Business lawyers help businesses and consumers gain favorable outcomes from serious disputes. Some business attorneys specialize in business-to-business issues, while others consider themselves consumer advocates. Either way, if you’re involved in a dispute with a business owner, you should hire an attorney to help you achieve the most favorable outcome.
Intellectual Property Disputes
Intellectual property law is one of the most important areas of business law. Intellectual property refers to the ownership rights people or companies can have to music, literature, websites or other creative work.
The Internet has made intellectual property disputes more common than ever. On a daily or near daily basis, people are discovering others borrowing their web copy or posted photographs to post on their own sites. In addition, thanks to email, blogging and other new ways of sharing work, there is more confusion over who owns the rights to major creative works such as films or stories. If you believe someone else’s business has stolen your original work and is passing it off as their own or using it to advertise their business without permission, you need an intellectual property lawyer to help you resolve the situation.
Whenever you go into business with another person, you should consult your attorney. Business litigation attorneys can help you draw up contracts before the partnership begins so that each person involved understands his or her rights and responsibilities and so that there are no disputes if the partnership ends.
Unfortunately, sometimes business partnerships end badly. One partner may act in bad faith or keep important financial information hidden from the other. Business partnerships can sometimes ruin friendships or family relationships because of disagreements over the use of money or how the business is run. If a partnership ends badly or is causing too much strife, you’ll need a business attorney to help resolve the conflict and end the partnership.
Consumer disputes are another common problem today. Consumers may feel a business didn’t live up to its promises or actively sought to rip them off. Disputes aren’t limited to the retail arena, either; consumers often end up in disputes with insurance companies over what claims should be covered.
Business attorneys are familiar with these types of claims and can help both business owners and consumers gain satisfaction. In some cases, attorneys help state each side’s case in front of a judge; in others, they help you come to an agreement without going to court.
What Business Attorneys Do
When you have a dispute with a business owner, there are three courses of action open to you:
During a civil lawsuit, each attorney presents evidence for why his or her client is in the right. Attorneys may call witnesses and ask questions in order to prove that a company is liable or to defend that company’s actions. Civil lawsuits are usually decided by juries.
Arbitration is a process in which both parties present their case to a neutral third party, who decides who is right and what should happen as a result. In most cases, arbitration is binding, which means that both parties must agree to abide by the arbitrator’s decision. Attorneys can present their client’s case to the arbitrator.
Mediation is a process in which both parties and their attorneys come to the table ready to negotiate. The parties come to an agreement and then sign it. The agreement may need to be presented to a judge for final approval depending on the nature of the case.