The New Business Makeover: How to Make Your Startup More Attractive to Investors

Investment capital is a great thing to have, but it is very difficult to obtain. Investors I have worked with in the past have told me that they hear, review, and analyze dozens of business pitches a year, and only invest in one or two. It goes without saying that seeking investment capital is a far different process than simply going to the bank and applying for a loan. You need to attract investors and convince ... Read More

5 Key Benefits to Using Mediation to Resolve Your Business Dispute

Business disputes can arise for a seemingly infinite number of reasons. Even if a business relationship has been working well in the past, circumstances can change. Before incurring the significant, cost, time, and headache of litigation, consider mediation by a qualified third party to settle your dispute. Here are five key benefits for doing so. 1) It’s personal. Mediation is where an independent, trained ... Read More

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Crowdfunding Your Business

Crowdfunding has revolutionized the way in which businesses can raise capital to start up or to expand. A successful crowdfunding campaign can provide funding in a short amount of time and allow people to get involved in a business at the ground floor. As with everything, there are benefits and drawbacks to crowdfunding. Here are a few of each. Advantages Income. The obvious first benefit is cash. Addressing ... Read More

The Relationship Between Trademarks and Unfair Competition Law

The best way to envision the relationship between trademarks and unfair competition is to imagine an umbrella. The umbrella is unfair competition and trademark infringement is one spoke in the umbrella. This is because trademark infringement is a form of unfair competition, that is, fraud or dishonest business dealings in trade and commerce. It is when competition becomes unfair because one of the parties has ... Read More

An Unlikely Ally in the Fight Against Intellectual Property Infringement: Customs & Border Patrol

One of the largest scourges in the intellectual property world is counterfeit goods.  Counterfeiting is a form of infringement whereby a third party unlawfully uses another party’s intellectual property to sell their own product and pockets the profits. Infringement takes many forms, from bootleg movies to fake Louis Vuitton handbags to counterfeit Ray-Ban sunglasses to pseudo-Viagra. Much of this infringement ... Read More

Yes, You Do Need an Operating Agreement! Here’s Why:

“Yes, Virginia, You Do Need an Operating Agreement” will probably never become a blockbuster movie, but it is still good advice if you are going to form or have formed the most popular type of business entity - the Limited Liability Corporation (LLC). LLCs owe their popularity to their combination of the limited liability afforded to corporations with the tax benefits and flexibility of a partnership. LLC owners ... Read More

Using Non-Disclosure Agreements to Preserve Patentability

Patents are a highly sought after form of intellectual property for good reason: they allow the inventor or discoverer of a new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter (or any new and useful improvement of one) to exclude others from practicing that invention or discovery for a certain period of time. Patents foster innovation because without the guarantee that the inventor can exploit his ... Read More

Business Law: A Brief Introduction to Vendor Contracts

Just about everybody who does some form of business has vendors. Even vendors have vendors. That’s why it is critically important for business owners to understand the basics of vendor contracts and why they play an important role in most businesses. Vendors come in all shapes and sizes. For example, the office supply store where you buy your printer paper is a vendor, as are the global suppliers of wood for IKEA. ... Read More

How Much Money Does Your Company Need to Launch and Survive?

Funding a new business is one of the most misunderstood and hotly debated topics within the entrepreneurial community. It seems like almost any rule is accompanied by an exception. One school of thought is that you need a ton of cash upfront. On the other hand, given the failure rate of new businesses, startup dollars are frequently spent with nothing to show for them.  Others believe a shoestring budget is all that ... Read More

Understanding the Difference Between Actual Use and Intent to Use Trademarks

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) requires use of a mark in commerce in the United States before the mark can be registered. When the Lanham Act (the federal law that covers trademarks) was enacted in 1946, this “actual use” requirement was not popular with everyone. For example, many companies were reluctant to invest the significant amount of capital required to launch a product under a brand ... Read More