Commercial law, also called commerce law or commercial law, is the legal body of law which applies to the legal rights, obligations, and conduct of individuals and company engaged in commercial activity, commerce, merchandising, transactions, and business. It is commonly regarded as a subdivision of civil law and is often regarded as a separate branch of the body of law dedicated to interpreting and determining commercial law. In United States, commercial law is governed by a set of laws called commercial codes. Within the United States, commercial law has three essential bodies: the courts, federal courts, and state courts. The courts are the principal establishments for interpreting and applying commercial laws.
Generally, there are two groups of people who engage in commercial transactions: private individuals and commercial entities. Private individuals are individual entrepreneurs and commercial entities are organizations. The governments of most states have laws protecting the rights of these private individuals and organizations against discrimination on the basis of sex, race, religion, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, or any other similar category. Civil law also extends its coverage to many aspects of commercial matters including negligence, contract disputes, commercial fraud, advertising claims, and intellectual property theft. Commercial laws protect the interests of the parties involved in commercial transactions and provide an environment in which businesses can prosper.
Commercial laws also apply to individuals, businesses, corporations, partnerships, and other associations practicing commerce. Commonly, business law is considered comprehensive because it not only covers formal business dealings but also informal, residential activities such as owning real estate, operating a limited company, hiring employees, accepting credit cards, and making purchases and transactions. It also protects the interests of consumers, investors, workers, and other associations with direct and indirect economic interests. Today, commercial laws govern everything that happens in a business – from marketing and promotion to financial practices and employment practices.
Civil law does not extend as far as those practices that occur in informal transactions and do not involve inherently commercial activities. Commercial law is further divided into three categories: property and casualty law, tort law, and contract law. Property and casualty cases address damages and injuries related to goods and property used in commercial transactions. Tort law, on the other hand, involves accidents, alleged breaches of contracts, and lawsuits arising out of those contractual relationships. Most attorneys practice civil litigation for all types of disputes involving businesses.
Intellectual property and transactional law deals exclusively with the protection of intangible assets, such as trademarks, designs, provisional patents, trade secrets, etc. While many large businesses engage in such business law practices, small businesses are rarely involved. This is because the concerns raised by attorneys in this area are usually personal, commercial, and/or administrative. Smaller businesses are better served by retaining the assistance of attorneys who focus their expertise and experience in these areas.
There are additional areas of specialization within business law. One such area of concentration is transactional law. This field of law addresses all commercial dealings, both personal and business. This includes dealings through procurement, manufacturing, distribution, retailing, and financing. The most common areas of concern in this area are licensing, partnerships, commercial activities of charities and corporations, intellectual property, taxation, and outsourcing. As you can see, the laws governing all aspects of business and commerce are extremely complex, making the services of a competent business lawyer essential.