Any legal dispute has the potential to be disruptive and costly. However, they can be especially problematic when they involve a company with massive resources against a much smaller company, or an individual.
These situations can be intimidating. However, there are ways of navigating this complicated situation properly.
It may be impossible not to panic when another party targets your small business, especially true when the targeting comes in the form of several attorneys and threats to ruin a company and seek multimillion-dollar penalties. But this is the message a large corporation often hopes to send to a small business.
For instance, recently according to The Lewiston Tribune, Under Armour filed paperwork to oppose a trademark application by a small apparel company, Cascade Armory. The Cascade Armory owner attempted to discuss the situation with Under Armour but was instead met with a team of attorneys telling him his only option was to start his business over with a new name.
This heavy-handed approach allows big companies to get a win without having to fight. Even though this type of aggressive response can be unnerving, it is important not to panic.
Assess all the options
There are options, even when another party might insist there is not. In some cases, claims like those made by Under Armour have no merit; they more closely resemble harassment than a legitimate legal claim. In these situations, smaller businesses can prevail in court.
There may also be options to avoid court altogether. Parties may pursue arbitration or mediation to resolve disputes, or they can negotiate a settlement.
Before buckling to pressure, small companies would be wise to discuss these and other options with legal counsel.
Focus on what’s best for the company
Whether you decide to go up against the other company in court or pursue faster resolutions, it is crucial to consider how the outcome will affect the business. In some cases, litigation would wind up costing more money than the business can afford. In other situations, it is the only way to preserve the future of a company.
Deciding what you can and should do can be difficult, particularly when you are also facing harassment or intimidation from the other party. However, by staying calm and examining the options with an attorney, small business owners can make informed, strategic decisions.