Managing partnership disputes involving intellectual property can develop between separate companies or legal entities. Questions of who owns a trademark, patent, copyright or other intellectual property can also develop when a business is breaking apart or coming to an end. How are these partnership disputes resolved? A recent case out of Chicago illustrates the complex business relationships that exist in today’s competitive business environment.
The Chicago case involves two separate companies who partnered to work on a $1 million contract with the Chicago Transit Authority or CTA. Central issues in the case involve former business associates who used to work together, and an employee leaving “Company A” to go to work for the other partner (Company “B”) in the CTA contract, and allegedly transferring trade secrets from their company email account to a personal (private) email address.
The two companies who partnered on the CTA contract made agreements by email, as they had worked together on several projects since 2006. Company “A” is cut out of the CTA deal, which is based upon a business niche and proprietary strategy developed by and “claimed” by Company “A”.
Company “A” files a lawsuit against Company “B” and the former employee alleging conspiracy, breach of contract and tortious interference, tortious interference with prospective economic advantage, violation of the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Trade Practices Act, breach of fiduciary duties, unjust enrichment and conversion.
Managing partnership disputes involving intellectual property are quite legally complex, and this case involves many twists. However, after several decades of service to the San Diego business community, I can tell you that these types of disputes are unfortunately not uncommon.
At the Watkins Firm, we work with our clients to protect them from developments such as the example above. The minimum investment required to create business contracts between the two companies, and to secure proprietary information and intellectual property pales in comparison to the actual losses alleged in the lawsuit, and the time and expense of pursuing justice in Court.
We invite you to review the strong recommendations of our clients and contact the experienced business and corporate attorneys at the Watkins Firm or call 858-535-1511 for a free consultation to discuss managing partnership disputes involving intellectual property as well as the review of your existing corporate agreements and contracts and strategies to prevent partnership disputes before they ever arise.