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.
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.
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.
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.
Advertising is an ever-present thing in Manhattan. Everyone knows that ads almost always put their subjects in the best light possible. Still, it seems unfair when an advertisement makes false claims about either its own product or a competitor's product. Is there anything a competitor can do when this happens? One option they may have is to pursue a lawsuit against the company under federal unfair competition law.
New York business owners know that it just isn't always possible to see eye-to-eye with everyone all the time. Whether it's customers, vendors or even partners, people often have different ways of seeing things. And there are other parties that corporations sometimes disagree with, namely their shareholders. While it is often possible to work out disagreements informally through discussion and negotiation, it isn't always possible all the time.
Business litigation can take many forms, including disputes with customers, suppliers and subcontractors. But for Manhattan corporations, there are other parties who may initiate business litigation, namely shareholders. A shareholder dispute is a common source of business litigation. Recently, a well-known theme park owner found itself the target of litigation in response to allegations that statements made by company representatives artificially inflated the company's stock price.
New York business people know that not everyone out there is completely honest all the time. Dishonesty on the part of others can be costly for businesses. What options does a business person have in dealing with these costs? Depending on the circumstances, a fraud lawsuit may be a reasonable course of action. It is important to know how fraud might be proved in court.
Many compare starting a business to having a new baby. Many responsibilities come with starting a business, and many unexpected events could occur in the first couple of years. Thus, business owners, like new parents, take the time to protect their rights and interests in a new business. Yet, no matter how careful you are or what protective measures you take, the unexpected can still occur. No one expects to be involved in a business litigation situation. However, it is a matter that small business owners can prepare themselves for.
Legal disputes involving your New York business are a threat to your livelihood and the future of your company. While it is critical to resolve these issues quickly and efficiently, it is not always necessary to resort to litigation to reach a beneficial outcome. In some cases, alternative dispute resolution could be a better way to move past certain types of complications.