Business principals contracting with other commercial entities obviously work hard to get things right when they engage in sophisticated transactions. In New York and across the NYC metro area, there is a lot at stake for business actors seeking to prosper in a complex and ultra-competitive corporate environment.
New York City readers may be aware of the current challenges Spectrum—formerly known as Charter Communications—is facing here locally. For those who haven’t heard, Spectrum is currently working through a worker strike, and even facing potential threats to its franchise in New York City.
For businesses, coming up with effective ways to protect valuable information and property from competitors is important to ensure the success of the business. There are a variety of ways to do this, including intellectual property protections and trade secret enforcement. Another way to do this is through restrictive covenants.
Business relationships are built and protected with contracts. These legal agreements ensure that two parties are on the same page with regard to matters like performance, security, payment and expectations.
You may not think that the mattress industry could cause such newsworthy stories, it did just that. Tempur Sealy, the easily-recognized mattress brand known for the Sealy Posturepedic, announced at the end of January that it would be cutting ties with Mattress Firm, a retailing giant in the mattress industry. The two parties were locked in a dispute over how to extend the contracts they had together. Unable to reach agreement, the parties announced they will be terminating those contracts.
NBC Universal and Charter Communications are currently engaged in a contract dispute over how Charter will carry NBC Universal channels going forward. They extended negotiations past a Jan. 1 deadline to try to work out a deal, but it appears that neither side is budging at the moment. Charter is also in hot water with Fox News, which filed a lawsuit against Charter in July 2016. The lawsuit alleges that Charter illegally tried to secure Fox News programming at a lower rate.
It doesn't matter how much of a veteran you are in the business world, or how new or experienced your company is -- in any case, you will be dealing with a lot of documents, contracts and agreements that are legally bound to be upheld. There may be varying interpretations of a contract or document, or even a specific provision or clause in a contract or document, but ultimately there is a correct way for these to be interpreted. Sometimes, to reach that correct answer, legal action needs to be taken.
In our last post, we talked about non-competition agreements and how these contracts provide legal protection for companies in regards to trade secrets and business processes in light of an employee moving to a different company. Today, we'd like to follow up on that post by discussing a growing movement to limit or even ban non-competition agreements.
Noncompete agreements are essential parts of the world of business law. Companies that use them are protecting themselves from potentially damaging situations in the future. A noncompete can be a standalone contract or it can be a clause in an employment contract. While each noncompete will be a little different, the general point of using one is this: the company doesn't want to risk exposing trade secrets or valuable information to someone who could then go off and work for a competitor or start his or her own business.
Contracts are essential to the business world. While they are honored and fulfilled in most cases, there are also times when one party to the contract fails to do what they are supposed to do in order to make sure the contract gets completed. Whether that is willful or simply comes as a result of a lack of attention to detail, the results can be very devastating. The breach caused by an unfulfilled contract is often significant, and knowing when to take action based on that breach is not always easy.