One of the most overlooked methods of asset protection for small businesses is found in the registration of trademarks and service marks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”). Many business owners might presume that their legal rights are fully protected by the mere use of their business name for years. After all, if you’ve been using the name for decades without issue, no one can suddenly come along and force you to stop using the name, right? Well…not necessarily.
Many contractors contentedly accept the insurance policies presented to them by their insurance carriers. However, it is a much better practice to be an active participant in choosing the most appropriate coverage for your business and the specific jobs that you are performing. Use the following tips to be sure your company has the best and most comprehensive coverage.
Many contractors, subcontractors and suppliers are suffering at the hands of those who fail to pay for the work or materials they supply to construction projects. This is a brief outline of ten tips to keep in mind when dealing with delinquent construction accounts.
Many businesses are surprised to learn that there is a Bankruptcy Code provision, commonly referred to as the “Preferential Payment Rule,” which generally provides that where a debtor makes a payment to a creditor and the debtor files bankruptcy within 90 days thereafter, the creditor can often be forced by the Bankruptcy Court to pay all the sums paid by the debtor back into the bankruptcy estate for distribution to general creditors. When the creditor is an “insider” with the debtor the time period increases from 90 days to one year. This Rule is found in U.S. Bankruptcy Code section 547. The impact of this rule is often devastating to those who have received payment and disbursed it to their own creditors and no longer have the funds to pay to the bankruptcy court.
Have you ever wondered whether those attorney fee clauses your attorney insists you include in your contracts really work? Or are they just words to be discarded when it comes time for a judge to make a decision in your lawsuit? Here is a true short story to show that those clauses really do work. The names have been changed to protect the innocent and avoid continuing to embarrass the guilty.
Those contractors who from time to time contract with Indian tribes* might take notice of a case from the United States Supreme Court. In 1998 the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma v. Manufacturing Technologies, Inc. 523 U.S. 751 (1998). The facts are as follows: Manufacturing Technologies, Inc., entered into a stock purchase contract with the Kiowa Tribe. The transaction was secured by a promissory note. The tribe defaulted on the note and Manufacturing Technologies sued in Court for breach of contract.
We have all encountered it at one point or another – the boiler plate contract from the out of state general contractor or property owner that would require the California Contractor to resolve disputes, whether by mediation, arbitration, or litigation outside the state even where the work was performed in California. If you are now thinking of signing such an agreement, or have signed such an agreement and have a dispute brewing, do not be bullied into agreeing to an out of state forum or resolving the dispute out of state.