Month: May 2019

Can there Be More Than One Owner for a Patent?

For an entrepreneur, there is nothing more exciting than getting into the momentum of innovation, creating a business plan and a business model—not to mention an incredible business product that you know will make an impact within your industry. And even though your business may be new, capital may always be a pressing concern, and you may have a lot on your plate in every way, protecting intellectual property is just as important as protecting everything else in your business; in fact, without the proper protection now, you could find yourself extremely regretful later if someone has stolen a patent, or even a copyright or trademark.

Patents can be complex to apply for, and on average take around 21 months to come through from the date of applying. Dealing with the patent application process is a job for an intellectual property attorney, or more specifically a patent attorney. Unless you have extensive legal knowledge, writing a patent and completing the process most likely would prove to be very challenging, and considering how long it takes a patent to be approved, it is critical to have your application filled out correctly.

There may be added complications in applying for the patent also, if there is some question as to ownership. Did you hire an independent contractor who came in and worked on a dynamic, exciting new project, creating the intellectual property that was left to your business permanently? If so, you should have an airtight contract with them, detailing the work they did, the duration of their employment, and making it very clear that any work created for the company belongs to the company. If you do feel comfortable with having them as part owner of the patent, then that should be in a written contract, or agreed upon if the patent is created later and is not included in any of the details of their initial contract.

There can be more than one owner for a patent, however, and if that is the case, both should be listed on the application as joint owners. There could be some gray area, however, if for example you created the entire invention and lead the process from beginning to end, while the other person only did work as instructed. In that case, they were really acting in the stead of an employee rather than an inventor. Because innovation today can be so valuable tomorrow, it could be vital to the success of your company to have everything in writing.

The Bolender Law Firm can assist you in all intellectual property matters. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!

mediation struggles

Mediation Struggles: Could We End up in Court Anyway?

Mediation offers a way for disputing parties a way to avoid what is often thought of as the horrors of the courtroom; and while litigation is sometimes the best route to settle a legal issue, there can be easier and more comfortable ways to do so today—as with alternative dispute resolution. Mediators are often practicing or retired attorneys, but they do not have to have a law degree or even be licensed. What they do need is experience in working with parties that may be having trouble coming to an agreement, even if they are motivated to find a resolution.

Mediations are usually successful, and it is easy to see why when you explore the model. The mediator is usually much more flexible and can meet with everyone involved separately, to get an in-depth understanding of what the dispute is about, the background of the parties involved, and an idea of what their end goal is for a settlement. The mediator can often work around the schedules of the parties, even setting meetings for after hours or on weekends. The atmosphere is usually much less hectic than the courtroom, relaxed, and casual.

The mediator is there to assist the disputing parties in coming to a settlement, not to decide the case for them. Their position is much less authoritative than that of a judge, which is often helpful as those involved can decide the direction of their case—and usually much more quickly, affordably, and in many cases, amicably. For business owners, mediation also allows the chance to preserve a relationship that may have already been long-term and profitable. Sometimes though, mediation is not successful, and a stalemate simply cannot be broken. If the judge has mandated the process, then they may be sent back to try again multiple times—and if that does not, the case could be held up for a very long time.

If mediation was voluntary and a decision cannot be reached through that route, a more aggressive approach with litigation may be the only option. In the end, however, the parties involved may wish they had been able to take a simpler approach and lay their grievances to rest more amenably.

The Bolender Law Firm will advocate on behalf of clients through litigation, arbitration, or non-binding mediation. Our attorneys are experienced in representing clients in state and federal courts, at both the trial and appellate level. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!

insurance company

Why Isn’t the Insurance Company Interested in Investigating My Homeowners Claim?

While all forms of risk protection are important and worth investigating, homeowner’s is one of the most critical types of insurance—and especially if you have a family to house. Home may be where the heart is, but often it is strongly tied to all your worldly possessions and the place where you made so many memories, from first birthday parties to many years of holidays and family milestones. Experiencing major property damage may in some cases feel almost as traumatic as having a physical accident, and you may be almost as uncomfortable if you are facing living in a home that is close to uninhabitable. You may have been displaced also, if the damage was catastrophic—with your life being extremely disrupted.

Most types of accidents and damage claims have a sense of urgency to them, so if the insurer is simply not responding at all, they are sending a clear message that they do not want to deal with you. There is the outside chance that their customer service department is completely disorganized and inept and unable to get to you, but you should be able to figure that out quickly. Continued red flags mean it is time to consult with a bad faith insurance attorney from a firm like the Bolender Law Firm.

If you have ever had a claim that was handled properly before, the adjuster probably contacted you almost right away. It was imperative for you to have all your information ready, an attorney for them to communicate with if necessary, all leading to a streamlined claims payment. So, when you hear crickets it is disturbing. And you may be growing increasingly worried about your financial future if your house has partially burned or been flooded or exposed to other serious issues.  Lack of investigation is often a sign of bad faith practices, along with long delays that seem to occur with no reasonable excuse or are followed by an outright denial. Other issues often include intimidation tactics such as requests for excessive documentation, or a pressing emphasis on how important it is to take a lowball offer.

If you need help reviewing your insurance policy, or if you suspect your insurance company may be denying your claim in bad faith, contact the attorneys at the Bolender Law Firm.  If a dispute over a claim cannot be easily resolved through a call or written communication, our attorneys will advocate on behalf of policyholders through litigation, arbitration, or non-binding mediation. Our attorneys are experienced in representing clients in state and federal courts, at both the trial and appellate level. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!

business partner contracts

New Business Partner? Contracts May Need to Be Updated for Everyone

If you are the owner or a partner in a business, you may find yourself immersed in daily details. While your true job is to make sure that the clients keep coming in by the droves, you may often feel like you are able to do everything but that. Your team needs you, and you must not only be a great role model to them, but also pay them, offer enticing benefits, make sure everyone is being treated properly, and continue finding good hires as necessary. You must work with vendors—and these could be extremely long-term relationships, so they should stay as positive as possible, always. There may be landlords, real estate to deal with, and so much more.

Aside from having enough capital to maintain your business, the other most important facet to keeping your company successful is how you run it. For many owners, this means bringing in new partners. Perhaps you are bringing in one new partner of your choosing, and someone you know you will get along with – or perhaps there is a new partner joining a group of you. Regardless, business partnership contracts are in order. And while many other aspects of your business may be critical, without a sound contract locked down from the beginning, a legal issue with a partner could be extremely costly to your business.

Upon bringing in a new partner, consider everything anew—and especially if you are restructuring. What will their duties be, along with everyone else’s now? Will there be new titles? What about pay structure and profit disbursements? There should also be clauses regarding any exit strategies, dissolution plans, and more, to include a conflict resolution clause to be put into effect if there is a legal dispute; in fact, this clause can be so detailed that you will know ahead of time whether litigation would be chosen as the mode for resolution, or perhaps mediation or arbitration. Writing new contracts may also be a good time to update other partner’s job descriptions as well as negotiating some financial terms.

Do you need legal assistance with a business dispute? If so, contact the Bolender Law Firm.  Our attorneys are experienced in representing clients in state and federal courts, at both the trial and appellate level. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!

lowball settlement

Why the Insurance Company Expects You to Take that Lowball Settlement

Insurance companies know their stuff. They don’t churn out billions in profits through sheer luck each year, and they certainly don’t do so by being your friend. Adjusters often receive bonuses for keeping payout and time spent on cases to a minimum, and you can count on one thing: they are all usually very good at their jobs. This is precisely why if you are in a car accident, for example, you do not want to take on fighting the other insurance company by yourself.

Adjusters, unfortunately, may be quick to take advantage of you if you are not prepared. They may begin asking a lot of questions—and because most of us are naturally polite, it is often hard to shut them down—but that is exactly what needs to happen. Your injury attorney should be handling all communications with adjusters. This could be vital to your case, especially as they may begin asking if they can tape record your conversations, have access to medical records, and more. What you say to them, however, is what can make you most vulnerable, and many individuals walk right into such a trap after being assured everything is confidential.

With expert legal assistance, you can avoid many of the pitfalls possible if you have been injured in an accident due to the negligence of others, and have a case. Without any help, adjusters may try different tricks on you such as the delay. This could mean you are left hanging for unreasonable amounts of time as they try to find a reason to deny your claim, whether accusing you of fraud or other shocking reasons to get out of paying. One of the most common techniques on the part of the insurer is the lowball offer. With an attorney on your side, it is likely this would not happen to begin with—but if you are on your own, the adjusters may jump at the chance to give you the lowest offer possible and then also convince you that you should take it because there will not be another one.

Other intimidation tactics may ensue as well, to include asking you for so much accompanying documentation that you will be quickly exhausted and run the other direction, giving up on your case altogether. They may also try to intimidate witnesses. As soon as you begin experiencing any red flags that could indicate bad faith, your case is in peril. An experienced attorney will be able to help you fight the insurance company, along with helping you to understand more about bad faith practices.

If you need help reviewing your insurance policy, or if you suspect your insurance company may be denying your claim in bad faith, contact the attorneys at the Bolender Law Firm.  If a dispute over a claim cannot be easily resolved through a call or written communication, our attorneys will advocate on behalf of policyholders through litigation, arbitration, or non-binding mediation. Our attorneys are experienced in representing clients in state and federal courts, at both the trial and appellate level. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!