In many ways, contracts are one of the most important foundations of business. A valid contract allows two parties to lay out the terms of a business deal or relationship in a way that is legally binding.
A Massachusetts store that sells supplies for do-it-yourself makers of beer and wine saw an eight-month trademark dispute finally come to a close. The shop, Strange Brew, had targeted a Virginia craft brewery known as Strangeways Brewing in the business litigation after Strangeways attempted to register its name as a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Strange Brew's opposition to the trademark request was filed in May 2013, shortly before the brewery started selling beer.
What Lexmark, off-brand printer cartridges and an ice cream parlor have in common has become the subject of a United States Supreme Court debate. The debate is centered around how to determine who can bring about false advertising claims under federal law.
The owner of a Massachusetts office building sued the developer of a $1.6 billion project for allegedly not paying rent and attempting to get the building's tenants to relocate. The contract dispute pitted the owner against the redevelopment company that was charged with revitalizing downtown Quincy. The redeveloper was hit with a breach of contract suit in the amount of $12.9 million, which was the agreed-upon price for the owner to be paid for the building. A partner with Street-Works reported that the dispute was almost settled.
Massachusetts businesses may be interested in an article that looks at potential issues with worldwide intellectual property protection for the pharmaceutical industry. A new trade agreement could have implications not just for drug companies, but for many businesses that interact with the global economy.
Massachusetts residents understand the need to have insurance contracts that provide adequate coverage for disasters and the importance of having the terms of the contracts carried out. United States-based insurer, HCI, has won a breach of contract dispute that it filed against Aon Benfield (AON). According to HCI, in 2009, it signed a revenue sharing agreement (RSA) with AON. AON helped HCI secure reinsurance coverage for catastrophes like hurricanes and, in turn, received fees from the reinsurers. When HCI signed with another intermediary the following year, AON refused to pay HCI the amounts it owed under the 2009 RSA.
When a company owner hires vendors to manage and facilitate portions of their property or business, it is imperative that the two parties sign a contract. Business contracts should try to define the responsibilities and actions of each partner under every possible circumstance including tax ramifications, business plans and budgets, and how to handle disputes and breaches. When those contracts and business agreements are also affected by municipal permits, the waters get even murkier.
Have you ever hired somebody to do some home improvement or contracting for you, only to wind up with piles of lumber or landscaping rock left in your driveway? If you have, you are not alone. Last year, the Massachusetts Better Business Bureau and other state and federal agencies received more complaints about contractors than any other consumer grievance. Used cars, foreclosure schemes and insurance policy complaints rounded out the top consumer disputes filed in 2011 throughout the state.
When billions of dollars and world-renowned brands are involved, more than the stock market numbers are at risk. Corporate reputations and the possibility of doing future business with new partners are also at stake. That's why developing contracts that protect the livelihood of your Massachusetts company, now and in the future, are vital.