Commercial litigation law is an area of law involving business disputes. Business law is more comprehensive, and often includes negotiations, drafting agreements, intellectual property rights protection, and other business matters that do not involve a conflict. Despite these differences, the terms commercial litigation law and business litigation law are often used interchangeably. While the focus is solely on business disputes, a wide range of litigation matters are included, such as business torts, commercial real estate, debt collection, and contract law.
The parties to a commercial litigation are often former business partners. For example, one business partner might sue the other for breaching a partnership agreement or limited liability company operating agreement. Other parties in dispute could include past employees, competitors, vendors, suppliers, and other businesses. Those cases often involve claims of fraud, employee contract disputes, and unfair competitive practices.
Class action lawsuits are handled by commercial litigation law attorneys. These lawsuits are often brought against companies by a group of consumers or customers. A common type of class action lawsuit is for breach of warranty. For example, a retailer of diet supplements may be sued by a group of customers when they don't lose the weight that was promised by the company. The case would fall under commercial litigation law, and attorneys for both sides would rely on relevant case law and local and national laws to argue the case.
In many commercial litigation cases, it is often not in the business owner's interest to go to a full trial and get a ruling. Much time and money can be spent on a matter, because it can take a year or more until the judge makes a ruling. Mediation, arbitration, other alternative dispute resolution and settlements are also handled by commercial litigation law attorneys on behalf of clients who want to speed up the process. Some of the underlying contracts may require arbitration as a first step or as an alternative to litigation.
Commercial litigation law and intellectual property law often overlap because some business disputes are over patents, trademarks, and copyrights. For example, if a business dissolves, a dispute may arise among the partners as to who owns the intellectual property rights, and how transferring rights impacts the other assets owned by the business. Many experienced commercial litigation lawyers will understand intellectual property law for the purposes of representing business clients. Those who do not may collaborate with intellectual property law attorneys to provide the best representation.