Articles Posted in Business Transactions

AdobeStock_327744070-300x200Force majeure is an important protection for businesses entering into any contract. Especially during the dramatic and unpredictable consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, business owners are wise to use and enforce force majeure clauses whenever possible. An experienced business lawyer can help you draft and use this protection properly. An attorney can also help you deal with a vendor or client who is attempting to improperly use a force majeure clause to get out of fulfilling contractual obligations.

What is a Force Majeure Clause?

Force majeure is a French term that translates to “superior force.” In contracts, it is used to address what will happen in the event of unforeseen circumstances that are not caused by either party. A force majeure clause can address specific events (like wars, strikes, and riots) or general categories (such as “acts of god”). When such a clause is written and enforced properly, it can excuse both parties’ obligations under the contract.

AdobeStock_284509904-300x203Crowdfunding has become a popular means of funding new projects. Especially here in Silicon Valley, crowdfunding is an important driver of innovation. Yet increased use of crowdfunding has led to increased regulations. Companies can now offer and sell securities through crowdfunding platforms, and as with any security, these transactions are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission. It is important for any business offering securities through a crowdfunding platform to understand all legal obligations before using this medium.

What is Regulation Crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding refers to a financing method in which fund is raised through soliciting relatively small individual investments or contributions from a large number of persons. Crowdfunding is a way to use a social media platform to fund work initiatives, charitable causes, and almost any other project you can imagine. Crowdfunding can even be used to buy and sell stock in a company. That said, stock is a security that is regulated by the SEC. As with any other transaction involving a security, buyers and sellers must adhere to SEC regulations throughout the transaction. The SEC has recognized the increased use of crowdfunding in secured transactions. In response, it has issued specific rules for the offer and sale of securities through crowdfunding.

AdobeStock_192681233-300x188Force majeure is a French term that means “superior force.” A force majeure clause is a negotiated contract provision that addresses what will happen if circumstances beyond the parties’ control affect their ability to complete their contractual obligations. This provision can be applied to manmade circumstances (such as war, riots, and strikes) or acts of god (such as droughts and natural disasters. However: we are currently facing circumstances never before seen in our lifetimes. It is difficult to know whether a force majeure clause will apply to circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Will Force Majeure Clauses Excuse Contractual Obligations During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

A force majeure clause usually applies when the circumstances have made a party’s performance under the contract either inadvisable, impractical, impossible, or illegal. The coronavirus may indeed render it inadvisable or even illegal to perform your contractual obligations. Executive orders have prevented businesses from fully opening, and some businesses remain closed altogether. If a contract required these business owners to fully open, that would be illegal. A force majeure clause would excuse contractual obligations under these circumstances.

AdobeStock_327922973-300x200Don’t let a data security issue become a public relations nightmare for your enterprise.  Huge gains in efficiency and productivity are in the cards for any enterprise that can keep pace with technology.  However, with any technological advance, risks and pitfalls are abound.  Especially when it comes to Data Security.  Indeed, many have already succumbed to these pitfalls; think healthcare agencies, credit reporting agencies, and even the US Government (remember Edward Snowden?).  Considering most businesses and industries are currently in some form of lock-down, Data Security and Data Security Practices are crucial.  If your enterprise is fortunate enough to have remote work capability and your current Data Security practices are somewhat lacking, consider these basic tips for our current COVID-19 Era.

  • Learn from your prior mistakes. It is said we can learn much more form our failures compared to our successes.  If your organization has already been the victim of a Data Security issue, hopefully you have already implemented practices to prevent the same occurrence in the future.  Continually revisiting your Data Security practices is important in many respects, to name just a few:  1) It serves to minimize future occurrences, 2) It serves to reinforce your polices, 3) It demonstrates the importance of the issue to your workforce, and 4) It could serve to cut-off (or at least limit) liability/damages in the event of a failure.  Make regular review of your practices a priority.
  • Limit who has access. Does everyone in your organization need access to all your critical systems and information?  Probably not.  Considering who needs access, and what information they need access to, is an important consideration.

AdobeStock_328389408-300x183In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. federal government passed the CARES Act, a $2 trillion stimulus package aimed at softening the economic distress suffered by American businesses and individuals.  The massive stimulus package authorizes up to $349 billion in forgivable loans through the Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses pay their employees during the COVID-19 crisis.

When can you apply?

Starting Friday, April 3, 2020, small businesses and sole proprietorships can apply for and receive loans to cover their payroll and other specified expenses through Small Business Administration (SBA) lenders.  Starting April 10, 2020, independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply for and receive similar loans.

Covid-19-Adobe-Stock-Photo-300x171In response to the unprecedented challenges presented by the Coronavirus pandemic, several Federal and State laws have been passed to assist businesses during these difficult times.  Some cities have enacted ordinances, and certain companies have announced programs to assist their customers in dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 virus.  These programs include:

Federal Programs

  • The Paycheck Protection Program

Paycheck-Protection-Program-300x156The U.S. Business Administration (“SBA”) has implemented the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides $349 billion in administered loan and loan forgiveness relief to small businesses in financial need.  Small businesses with less than 500 employees are eligible to participate in the program, in addition to sole proprietors, independent contractors and self-employed individuals.  The Paycheck Protection Program offers loans up to $10 million for business expenses including payroll, rent, mortgage interest, utilities, and certain group health plan fees.  Business that elect to participate in the program are not required to provide collateral or show that their financial hardship is related to the COVID-19 crisis.  The Paycheck Protection Program offers a 6-month grace period in which lenders are obligated to defer loan payments.  Further, business that use their loan on payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities in the 8-week span after the loan is funded can be forgiven up to the full amount of the loan.  This forgiven amount is considered taxable income.  The Paycheck Protection Program will expire on June 30, 2020.

Call an Experienced San Jose Business Lawyer Today  

To schedule your consultation with one of our San Jose business attorneys, call Structure Law Group, LLP today at 408-441-7500 or contact us online.

 

AdobeStock_330935716-300x169Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many non-essential businesses have been shut down, resulting in an unprecedented economic downfall for many employers.  In efforts to provide relief for employers, the government has passed the CARES Act, which will allow employers to save costs by deferring their Social Security payroll tax (6.2%) payments.  This deferral period applies to employee wages accrued between March 27, 2020 and December 31, 2020.  Once the deferral period has passed, the employer will be obligated to pay the “deferred amounts” to the U.S. Treasury in two installments.  The first half of the deferred amount of payroll taxes will be due on December 31, 2021, while the remaining half will be due on December 31, 2022.  The CARES Act also applies to all employers regardless of their sizes, including individuals who are self-employed.  The only exception is employers who have already received Small Business Act loans that are forgiven under the Cares Act.  These employers do not qualify for the payroll tax deferral.

Call Us Today to Schedule a Consultation with a Silicon Valley Business Attorney

Contact Structure Law Group at (408) 441-7500. Our experienced Silicon Valley business lawyers know how to prevent business disputes and proactively address other business issues.

AdobeStock_164602790-300x200Mechanics liens are a complicated legal tool with dramatic financial consequences. It is important for any property owner, business owner, or contractor to understand how this tool applies to you. Call Structure Law Group at (408) 441-7500. Our experienced Silicon Valley business lawyers can help you understand how mechanics liens work, and how you can either prosecute or defend a mechanics lien to protect your financial interests.

What is a Mechanics Lien?

A mechanics lien is a legal tool used to protect contractors’ right to payment. A contractor (and certain other parties) who have not been paid for labor, materials, or services can file a lien against the real property at issue. This lien acts as a “cloud” on the owner’s title. The owner cannot sell the property until the lien has been satisfied. In certain cases, the holder of a mechanics lien might have other ways of enforcing the lien, as well.

AdobeStock_279078466-300x188You’ve probably heard your grandfather complain that he did not patent the “mobile phone” he invented in 1942. If he had, he’d be a billionaire! Ideas come and go, but those who take the leap and protect those ideas often reap the benefits.

Intellectual property” (“IP”) is defined as a unique “product of human intellect” protected by law. Intellectual property can be both in physical form, an idea, or even a design. Algorithms, programming techniques, song lyrics, and books are all forms of intellectual property. Federal law protects intellectual property from being used by unauthorized parties. Protecting business’s intellectual property will help the business maintain the value and benefit from their intellectual property. IP law is complex, and you’ll need the assistance of a Mountain View IP attorney from Structure Law Group to protect your rights under federal intellectual property law.

Types of Intellectual Property

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