infringements, it can hurt a company's brand. New York City is home to many creative people who generate new ideas, products and services. It is important that a company's trademarks are protected.

A recent lawsuit has emerged in which the iconic Burberry is suing Target for trademark infringement. Burberry alleges Target used their checkered print on water bottles, eyeglasses, luggage and scarves. The checkered print is one that Burberry has used since 1920 on their scarves and trench coats. Burberry sent Target a cease and desist letter in early 2017. Burberry states that the items Target had for sale were not approved by them and customers may believe that they were endorsed by Burberry. Burberry is asking for $2 million for each trademark violation along with damages.

Court: New York execs likely breached their fiduciary duties

New York corporate officers are supposed to act in the best interests of the corporation they lead. They have a fiduciary duty to their corporation and the corporation's shareholders. If a court finds that a corporate officer is not acting their corporation's best interest, the court can take steps including stopping a merger from taking place. A recent case here in Manhattan illustrates the duties officers have and what can happen if the duties are ignored.

On April 27, a judge blocked a shareholder vote on a proposed merger between Xerox Corp. and Fujifilm after finding that a conflict of interest existed that made it likely that Xerox's CEO and directors had committed a breach of fiduciary duty to Xerox's shareholders. The corporation was ordered to permit an alternative slate of directors to be nominated at a meeting next month.

What is offer and acceptance in New York contract law?

The contract is one of the fundamental concepts of business law in New York. Most businesses here make contracts and fulfill their terms in pursuit of success. If contracts are breached, there usually is some negotiation between the parties. If this negotiation isn't successful in resolving the contract dispute, litigation may result. Two important parts of any contract are offer and acceptance.

Offer and acceptance happens at the time of the formation of a contract. One of the parties will make an offer to the other. This offer can take any number of forms. These forms include delivery of a certain amount of goods for a certain price. It can also involve performing a service, such as constructing a building, in a certain time frame.

Grenade Beverage infringes Grumpy Cat trademark, loses

What started as a business-to-business contract in 2013, ended as an intellectual property infringement case filed in 2015 and settled finally in 2018. The owner of Grumpy Cat brand joined forces with a coffee maker called Grenade Beverage for a limited product offering based on the internet star who first appeared online in 2012 known as Grumpy Cat and owned by Tabatha Bundesen. However, Grenade launched other products beyond the scope of the original agreement, including a line of ground coffee, resulting in Grumpy Cat Limited's brand owner, Bundesen, filing a lawsuit for copyright and trademark infringement.

The suit awarded Bundesen $710,001 for copyright and trademark infringement of her trademarked Grump Cat.

What is a confidentiality contract in employment law?

When Manhattan business owners have both employees and trade secrets or other confidential information, those business owners may feel they have a problem. Employees may need access to the secrets in order to do their jobs, but how can an owner control the risk of the employee sharing the secret with third parties? This blog post will briefly describe one tool that a business owner might use for this purpose: confidentiality contracts.

Confidentiality contracts are also known as nondisclosure agreements or NDAs. These agreements are often a part of the general employment contract for an employee. In exchange for compensation, employees agree not to reveal confidential information to unauthorized third parties. Usually, the kinds of information protected are spelled out in the contract, as are the parties that the employee may or may not disclose information to.

We can handle New York business disputes

Many New York businesses invest a lot in their brands, their trademarks and their distinctive packaging and appearance. What if somebody else attempted to usurp their protected intellectual property for purposes of unfair competition? Many would find this to be financially harmful. On the other hand, if a competitor was caught unawares by another company's allegations of unfair competition, they would probably want a chance to explain the situation.

Not long ago, we told you about the Lanham Act and how it protects businesses that have been the victims of these kinds of unfair competition. The Lanham Act affords businesses the opportunity to argue that another company is unfairly using trademarks and packaging to cause confusion in the marketplace. The Lanham Act also affords defendants the right to defend themselves against these kinds of allegations.

A brief primer on business torts

When Manhattan business owners think about why they might sue or be sued, many immediately think of breach of contract. Indeed, much of the business law duties of courts revolve around alleged breaches of contract. Yet there are other possible bad actions that could result in litigation. This blog post will provide a brief discussion of a major category of business litigation: business torts.

Business torts are defined as wrongful acts that cause some kind of financial loss, either immediately or in the future, to a business entity. In many cases the allegedly wrongful act was intentional, in other cases it was not intentional but the result of negligence or recklessness. Note that the harmful act has to be considered wrongful in order to provide a basis to sue. Practices that are competitive in nature but not wrongful will not provide a basis to sue.

Three legal reasons to register a copyright

When someone creates an original work, they more than likely do not wish to see another party profit from it. While this expectation alone is a logical reason to register a copyright, protecting one's work can come with additional legal benefits.

Along with peace of mind, copyright registration offers specific pathways to legal action if someone uses a protected work without permission. Considering the relatively low cost of obtaining a copyright, it's often a prudent maneuver to make. Here are three practical reasons to register a copyright:

LeBron accuses 'Bama of copyright, trademark infringement

When it comes to intellectual property in the public eye, brands - and rightfully so - can be very protective. Some brands, such as one represented by a certain round-eared rodent mascot, are infamous for how aggressively they police and protect their images, trademarks and copyrights. It appears that LeBron James' multimedia platform "Uninterrupted" looks to be a brand that wants to be known for its fierce approach to apparent infringement.

In a letter sent to the University of Alabama, Uninterrupted accused the school's football program of infringing the platform's intellectual property. The demand relates to a series that James produces and airs on Uninterrupted called "The Shop." In the program, James sits in a barbershop and talks with guests, usually other sports luminaries, who stop in to talk sports and culture with James.

What is a trade secret in New York?

A trade secret is a type of intellectual property that can be protected by law. In New York, a trade secret is a formula, device, pattern or other information that is compiled to use in a business that gives the business a competitive advantage over others who don't have or don't know how to use the same information. If someone attempts to appropriate a trade secret, New York intellectual property law can protect its legitimate owner.

In most of the country, trade secrets are governed by the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. But New York is one of only two states that has failed to adopt it, even in part. In New York, trade secrets are protected by a blend of state statutes as well as state and federal common law. The controlling law is laid out in the Court of Appeals' decision in Ashland Mgmt. Inc. v. Janien, in which the state's highest court laid out a balancing test that contains six factors to determine if a protected trade secret exists.