“Hand me that Kleenex, I am saying good-bye to my mark” Or Improper Use of Trademarks

Trademarks or services marks are used to identify the source of goods and services and enable customers to distinguish them from the goods and services sold or offered by others.  Proper use of the selected mark is crucial to building such an important and valuable asset as a brand name. A mark, being a symbol of integrity and quality assurance, allows its owner to develop public goodwill and brand reputation in the ... Read More

Commercial Loan Transactions – A Deeper Dive

This article builds on an article published last fall in which we covered some basics of funding your business through a commercial loan. In that article we advised that you plan well in advance (90-180 days to be safe), prepare a lender package that summarizes your business operations and finances, and expect to personally guarantee all, or at least a portion of, the loan. In this follow up article, we drill ... Read More

What Company Documents does a Single Owner LLC Need? (Part 2 of 2)

We form various types of companies for our clients.  One of the most popular is the single-member (i.e. single owner) limited liability company (LLC).  LLCs are a popular form of business entity because they offer flexibility, are inexpensive to form and maintain, and (if operated properly) can protect the owner’s personal assets from the company’s creditors.   As I mentioned in my prior article, many individuals ... Read More

Six Dangers of Operating as a Sole Proprietor (Part 1 of 2)

A sole proprietorship is usually the cheapest and easiest way to set up a business.  In many cases you may not have to do anything other than start working and voila - you’re a sole proprietor!  It’s not hard to understand why sole proprietorships are the most common form of business in the US. Unfortunately, there are significant risks to running your business as a sole proprietor.  This article lists six of ... Read More

What is the Purpose of a Holding Company?

A holding company, as the name implies, is usually an entity formed exclusively for the purpose of “holding”, i.e. owning something.  Holding companies typically do not conduct business in the same way an operating company does. The specific purpose of a holding company depends on how it is used and what potential problems a holding company is intended to solve.  In this article I will discuss two popular types of ... Read More

Crowdsourcing vs. Crowdfunding

When I started practicing law 17 years ago, the terms “crowdsourcing” and “crowdfunding” did not exist.  Both were coined around the same time and are often confused with each other. I have experience with both, so I thought it might be helpful for me to provide some guidance on the proper use of each term. Crowdsourcing The creation of the term “crowdsourcing” is commonly attributed to the editors of Wired ... Read More

Common Trademark Scams and How to Avoid Them

Our law firm files lots of trademark applications, so we frequently receive questions from confused clients about official-looking notices and invoices they receive in the mail.  Trademark applications are available for viewing in a public database, and therefore it is easy for third parties to obtain lots of information about trademark applicants.  Information that is readily available includes the applicant’s legal ... Read More

Does My Company Need to File an Annual Report?

March and April are months in which individuals and companies are often thinking about preparing and filing tax returns. If you own or work for a company, these months are also typically when you must file an annual report. Annual reports are not tax returns. Sometimes this is a point of confusion for new companies because they assume filing a federal and/or state tax return satisfies their annual filing ... Read More

What Belongs in an LLC Operating Agreement? (Part 3 of 3)

This is part three of a three-part series on what does and doesn’t belong in a written LLC operating agreement. Part one can be found here and part two can be found here. In parts one and two we discussed ten issues that should be addressed in your LLC operating agreement.  Here are some that do not belong. Terms that usually don’t belong: Employment provisions. If an LLC member or manager is also going to ... Read More

What Belongs in an LLC Operating Agreement? (Part 2 of 3)

This is part two of a three-part series on what does and doesn’t belong in a written LLC operating agreement. Part one can be found here. In part one of this series, I raised five questions that should be addressed in your LLC operating agreement. Here are five more. More terms that usually belong: Will there be meetings? One of the nice things about LLCs is that they are flexible, meaning that LLC members ... Read More