Business Contracts – Lessons Learned from COVID

as published in the Boston Business Journal, and The American Bar Association   Peter Kelman, Esq. Several weeks ago, a client asked for advice with respect to this COVID induced situation.  His best customer had retained his company to perform $2,000,000 worth of services to host an elaborate corporate party in May of this year.  My client had already received $1,500,000 under the contract, and had spent about $1,000,000 in advance payments to vendors.  Given COVID, the customer notified my client that the party was off and that it was cancelling the contract.  The customer wanted his money back. My …

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The WHO CARES Act

  On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law the bill entitled the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act” or the “CARES Act.” I suspect that this title was an abbreviation of the original, more accurately descriptive title: “We Help Ourselves: Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act” or the “WHO CARES Act.”  The original title captured the true spirit of the law. And WHO was the muse in WHOse honor the WHO CARES Act was entitled?  None other than the First Lady, WHOse custom designed jackets broadcast the truth about the concerns motivating our legislators WHO passed …

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How to Dance with a Partner Without Being Stepped On

By Peter Kelman, Esq.   Published in Mass High Tech, November 18, 2002. Introduction Now that the squeeze is on to be leaner and more efficient than ever, companies are turning to “partners” to help market, distribute and develop their products.  The premise is simple: you can spread the word about your products by taking advantage of the connections that another company has created.  In today’s highly networked world, the notion makes sense.  If you have a core product or competency, partner with another organization that can add value and market it to their customers.  Take a tip from Nike: …

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Recycled Intellectual Property – Phoenix from the Ashes

  This article appeared in substantially the same form in the Boston Law Tribune, June 3, 2002 edition.   By Peter Kelman, Esq.    and Jonathan Nilsen, Esq. Dots may com and dots may go but what happens to the underlying concepts, or intellectual property, behind the dots?  Presumably within each Internet and e-commerce venture that has come and gone there was some kernel idea or core technology that ignited initial investment and development.  But when a company goes down in flames, does its intellectual property (I.P.) go up in smoke, or can it provide the fuel for another venture?  …

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The Shape of Things to Come

By Peter Kelman, Esq. This article appeared in substantially the same form in the Boston Business Journal, November 12, 2001. What are we to make of the post-new economy?  Or more importantly for businesses that grease the wheels of the economy – banks, law firms, and accounting firms – how are we to staff for the post-new economy?  There is a disconcerting quiet in the Boston financial services community.  After the nose-to-the-grindstone, no-time-to-breathe, go-go 90’s, many professionals are unnerved by the current slowdown in business deals.  The smell of the flowers simply can’t substitute for the smell of money. The …

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The Name Game, or Who is Kicking ICANN’S Can?

“C’mon people, if we all cooperate, we can get through this thing.” – Chip Monk, Woodstock, 1969. By Peter Kelman, Esq. This article appeared in substantially the same form in the Boston Business Journal, August 24, 2001. While ecommerce undergoes its shakeout, the Internet infrastructure undergoes a shakedown.   Like physical real estate, the real estate of cyberspace has one key: location, location, location.  To navigate cyberspace, just like to navigate physical space, you need a map.  Today, the issue is who gets to draw the map, and if there is no consensus, can there be more than one map?  Even …

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To Err is Human, To Prepare is Good Business

By Peter Kelman, Esq. This article appeared in substantially the same form in the Boston Law Tribune, April 30, 2001. You would not deposit money in a bank that did not lock its vault.  You would not bring a ring for repair to a jeweler that did not secure its premises.  As consumers, we expect that merchants will take appropriate steps to safeguard our property.  In the world of traditional retail, where we interact with merchants whose “sites” are stores, we feel capable of assessing the security of that which we can see and touch.  Think of the assurance you …

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Electronic Signatures – The Law of the Land

By Peter Kelman, Esq.   This article appeared in substantially the same form in the Mass HighTech, February 5, 2001. As of October 1st of 2000, typing your name at the bottom of an e-mail may be enough to create an enforceable contract.  Such is the result of the legislation passed by Congress this summer that recently took effect.  The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, or E-SIGN (certainly one of the better acronyms for federal legislation) was enacted to facilitate electronic commerce.  E-SIGN is a federal statute (Public Law 106-229) that affects transactions involving interstate commerce conducted …

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Beware of What You Offer – It May be Accepted

By Peter B. Kelman, Esq.      Danielle N. Cannito, Esq.   This article appeared in substantially the same form in the Boston Business Journal, August 25, 2000.   Our parents’ dream was to have one job for life and then collect pension for retirement.  How times have changed.  Today the prospective employee targets the “pre-ipo” employer and hopes to remain for the public offering, or until the employee’s stock options vest and stock restrictions lapse.  Perhaps we have not quite gotten to where everyone has fifteen minutes of fame; but it seems that we are moving to a job market …

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Microsoft Antitrust in the People’s Court

By Peter Kelman, Esq. This article appeared in substantially the same form in Mass HighTech, July 10, 2000. This memo was recently leaked to the press from undisclosed sources. U.S. DISTRICT COURT MEMO To:                   Judge Penfield From:               Law Clerks Re:                   Consumer Remedies against Microsoft   Issue: Judge, you have asked us to explore whether the orders of this court sufficiently redress the harm Microsoft’s practices have inflicted on the public at large.  This memo contains our conclusions.   Answer: The briefs submitted by the parties have not adequately addressed the relief due individual purchasers of Microsoft products (IPOMP’s).  However, …

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