Cox Padmore Skolnik & Shakarchy LLP

New York City Business Law Blog

Ownership of marital assets in dispute in NY City real estate developer’s divorce

New York City real estate investor and developer Harry Macklowe, as some readers may have heard from local gossip, is currently working through a divorce with Linda Burg, his wife of 57 years. She apparently filed for divorce last July after it was discovered that he had been allowing a mistress to stay at one of his apartments, less than a mile from his home.

The divorce is apparently not going well for Macklowe, as his wife is fighting for more than a simple half-half division. She is also demanding additional financial disclosure from Macklowe to ensure she doesn’t miss out on any assets that may have been diverted to the mistress. She is, of course, well advised to do so. 

Navigating issues related to restrictive covenants in the employment relationship, P.2

Previously, we began looking at the topic of restrictive covenants in New York, and specifically at noncompete agreements. As we noted, the general rule with noncompete agreements in New York is that they must be reasonable as to both duration and geographical area.

Additionally, to be enforceable, noncompete agreements must be necessary to protect the employer's legitimate business interests, must not be harmful to the general public, and must not be unreasonably burdensome to the employee. One thing employers need to keep in mind is that the position of the employee against whom enforcement of a noncompete agreement is sough can make a difference. 

Don't want to be business partners with a former spouse?

Do you find yourself thinking about the net worth of your business assets while simultaneously planning your New York wedding? Some might say business and weddings don't go together, and trying to blend the two fails in the romance department. Yet, others understand that business interests often encompass a person's greatest assets, and their protection remains of paramount importance, even when (and perhaps, especially when) planning a wedding.

It's only natural that you'd want to think ahead and protect those interests as best you can since neither you, nor anyone can predict the future. You and your soon-to-be spouse intend to spend the rest of your lives together. You might even have plans to work together in some aspect of your business. Despite these facts, part of what makes you a successful in business lies in your ability to be proactive and take preventative measures when possible to avoid problems down the line. 

How can I protect my invention?

Inventors in New York and all over the nation are responsible for some of the most amazing innovations the world has ever seen. If you're developing an exciting and useful new idea, you are no doubt concerned about preventing your invention from being capitalized on by others. In this case, having protections in place early on is essential for keeping your ideas out of the wrong hands.

As illustrated by the U.S. Department of Commerce, properly protecting your invention requires a comprehensive approach to ensure it remains secure. Before actually filing a patent, it's recommended that you file a provisional application as a preliminary first step. This document affords certain protections before a patent is put in place, such as listing "patent-pending" on materials related to your invention, as well as guaranteeing a date to officially file your patent. Provisional patent applications typically last for one year but can be extended under certain circumstances.

Common small business tax mistakes

As tax season quickly approaches, business owners are preparing their documentation with great care. While no one wants to file an inaccurate return, mistakes can and will happen. In fact, many mistakes can be avoided when business owners have the right information at their disposal. Doing so will stave off costly penalties, as well as prevent a damaging audit from occurring down the line.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, integrating separate accounts can quickly spell disaster for business taxes. It can be all but impossible to sufficiently keep track of expenses when business and personal funds are kept in the same accounts. In the same token, proper record keeping can have an impact at tax time. This entails keeping receipts for all expenses, which must be turned over to the IRS upon request.

Navigating issues related to restrictive covenants in the employment relationship, P.1

For businesses, protecting intellectual property and trade secrets is an important task to ensure valuable creations and business information does not unfairly benefit other companies. There are different tools and strategies businesses can use to protect themselves, including patents, copyrights, and trademarks, as well as trade secret enforcement.

Another important tool is the use of restrictive covenants. These can come in different forms, including agreements to keep information confidential, to refrain from solicitation, and agreements not to compete. In any case, the aim is to protect the business from the loss of valuable resources to competitors. While businesses can certainly benefit from the use of restrictive covenants, employees do not.

What are some common mistakes when naming a start-up?

If you are getting a business off the ground in Manhattan, you no doubt have a lot on your mind. While it may seem like a relatively minor concern, choosing the right name for your start-up can actually have an impact on future success. Accordingly, you should be aware of common mistakes entrepreneurs make when naming their businesses to be sure you don't fall into the same trap.

Entrepreneur recommends a few tips when naming your enterprise, including steering clear of everyday words that won't allow your business to stand out from the competition. A punchy name will give your business a unique character, which is important when angling for the same audience-base among a sea of competitors.

Do I need international intellectual property protection?

Although your business is based in New York, you may have goals of expanding to many different regions all over the world. To this end, filing for intellectual property protection internationally might be necessary to ensure your most valuable ideas remain out of the hands of rivals. But how can you determine whether international protection is right for you?

According, there are a number of questions you should consider before implementing international protections. For instance, consider your current business model and whether you plan to export or manufacture products outside the U.S. Even if you plan on only doing business with companies situated outside of the U.S., international protection might still make sense for you. Also, consider budgetary restraints; are you able to cover the expenses for protecting your intellectual property in numerous international areas?

How can I select the right investment partner?

In business, the right partnerships are often a key component of success. If you are an entrepreneur in New York, you may be interested in bringing an investment partner into the fold to help you achieve goals and expand your enterprise. But how can you be sure that a potential partner is a good fit for you?

In terms of what to look for, Entrepreneur offers a few tips on what makes a great investment partner. You no doubt have an idea of what your business will look like in the future, and a partner should agree with these goals. Establishing a person's skill set is also important. Try to locate a partner that offers a skill set that offsets your own to ensure you comprise a cohesive team going forward.

What are some overlooked small business tax deductions?

To really take advantage of tax savings, small business owners in New York must take the right steps to ensure they are making the most of all potential deductions. These deductions can really add up at tax time, thereby freeing up some much-needed funding for essential business costs.

As illustrated by Entrepreneur, many business owners neglect important small business tax deductions. For instance, if you regularly reimburse employee expenses related to travel, you may be able to deduct these costs. In this case, keeping thorough records is crucial in the event you are asked to substantiate a deduction down the line. Reimbursements typically include travel accommodations and meals, as well as fuel money and fees for handling baggage.

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