Month: October 2019

Intellectual Property Topics: How is the Trademark Enforced?

Whether you are applying for a trademark, copyright, or patent, intellectual property can be one of the most important assets you or your business will ever own. And although technically you own intellectual property as soon as you create it, without solid protection from the United States Patent and Trademark Office or the U.S. Copyright Office, you may have no legal recourse later in the case of infringement

Intellectual property, although required for many businesses to get ahead and to make a name for themselves in their industry, is a complex area of law and is often intimidating to business owners and individuals who may be creating a brand, or innovating in a wide range of products or services.
The trademark is necessary if you need to offer distinction between your products and those of other companies, as well as the services your business offers. The trademark is often also referred to as the brand-name, which makes sense as symbols like the ‘whoosh’ sign for Nike offer familiarity for consumers.

With the help of a skilled intellectual property attorney, you can search other trademarks and service marks, ensuring there is not already conflicting material registered. These types of searches are important so that you do not run into a legal issue later, allowing you to apply for a trademark without worry on your end, registering with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and then enforcing legal action against anyone who may attempt to infringe.

Keep in mind also that the service mark is a subset of the trademark category, delineating not products, but rather announcing what you do. If either of these are infringed on, and you do have your trademark registered, you have numerous options—but this is not the time to go it alone! With the help a skilled intellectual property attorney from The Bolender Law Firm, you can request that the other party stop using your branding mechanisms, and a court order may be issued. You may also see an order issued for the other party to get rid of the infringing items, you may be owed damages, and infringer may even be forced to pay attorney’s fees.

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!

Will Each Party Have an Attorney at Their Mediation?

There are so many benefits to mediation for business owners today that it is no surprise most of the outcomes are successful, but often they do require the presence of an attorney. While forced mediation in other cases—as commonly seen in divorce, for example—may be ineffective when the parties are not ready to come together and agree on a settlement, for business partners or those who have been in a working relationship for many years, mediation may be welcomed not only as a way to settle a dispute quickly and sometimes much more gracefully, but also to preserve what may be a friendship or a profitable partnership that could continue throughout the years.

The role of the mediator is not always easy, and although licensing is not required, they must bring great skill to the negotiating table in terms of remaining neutral but also knowing when to step in and help all parties involved communicate more clearly. To do so effectively, the mediator usually meets with each party before the process begins so that they can gain a clear understanding of the case. This usually means learning a little bit about each party, finding out how the dispute came about, and what goals need to be met overall for a settlement.

The relaxed, casual setting is usually conducive to promoting a better conversation between disputing parties, allowing for easier resolution; and while all of that may be true in your case, if you are concerned about a sizable amount of money or assets that are involved in the dispute, it may be in your best interest and that of your business, to have an attorney present at mediation. With the help of a skilled mediation attorney-and one who is in full support of the process, maybe spending a little more, but providing expert extra protection and added counsel during the process.

With an attorney inexperienced in mediation at your side, however, you could defeat the whole process, receiving the wrong type of advice for your situation and reducing the effectiveness of mediation overall. Consult with The Bolender Law Firm for skilled representation by an attorney who will support the process of alternative dispute resolution.

We 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!

patent

After the Patent Expires—Understanding the Public Domain

Intellectual property law is complex, and many entrepreneurs may not only feel too busy to understand IP in terms of application and registration, ownership—and ultimately, protection of the future—but they may also be intimidated by the entire process, and especially when filing a patent. No matter what though, IP is important to your own personal creations and those of your business. Intellectual property allows the global economy to thrive as invention and innovation are encouraged around the world. With your intellectual property duly protected, you also then have the free time required to focus on your business and expand research and development activity.

Patents can be extremely important for inventors, and especially valuable to a business focused on creating products and processes, for example. Dealing with a patent, and applying for one is best achieved with the help of an experienced intellectual property attorney who can help you determine what type of protection you actually need as well as searching to ensure there is not already a patent for an identical or similar invention. A skilled attorney will help you through the overall process of applying for a patent, as well as dealing with issues that may arise before you gain final approval. Getting a patent usually takes around a year or more, and you may have to jump through some hoops before you attain your goal.

But what happens if you go to all that effort, not only to bring forth innovation but then also to apply and register it, only to have your patent expires after around 20 years? While this can be good for the public domain in terms of innovations and processes that are in demand, you may be worried about what will happen once details of your invention emerge. And while you may be able to hold onto some of your trade secrets, once a patent is in the public domain that means that others have access to your prized work whether you wanted that to be the case or not.

There is also the chance that you may release your work into the public domain deliberately, allowing anyone to use it without permission—or you may release it into the public domain with restrictions on it too. None of these actions are recommended without the help of an experienced intellectual property attorney, however. 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

How Does Negotiating Occur in a Mediation?

Mediation offers many benefits for business owners engaged in legal disputes and interested in negotiating. While it is often tempting to head straight for the courtroom—and especially if there is a more adversarial scenario—sometimes the relaxed setting of mediation is the best way to go. Litigation has its place in settling many serious issues for business owners and others, but mediation and goals for a more proactive outcome from all parties involved. This requires great motivation, however, as everyone involved must focus on what is important and come together to make an agreement. When proceedings are progressing along in a positive manner, mediation may be completed sometimes in just a matter of hours, or perhaps a few days—but in comparison to a courtroom scenario, much time, effort, and even money can be saved.

In most cases, mediation promotes successful negotiation, with the mediator acting as a completely neutral party. They do, however, encourage cooperation as well as intervene at times regarding communications that could be misunderstood or need further clarification. Mediators may also take the time to ask questions of both parties while at the negotiation table, striving to see that everyone digs deep to understand where the other side is coming from—and perhaps even empathize and sympathize with the other party. This can lead to not only a faster agreement and settlement, but it may also preserve a working relationship that could have been forged years ago and is valuable to everyone.

For most parties involved in a mediation and negotiation, the process runs smoother when everyone has information. This means that each side should have as clear an understanding as possible about the dispute and know basically what it is that the other party wants. For business owners, mediation is usually agreed on by all involved because they are motivated to find a solution. Numerous elements are usually required for a successful experience in mediation though, from each party offering respect to each other and a willingness to listen, as well as demonstrating what can be extreme patience in focusing on reaching a settlement, and looking beyond the emotional aspects of the dispute.

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!

fraud

Is the Insurance Company Insinuating Fraud Due to Your Financial Issues?

One of the worst parts about dealing with an accident that brings on an insurance claim is the element of surprise—and for sure, it’s not a good one–especially if you find an insurer is acting in bad faith or even accusing you of something like fraud. A car wreck is a perfect example. For most of us, any day is busy, and as we travel along our neighborhood streets or city highways, our usual goal is to get to work and then come home, along with completing errands, and getting children wherever they need to go, safely. Dealing with a car accident is much more than an inconvenience. It could even be catastrophic, resulting in serious injuries or fatalities.

Most of us are aware of the basic steps to take after a car accident, from seeking medical care to calling the police and sharing contact information so that we can file an insurance claim in a streamlined manner and with evidence—including everything from photos of the damage to the details of the police report to contact information for witnesses who were on the scene at the time; or, you may have endured some other type of disaster such as damage to your home. Homeowners’ claims are particularly devastating not only because as they say, home is where the heart is, but also because this is where you want to live and need to rest. To be uncomfortable in your own home or forced to leave in the case of damage can be incredibly stressful. To have unreasonable delays from the insurance company in the face of such distress can be extremely frustrating too, leaving you at your wits end.

While you may have done everything just right from beginning to end, from researching your insurance needs and finding an insurance agent, to paying your premiums, keeping up with your policies, and filing any claims in a timely manner and in good faith, the insurance company may not respond how you would expect or want, and especially if they are in the habit of practicing bad faith. This is often demonstrated with outright denials, unreasonable delays, and lowball offers, but there are many other forms of bad faith.

Unfortunately, intimidation of policyholders is all too common too, and you may be experiencing one of the most aggressive tactics, which is to accuse you of fraud. While just asking for excessive documentation or delaying indefinitely could be enough to cause some policyholders to get sick of the process and walk away—giving up thousands of dollars in the process—accusing someone of fraud (which could be a felony) takes the process to a new level.

The insurer bringing in a fraud investigation unit means more delays, plus the opportunity to put you in the hot seat. In the beginning, your claim may have seemed very straightforward, but in the face of such aggressive action, you may wonder if it was worth filing a claim when you are suddenly being asked to give tape recorded interviews, submit to many questions, and perhaps even give an examination under oath. This is when the process becomes scary, and you should not be navigating it alone. Consult with a bad faith insurance attorney who knows how to handle large insurance companies and will act in your best interest when they are not.

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!

legal representation

Insurers Behave Much Differently When You Have Legal Representation

After a car accident, no matter how mild or severe, you expect your insurance company to be there to help without having to enlist legal representation. This is exactly what they are paid to do, after all—and paid well according to ongoing statistics that show billions of dollars of profits pouring into the insurance industry annually. You are probably already aware that the insurance industry is definitely set in the favor of massive corporations living off consumers who many times are living paycheck to paycheck but still invest in insurance for the peace of mind in having protection of assets, even if that just means one or two cars.

The point is that we would all like to see everyone treated fairly by insurance companies, but that is not always the case—and without a skilled injury attorney or insurance lawyer, you may not receive the same level of respect from the insurance adjuster, who has a lot of power in the claims process.

Most of us are aware of our responsibilities before a car accident occurs. As policyholders, we are expected to pay our premiums, keep up with the details in our policies and uphold what we promised, and we are supposed to act in good faith, being honest and factual in the case of a claim. Most policyholders are very good about this from beginning to end, but unfortunately, insurance companies have become famous for giving the average consumer the short end of the stick.

On receiving a claim, the general idea is that the insurance company will act in good faith, take all the information into consideration, and generate a fair payment for any damage that is covered under a policy, settling a claim expediently. Sadly, even the best insurance agencies may drag their feet or delay or even treat a policyholder poorly if there is a substantial claim at hand and no legal representation. This is because insurance companies are fixated on the bottom line—not your best interests. If you are out there operating on your own—hoping to beat an insurance company in the legal system—you may be in for a very rude awakening, and especially if there is a substantial claim hanging in the balance. Remember: an insurance adjuster’s goal is to open and shut the case as soon as possible, with as little time and money expended on you as possible.

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!

policyholders

Insurance Claims: Policyholders Usually Have a Sense of Urgency

In nearly every case for policyholders, the insurer will have a great sense of urgency about getting a policy set up quickly—connecting customers with an insurance agent, finding out what lines of insurance are required, and then waiting for that check—often a hefty one! And while you are being offered a ‘product,’ and an important one in terms of risk protection, the process is mainly about the insurer getting your money. Nothing happens without your payment, and nothing stays in effect without you getting those payments in right on time—and we all know how quick an insurer is to cancel due to lack of payment or lack of action on the part of the policyholder.

Once a claim has been filed, you will also have a sense of urgency to see action and payment—but on your part, the overall situation could be dire due to a recent accident, extensive property damage, or an issue that may have been considered catastrophic. An insurance settlement will normally help cover all the bills caused by such an unexpected event. As a homeowner, if damage occurred at your home, it could have been so bad that you were forced to leave and stay elsewhere. No matter what your accommodations are outside of your home though, it is extremely stressful—and often extremely expensive—to have to leave. You may also be extremely worried about rebuilding if there was a fire or flood or other devastating problem.

In most cases, we do expect the insurance company to be on the up and up and to be expedient about paying the claim; after all, they expect fairly perfect behavior from us—so why can’t we have that in return? If you are experiencing unreasonable delays, a complete lack of investigation of your claim, or an over investigation of your claim where an insurer may even be accusing you of fraud, consult with an attorney from the Bolender Law Firm right away. Other signs that you are dealing with bad faith include intimidation tactics toward you and witness, lowball offers that the insurer is aggressive about, and of course, outright—and unfair—denials.

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!