3 Hour Appeal for Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

3 Hour Appeal for Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

Applicant: Mr. Chang
Nationality: Chinese
Applying For: Corporate Counsel
Time: 2013-2018
Challenges:

  • Tailoring our experience to corporate counsel
  • Walking our client through every step of developing a start-up business
  • Dealing with the myriad issues of a start-up company
  • Having less than three hours to respond to a serious copyright infringement lawsuit

 

BACKGROUND

Our corporate counsel client, Mr. Chang, had a big problem; he was going to be sued for copyright infringement, and through a series of unfortunate circumstances, had all of three hours to respond to the letter informing him of the suit. Backing up, Mr. Chang graduated from college with a business degree and just became a U.S. citizen. Now, he wanted to invest in his big idea and build a business around it: taking some of the middle-people out of the clothing design industry. He wanted to make a website and business that connected designer and consumer, allowing designers to post their own custom designs to the site for consumers to view, alter, and purchase. His company would handle the website and the creation of stock. No clothes would ever be made by a corporate designer, made overseas, shipped, and put on store racks only to go largely unsought and un-purchased. However, just because he had a business degree didn’t mean that he was prepared to begin his business.

 

KEYS TO SUCCESS

Knowledge is one of the most important tools we can arm ourselves with when undertaking something as big as starting a business, but experience is also a key component of any successful endeavor. Realizing that he was short on experience but long on passion and with an idea in hand, he came to us when he was first ready to begin his business. We hadn’t done a lot of corporate counsel in the past, but our unique and expansive approach to immigration meant that we had become intimately familiar with common and exclusive business practices and business law over the years. Because we were helping companies hire or move people from overseas to work in U.S.-based companies, we had to understand exactly how these companies functioned, what roles the employees would play here in the U.S., and why they were so critical to the success of the company. We needed to know all of these things to make a successful argument to immigration authorities, and by gathering that information for thousands of companies over the years, we had built ourselves a solid foundation from which to work for Mr. Chang. Because of that and because he was a long-time client and friend, we agreed to take him on as a client. He gave us a deposit and we began working with him to establish multiple facets of his business – everything from deciding between becoming an LLC or a C-corp to figuring out how to hire employees properly and how to document everything properly.

“Even a business degree didn’t prepare me for everything I needed to know in relation to my business. Sitting down with Joseph and the team allowed me to hash out my short- and long-term goals far better than I ever could have on my own. From there, they were able to advise me on all of the proper initial choices for my business. It set me up for a higher degree of success than I would have been able to have on my own and helped avoid some potential missteps. The company only started as fast and well as it did due to our relationship. And that relationship saved everything I worked for when the potential suit came up.” – Mr. Chang

From there, we would regularly receive correspondence from Mr. Chang about various legal issues or questions he had. Everything from figuring out how to contract social influencers to employee disputes to privacy issues all came up over five years of working together. However, Mr. Chang could rest more easily knowing that his lawyers were partners in his success. Though he suffered many of the normal issues of a start-up company, his company was never seriously threatened until the copyright infringement lawsuit came about.

The business was doing well and was growing, and had just begun to attract some big-time attention when he received the suit over copyright infringement. He had been out of town for the first few weeks since its arrival and was not made aware of how urgent it was by his staff upon his return. So, by the time he got to opening up the letter, he had less than three hours to respond. It was a serious suit and had the potential to submerge his company. He called us in a panic. We first calmed him down so that he could explain what was happening and then had him fax over the information.

When responding to any legal inquiry, whether it’s a request for evidence from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services or a potential suit, a lawyer is going to need far more information than what is just on the page of the legal inquiry. In Mr. Chang’s case, we were going to need to know a lot of the particulars of his business in order to properly respond. Everything from the process of how designers got onto his site to how clothes were made and sold to the structure of the business from a personal standpoint would be key in our response. This would have been an impossible task for even the biggest firms in the country if they didn’t already have a multitude of dealings with his company. However, because we were Mr. Chang’s corporate counsel, we already had all of the necessary information on file and we were already aware of Mr. Chang’s business practices. While it remained an ‘all hands-on deck’ situation and Mr. Chang continued to be in a state of panic, we went straight to work and we were able to draft an appropriate and full response in the space of an afternoon.

 

OUTCOME

Mr. Chang’s company was safe, and all of Mr. Chang’s panic vanished. The suit was successfully resolved without any harmful effects on Mr. Chang’s company and his business was able to move forward as he pleased. Mr. Chang could not believe the success they had achieved in such a short amount of time and was beyond grateful for their help. In 2018, our relationship with his company ended with the happiest of conclusions; one of the largest clothing companies in the world decided to buy him out to launch their own version of his site. Mr. Chang is now very well off and enjoying some free time.

*Name has been changed for client privacy.

 

Original Content

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