Articles Tagged with “New Jersey business law”

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New Jersey business law presents no thornier area than business divorces – when a venture goes south and the owners – the partners, corporate shareholders or limited liability members – acrimoniously split up.  The Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey recently addressed such a painful business divorce in the case of Seguracolumns-round-300x201 v. Shah.

Background: Christina Segura vs. Imran F. Shah

Christina Segura dated Imran Shah.  After about six months they decided it would be a good idea to go into business together, so they formed a partnership.  The partnership agreement allowed them to engage in virtually any profit-making business.

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New Jersey Business Law and Liquidated Damages

Business parties draft contracts to give them a measure of certainty in their future relationship.  However, it is not a secret that contracts are frequently breached, so parties often want a degree of certainty about what able-account-300x214will happen in the event of a future breach.  This gives rise to greater likelihood that the contract will be performed, and hopefully limits litigation costs if there is a breach.  However, New Jersey business law, and indeed contract law generally, prohibits penalties in contracts.  Thus, damages for breach of contract must reflect actual damages to put the innocent party in as good a place as it would have been had the breach not happened, rather than a greater amount to penalize a breaching party.

But when drafting a contract for a business relationship which will be performed in the future, it is often impossible to know what the amount of damages will be.  Too many things are unknown, such as whether the relationship will be profitable and if so how profitable; and how much time will remain on the contract when a breach occurred, and thus how long the damages will accrue.   For this reason New Jersey contract law allows for liquidated damages.  Liquidated damages are an estimate of actual damages included in a contract to give more certainty about what will happen in the event of a breach.  But liquidated damages must be a good faith estimate of actual damages in order to be valid and enforced.

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rules-1339917__340-300x231Very often, a person or business will want to confer a benefit on a third party but will not be able to do so itself, for a variety of reasons.  So then, to make sure the benefit will be conferred, it will enter into a contract with a person or business which has the ability to confer the benefit.  The question, then, is what rights does the third-party beneficiary have?

Let’s say Sam wants to build a deck for his friend Joe’s house, but Sam is an incompetent carpenter. So Sam signs a contract with Acme Building Contractors, Inc., in which Acme agrees to build a deck on Joe’s house, and Sam agrees to pay Acme $5000.  Sam pays Acme in full but it never builds the deck, and then Sam dies.  Now Acme has $5000 and Joe doesn’t have a deck.  Does Joe have any remedies to enforce Sam’s contract with Acme?  That all depends on whether Joe can be considered a third-party beneficiary under New Jersey law.  The basic answer is yes, if Sam and Acme intended Joe to be a third-party beneficiary.

New Jersey Law Expressly Allows Third-Party Beneficiaries to Enforce Contracts

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cybersquatting.jpgBusinesses acquire rights in a trade name which they use in commerce, whether they register it or not. One of those rights is protection from “cybersquatting.” This protection was added to the federal Lanham Act in 1999, which protects against unfair competition and is the main federal law protecting trade names, when Congress passed the Anti-Cybersquatting Piracy Act (known as the “ACPA”).

Cybersquatters register domain names likely to be used by businesses – sometimes in the tens of thousands – and then attempt to sell them to businesses or people with similar names. Sometimes they register variations of popular trade names, which is referred to as “typosquatting.” They may also use a program to obtain domain names already registered when the registrations expire, often using automated programs, which is referred to as “alert angling,” “extension exaggeration” or “renewal snatching.” The name cybersquattnig itself comes from the term “squatting,” in which people trespass and occupy vacant buildings.
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