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New Jersey Business Law Blog

Why do some avoid using the term "Super Bowl"?

You may have noticed that businesses, and even some ordinary citizens, in New Jersey have become increasingly coy about using the term "Super Bowl" to refer to the sporting event that took place last Sunday, preferring vague appellations such as "The Big Game." Why does the name of the game seem to have become taboo?

First of all, you should know that if you are an ordinary citizen using the term to describe a particular sporting event in a context unrelated to business, you are completely at liberty to use the term "Super Bowl" in speech or writing. According to Vox, the principle of nominative fair use applies to informative applications such as this that do not imply official sponsorship of the event. 

Copyright suit over gambling guide settled in New Jersey

Although legal sports betting in the United States is still in its infancy, people gambling in New Jersey made $1.24 million worth of bets during the latter part of 2018, according to figures that gambling regulators in the state recently released. An attempt to capitalize on this gaming enthusiasm led to a copyright infringement lawsuit against 10-year-old bookmaking company FanDuel by British-based rival William Hill, regarding guides teaching people how to place a bet.

In July 2018, FanDuel began circulating a "how to bet" guide at the Meadowlands Racetrack. The lawsuit alleges that it was practically a word-for-word copy of a similar guide that William Hill offered at the Monmouth Park Racetrack during the previous month. FanDuel allegedly copied not only text from William Hill's guide but figures and diagrams as well. In one instance, FanDuel allegedly cut and pasted text directly from the William Hill guide into its own without bothering to remove its competitor's name.

Safeguard your company by understanding workplace discrimination

Keeping employees happy while conducting business activities can be a difficult balance for any employer. While employment laws exist to protect employees from workplace discrimination, sometimes employees feel as though they’ve been discriminated against.

Three women recently reported alleged gender discrimination in the Atlantic County prosecutor’s office.  The allegations of the lawsuit include job demotion, pay differential and lack of attention to harassment reports.

Important details for NDAs

It is not uncommon for companies in New Jersey to find themselves in a position where they must share sensitive business information with third parties. These third parties might be distributors, suppliers, partners, vendors and even employees. In some cases, if the information sharing is not allowed, essential business functions may suffer. In order to facilitate these functions while still protecting companies, nondisclosure agreements are commonly created.

As explained by Forbes, it is important to clearly identify what information is deemed confidential and is therefore covered by the terms of the nondisclosure agreement, or confidentiality agreement as it may also be referred to. Despite any temptation, the definition of the confidential information should be as focused and narrow as possible to avoid any ability that it may be misinterpreted. Such misinterpretation could pave the way for a dispute down the road unnecessarily so the upfront clarity is in everyone's best interest.

Fashion focus of intellectual property lawsuit

Most people in New Jersey have seen their fair share of knock-off clothing items, handbags, sunglasses and more. Some of these things are found in obscure places and others are found in more mainstream stores. Regulating and defending intellectual property rights in the world of fashion, it seems, can be difficult. 

As explained by The Vox, copyrights or trademarks associated with creative works may well be easier to defend than those associated with manufacturing. To some people, fashion may fall in the former category but in the business sector, it is clearly in the world of manufacturing. For this reason, companies that want to protect their trademarks or other distinguishing features can endure great challenges.

What can you do if you receive a copyright infringement notice?

If your New Jersey business receives a copyright infringement notice, it is imperative that you act swiftly but not irrationally. A copyright infringement notice may seem scary, but more often than not, the remedy is as simple as paying an after-the-fact fee and/or ceasing to use the copyrighted material. However, before you act, it is important to analyze the claim, make sure it is legitimate and explore your legal options.

The World Intellectual Property Organization defines copyright infringement as the use of protected work by someone or some entity that does not own the rights to the property. The property can be a book, a photograph, a song, an article or an asset of similar nature. By law, you cannot make copyrighted property publicly available without the permission of the party that holds the copyright. 

Nicoll Davis & Spinella Supports the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's Winter Gala

On December 8, 2018, the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of NJ hosted their second annual Winter Gala at the Legacy Castle in Pompton Plains, NJ. The event kicked off with a beautiful cocktail reception followed by an awards presentation honoring the remarkable contributions made by business, civic and community leaders. The Winter Gala was the culmination of a busy and successful year for the SHCCNJ. Nicoll Davis & Spinella is not only proud to have been an event sponsor, but also to serve as Outside General Counsel for the Chamber this past year.

Important components of an NDA

If you own or manage any critical function of a business in New Jersey, you are likely to be in a situation in which you must disclose sensitive information to a third party in order to properly get business done. Before you do this or before you choose simply to not proceed at all for fear of what might happen to your information, you should know that there is a special type of contract designed to protect businesses in situations just like this. It is called a confidentiality agreement or a nondisclosure agreement.

As explained by Forbes, this type of contract essentially binds a party to hold in confidence specific information shared with it by your company. It can outline a path for you to seek compensation should the terms of the agreement be violated in any way. This path to resolution should be as detailed as possible so that if it is ever needed, there are no ambiguities. You might even want to consider adding stipulations regarding the use of mediation or arbitration. 

What to include in an employment contract

As a New Jersey business owner, chances are, you have a firm understanding of the value of finding and retaining good employees, and the first step in setting yourself up for success while protecting your workers and business involves creating a solid employment contract. At Nicoll Davis & Spinella LLP, we recognize that a carefully crafted employment contract can help you avoid problems and potential legal disputes before they arise, and we have helped many business owners facing similar circumstances take preventative measures to protect their interests.

According to Inc., in most cases, the primary goal of an employment contract is to ensure that the business and the employee have certain protections in the event that the professional relationship comes to an end. So, what types of matters might you want to address in an employment contract?

Creating a plan for internal investigations

Most business owners hope to never conduct an internal investigation. They are a stressful situation that can put your business's future at risk. 

However, they can also considerably benefit your business. They allow you to maintain control of the situation while resolving problems for a better future. Establishing a plan is one of the most important actions business owners can take to manage risk in the event of an investigation. 

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