Articles Posted in Business Law

In an interconnected world where business transactions and cross-border interactions are the norm, resolving disputes efficiently and fairly is paramount. International Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) laws provide a framework for parties involved in disputes to seek resolution outside traditional court systems. This article examines the landscape of international ADR laws, exploring their significance, key mechanisms, and the role they play in fostering global commerce.

Overview of International ADR Laws:

1. Arbitration: Arbitration is a widely utilized form of ADR in the international context. Parties agree to submit their dispute to a neutral arbitrator or a panel for a binding decision. International bodies, such as the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), provide institutional support for arbitration proceedings, ensuring a structured and enforceable resolution process.

Online Mediation

Online mediation has gained prominence as a convenient and effective method for resolving conflicts. In the State of California, where technology and innovation thrive, ethical considerations play a vital role in ensuring the integrity and fairness of online mediation processes.

1. Mediation Confidentiality: One of the foundational principles governing mediation is the confidentiality of the process. Our mediators ensure that the same level of confidentiality is maintained in virtual settings as in traditional face-to-face mediations. This includes securing online platforms, using encrypted communication tools, and emphasizing the importance of maintaining confidentiality to all participants.

Patents are a type of intellectual property protection that grants inventors the exclusive right to prevent others from making, using, or selling their invention for a limited period. In the United States, the federal government regulates the patent system, providing inventors with legal protection for their creations. In this article, we will provide an overview of United States patent laws, including their key provisions and the role they play in protecting innovation and creativity.

Types of Patents

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) grants three types of patents:

Copyright infringement is a serious violation of intellectual property rights that occurs when someone uses, reproduces, or distributes copyrighted material without the permission of the copyright owner. In the United States, copyright protection is governed by both state and federal laws. Understanding the interplay between these laws is crucial for safeguarding creative works and addressing instances of copyright infringement. In this article, we will explore the state and federal laws related to copyright infringement and their significance in protecting the rights of creators.

Federal Copyright Law

The primary framework for copyright protection in the United States is provided by federal law, specifically the Copyright Act of 1976. Under this act, copyright is automatically granted to original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium, such as literary works, music, films, visual arts, and software. Federal copyright law establishes exclusive rights for copyright owners, including the rights to reproduce, distribute, display, and perform their works.

In an era of rapid technological advancements, the field of dispute resolution has also embraced the digital age. E-mediation and e-arbitration have emerged as effective methods of resolving disputes online, offering convenience, cost-efficiency, and accessibility to parties involved. These processes, governed by specific rules and laws, utilize technology to facilitate the resolution of conflicts. In this article, we will explore e-mediation and e-arbitration rules and laws, their benefits, and their impact on the future of dispute resolution.

E-Mediation Rules and Laws

E-mediation is a process in which parties engage in mediation remotely, using electronic platforms and tools. The rules and laws governing e-mediation aim to ensure that the process remains fair, secure, and effective. While the specific rules may vary depending on the chosen e-mediation platform or jurisdiction, there are fundamental principles that apply.

Internet dispute resolution has evolved and become more prevalent in recent years. The internet has offered many advantages when it comes to electronic commercial transactions and communications. It has enabled e-commerce websites to gain access to domestic and foreign customers. Naturally, there could be disputes between the e-commerce websites and their customers, or alternatively, between the customers themselves. These disputes are usually related to contractual rights and responsibilities which can be resolved through alternative dispute resolution – e.g., arbitration, mediation.

Geographic location of the parties can create an impediment for dispute resolution purposes. This is especially true because in most circumstances the parties hire a third-party neutral to review their files and issue a final decision. Internet dispute resolution provides an option to have the parties reach a practical solution even though they may be in different jurisdictions. The parties and their neutral judge can be in geographically different locations and need not meet in person to reach a final decision. This, in and of itself, provides a huge advantage from a logistical point. It also brings down the cost of traveling since they can use videoconferencing technologies.

Technology tools and techniques have provided a relatively stable platform for internet dispute resolution procedures. The software and hardware technologies that are available today allow the neutral judge (e.g., arbitrator, mediator), and interested parties, to effectively participate in the dispute resolution procedure. They can securely send and receive files which may include sensitive or confidential information such as financial information. These technologies are using encryption for security reasons. This way, the parties can have trust and confidence in the process and effectively use it.

Internet dispute resolution is paramount in the age of technology and innovation. Cyber-negotiation strategies have proved to be effective for online dispute resolution providers. These providers allow the parties to resolve their disputes by submitting settlement offers and negotiating over the internet.

Cyber-mediation and cyber-arbitration are part of the online dispute resolution services. They present certain advantages and disadvantages when compared to traditional mediation and arbitration. For example, online dispute resolution is effective and easy especially since it does not require the parties to travel anywhere. It is less costly and time consuming when compared to the traditional options. However, the disadvantage may be that it is impersonal as the parties do not meet the neutral judge in person. So, in essence, the entire process takes place online and no one has the opportunity to have an in-person meeting.

In most contracts, there is some kind of dispute resolution provision that allows the parties to avoid a formal lawsuit. The provision can include language about a preselection of the service provider the parties have chosen for administering the dispute resolution process. This way, they can agree beforehand that all disputes will be resolved without a formal lawsuit in state or federal court. It is important to note that litigation can be time consuming and expensive and online dispute resolution providers can deliver an alternative option.

Internet dispute resolution procedures such as arbitration or mediation are necessary when there is an actual case or controversy between the parties. These types of alternative dispute resolution procedures provide a viable option for the parties to solve their legal claims before or during litigation. So, in general, an appointed neutral third party (i.e., arbitrator, mediator) reviews the case and renders a decision with the following caveat: Arbitration is usually a binding process but mediation is not binding between the parties.

Internet disputes arise in several areas such as business transactions that take place between commercial organizations and their customers. They take place during international e-commerce transactions. Internet disputes may also occur between users or subscribers of social media websites. In any event, all kinds of online disputes are taking place which should be addressed and resolved by a qualified neutral third-party – i.e., arbitrator, mediator.

International e-commerce transactions have expanded in recent years especially since there are multiple websites that provide a way to find and order products or services. These e-commerce websites (e.g., Amazon, eBay, Alibaba) sell a variety of products or services to their users or subscribers. So, naturally, there will be problems which is why there should be a fair and efficient resolution system.

There is a general presumption that workplace privacy does not exist under any circumstances. However, that is not always the case. The state Constitution grants privacy rights and a private right of action to file a lawsuit against employers who violate those rights. It states in relevant part that: “All people are by nature free and independent and have inalienable rights. Among these are enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, pursuing and obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy.”

The courts have decided that the main issue is whether the employee has a “reasonable expectation of privacy.” So, for example, employers are allowed to monitor internet usage or business email communications. Nevertheless, employers are not permitted to conduct surveillance in bathrooms or locker rooms. An employer may be held liable for disclosing the employee’s termination reasons, arrests, convictions, credit reports, misconduct reports, medical information, or confidential communications.

Employers are usually interested in social media activities of their actual or potential employees. They may review their social media accounts to make hiring decisions. However, California Labor Code § 980 prohibits employers from requesting disclosure of usernames or passwords of social media accounts. It also prohibits employers to require the employees to access personal social media accounts in their presence. California Labor Code § 980 states in relevant part that an employer shall not require or request an employee or applicant for employment to do any of the following:

Workplace privacy rights and legal restrictions on workplace monitoring are important issues. Many employers monitor employee activities to increase productivity and avoid workplace violations. They may use special software to monitor the network activities which can include email, telephone, and internet activities. However, they should also consider the employee’s reasonable expectation of privacy.

An employer, that has a legitimate interest in monitoring its employees, should be allowed to monitor business-related communications without problems. A legitimate interest can be established when there is proof that surveillance was conducted to promote efficiency and productivity. Employers usually inform their employees that they are being monitored to avoid violating their privacy rights. In other words, once the employee knows that he or she is being monitored, then he or she does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy. However, any kind of workplace monitoring should be narrowly tailored in time, place, and manner.

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (codified under 18 U.S.C. 2511, et seq.) is a federal statute that is designed to control the workplace monitoring of electronic communications. It generally prohibits employers from intercepting electronic communications of their employees. Nevertheless, there are the following exceptions: (1) business purpose exception; and (2) consent exception. The “business purpose exception” applies when the employer is able to show surveillance was being conducted for a legitimate business purpose. The “consent exception” applies when the employer is able to show surveillance was being conducted with the employee’s knowledge and consent.