Atari U.S. Files for Chapter 11

When a company as iconic as Atari files for Chapter 11, it could be game over, but any business big or small can find itself in legal trouble from time to time. Knowing how to avoid the pitfalls in the first place is the best way to dodge difficulties. We’ll look at the Atari case, then go on to some other tips for keeping your business on the straight and narrow.

Penny Arcade

Two player. Actually, the filing for bankruptcy protection by Atari’s U.S. operations is simply an attempt to extricate itself from a troubled French parent company. The plan is to take the game company private and develop a business based on products for digital and mobile platforms, sources say. Sometimes legal issues arise out of simple business necessity. Make sure you know your options. Los Angeles Times

Be prepared. In fact, Marsha Friedman, who today heads her own Florida-based PR firm but started her career as an entrepreneur by launching a Greenwich Village-style coffee house in Venice Beach, CA 42 years ago, insists that knowing the legal ins and outs of any business you start should be a top consideration. “It doesn’t matter whether the law is a major one or a technicality, violate it and it can kill your business,” Friedman warns. EMSI

The Bigger They Are…

Private property. Whether it’s a patent, trademark, or copyright, legal protection can also be applied to certain inventions, processes, and the intellectual property used in your business. However, according to intellectual property attorney Steve Hansen, entrepreneurs interested in this kind of protection should first make absolutely certain the process or invention is truly original and has commercial applications before pursuing a potentially costly and time intensive application. B4B Connect

Endangered. Small businesses also need legal protection against very real dangers like personal injury claims. These can be damaging to any business, say business bloggers and consultants Harry and Sally Vaishnav. Their post looks at nine tips every small business owner should consider when trying to avoid costly litigation. Read to discover whether your business might be taking any unnecessary risks. Small Biz Viewpoints

Data on the Duchess. Circumstances surrounding a prank phone call to a hospital treating the Duchess of Cambridge that apparently resulted in the tragic suicide of a nurse raise surprising questions about business liability, says commercial lawyer Flor McCarthy, in this guest post about the importance of protecting data in your company. The now infamous prank demonstrates how sharing personal data inappropriately or without permission can lead to trouble for any business. Tweak Your Biz

Make No Mistake

I was a teenage hire. Many people landed their first jobs while still in their teens. In fact, here in the U.S., an estimated 18 million teens will work this year, and most will work for small businesses, reports small business expert Daniel Kehrer. However, there are rules employers need to understand about tapping this valuable labor market. They include minimum wage, overtime, and child labor laws, which are enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor with fines and sanctions levied against violators. BizBest

A good place to start. These six tips will help you take some steps you either should have taken already or will definitely want to take before heading into the new year. They cover everything from preparing for legal liability to the need for contracts and to retain legal counsel. If there are any points here you haven’t really thought about for your business, do yourself a favor and revisit them, suggests business writer Rieva Lesonsky. You’ll have a better 2013 if you do! Grow Smart Biz

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