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California Business, Insurance And Environmental Law Blog

Unique contracts can offer more protection than boilerplate ones

Contracts are the lifeblood of modern business. They are formal agreements between two companies, or a business and an individual, for goods or services. These agreements are sometimes verbal and sometimes written. People have been known to draft contracts on any kind of paper available at the moment, although most professionals prefer typed and neat contracts.

If you intend to start doing business with someone new or if you used template contracts for your business in the past, it may be time to look at talking with an attorney to develop unique business contracts for each of your partners, suppliers or clients.

What to ask before starting a business

In recent years, it has become easier to start a business for $5,000 or less. While the barrier to entry to become an entrepreneur has been lowered, it is still important to ask several financial questions prior to starting a company. For instance, prospective business owners in California should ask themselves if they are going to sell a product or service. Generally, businesses that sell products take more money to get off of the ground.

In addition, those who choose to run a company that offers a service can probably survive with a smaller workforce. This is because there is generally no need to make or ship a service. An entrepreneur hoping to make a product will likely need to pay employees or freelancers, and they may need to pay health insurance and other benefits on top of typical salaries. Other expenses such as renting a building and the cost of materials will need to be factored in as well.

Nvidia makes a potentially risky acquisition

California residents may have heard the news that Nvidia has acquired Mellanox for $125 per share. This translates to a 5.5 percent premium and a total purchase price of $6.9 billion. Although the price is thought to be fair for both parties, it is seen as a risky acquisition for Nvidia. It is thought that there may be limited opportunities for synergy between the two businesses.

However, it is believed that the transaction will work out if there is a long-term trend toward integrating GPU and other technology in data centers. One of the potential downfalls of the deal is that it could put Nvidia in direct competition with Cisco, Artista, and Intel. Cisco and Artista have about 66 percent of the market share for 10G+ connections. Furthermore, they also tend to do better at a larger scale, which could put Nvidia at a competitive disadvantage.

BlackBerry acquisition aims to enhance cybersecurity business

BlackBerry, one of the originators of secure smartphone technologies, has become a billion-dollar security company with products aimed at the business market. In February, the firm acquired Cylance, a California-based, privately-held cybersecurity and artificial intelligence company, for $1.4 billion. According to BlackBerry's CEO, the company aims to become the world's largest firm in both fields, offering a range of products to businesses who want to ensure that their employees can communicate securely across a range of platforms.

BlackBerry became known for its secure messaging technologies from the earlier days of its time as a smartphone manufacturer, a strength that the firm has leveraged to become a leader in end-to-end secured communications solutions. By pursuing the acquisition of Cylance, the company aims to improve its portfolio in artificial intelligence and machine learning. The combined company will provide security services to over 4,000 companies around the world, focusing on math-based approaches to detecting and preventing threats.

Appeals court gives approval for AT&T takeover of Time Warner

In a case that is of interest to many Californians, a massive merger of media giants has been affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The decision paves the way for AT&T to take over Time Warner for $81 billion.

The merger had been challenged by the Justice Department on antitrust grounds. The government argued the merger would negatively affect competition in the media broadcast arena. It further argued that diminished competition would harm consumers.

Merger builds stronger cybersecurity firm

Cylance, a California-based artificial intelligence and cybersecurity firm, has been acquired by BlackBerry, the security firm that originated as one of the leaders in mobile technology. The chairman of BlackBerry said that the acquisition reflects the company's goal of becoming a leader in the AI and security fields. Because BlackBerry contained secure messaging as a part of its platform from its early days, it was well-positioned to include other cybersecurity companies' products within its overall approach. The company stated that its goal is to allow other businesses to create secure communications between their users.

In particular, Cylance has an embeddable technology for artificial intelligence that BlackBerry may include as part of its Spark platform. The merger may boost BlackBerry's business with an array of products that are often rarely used by larger enterprise customers. The Spark platform aims to provide secure communications for devices on the so-called "Internet of Things." This term refers to connected devices that use various technologies to communicate over home and business networks. However, these devices have also been criticized for a lack of security and vulnerability to hacking and malware. BlackBerry's platform aims to make these types of devices more valuable for large corporations by investing in a communications protocol that enables them to function securely without the gaps often seen in consumer products.

After a business failure

An entrepreneur in California may not always be successful the first time they operate a business. However, a business failure should not deter them from trying again. The manager of a failed startup can learn valuable lessons from their mistakes.

According to research, entrepreneurs who have failed at a first business have a higher chance of being successful the second time. Research also indicates that the chances of being successful at the second business is proportional to the time the entrepreneur spent at their first business.

Understanding acquisitions of other businesses

Companies in California may want to expand by purchasing another firm through an acquisition. There are a number of ways that companies can merge with or buy another firm and different structures that the resulting business can take. The way in which an acquisition proceeds depends on how the other company is owned. When the other business is privately held, the owners of the business can decide the selling price and other criteria involved in the purchase. In many cases, buying a privately owned business is a faster, more flexible process than buying one that is publicly traded on the stock market.

The acquisition process can involve intricate negotiations that affect the transition process, provide assurances about employees and manage the transfer of intellectual property. In many cases, the copyrights, trademarks and patents owned by a company are its most valuable assets. Research and due diligence is an important part of any corporate merger and acquisition. These are the only way to understand the true value of the deal and whether buying the business is a valuable prospect. This can involve reviewing tax returns, inventory levels, financial records and other key documents to get a better understanding of the company's valuation.

How your insurance company works against you

When you sign up for a business insurance policy, the insurance company is all smiles and assurances, telling you how they take great care of their clients and how you can trust them. They promise to be there for you when you need them most. It gives you peace of mind, knowing that your company is less likely to run into an unexpected situation that proves financially devastating.

When that situation arises, though, the insurance company changes drastically. They deny your claims. They refuse to investigate. They refuse to pay. They leave you on the hook for those costs, as though you never bought a policy in the first place.

Supreme Court hears arguments on copyright registration

Oral arguments on Jan. 8 in the Supreme Court focused on resolving a difference in how circuit courts interpret one aspect of copyright law, and this could affect some California businesses. The disagreement hinges on what qualifies as "registration". Some courts have used what is called the "application approach". In this approach, a work would be considered registered once the owner of the copyright submitted all necessary materials to the U.S. Copyright Office. Courts using the "registration approach" argued that registration had not taken place until a decision was made by the USCO.

The specific case under consideration had been dismissed by a Florida court. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit had affirmed this on the grounds that the plaintiff had applied but not yet received approval from the USCO before suing Wall-Street.com. The plaintiff's argument was that it was the copyright holder who made the registration while Wall-Street.com argued that it was the USCO.

Contact us now to begin a confidential case evaluation:

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