Author Archives: Lance Mueller

The Federal Trade Secrets Act is now law: What Businesses Need to Know

On May 11, 2016, the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA) officially became law and created, for the first time, a federal private civil cause of action for the misappropriation of trade secrets.  Trade secrets include confidential, commercially valuable information intended to provide competitive advantage. Prior to this new law, civil actions for trade secret misappropriation were governed solely by state law. This state-by-state approach was viewed by some as inadequate because it led to unpredictability.  That is, what might qualify as a trade secret and receive legal protection in one state might not in another.  The DTSA is […]

The Wisconsin Supreme Court Issues Another Ruling Important to the Real Estate Industry in Wisconsin.

In Ash Park, LLC v. Re/Max Select, LLC, the Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld a ruling awarding a real estate company a broker’s commission of $378,000.00 even though the buyer procured by that company could not follow through and consummate the sale. The basic facts of the case are fairly straightforward.  Ash Park entered into a one-party listing contract with Re/Max relative to a parcel of vacant land.  Re/Max would earn a six percent commission on the purchase price if Ash Park sold or accepted an offer which created an enforceable contract for the sale of all or any part of […]

The Wisconsin Supreme Court Clarifies the Law Regarding Rights of First Refusal.

One method of securing the right to acquire property involves a mechanism commonly known as a right of first refusal (ROFR).  A ROFR typically provides that if a seller receives an offer from a third party to purchase the property and the seller wishes to accept the offer, the seller must first give the holder of the ROFR the chance to buy the property, typically on the same terms and conditions set forth in the offer coming from the third party. The ROFR is often related to some other interest held by the potential buyer.  A tenant might have negotiated […]

Ongoing Employment is Adequate “Consideration” to Make a Non-compete Agreement Binding in Wisconsin.

Last fall [we are back after a long and busy winter] we touched on an issue important to employers and employees dealing with non-compete agreements.  That issue was whether or not continued employment was sufficient consideration to support a covenant not to compete. By way of background, there is a basic rule of contract law that requires an agreement to be supported by sufficient consideration to be binding. The idea of “consideration” refers, generally, to some legal benefit or something of value given in exchange for a promise to be bound by contract. In other words, the party agreeing to be bound […]

ELECTION DAY: ARE WE THERE YET?

We are getting close.  Mercifully, we will get a respite from the onslaught of political ads that have haunted us morning, noon and night since summer drew to a close. Yes, Election Day 2014, Tuesday, November 4, is nearly upon us.  Businesses should take a moment to review their policies and procedures and make sure that they understand laws concerning employee voting rights.  Similarly, employees should understand the extent of their rights and how to properly exercise them. The amount of time that employees are entitled to take in connection with voting varies, not surprisingly, from state to state.  Some impose no […]

Enforcing a Non-Compete – No Signature No Problem?

A recent legal opinion from a Texas Court of Appeals generated some legal buzz because of its ruling on the enforceability of a non-compete.  The Court upheld a restrictive covenant even though the employee never actually physically signed the document. In reaching its decision, the Court really touched on two important legal issues surrounding non-competes. We can use the Texas case to highlight those two interesting issues and evaluate whether or not the same thing could happen in Wisconsin. The case is Cameron Int’l Corp. v. Guillory, 2014 Tex. App. LEXIS 10767, 9-11 (TX App., 1st Dt., 2014), and involved an employee of an […]

Software Licensing – Yes, You Can Negotiate –
Here is The How and The What.

One of the functions of this blog is to address issues that arise with some frequency in practice, or those that arise from time to time with frustrating results.  Enter the acquisition of major software licenses or IT systems that play a large role in the operation of a business.  The majority of negotiations concerning software licenses or information technology related agreements (“Software Agreements” for this note) start with the vendor’s pre-printed terms and conditions or the standard “form” agreement. Both sides are afraid to negotiate.  Customers (or licensees) wrongly think that they must sign the standard contract presented or do […]

The Internet of Things is Coming – Are You Ready?

At this point I think most people of heard the notion of the Internet of Things (IoT) somewhere along the way.  If not, now is the time.  The IoT is a network of physical objects accessed and technologically interconnected through the Internet.  The objects contain embedded technology allowing them to interact with each other and various aspects of their external environment.  One benefit of this technology is that when objects can send and receive data and information, they can be controlled remotely and set to operate with maximum efficiency.  The data they collect, send and receive can be very valuable. […]

Thinking of Texting Your Legal Notice? LOL.
Please Contact an Attorney.

Calling “do-it-yourself” legal documents and related services popular is a gross understatement.  While hiring lawyers is something that most try to avoid at all cost, the bottom line is that everyone has a need for legal services at some point in time.  The unfortunate reality is that lawyers spend as much or more time (and people end up spending more money) fixing problems that could have been avoided in the first place as they do helping things get off on the right foot at the beginning. Once in a while a dispute makes its way through the court system and we get […]