Articles Posted in Business Transactions

Fotolia_180008799_Subscription_Monthly_M-300x200Startup companies often use stock options to attract new quality talent. If you have decided to do so, there are some special considerations when deciding the best approach to compensate your employees. Two common approaches include restricted stock and stock options.

What is Restricted Stock?

Restricted stock is a stock plan that gives particular employees a right to purchase stock shares. These restricted shares may be at a discounted value, fair market value, or even at no cost. Despite the right to buy the restricted stock, the shares are not actually owned by the employee until a particular triggering event occurs. For example, a company may restrict the transfer of the stock until a particular amount of time has elapsed (e.g., three years from the date of hire). Another example would be a condition regarding company performance (e.g., $1m in gross revenue). The employee then takes possession after the triggering event occurs, thereby lifting the “restriction” on the stock.

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Securities law is something you might hear in the news because of some violation or in relation to white-collar crime. With the wild ride that the stock market, including the gradual introduction of permissible, legal trading of cryptocurrencies (like bitcoin) and tokens from initial coin offerings (“ICO’s”), has securities laws a popular, researched and well-debated topic among entrepreneurs, businesses, investors, lawyers, and regulators. But, what are these laws? Securities laws are detailed and complex laws that govern securities. Below, we discuss some of the basic concepts of securities laws. For more information, contact a Mountain View transctional attorney today.

Understanding Securities

A security is a common word used in investment circles. It is a broad term that refers to the instrument used in certain transactions, financing or investments that are sold in various financial markets. The Supreme Court uses the Howey Test to determine whether a transaction represents and investment contract (and thus a security) by using the following definition of when an investment contract is a security: “a person invests his money in a common enterprise and is led to expect profits solely from the efforts of the promoter or a third party.” Examples of securities include:

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Palo Alto business owners are faced with heavy competition in the Silicon Valley, all of which are looking for the best practices, methods, and trade secrets. Some of a company’s most valuable assets can be found in your intellectual property. Each year intellectual property theft costs businesses billions of dollars. If you think your intellectual property might be at risk of being stolen or you can confirm it has been stolen, you need to act fast.

Different Types of Intellectual Property

In order to protect yourself from Intellectual Property theft, a business owner must first define what they need to protect. For example, if the business owners want to secure a method of a certain process, a formula specific to their company, or even lock down a logo and name to fight off competition, there will be different applicable forms of legal protection to consider and utilize. There are several forms of protection, some of them being:

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In the tech-rich culture of San Jose, protection of intellectual property and consumer data is a constant concern for business owners. How can owners invoke legal protection for these assets in order to protect their legal interests and reassure customers that their data is secure? The answer depends upon the different types of liability a business can face when consumer data is compromised.

Contractual Liability

Contractual liability arises when one (or more) parties in a contract fail to fulfill their responsibilities agreed upon in the contract. Many technology companies have contracts with consumers. These are often contained in the Terms of Service issued to users of mobile apps or software. Some can be more detailed – especially when the company is hired to perform a specific service to the customer. For example, when a company provides customers with secure data storage based on a private server or the cloud, the Terms of Service are typically very inclusive. If such consumer data is compromised, a technology company can face contractual liability for failing to provide the secure data storage offered by the terms of the contract.

Fotolia_183822998_Subscription_Monthly_M-300x176Many San Jose business owners find themselves embroiled in legal disputes with vendors, clients, employees, contractors, and other business relationships. It is highly likely that a legal dispute will arise at some point during your business operations. It can be difficult to know how to resolve such a dispute. Litigation can subject a business to unnecessary time, effort, and costs which will not always be reimbursed after a trial. Yet in some cases, litigation remains the only method of effectively preserving important legal rights.

Mediation and arbitration provides clients with the ability to settle their claims quicker and for less expense. However, one of the biggest cons of mediation and arbitration is the fact that neither party will be totally satisfied as the result of settlements is a compromise.

The experienced San Jose corporate attorneys at Structure Law Group have extensive experience in litigation, mediation, and arbitration.They can help you determine how best to protect your financial and legal interests in a business.

Fotolia_92329578_Subscription_Monthly_M-300x213Despite the fact that everyone is entitled to their day in the court, the reality is that most cases do not make it to trial.  Many clients will approach their lawyers with the hope that they will be able to quickly get in front of a judge and explain their story—a vision of American justice that is reinforced in popular media and Court TV.  However, the reality is that it takes a long time to get to the point when a party can tell its story directly to a Judge.  In most situations, the cases take earlier exit ramps, such as informal out-of-court settlement, non-binding mediation, binding arbitration, or a ruling by the Court before trial.  If a case does make it to trial, the parties often settle on its eve.  Often, the cheapest and most efficient way for a dispute to get resolved is for attorneys to work on an out-of-court settlement.  This can occur at any point either before or after a lawsuit has been filed.  Under this track, attorneys informally negotiate a resolution.  If the parties agree to it, the attorneys will memorialize the resolution in a settlement agreement.  This is often the quickest way to resolve a case, as it does not require any third-party intervention—it only requires parties who are willing to work together to settle their differences and capable counsel to guide the parties through the process.

In addition to out-of-court settlements, cases often get resolved with the help of a third-party neutral.  The decision of this third-party may be binding depending on the posture of each case.  For instance, cases often go to non-binding mediation before they move on to trial.  Indeed, more and more courts are requiring this step before allowing the case to move to trial.  With a non-binding mediation, the parties all present their cases to a neutral, who tries to facilitate a settlement agreement.  In short, non-binding mediation is like the informal out-of-court settlement discussed in the previous paragraph, with the addition of a third-party neutral who helps ease things along. Sometimes, cases may end up in front of a third-party neutral who has the authority to make a binding decision.  For instance, if the parties previously signed an agreement for binding arbitration, the case may end up in front of a private judge whose decision is final.  In other instances, the parties decide to submit their case to binding arbitration at the time of the lawsuit for a variety of reasons, such as cost and efficiency. If the case does actually end up in court, it is still unlikely to reach trial.  The purpose of trial is to get to the truth of what actually happened in a conflict, so if there is no dispute about what actually happened, a judge might rule on the case early based on a dispositive motion like a summary judgment motion.  With a summary judgment motion, the moving party argues that there is no dispute of fact in the case, so the judge has no finding of fact to make in a trial and can proceed to a ruling earlier. If a party brings a summary judgment motion, it has the burden of providing evidence that there is not any dispute of fact in the case.  This evidence may come in a variety of forms, including affidavits, declarations, and discovery responses.  If a judge is persuaded, it may decide to rule on the case right there. As you can see, getting to trial is an involved and lengthy process with the potential for a lot of different early exit ramps.  If a case does make it all the way through the end of trial, it may take a long while to do so.  For instance, a timeline of one year would be a relatively quick timeline in most cases, and it is not uncommon for cases to take several years to make it from beginning to end.

Contact the Experienced California Business Litigation Attorneys at Structure Law Group

Due-Diligence-300x200There are many reasons why thorough due diligence is indispensable to a successful corporate acquisition. Perhaps most importantly, it is a critical step in ensuring that they buyer has a comprehensive picture of what is being acquired. Both legal and financial interests are placed at risk in any business transaction. If thorough due diligence is not performed, a corporation can incur legal liability to its shareholders for losses sustained in the negligent acquisition. It can also lose significant assets, or waste valuable time and money on litigating the failed transaction. An experienced mergers and acquisitions attorney can protect your business by ensuring that all aspects of your due diligence investigation are conducted accurately, thoroughly, and with a broad-reaching projection for all potential contingencies. While it is not a legal requirement for the due diligence process, hiring an experienced Mountain View mergers and acquisitions attorney it is the best way to ensure that your investigations are thoroughly completed and can also protect a corporation from shareholder claims that its due diligence was incomplete or inadequate.

Due Diligence: The Basics

In general, due diligence is the process by which a buyer or seller performs a comprehensive appraisal of a business asset before executing a sales transaction. On the buyer’s end, this thorough investigation will examine the assets and liabilities of the assets to be purchased, as well as forming a picture of their commercial potential. For the seller, a due diligence investigation will focus on the buyer itself. It is vital for the seller to know whether the buyer has the financial means to consummate the deal. If the transaction will give the buyer any rights to management or control of the seller’s business, it is also important for the seller to learn about those processes, and how the seller’s business operations might be affected by the buyer’s exercise of those rights.

Budget-Planning-300x200Starting a new business can be an overwhelming proposition for any Silicon Valley startup business. An experienced business startup attorney can help you build a profitable business from the ground up by finding appropriate financing, effectively forecasting your business expenses and helping you budget effectively.

Finding the Right Financing

The first step to an effective financial plan is putting in place the right startup capital for your particular business. Venture capital is among the most popular financing options for Silicon Valley startups, but it is not right for every business. VC deals often contain onerous terms for profitability, repayment, or reinvestment. Not every business can meet these demands. Accessing venture capital also brings in more stakeholders who have a greater say in the operation of your business. This is the very situation that many startup business owners are looking to avoid.

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For many Silicon Valley companies, incentive stock options are an important investment strategy for maintaining long-term relationships with employees. It is important to find the investment strategy which is right for your business. The experienced Silicon Valley corporate attorneys at Structure Law Group will help your business identify its employment and investment needs, and access the tools which most efficiently meet these needs.

What Are Your Goals?

The first step in implementing incentive stock options is to consider the specific goals you wish to meet by use of such options. Do you hope to retain employees who might be considering employment elsewhere? Are there specific sales or design goals you need to meet? By identifying the specific problem, employers can determine whether incentive stock options are the appropriate tool to meet their goals.

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Hedge funds are defined as a limited partnership of investors that use high risk methods to realize large capital gains. Without an applicable exemption, the hedge fund must register with the Securities and Exchange Commission and meet complex, ongoing filing and disclosure requirements. However, depending on investor qualifications, the hedge fund can avoid being defined as an investment company if its participants are either accredited investors or qualified purchasers. Thus. hedge fund managers should consult with an experienced California corporate attorney in order to ensure that their hedge fund practices are in compliance with existing law and regulatory mandates.

The Difference Between an Accredited Investor and a Qualified Purchaser

An accredited investor is an individual who satisfies SEC requirements for income, net worth, asset size, government status, and/or professional experience. In other words, an accredited investor is financially savvy, and because of this , he or she has less need for the protections offered by mandatory regulatory disclosures. Thus, an investment advisor or group working with an accredited investor can be exempt from certain mandatory disclosures. A qualified purchaser is similar to an accredited investor, but requires a higher net worth requirement as defined by the United States Code.