A client recently forwarded me an article about a lawsuit that Oakley brought against Nike and golf wonder-boy Rory McIlroy. In that suit, Oakley claims that as part of its endorsement agreement with McIlroy it had a right to match any new endorsement proposals made to McIlroy. Nevertheless, after Nike made a proposal to McIlroy, the golf star refused to consider Oakley’s tender of a match. While it appears that Oakley’s claims in that case will rise or fall based on whether McIlroy/Nike can prove that Oakley waived its right to match, the dispute reminded me that rights to match (sometimes denoted as “rights of first refusal”) can turn out to be extremely valuable assets in a host of contexts.
Perhaps the most common use of rights to match arises in the context of restrictions on the transfer of equity in a closely held business. Indeed, without such restrictions, a competitor might easily be able to buy out a minority equity holder and instantly gain access to key company data. Even if that is not a genuine concern, those involved in a closely held business generally do not want a stranger to suddenly … Keep reading
Just as in romance, employer-employee relationships often are at their best in the courting stage. During the after-glow of an initial hire, many employers wish to make new employees feel welcome by sending confirmatory offer letters. Yet, in that warm and fuzzy moment, employers also should keep in mind that they may be binding themselves to certain obligations to which they never intended to be bound.
To minimize regret when the employer-employee relationship goes sour, here are my top six tips of things to avoid in offer letters:
If you intend for the employee to actually stay on for a set period of time, the term may be included, but be sure to couch the term as “anticipated term” and allow yourself the ability to terminate the relationship before the end of the term. If the employment is “at-will,” specifically state “your employment is at-will, which means that you or the company may terminate your employment at any time for any reason or no reason at all.”
Avoid stating compensation as an annual salary. For example, state that the compensation to be provided an employee is $X per week, which is the equivalent of $Y annualized. A promise of