Articles Posted in Corporations

AdobeStock_273884130-300x200“Piercing the corporate veil” is a legal colloquialism used to describe the removal of corporate entity protection to hold shareholders or directors personally liable for corporate debts and liabilities. Limited corporate liability in California, whether through a limited liability company, limited liability partnership, or corporation, is the foundation of the corporate form. Closed corporations are the most susceptible to veil piercing, but corporate protections are difficult to remove absent illegality or serious corporate misconduct.

The Presumption of Limited Liability

Anytime damages are sought directly from a corporate subsidiary, parent company, shareholder, or director, California presumes corporate protection. The plaintiff must overcome this presumption based on the facts of each case. This can be done in two ways:

Trade-Secrets-300x169The federal Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”), which is mirrored by the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (“UTSA”) adopted by most states, provides employers with legal recourse after the misappropriation of their trade secrets. Whether employer trade secrets, defined as information that derives economic value by not being generally known, are illegally accessed by hackers or stolen by employees, there is no legal recourse for the theft under the DTSA if the trade secrets weren’t adequately protected. It is a necessary element of a claim for damages under the DTSA and related state legislation that an employer took reasonable precautions to protect its trade secrets. What constitutes “reasonable precautions,” however, is dependent on the facts and circumstances of each case.

Protecting Confidential Information & Trade Secrets from Employees

Not all confidential information qualifies as a trade secret. Accordingly, business practitioners recommend protecting confidential employer information from employee misuse through stringent employment contracts and confidentiality agreements. Its recommended employers insert the following clauses into their employment agreements:

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A market standoff agreement – also known as a lock-up agreement – is a legal contract which prevents company insiders from selling their shares in the company on the stock market for a certain period of time following an initial public offering (IPO). In most cases, the specified period of waiting time (i.e., the term of the market standoff) is typically 180 days. However, in some cases, the term can be anywhere from 90 days to one year.

The primary purpose of a market standoff agreement is to give the market time to “absorb” or “catch up” to the sale of recent new stock shares which are issued as part of the IPO. Otherwise, if company insiders or other individuals who hold stock in the company begin to sell their shares immediately, the stock’s value will more than likely decline quickly.

In most cases where company stock is issued to company employees, there is a standard clause in the written agreement which allows for insider sales to be locked during the IPO period. For more information about whether you or your company need a market standoff agreement, you should contact the corporate attorneys at Structure Law Group as soon as possible.

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Business law  frequently consists of contractual relationships. Contracts between business owners, shareholders, employees, clients, and vendors  are the very bones on which many businesses are formed. A single breach of contract litigation case in California, like a single broken bone, can cripple your entire business. For this reason, California law permits businesses to recover monetary damages for a breach of contract. Some damages are available by statutory law while others are specified in the contract. Strong business contracts can make or break your company. While you can’t prevent a breach of contract, you can often design contracts to maximum your position.

Litigating a Breach of Contract Case with a Los Angeles Litigation Attorney 

California Breach of contract litigation can get complicated, but a plaintiff Los Angeles Litigation Attorney must prove the following basic elements:

So, you’ve decided to incorporate your business in California and form a corporation. This corporate structure provides multiple benefits in California, including certain California tax benefits and legal protections. Every state has different requirements for forming a corporation, and California is no different. Whether you’re incorporating a new business, a small business converting to a corporation, or a multi-national corporation coming to the states, the experienced corporate attorneys at Structure Law Group, LLP can help. Contact our experienced business attorneys at 408-441-7500 or online to schedule your free corporate consultation.

Types of Corporate Entities in California 

There are multiple types of business entities in California. From a sole proprietorship to a general stock corporation, you must choose the entity that’s right for you. Once you elect to form a California corporation, you must choose which type of corporation best suits your business. California recognizes the following types of corporations:

Avoiding the Most Common Business Lawsuits 

Defending against any lawsuit has the potential to sink a Silicon Valley start-up. You must defend against even frivolous litigation especially so in today’s fast-paced and ever-expanding startup industry. There is no way to bulletproof a business from all litigation, but there are ways to greatly reduce the likelihood of lawsuits and their financial impact on your business. The experienced business litigation attorneys at Structure Law Group, LLP can help advise and protect start-ups against business litigation before it happens. While you can’t protect against all litigation, you can protect against the most common legal complaints against businesses. Business attorneys commonly defend against the following lawsuits:

  1. Breach of Contract Claims – Sometimes start-ups enter into contracts that aren’t favorable, or they run out of funding to fulfill their obligations. The business lawyers at Structure Law Group can review and draft the terms of any proposed contracts and include certain protective indemnification and liquidated damage clauses to reduce the cost of or prevent litigation.

In the Silicon Valley technology sector, intellectual property is more than just a buzzword. It is an asset with the potential to generate significant income for years to come. Intellectual property includes patents, copyrights, and trademarks. Many employers protect their intellectual property with invention assignment agreements and confidentiality agreements.

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What types of Agreement can be used to protect my company’s intellectual property?

There are many different types of agreements that employers can use to protect their intellectual property. The appropriate one for your business depends on what specific protections your business wishes to enact. An invention assignment agreement is a contract that establishes the employer’s ownership over all creations (including patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and other inventions) that are created at the employer’s expense on company time.

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In many instances, an offering memorandum – also commonly known as an OM or an “offering memo” – is something which is necessary in order to raise a certain amount of capital from corporate investors. This document is also one of the most important documents to hand to a company investor, in addition to the company’s business plan.

While the main purpose of a company’s business plan is to detail the company’s model and how the company plans to make money, the offering memorandum is a document which lays out what the company’s investors will obtain in return for their overall investment in the company. Once an offering memorandum is given to an investor, he or she can then choose to invest in the company based upon the financial information contained therein.

For more information about drafting a complete offering memorandum, you should contact the Silicon Valley corporate attorneys at Structure Law Group today.

Fotolia_79495533_Subscription_Monthly_M-300x200Any business that deals with customers – meaning all businesses – has customers that are habitually slow to pay for the goods or services that they purchase. Unlike retail transactions such as those that occur at a grocery store, many business-to-business transactions are not immediately completed. Customers don’t necessarily have to pay before the goods or services leave the building. Payment terms might be 30 days net or 60 days net, but the customer has time to pay for what they have purchased. But what can you do when those 30 or 60 days pass by without a payment? And what can you do if that time continues to drag on and months go by without a payment from your customer?

Don’t Delay with Delinquent Customers

There are many reasons – and excuses – for delayed payments or nonpayment by customers. If you invoice by mail, it is possible that the invoice was not delivered, or that it was lost internally at the customer’s business. Depending upon the size of the business, it is possible that no one at the customer’s business knows that a bill has not been paid. Reasons and excuses aside, your business cannot afford to operate without being paid.

Fotolia_189107114_Subscription_Monthly_M-300x200Perhaps more so than any other kind of business structure, a partnership is heavily reliant upon the personal relationships among the partners. If those relationships are good, the partnership has a much better chance to function smoothly. If not, the personal nature of partnerships generally means that rocky personal relationships will lead to a rocky business relationship. All too often, partners join up based on prior personal relationships that were good, only to find they did not consider business philosophies before forming the partnership. Business differences can lead to personal differences, making it that much more unlikely that the partnership’s problems can be worked out.

Start Early to Avoid Partnership Disputes

Partnerships often are formed by people working in the same industry or friends who develop an idea together. They are common in the practice of law, as well as in a number of different small businesses. Partnerships are frequently a few individuals joining together to start a business. There are steps they should take to minimize the possibility of disputes. These steps include: