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Houston Business & Commercial Law Blog

Austin among top cities for entrepreneurial growth

The state of Texas has always been known for its Texas-size hospitality to visitors. Likewise, Texas provides a supportive environment to help local entrepreneurs grow the state's small business sector. Small businesses seem to thrive due to the strong local economies of many cities, including Houston, the availability of well-educated workers and local community support from residents of the state.

According to a recent report, the entrepreneur-friendly environment in the state is being noticed because the state's capital city, Austin, was selected as one of the best cities in the United States to start an entrepreneurial venture. The other cities featured in the list are Arlington, Virginia, Denver, Colorado, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. As the report suggests, several factors have allowed Austin inclusion on this list.

We help protect businesses' intellectual property rights

Establishing a business anywhere in the United States, including in Texas, requires that a person or company fulfill various legal requirements and then engage legal guidance to protect its ongoing interests.

Our law firm has been serving small and midsized businesses for the last 25 years. We protect the interests of our clients by helping them resolve their disputes through negotiation or by trial if necessary. We have helped various businesses achieve their goals across a wide category of business disputes, including contract disputes, business formations, mergers and acquisitions, contract and agreement drafting, intellectual property rights and more.

Texas policies and programs help small businesses grow

Many Texans believe that the real engines of the national and local economies are small businesses. In Texas, there are more than 2.2 million small businesses, and the number continues to grow. One reason is that the state's small-business policies offer advantages that are not available in some other states. In addition, some of the geographical conditions and the ready availability of workers are factors that seem to be helping new businesses to grow in the state.

Various state government programs and workshops help entrepreneurs get the tools and training they need to grow their businesses. Among them are the Historically Underutilized Business Certification Program, the Governor's Small Business Forums and the Texas Emerging Technology Fund.

Houston-based firm acquires oil tycoon Hamm's Hiland Partners

Most businesses in the country, including those in Texas, dream of growing, expanding and exploring new opportunities. Mergers and acquisitions are among the tools that can help them do this. Sometimes extraordinary events present opportunities that businesses would be foolish not to take advantage of. One such recent acquisition was perhaps made possible by one man's financial considerations after his divorce.

Kinder Morgan Inc., one of the country's largest energy resource companies, has purchased Oklahoma-based Hiland Partners for $3 billion from its owner, oil billionaire Harold Hamm, and certain Hamm family trusts. The deal will give Kinder Morgan, based in Houston, a major presence in the oil market that has developed from the Bakken shale oil formation in Montana and North Dakota. Hiland Partners' assets are primarily based on fees it assesses its customers for gathering and transporting large volumes of crude oil, as well as its gas gathering and processing systems that primarily serve production from the Bakken formation.

Privately held corporations: understanding the basics

The right to choose the type of incorporation process of privately held corporations is usually given to the corporation itself or its managers and board of directors. Texas law provides various forms of internal business models that may be incorporated in order to run the company on a daily basis.

Many companies consult professional legal help in order to facilitate incorporation of privately held corporations. In the past, many privately held corporations were criticized for the way in which they executed manager-run policies. The corporations used to allegedly make policies that benefited the managers of the company and were detrimental to the shareholders, especially the minority shareholders.

Resolving contract disputes through legal measures

Any dispute or litigation that may arise in a corporation, whether between two entities or between employers and employees, may form parts of a contract dispute. The attorneys at Manfred Sternberg & Associates, P.C., have decades of experience addressing such contract disputes and defending the rights of the parties in lawsuits.

Breaching a contract is one of the most common grounds for business litigation and contract disputes. In cases where an employer or a business owner is sued for a contract breach, seeking legal guidance to understand your rights and options is one of the first things most businesses prefer to do. With more than a quarter of a century's experience in contacts disputes, our firm has litigated a diverse caseload.

What is the procedure for applying for a merger in Texas?

Mergers refer to the merging of two corporations after which the two corporate entities exist as one. Texas, being home to many corporate giants, is no stranger to such mergers and acquisitions. Specific laws and statutes have been established in order to make sure that such business mergers are conducted in an appropriate manner.

There is a large amount of paperwork that must be filed with the state secretary in order to initiate a merger procedure. The Texas business organization code has established all of the rules and regulations in order to initiate a merger procedure in the state. While most types of mergers are covered under the statutory rules and regulations of the code, there are some forms of mergers that may be kept under the code's radar.

Congress addresses patent trolls

Intellectual property disputes are one of the most fought cases in Texas corporate and business law sectors. Many companies in the state have unique products that may have received patents. In some cases, other competitors may violate the patent rights of the former company in order to make a profit.

Intellectual property disputes plague many big corporations in Texas. The rampant litigations due to patent infringement call for attention from the authorities. Congress has now started discussing the matter at length due to the plethora of business litigation cases that have drained the resources in the State in the last couple of years.

Mergers and acquisitions require a good business lawyer

Texas has quite a few progressive business statutes which allow business owners immense flexibility when planning and structuring a business. Mergers and acquisitions are more often than not complex business transactions requiring experienced legal guidance. A merger or an acquisition can be structured in multiple ways, each having the same result but possibly affecting shareholders and creditors of the existing companies in different ways. A good business lawyer primarily will explain the pros and cons of each structure available.

After finalizing structure, a lawyer can help frame and flesh out the primary document which will state the terms of merger or acquisition, such as mode for transfer of shares, change in shareholding patterns and composition of management. Additional documents specifying mode of consolidation of assets and employees of the involved parties may be needed as well as outlining the conditions necessary for each party to fulfil to make the merger legally effective. Such conditions generally include acquiring regulatory approvals, paying of pending taxes and executing documents transferring assets.

Understanding the Texas Business Opportunity Act

With the expansion of the Internet, an array of new business concepts have emerged from around the world offering easy ways to make money. Like other Americans, Texans have been victims of phony schemes that offer lucrative business opportunities. To protect consumers from being duped, Texas has enacted the Texas Business Opportunity Act to regulate business opportunities.

Any scheme that requires consumers to pay $500 or more and promises a return of more than that amount is to be regulated by the TBOA. In addition, to being regulated by the TBOA, the seller must promise to help a buyer find a location to sell the product or operate equipment that is not owned by the buyer or seller or provide sales, production and marketing programs to the buyer. The seller should promise to buy back any products or equipment purchased by the buyer or anything grown or manufactured using the seller's leased or sold products or equipment.

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Manfred Sternberg & Associates, PC
4550 Post Oak Place, Suite 119
Houston, Texas 77027
Phone: 713-659-0240 \ 713-622-4300
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