Can a Court Decline to Enforce a Business Settlement After an Arbitration Process?

Are you unhappy about the settlement that your small business obtained from a larger company during an arbitration process? Read on and discover some of the circumstances under which you could ask a court of law to rule that the settlement is unenforceable. 

Doubts About the Arbitrator’s Impartiality

The arbitration clause in the agreement that your small business signed with a larger company may have given the large company the right to select an arbitrator in case there was a business dispute that developed in the course of the two businesses relating with each other.

However, the chosen arbitrator, such as an executive of the big company, may have been biased. You can ask a court of law to disregard the settlement that you accepted if the settlement was agreed upon during an arbitration process that was handled by an arbitrator who wasn’t neutral.

Lack of a Written Settlement

You can also ask a court of law to rule that a settlement is not enforceable because the settlement was not documented and signed by both parties to the dispute. Chances are high that the court will agree with you because it is very hard to enforce a settlement whose terms are not spelt out in writing.

Imposition of Unreasonable Fees

Another argument that you can present in your quest to nullify a business settlement is the imposition of unreasonable fees upon you as facilitation for the arbitration process. Usually, both parties in a dispute share the costs of the arbitration process.

You can ask a court of law to disregard a settlement awarded to you after an arbitration process if most of that settlement will be deducted as fees for the arbitration process. The court can then review the settlement and decide on an equitable way to satisfy the aggrieved party in the dispute.

No Chance to Present Evidence

Any dispute resolution process should reasonably permit both sides in the conflict to present evidence to support their claims. It may, therefore, be unfair to you in case the arbitration process from which you were awarded an unfavourable settlement denied you a chance to provide supporting evidence to your claim. A competent court can nullify the settlement if it was obtained after a process that denied you an opportunity to provide evidence to prove your claim.

As you can see, it is not a foregone conclusion that you are bound to accept any settlement that is offered to your small business after an arbitration process. Consult a business attorney for advice on how you can overturn a binding arbitration outcome if you feel that the process was irregular in any way.

How to Protect Your Intellectual Property as a Small Business

You work hard to be creative in your small business and come up with unique ideas. It would be unfortunate to have someone else steal those ideas before you are able to claim them as your own. This is why you should always protect your intellectual property every step of the way. Here are some tips for doing that.

Learn About Intellectual Property

Intellectual property encompasses any creations you have made on your own, whether it is a logo or tagline you created for your business, or an invention you made that you intend to patent and sell. Intellectual property can be ideas, designs, music and movie media, names, sayings and phrases, images, and many more things. Consider all the unique ideas you have created that you have never seen anywhere else that could be considered intellectual property. If you want your name or business name to be tied to these ideas, you need intellectual property protection.

Know When to Get a Patent or Copyright

A common thing that business owners get confused by when discussing intellectual property rights is the difference between a patent and a copyright. It is important that you understand the distinction in order to know which one you need. A copyright will protect your ideas when they are in some type of physical form and already created, such as a form of media like a book, music, or video. It can also work with pieces of art that people can see in a physical form, such as digital media like logos and graphics. With a patent, it protects something that might not yet exist in physical form, since it relates to something you have invented.

Have All Employees Sign Privacy Contracts

A good way to protect your intellectual property rights is by making sure all people who know of your ideas don’t share them with others. You are bound to share some ideas and inventions with your employees, since they might be helping along the way, doing research, and contacting the right people. Unfortunately, this puts you at risk of them accidentally spilling the beans before you have protected the property with a trademark, patents, or copyright. Make sure all employees sign a privacy and confidential contract that states they will face legal consequences if they share any of your trade secrets.

Get a Good Attorney

Any time you are going to file for a patent or copyright, you need to have a good lawyer. Look for a lawyer that specialises in intellectual property, as they will know what documentation you need, what forms to fill out, and how to increase the chances of having the application approved. You will work closely with them and discuss new ideas and inventions with them in order to continue protecting your intellectual property.