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Houston Business & Commercial Law Blog

In the zone: Make sure commercial space is zoned properly

Zoning laws in Texas are strict, and strictly enforced. They control how properties are utilized, including whether property is appropriate for commercial use.

If you own a business, or are thinking of starting one, you will likely be looking at commercial property to conduct or expand your business. Problems can arise, though, if you lease space that is not zoned for commercial purposes, or if you do not comply with commercial zoning laws. Below, we examine how these problems can impact your business.

3 common myths about non-compete agreements

Working is unavoidable for just about everyone. Whether you work for nothing more than a paycheck, or you truly love the work you do, your job is crucial to your well-being and financial stability.

Unfortunately, your ability to make a living in your chosen field can be compromised if you are bound by the restrictions of a non-compete agreement. A non-compete can bar you from taking a job that offers more money, better benefits, or even more job satisfaction. With this in mind, we want to clear up some common misconceptions about non-compete agreements.

Fyre Festival goes up in flames; contract breach lawsuits follow

Concerts and other events can be massive undertakings. From securing a venue and paying acts, to hiring staff and ensuring attendees have the desired experience, there is a lot that goes into these events. There is also a lot at stake, including reputations and money.

Should problems arise involving such events, lawsuits can be expected. For instance, several lawsuits have recently been filed against the organizers of the 2016 Fyre Festival which was widely considered to be a massive failure.

What's in a name? A lot, when it comes to business names

Name recognition and brand loyalty are incredibly valuable assets to any company. Product and service names evoke a vast array of emotions in consumers, and companies often spare no expense when it comes to ensuring those emotions are positive.

This is why it can be so damaging if and when another company brands or names itself as something very similar to yours. Anything the other company does -- for better or worse -- can change the way people feel about your company, which takes the control out of your hands as the business owner. For this reason, it can be crucial to take legal action against another company who is infringing on your protected name, logo and other branding elements.

Understanding the elements of tortious interference

Intentionally interfering with relationships and/or contracts and causing someone to suffer economic damages is referred to as tortious interference. This misconduct is often seen in the business world and typically sparks a dispute between companies and clients; sellers and buyers; or employers and employees.

One such case was recently filed in another state, and it serves as one type of scenario involving possible misconduct and tortious interference. The woman who filed the claim says she lost two employment opportunities when her former employer interfered with her contractual relationships.

When trade secrets are involved, disputes can get ugly

Trade secrets can be among the most valuable assets a company has. By definition, a trade secret is something that must be kept confidential. Without secrecy, the document, device, or technique in question could be worthless because it is no longer a trade secret.

With all that is at stake when it comes to trade secrets and confidential information, it is vital that business owners understand how best to protect them and, alternatively, defend against accusations of having misappropriated trade secrets.

Negotiating a commercial lease? The clock is ticking

Negotiating any type of contract or agreement as a business owner can be a complicated task. Often, contracts involve significant paperwork and legalese that seem tedious, but it is crucial that parties to a contract examine these documents thoroughly. Remember, too, that in addition to these contracts being dense and complex, you can also be working against a ticking clock.

For instance, if you are negotiating a lease for commercial space, time may not be on your side. Below are a few examples of how time plays a role when it comes to commercial lease agreements in Texas. 

Executive compensation: substantial and complex

Executive salaries and bonuses often make headlines here in the U.S., typically because they can be so high. However, it should be noted that executive compensation is often tied to performance or triggered by certain events. 

For instance, the CEO of Snap Inc., the company that owns the popular social media app Snapchat, recently received a bonus amounting to roughly $800 million. The CEO led the move to take the company public, which happened last month. Thereafter, he received a bonus of more than 37 million shares. However, he also agreed to a substantial reduction of his yearly salary.

4 things to consider before asking employees to sign non-competes

Running a successful business in Texas is about much more than having a good product or service to offer. Business owners must also manage operational tasks like making employment decisions and complying with state and federal laws.

For instance, if you are an employer, you may be tempted to have all your employees sign non-compete agreements to protect your company from competitors. Before you do this, however, you will want to ask yourself some important questions.

For businesses, social media can lead to legal issues

While social media can be an effective way for businesses to stay in tune with customers in Texas, it can also lead to a myriad of legal issues. As a respected provider of legal guidance, the team here at The Jackson Law Firm can counsel employers on what to avoid when utilizing social media during the course of business. This will help business owners steer clear of unwanted litigation, which is crucial for achieving ongoing success.

Law360.com offers some useful tips on what not to do when it comes to social media and business. For instance, if an employee engages in harassment on another employee’s social media profile, the business itself could face legal reprisal. These issues may fall under harassment statutes, and employers are beholden to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all employees. Although harassment that is relegated to social media isn’t actually occurring within the workplace, it can still result in lawsuits against the business itself.

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