Ah, the dreaded Office Action, every trademark applicant's worst nightmare (that might actually be an opposition, but I digress). What does it mean? What can be done about it?
Trademark applications have to meet certain requirements or they will be refused registration by USPTO. Many times, if counsel is engaged to prepare the trademark application, a number of these refusals can be avoided.
Once an Office Action has issued, it may be difficult to overcome because many modifications are not allowed after an application has been submitted.
"Likelihood of confusion" is a common reason for an Office Action. This means USPTO has done their own search of already registered marks and found something they think your mark is too similar to.
It's important to engage legal counsel once you have an Office Action. We may be able to help you, or at least try to craft a response that may help get your mark registered.
If you've been issued an Office Action, please fill out the form below and we'll evaluate your issue.
A lot of people want to be business owners, but they don't want to go through all of the hassle of a start-up. They'd like to buy an existing business that's already proven and turn key. In that instance, what are your options for buying a business? In this video, I discuss starting your own business, buying an existing business or buying a franchise.
People always ask when, why and how they can use different trademark symbols. In this post, we'll review the different trademark symbols and their use.
First, as soon as one uses a name or logo, common law trademark rights kick in, and "TM" for goods or "SM" in the event of services can be used in connection with a name or logo. If you haven't done your homework, using "TM" or "SM" is not going to ward off potential claims of infringement if someone else happens to be using your name or tagline, but it's at least notification to those you do business with that you intend to claim trademark rights.
if you've submitted a trademark registration application to USPTO and it's been approved and gone on to registration, you are allowed to now use the R in the circle symbol as shown above. This symbol means that the mark has actually been registered. Federally registered marks carry strong rights and remedies in the event of infringement.
If you have questions about a trademark or submitting a trademark application, book a call with us here.
So many people want to start a business, but are afraid of how much it might cost. Make no mistake, you can't start a business without any money. That being said, there are some businesses that can be started with very little money and in this video, I talk about typical sources of where people get money to start a business. I'd make sure to have a thorough business plan in place, so you know exactly what funding you need.
Just as I get a lot of questions about setting up a business partnership, I always get a ton of questions about getting OUT of a business partnership. Unless business owners have done the right work on the front end, such as setting up a proper Operating Agreement and Buy Sell Agreement, partners may find it more difficult than they anticipated to get out of a bad relationship. In the video below, find out more about getting out of a bad business partnership.
I get questions about forming a partnership all the time. Even if the legal structure is a Limited Liability Company (LLC), the members will create an Operating Agreement, which is the agreement among the members as to how they will run the business. This agreement is absolutely critical, and needs to have a number of important terms in it.
In this video, I explain how to set up a business with a partner and important terms to include. Going into business with a partner? Considering bringing on a new partner in your business? How do you write a partnership agreement? Watch my video to get some basic information, and if you need assistance with a partnership agreement, please book a call with my team here.
So many business owners wonder if they should trademark their business name or logo. It's one of the most common questions I get. Particularly if you are looking to expand your business, license or franchise, getting the proper trademark protection in place is critical. What is involved, how do you submit an application, how long does it take? Find out in this video. If you are looking for a trademark lawyer, or would like to discuss the trademark application process and how much a trademark will cost, please set up a time to talk here.
Bringing on a business partner or partners is a big decision. So many times I've seen business partnerships implode, threatening to destroy an entire business. The most critical thing when entering a partnership is proper planning. Here are some basic tips for what to include in a partnership agreement:
7 Things That Should Be In Your Partnership Agreement
Management of the Company
Is the ownership and responsibilities both 50/50? If one of you will be doing the majority of the work you may want to consider an Employment Agreement.
“Tie-Breaking” Voting Provisions If you are 50/50 owners, who holds the Trump card, should a dispute arise? You may consider a provision for the purpose of breaking the tie on certain issues.
Mediation Clause How will you handle large disputes with a partner? Consider a simple mediation clause appointing an individual you trust, such as a business advisor to mediate any dispute between you.
“Golden Rule” Buyout Clause If the two of you are disagreeing more than occasionally, it’s probably a sign that the two of you were never meant to work together in the first place. A “golden rule” buyout clause allows you to make an offer to purchase the other’s interest in the business for a price you both consider fair.
A Death ProvisionWhen a partner dies, their interest in the business doesn’t just disappear. It become an asset of their estate and will pass to his heirs by will or through the probate process. Either way, you end up with the deceased’s relatives as your business partners. Make sure your partnership agreement includes a clause allowing you to buy out your partner’s estate when he dies.
A Disability ProvisionMost people know they need a buyout provision in case a partner dies. It is much more likely, though, that a partner will become disabled at some point. Your partnership agreement should allow you to buy out your disabled partner if that happens. Be sure to define “disability”.
A Divorce ProvisionMake sure any partners spouse signs a consent form agreeing that any shares he or she may receive in a divorce proceeding will be sold under the buyout clause, so the ex-spouse does not become a partner of the business.
This simple agreement including these common provisions can avoid stress, litigation, cost and hassle. Contact us today to have your Partnership Agreement prepared today!
Sarah E. Holmes is a Philadelphia business attorney and strategist that helps start ups and established businesses looking to expand, protect their assets and increase their profits in an approachable, down-to-earth way. When you're looking for a business lawyer in Philadelphia, the Main Line or New Jersey, we can help.