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Legal Considerations Brief Roundup

Legal Consideration Brief roundup

Legal considerations are not to be ignored by small business owners. The easiest way to avoid any problems is to be prepared. Preparation should begin with choosing your attorney before you need one.

Your Business Attorney

What legal services can an attorney provide your business?

  • Select and implement your legal form of business organization
  • LLC: understand the benefits and limitations of this form of legal protection
  • Multiple member LLC or partnership: draft operating and buy-sell agreements between partners
  • Sub-S or schedule-C corporation: draft corporation buy-laws, buy-sell agreement between shareholders
  • Assist in obtaining necessary registrations, licenses, permits, trademarks, patents
  • Coordinate the resolution of your business legal and tax issues with your personal estate plan and finances. Maintaining legal separation between business assets and personal assets is a difficult challenge for a small business and requires legal advice.
  • Review all legal agreements: insurance policies, loans, leases, mortgages, contracts
  • Review the legal ramifications of any new activity: franchise, acquisition, joint venture

Continue to read Brief #08.00 to discover how to select your attorney.

Patents for Small Businesses

NOTE: This Brief is a general overview of patents. Please check the U.S. Patent Office website, uspto.gov, for the most up to date information.

General

The granting of patents is based on Article 1, Sec 8 of the Constitution. Its purpose is to promote science and the useful arts.

Inventors in return for making public their invention with a patent are granted a property right which excludes others from making, using, selling, or importing the invention. This right lasts for 20 years from the date of filing for the patent.

Continue reading Brief #08.01

 

Trademarks and Service Marks

NOTE: This is a general overview of trademarks and service marks. Please check these websites for the most up to date information: US Patent & Trademark Office: www.uspto.gov/, and the Ohio Secretary of State: www.state.oh.us/sos/

What is a Trademark?

A Trademark is any word, phrase, symbol or design or combination thereof that identifies and distinguishes the source of goods from one party from those of another.

Examples are the statement “Like a Good Neighbor State Farm is There,” and brand names such as Ford “Fusion,” and “Tide.” A trademark may be owned by an individual, corporation or association.

Continue Reading Brief #08.08 to learn more about Service Marks

What Is A Copyright?

Copyrights

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to authors of original works of authorship. Works that can be protected by copyright are: literary works; musical works including words; dramatic works including accompanying music; pantomimes and choreographic works; pictorial, graphic and sculpture works; motion pictures and other audiovisual works, sound recordings; architectural works and computer software.

Some things are not eligible for copyright protection. They include: works that have not been fixed in tangible form, titles, names, short phrases, slogans, familiar symbols or designs, ornamentation, coloring or lettering, lists of ingredients, ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, discoveries, devices, any information that is common property such as a calendar or tables taken from public documents.

Continue Reading Brief #08.09 to learn more about why Copyrights are important.

 

Purchasing for Manufacturing Businesses Introduction:

This is a list of the basic procedures needed to ensure that purchasing (acquisition) needs are met for companies that manufacture a product. Included is a “sample” Purchasing Agreement to supply a material used in the manufacturing process.

Ethics / Integrity:

Purchasing for the business must be carried out with integrity and high ethical standards. Simply put, this means all dealings with suppliers and vendors must be honest, fair, consistent, and above board. Purchasing must not compromise its objectivity or show favoritism (or the appearance of) by receiving gifts or perks from suppliers.

Important Legal Considerations in Purchasing a Manufacturing Business Continue Reading Brief #08.10

Purchasing for Non-Manufacturing Businesses

Introduction:
This lists the basic procedures needed to ensure that purchasing (acquisition) needs are met for a non-manufacturing business. Ethics / Integrity:

Purchasing for the business must be carried out with integrity and high ethical standards. Simply put, this means all dealings with suppliers and vendors must be honest, fair, consistent, and above board. Purchasing must not compromise its objectivity or show favoritism (or the appearance of) by receiving gifts or perks from suppliers.

Authority:

The Purchasing Agent should be authorized (written documentation) by a company official (for example, the President/Owner) to make purchases for the company. For control purposes, no one else should place orders, except in an emergency and / or safety related situations.

Continue Reading Brief #08.11 for additional information.

If you need direction or support for your small business request a free SCORE Mentor here. Not sure if a SCORE Mentor will be of value to your business, watch this quick video from a SCORE client.

 

 

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What is a Copyright?

what is copyrightAs a business owner you have definitely heard the term copyright, but do you know what it really is?

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to authors of original works of authorship. Works that can be protected by copyright are: literary works; musical works including words; dramatic works including accompanying music; pantomimes and choreographic works; pictorial, graphic and sculpture works; motion pictures and other audiovisual works, sound recordings; architectural works and computer software.

Some things are not eligible for copyright protection. They include: works that have not been fixed in tangible form, titles, names, short phrases, slogans, familiar symbols or designs, ornamentation, coloring or lettering, lists of ingredients, ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, discoveries, devices, any information that is common property such as a calendar or tables taken from public documents.

Benefits Of Copyright

The Copyright Act gives owners of copyright the exclusive right to do and authorize others to do the following: reproduce the work in copies; make derivatives of the work such as a condensation of a book; distribute copies of the work; perform the copyrighted work publicly such as a play or piece of music; display the copyrighted work publicly such as a picture or sculpture.

Who Can Obtain A Copyright?

Only the author or those deriving their rights through the author can claim copyright. In the case of an employee working for “hire” the employer is consider the author. Thus a newspaper would be the author and copyright owner of an article written by a reporter and published in the paper.

How to Secure A Copyright

Copyright is secured immediately and automatically when a work is created. No publication or registration or other action in the Copyright Office is required to secure copyright. However, publication is useful and important because it can bear the notice of copyright, the year of publication, and it informs the public that the work is protected by copyright. Publication is the distribution of copies to the public by sale, rental, lease, lending or other transfer of ownership. When a work is published 2 copies must be deposited with the Library of Congress within three months of publication.

Even if the work is not published, registration with the Copyright Office is useful to establish the date and owner of the copyright and a certificate of registration. Registration is voluntary. If a work is registered at the time of infringement, the copyright owner is entitled to statutory damages and attorney fees.

Application materials including application forms can be obtained from Register of Copyrights, Copyright Office, Library of Congress, Washington, DC 20559. There is a filing fee which is adjusted every five years. The new basic registration fee is $35.

If you apply for copyright registration, you will not receive an acknowledgment that your application has been received (the Copyright Office receives more than 600,000 applications annually), but you can expect:

  •  A letter or a telephone call from a Copyright Office staff member if further information is needed or
  •  A certificate of registration indicating that the work has been registered, or if the application cannot be accepted, a letter explaining why it has been rejected.

Check with the library for latest fee schedule and forms. The website is www.copyright.gov. A lawyer is not required to apply for a copyright.

Notice of Copyright

The use of copyright notice is recommended because it informs the public that the material is copyrighted, identifies the copyright owner and the date of copyright. The notice consists of three elements: © or the word “Copyright” or the abbreviation or “Copr.”; the date of first publication and the name of the owner of the copyright. Example: © 1994 SCOREBOARD. For sound recordings the letter P in a circle is used instead of ©.

For How Long Is A Copyright Good?

A work that was created (fixed in tangible form for the first time) on or after January 1, 1978, is automatically protected from the moment of its creation and is ordinarily given a term enduring for the author’s life plus an additional 70 years after the author’s death. If the work is made for “hire” such as a newspaper the duration of the copyright is 75 years.

Property Rights

A copyright is personal property and subject to state laws dealing with personal property. Because it is personal property it can be bequeathed in a will or transferred as with any other piece of personal property.

Other Considerations

There are times when you may desire a combination of copyright, patent and trademark protection for your work. You should consult an attorney to determine what forms of intellectual property protection are best suited to your needs.

References

US Copyright Office Website, www.copyright.gov Copyright Basics, Copyright web site Title 17 U. S. Code
Code of Federal Regulations (37 CFR Part 201 )

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