Articles Tagged with California

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California businesses often find themselves needing to investigate potential mergers and acquisitions, along with business formation issues when they decide to start new endeavors. Recently, well-known computer maker Dell announced that it had acquired California-based Gale Technologies Inc., although exact financial details were not released. Additionally, Dell announced the business formation of an Enterprise Systems & Solutions firm that would be focused upon topologies and solutions for enterprise and converged workloads.

Gale Technologies was founded back in 2008. At last report, the company boasted 75 employees, which may seem a small number when compared to the larger firm which acquired it. Dell is actually the world’s third largest manufacturer of computers. Its acquisition of Gale Technologies was the seventh such purchase made by Dell this year. The computer maker seems poised to redesign itself into a firm able to provide a full array of technology services.
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In the California business world, intellectual property can certainly be a hot topic. Companies with intellectual property assets like patents, copyrights and trademarks must often vigorously defend those resources. One recent patent infringement lawsuit pits California-based Apple Inc. against a company called VirnetX Holding Corp., which is based in a different state.

VirnetX filed a complaint in a U.S. District Court alleging that Apple has violated four of their patents. The patents relate to using a domain-name service in order to establish virtual private networks (VPN). This process allows website owners to interact with their consumers in a method that is more secure. Alternatively, a company’s employees may be able to access files from their work computers while they are working at a home computer in their own personal residence.
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Many Alameda County residents take their love of sports seriously. Contract disputes rarely affect a sports enthusiast’s ability to enjoy watching their favorite sports teams duke it out, but one recent disagreement may do just that for Lakers basketball fans. If Time Warner doesn’t resolve the contract dispute between it and several other providers, sports bars and individual satellite subscribers across the state who do not have access to Time Warner services may miss out on the majority of Lakers games this season.

Reportedly, Time Warner has the rights to broadcast Lakers games for the next 20 years. While some of the other networks–like ABC, ESPN and TNT–have the rights to show a combined total of 25 games this season, that means that Time Warner may be the only provider allowed to broadcast the other 57 Lakers games. Sports bars who do not have access to Time Warner services in their individual areas are understandably displeased with this possibility.
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Earlier this year, reports began to surface that businesses were asking job applicants to allow a representative of the business to view the applicant’s Facebook account as part of the interviewing and hiring process. Many citizens value their right to privacy above all and take great pains to keep passwords and other private information safe and secure. At the federal level, a proposed ban on this interview and application practice failed. However, California has recently signed a law protecting individuals’ passwords and social media accounts from exposure under employment contracts.

Further, according to reports from sources, many universities are requiring that one coach or administrator from each of its sports teams be in charge of monitoring the social media accounts and public internet postings of the athletes on that team. Universities apparently derive the authority for this type of monitoring from the fact that the athlete being monitored is similar to an employee and representative of the school through the scholarship they receive from the institution. In fact, many universities have broadened this practice beyond student-athletes to include any and all students attending the school by way of a university or endowment-funded scholarship.
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Business litigation can often seem relatively complicated compared to lawsuits filed between average citizens. A recent group of business litigation cases revolving around famed social media network Facebook could be considered even more complex than most. A slew of lawsuits have been filed in various states, including California, in the wake of the network’s less-than-stellar stock market debut. Before any of those cases can play out, however, a panel made up of several federal judges is considering whether it should consolidate the cases together and, if so, where they will be tried.

These lawsuits arose after investors decided to sue over the fact that Facebook’s public offering debut seemed to be shadowed by a series of technical troubles. There were also accusations that company insiders leaked unflattering tidbits about the company’s actual financial prospects to certain favored investors. Since the day of its public debut, the price for shares of Facebook stock has plummeted as much as 50 percent from its initial $38 value.
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An interesting breach of contract dispute is brewing between coffee powerhouse Starbucks and a family-owned food company who alleges that the larger corporation has basically put them out of business. Starbucks reportedly decided to stop honoring its contract with Mellace Family Brands, who provided them roasted nut snacks, once customers started complaining about the quality of the nut products. Mellace views that decision to discontinue its products as a breach of contract; one which resulted in the California-based food company going bankrupt.

In an interesting twist to the story, an FDA investigation revealed that the roasted nut snacks were apparently contaminated due to gas leaks in a facility that actually belonged to Starbucks, not Mellace. If true, that would seem to support Mellace’s side of the issue, rather than the coffee giant’s version. Mellace has sued Starbucks for approximately $20 million in damages over the discontinuation of their roasted nut snacks.
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Most intellectual property lawsuits that hit the headlines seem to involve technological giants like Apple or Samsung. One recent copyright infringement case stemmed from the use of iconic images of the late, great Marilyn Monroe. CMG Worldwide, the intellectual property rights firm which represented Marilyn Monroe LLC, claimed that it owned the rights to the images in question. According to them, two photography studios who had used those images-one in California and one in Oregon-had violated their copyright over the pictures.

CMG originally filed suit in an Indianapolis U.S. District Court, but the case was later moved to federal court in California and consolidated with a similar case. A federal judge initially ruled that since Marilyn Monroe didn’t live in California at the time of her death, CMG and their client did not own rights over publicity in the state. CMG and their client appealed the case, but the appeals court recently upheld the lower court’s decision.
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A real estate developer has filed a $106 million breach of contract lawsuit against the California city with which it had a 2006 commercial development agreement. Samuelson & Fetter is alleging that the city violated the terms of the contract which supposedly gave the developer the rights for developing a massive transit village next to the site of an upcoming extension to the Gold Line. The developer claims that the breach of contract stems from the fact that the city and the Gold Line Construction Authority’s plans to put a parking structure on some of the property, originally intended for development by Samuelson & Fetter, would interfere with the developer’s commercial development plans for the area.

The real estate developer filed suit in California court seeking damages in excess of $106 million. That significant amount represents alleged lost damages, lost entitlement value and lost profits. This breach of contract lawsuit could put the Station Square transit development on indefinite hold.
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Two companies — one based in the U.S. and one based outside the country –seem to be engaged in a back-and-forth patent infringement dispute. Mitel Networks initially brought a patent infringement case against California-based Facebook Inc. last April. In its initial lawsuit, the company claimed that Facebook had infringed upon two of Mitel’s patents. Mitel’s lawsuit further alleged that Facebook had failed to respond to communication attempts made by the other company.

That company’s original lawsuit apparently sought infringement damages in whatever amount the court deemed reasonable. Facebook, on the other hand, apparently responded to those infringement charges by making some of their own. The company filed its own patent infringement lawsuit in a U.S. District Court within the state of California, claiming that jurisdiction is appropriate.
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Readers may remember reading earlier this summer about a contract dispute between HP and Oracle which was winding its way through the judicial system. A California judge has now ruled in HP’s favor, finding that Oracle did engage in a breach of contract after deciding to drop its support of HP Itanium servers. According to the judge’s ruling, Oracle must now continue to make database software that support Itanium until HP actually discontinues selling its Itanium servers.

HP announced its satisfaction with the court’s decision. The company issued a statement indicating that this courtroom victory was not just a win for them but also for HP customers. The statement also declared that HP now expected Oracle to fulfill its end of the contract in the wake of the judge’s ruling.
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