Tag Archives: start-up

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What You Need to Know About Registering Trademarks

Whether you are the owner of a start-up business or one that has been operating for a while, it is important to ensure that your company’s intellectual property is protected. Intellectual property can include items such as your business name, inventions, logo or trade secret. Ideally, you should register your business’s trademarks as soon as possible

Many business owners overlook the importance of registering their entity’s trademarks. However, there are numerous advantages gained by registering with the United States Patent and Trademark Office:

  • Your business will save time and money by researching the trademark earlier in the process before investing heavily in it
  • The quicker your register the less likely you are to violate an existing trademark
  • Registration provides notification to the public that you claim ownership of the mark
  • Your entity will have the ability to use the federal registration symbol (®) which creates a legal presumption of your entity’s exclusive right to use the mark
  • Once you have registered your trademark, you have the right to bring a lawsuit in federal court in matters related to the mark
  • Having your mark registered in the United States can make it easier to obtain registration in foreign countries
  • Your trademark can be filed with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Service to prevent foreign goods that infringe on your mark from being imported
  • Once your mark has been registered, infringers cannot claim ignorance of the protected mark

If you are starting a new business, we can assist you with filing an “intent to use” trademark application for your entity name and/or logo. This will protect your marks while you are working to start business operations.

If you have questions regarding starting a new business or registering your entity’s trademarks, contact Leslie S. Marell for help. We serve as general counsel to clients who do not require, or choose not to employ, a full-time lawyer in-house. Call today to schedule your initial consultation.

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5 Important Tips for Your New Business Venture

When you are starting a new business, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by all of the decisions you have to make. The decisions you make now can have lasting consequences, so it is important to get them right. Below are five important tips to help ensure that your new business gets off to a successful start:

Legal Structure

There are several different types of business entities to choose from, each with its advantages and disadvantages. To learn more, please read our blog titled “Which Legal Structure is Best for Your Start-Up?” It is important for you to confer with a business attorney to ensure you select the legal structure that is most beneficial for your business.

Written Contracts

New business owners often fall prey to relying on oral promises that aren’t fulfilled. Getting your agreements in writing is the best way to protect your interests. This includes creating a written agreement between the founders of the business which outlines each owner’s percentage of ownership and how the daily business decisions will be made.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property can include anything from your company name, to its logo, to the type of products you sell. All business owners should take the initiative to legally protect their intellectual property. If your entity fails to obtain the proper patent, trademark or copyright, it could result in you have no legal recourse if another party infringes on your rights. One important step in protecting your private information is to require all employees to execute a non-disclosure agreement.

Employees

There are a wide variety of laws governing an employer’s relationship with its employees. It is imperative that you educate yourself regarding the laws, rules and regulations that apply to your industry and your specific business.

Get help

When your business is first starting out, you will likely be tempted to try to save money and handle things on your own. Unfortunately, this approach can end up costing you significantly more than the cost of retaining a professional. One mistake could be the end of your business before it even gets off the ground. Don’t let that happen – get the legal assistance you need.

If you have questions regarding business law matters, contact us today to schedule an initial consultation. Leslie S. Marell has been practicing business and commercial law for over 25 years. She is established in private practice and has extensive legal experience counseling companies in the areas of business contracts and transactions, purchasing, sales, marketing, computer and technology law, employment law and day to day legal matters. Let us provide your company the advice and guidance you need.

 

 

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Which Legal Structure is Best for Your Start-Up?

When you are starting a new business, it is normal to be eager to get the doors open and see your ideas put into action. However, don’t skip over one of the most crucial steps in ensuring the success of your entity, which is choosing the most advantageous legal structure for your business. Each type of legal entity has its advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to confer with a knowledgeable business attorney to determine which type will benefit your company the most. Below are the three most common forms of legal entities:

  • Limited Liability Company. Many new businesses select the limited liability company (LLC) structure for their new entity.The LLC offers similar protections as does a corporation, but one distinct advantage is that the LLC does not require the same formalities as does a corporation. The LLC permits the members to own and manage the company jointly, while also sharing in the profits and losses. Additionally, the members of the LLC can take advantage of pass-through tax treatment. It should be noted that every business situation is different, so you should confer with a lawyer or other tax advisor regarding the tax treatment in your individual circumstances, but the LLC typically offers several benefits. Lastly, and importantly, the LLC provides the business owners protection from personal liability. In other words, the owners’ personal assets are usually protected from debt collection efforts and judgments against the LLC, except where fraud, misrepresentation or other egregious situations occur.
  • C-Corporation. The C-corporation (C-Corp) is a complex and expensive legal structure to create, but it can provide a wide variety of benefits. A C-Corp is taxed as a separate entity and the owners are only obligated to pay taxes on the profits received from the business. Also, a C-Corp usually falls in a tax-bracket that is lower than individual tax rates. A C-Corp is often used if the company expects to be acquired and can be a beneficial structure for fundraising purposes. You can sell shares in the entity and also create different classes of stock.
  • S-Corporation. The S-corporation (S-Corp) has some important similarities to the C-Corp, but most business owners select it for the tax treatment it receives. The S-Corp is a pass-through entity, which permits the profits and losses from the entity to flow directly to the shareholders. You can only have 100 investors in a S-Corp, and they must all be individuals who are legal residents of the United States.

The above is a very brief summary of three of the business structures available for new entities. There are many other factors that should be considered as well as the other business formations available. Contact Leslie S. Marell to determine which type of entity is the most beneficial for your new business.