Roger Zimmerman, partner in the east coast law firm of Bowditch & Dewey posted this twisted tale of companies battling for control of their respective brands: What’s in Name? The Case of Blue Collar Brewery, LLC v. Blue Collar Brewery, Inc.. Of course, this story underscores the need to go beyond checking if a business name or trade name is available in the state of incorporation.
On October 30, 2015 the SEC published its final rules allowing U.S. companies to sell securities via crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter.com and GoFundMe.com. This is good news for companies looking to raise their startup costs online through crowdfunding. Here is a link to an excellent article by Thomas Rutledge on the new rules:http://goo.gl/JazqhE
Entrepreneurs starting up a venture, or even established business owners, hear a lot of buzz about limited liability companies (LLC’s) and their benefits. They also hear about S-Corporations and their potential to save some employment taxes. In many cases the LLC and S-Corporation are presented by professionals as an “either-or” proposition — either create an LLC and garner its superior asset protection features and easier tax structure or create a corporation and elect treatment as an S-corporation with its advantage in the employment tax treatment.
New business owners often hire me to review their proposed commercial leases. The first question I receive is often, “How much will this cost” followed by a statement such as, “I just want a quick review to see if it’s fair.” Unfortunately, a “quick review” is impossible. Most of these leases contain over 30 pages in the smallest possible font and another ten pages of addenda. Often some research will be required, particularly in dealing with provisions where the law is developing swiftly, such as environmental liability and disability access. Of course, money is often tight when starting a venture. But skipping the lease review and signing what the landlord puts in front of you is pound-foolish. For many businesses the lease rent over time will add up to the single most expensive investment in the business.
Jane Applegate’s list of commandments for business success is always relevant and worthy of review.
I am directing readers to this interesting article on business startup accelerators, and how they might work for Hawaii’s entrepreneurs. The article is posted here on the AlohaStartups.com website.
I see more and more clients who have issues with unauthorized use of their photos on the internet. For example, a bed-and-breakfast owner found his photos of the nearby beach were “lifted” and posted as part of a competitor’s website. With the amazing growth of websites such as Pinterest, it has become fairly easy for someone to copy a photo and post it elsewhere. I came across this great blog post at Naturescapes.net regarding registration of photo copyrights. As a lawyer and amateur photographer, I believe the subject is relevant and businesses should protect their photographs as any other intellectual property. I decided to start with my recent black-and-white photo of the Capitol.