New York City Intellectual Property Law Blog

Elements of a trade secret

New York law recognizes that having a formula, client list or other confidential information may be what defines a company's success. The American Bar Association explains that although the federal Uniform Trade Secrets Act provides the definition of a trade secret in most states, New York follows the Restatement of Torts.

There are three basic elements that the court will evaluate to determine whether a company's information is a trade secret.

Avoiding commercial real estate problems

Whether you plan on buying, selling or leasing commercial real estate, there are a number of problems that may arise. In some instances, these problems can be so serious that they may prevent a real estate deal altogether. There are many different pitfalls associated with commercial real estate transactions, such as contract disputes and zoning issues. By avoiding these complications or handling them appropriately when they arise, you may be able to close the deal in a more timely and efficient manner.

There are a number of things to keep in mind if you are concerned about potential issues related to a commercial real estate transaction. First of all, it is essential to carefully go over a contract before signing and make sure that the terms are clearly understood by all parties. In the event that a dispute arises over any aspect of a contract (or any other issue), it is crucial to do what you can to resolve the dispute appropriately. We know that some disputes are contentious regardless of the efforts of one party, but if you are able to reduce negative emotions and communicate with all parties involved, you may be able to resolve the dispute in a way that minimizes complications.

Reasons to question testamentary capacity

After a will is executed, challenges can arise over the validity of the document. This is especially true if the will contains provisions that seem unfair or out of character for the testator or if someone advances a legitimate claim to some portion to the estate.

In order for a will to hold water, the testator must have possessed the legal authority to create the will. This is known as testamentary capacity. Not all people who might wish to create a will have testamentary capacity. Also, a person who might otherwise have testamentary capacity may lose it if he or she attempts to create a will under the influence or some substance, or under coercion from some other party.

Sexual harassment suits and a business' reputation

We have covered many of the different reasons why businesses are taken to court, but in this post we will focus on a major problem that has created many hardships for companies across the country--sexual harassment. Sexual harassment cases surface for various reasons, whether there is a problem that is rampant throughout a company or a group of workers or single employee have hard feelings and falsely claim that they were subjected to sexual harassment. As a business owner, you should do all you can to eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace. When a lawsuit arises, it is crucial to carefully go over all the details.

Sexual harassment cases can be highly damaging for businesses of any size. Not only can these cases create problems with regard to staff members, but they can also be damaging financially and shatter a business' reputation. As a result, you should do all you can to protect your company's reputation, since these allegations can lead to lasting damage in this regard. After an employee claims that they experienced sexual harassment, it is also a good idea to make sure that sexual harassment is eliminated and do what you can to prevent future cases from appearing. Training and raising awareness are important steps to take.

Divorce, your estate plan and beneficiaries

A number of different life changes may necessitate revising your estate plan, but the end of marriage is a particularly common reason for going over a will or creating a new trust. There are a number of ways in which divorce can lead to changes with respect to a person's estate plan, such as removing someone who they named as the executor, but we will focus on beneficiaries in this post.

Whether you are in the beginning stages of ending your marriage or have already split with your spouse, a number of changes regarding beneficiaries may be necessary. For example, you may want to remove beneficiaries from your will. Sometimes, a person chooses not to leave their spouse's children with the property after they split up. Or, perhaps you wish to change the way in which your assets are distributed among your children and/or stepchildren. On the other hand, you may find yourself in a new relationship following your divorce, which could cause you to add beneficiaries to your estate plan.

Business succession matters

You are running a thriving business in New York, but you do not want to work forever. If you were retiring from someone else's company, they could simply replace you, but as the owner, this transfer is not so straightforward. We at Codispoti & Associates, P.C., understand that part of a business's continuing success is in creating an effective succession strategy. 

FindLaw explains that you will need to find the right person and start preparing him or her long before your planned retirement date. Whether your replacement will be a family member, an employee, or a recruit, he or she will need training to take on your role. Some business owners opt to transfer responsibilities gradually, allowing them to step back in stages.

Protecting the reputation of your business

Many challenges may arise and create additional stress for those who own a business, such as disputes involving staff members or unique hurdles spread throughout an entire industry. However, litigation is especially difficult for many companies to navigate and it is important for you to take steps to protect the reputation of your business during this time. Whether you run a family-owned business or a major corporation, your business' reputation may be on the line if you are facing litigation and a negative outcome in the courtroom could spell disaster in the months and years ahead.

Whether your company is being taken to court by someone who works for the firm, a competitor, a client, or a customer, the allegations you are facing may damage the reputation of your business. A number of problems could appear under these circumstances, such as other workers claiming to have dealt with the same issue (even if the allegations are untrue) or bad press and a decrease in business. Unfortunately, some companies have never been able to recover from unfair accusations and in some cases, the financial impact has been so severe that it has pushed the company out of business.

Stress, high-asset divorce, and estate planning

We have covered quite a few different topics related to estate planning on this blog, but this post will focus on estate planning issues that affect those with a high net worth. For people with significant assets, estate planning can be especially stressful and may even be challenging at times. Moreover, those who are struggling with a recent divorce can be particularly unsure of which course of action makes the most sense. As if a high-asset divorce is not tricky enough, the estate planning questions that may arise as a result of a couple bringing their marriage to an end may further complicate things.

First of all, people who are facing these obstacles should focus on lowering their stress levels. Our law office knows that high-asset divorce and estate plan matters can cause a whole lot of anxiety, but negative emotions and stress are not helpful. If you review your different options closely and have confidence in the decisions you make moving forward, you may feel less stressed out about these matters. Often, people who have gone through a high-asset divorce need to address a number of changes in their lives, including making adjustments to their estate plan.

Adopting an adult and estate planning

We have discussed different issues with regard to estate planning, but a number of other decisions may have to be made by those who are creating or reviewing a will or trust. For example, some people may choose to adopt an adult as an estate planning tool, but it is important to bear in mind that there are certain considerations which should not be overlooked when it comes to adult adoption.

Adopting an adult can do more than strengthen the relationship between a parent and his or her child. In fact, it can help the child gain access to inheritance rights, even if they have become an adult. Aside from the financial benefits associated with adopting a child, some people may find that adoption provides children with a sense of belonging. With that said, it is also important to note that there are certain factors that should be taken into consideration when adopting an adult (or a minor), especially with respect to estate planning. For example, the child may lose access to an estate plan that was set up by one of their biological parents.

Steps to take to avoid conflict as executor of an estate

Earning the trust of a loved one over many years can sometimes mean accepting duties after the individual dies. When someone names you executor of one's estate, it is an honor. That typically means that the deceased placed great trust in you and believed you would follow the legacy he or she planned, as laid out in the will or estate plan. That places you in a position with a lot of responsibilities and scrutiny.

Many people feel unhappy with the inheritances they receive. It's common for people to expect a particular item and not receive it or to receive a smaller portion of the overall estate than they anticipated. These situations can result in a lot of anger and frustration, which can lead to an heir contesting the administration of the estate, despite your best efforts. Thankfully, there are things you can do to limit your risk or protect your position if you end up in probate court.

  • NYSBA
  • Brooklyn Bar Association 1872 Justice Integrity Honor Courtesy
  • National Italian American Bar Association Representing The Italian American Legal Community
  • Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn
  • Columbian Lawyers Association of Rockland County
  • The Copyright Society of the USA
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