At long last, I paid my final settlement payment totaling $7500. So that’s an extra thou I’ll have each month. Even with paying $1000/mo to the settlement, my net worth has been rising, so I’m doing well. Just gotta keep with it, spend less, save more. Looking to that $100,000 net worth in 5 years goal.
The law suit is over! Harrah harrah! So what’s the damage? Well the bad news is apparently I was infringing on trademarks unknowingly. While the fact that I didn’t know WOULD help me in a court of law, i would still most likely have to pay something. It’s very frustrating because the law, for all its specific wording, is still quite subjective and changes based on the situation. Thusly, the judges have a lot of power in what damages are awarded. So there’s no way to just say, well you sold this many products, you’ll owe this much money. The judge could say $2000, he could say $50,000. It’s just a guestimation on the lawyers part based on what has been judged in similar situations in the past.
Because of this, I finally settled with them at $7500. I know, that’s quite a bit of money. But it’s better than the $20,000 they were wanting originally. I’m trying to be positive about it, but it’s a real backslide. All of my tax refund and most of my cash back from the escrow account is now gone. On the upside, my life is back to normal. No more worrying what my blog says or what I put on twitter and so on. Plus I didn’t lose any of my current worth, I just have no additional reserves. Not until next year when I can write this off as a business expense… maybe. I’ll have to look into that.
I started a company in 2009 with a business partner who lived overseas. She had done online businesses before and seemed to know what she was doing. In short, she turned out to be crazy and ended up spending a lot of the money I had invested on unnecessary things including excessive advertising. She was spending $180/day at one point on facebook ads alone.
I made a lot of mistakes in this business such as trusting her waay too much, investing $10,000 of my money in the company while she only invested time and “know how.” There were many red flags that I should not have continued with the business idea, but I really wanted to do SOMETHING. I wanted to build something that would build my future. I was way too eager and made a lot of bad decisions because of it.
We drop shipped our products from the overseas supplier to the customer which cut out the middle man and was a really good way to go. However, I never went to the factory or inspected their practices before hand and I definitely should have. I really just went into the whole thing so blind, I didn’t even know what I was missing.
End result, the business failed, I lost ten grand, and had a huge headache. Cut to a month later. I get an envelope in the mail saying I’m being sued. Apparently, some of the products were trademarked and, on top of that, were fake. Thus I was being sued for trademark infringement. Oh no worries, cause I incorporated right? noooo. I was just a dba until we “got off the ground.” Now I’m liable for everything.
So now you’re caught up. That was back last fall. Since then, I have been in and out of settlement proceedings, in litigation, and in court. So far, I haven’t had to pay anything out of my pocket except for some mailing costs and $60 for a court transcript. I went to the pro se clinic in the state I was being sued and they were more help than I could’ve ever imagined. The attorney I have been working with over the past 6 months or so is paid by the state and has been a huge help to me. I couldn’t thank her enough. We’re currently back in settlement talks to try and resolve this.
It’s been a huge mess, but I’ve learned alot. Initially, they wanted me to settle for $20,000! I said, “what what?” That’s more than what I even lost the first time around! So we went into a legal battle. If you are being sued and cannot afford a lawyer, I urge you to go to your city hall and check out the pro se clinic. They are required to have some legal counsel which can’t represent you but can help you represent yourself. If you are very low income, then they can represent you pro bono in some cases. If you can afford a lawyer, GET ONE! It’s a whole different language.
I can’t go into details about the law suit right now as it is ongoing, but if you are going through a similar circumstance, my knowledge is limited, but I can tell you what I have learned.