Seattle has an impressive diversity in its local economy and jobs. The city has a range of legal, education, financial, healthcare, and technical jobs, including many in the computer sciences. Sometimes, it can be interesting to take a step back and analyze what some industries deal with when it comes to business litigation. With such success and wealth in Seattle’s business professionals, it’s inevitable that the area will see some significant legal battles.
Microsoft and Motorola
If you haven’t been following the battle between these two tech giants, this business litigation story begins with Seattle-based Microsoft and a fight over patents. Microsoft argued that Motorola Mobility, a telecommunications company now owned by Google, was demanding unreasonable patent royalties from Microsoft totaling $4 billion annually for sales of Xbox and Windows that relied on Motorola’s patents for video compression and wireless usage. Motorola argued that it was merely trying to defend itself from Microsoft, who was out for blood after Motorola switched to the Android platform to power its smartphone products. It will be interesting to see the result of this feud.
Prium Won’t Pay Its Creditors
Two men named Tom Price and Hyun Um ran a large business called Prium, filing for bankruptcy three years ago. They are reluctant to pay back their creditors, only offering $10,000 per month, while living in expensive real estate and drawing salaries of $20,000 per month. This is a corporate lawsuit case concerning the potential of fraud, or at the very least, of deliberately obfuscating the reality of their financial situation and their accounting. In litigation defense, Prium’s very own accountant admitted that their records contain some “departures from accounting principles.” In the meantime, the number of lawsuits against them has topped 40. With bankruptcy on the rise, we could be seeing more cases like this in the coming years.
Bitcoin Business Litigation
For a while now, there has been a new currency, known as bitcoin, introduced as a sort of cyber currency that’s independently created and not influenced by any central authority. There are two major players in this electronic cash system who have been gaining some traction in recent years: the Tokyo-based Mt.Gox and the Seattle-based CoinLab. CoinLab was supposed to be Mt.Gox’s North American agent, and the two entered into a partnership last February, but by May 2013, there were claims of a breach of contract. CoinLab is suing Mt.Gox for breaching exclusivity provisions in their agreement and directly servicing customers in North America. Mt.Gox is countersuing, claiming that CoinLab still has $5.3 million of the money it received from Mt.Gox customers. This is why it’s so important to have a business lawyer clearly lay out terms in an operating agreement before forming any kind of partnership.
These are just some of the many business litigation cases that Seattle and Seattle-based companies are going through, but it provides us with a broader look at the various instances of corporate lawsuits and what companies sometimes have to contend with when they partner together. Of course, the best course of action is prevention in the form of professional legal services.