What Are the Different Types of Commercial Litigation?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Samantha L. Pryor, Esq. with The Halliburton Law Firm, LLC.
Commercial litigation typically refers to legal disputes related to matters of business. The formation, application, and even breach of contracts are common types of commercial litigation but are by no means the only ones. Commercial litigation is a type of civil litigation, meaning that it is separate from criminal proceedings; if the law was violated, a criminal trial may also commence separate from the commercial litigation proceedings. Commercial litigation usually arises when one party wants to enforce, protect, or defend a legal right related to their business.
Common types of commercial litigation include:
- Contract disputes: Whenever disputes arise regarding how a contract is to be interpreted, applied, or enforced, it may be necessary to involve a commercial litigation attorney. While contracts are considered legally binding, depending on the type of contract and the state, there are certain requirements a contract must meet and certain ways in which it can be applied. This is why it is also recommended to have an attorney help draft or at least approve the final draft of any business contract that both parties intend to be legally binding.
- Intellectual property disputes: From copyrights and trademarks to patents for new products, formulas, and inventions, each of these types of intellectual property belongs to the creator. However, even when a creator officially registers their intellectual property as their own, disputes may arise in which another party infringes and/or challenges the creator’s ownership of the property. Copyright infringement lawsuits are particularly common but are notoriously difficult to prove.
- Unfair and deceptive trade practices: This is a common allegation typically filed by consumers against businesses and corporations accused of behaving unfairly; class action lawsuits commonly arise against companies accused of unscrupulous trade behavior. False advertising is a common subject in this area of litigation but is by no means the only way in which a company may engage in deceptive trade practices.
- Non-disclosure violations: Some jobs may require employees to sign non-disclosure agreements, in which the signer promises to keep confidential certain types of information absorbed while on the job. If the company discovers that the non-disclosure agreement has been violated, they may choose to pursue commercial litigation against the violator.
- Non-compete violations: Depending on the industry, some corporations may require their employees to sign a non-compete agreement; these agreements typically prohibit the employee from branching off from the company, collecting clients, and placing their own business in direct competition with the first, at least for a certain period of time.
- Business torts: Business torts arise when the conduct of another business or individual causes significant financial harm. Any of the above actions may constitute a business tort, depending on the damage done. Whenever one party causes intentional harm to a business or behaves unscrupulously to gain an advantage, a business tort may be possible.
To learn more about commercial litigation or for help with one of the above issues, reach out to a commercial litigation attorney in your state.