Contracts are an important element to doing business, but how do you know you are creating a strong contract that covers all of the elements you need?
Put it in writing!
Verbal agreements do hold some weight, but ultimately they can be hard to enforce. Never take that risk, always get your terms in written down in plain and easy to understand language. Legal language might look impressive, but if no one knows what it actually means, it will be extremely difficult to argue there was a meeting of the minds.
Correctly identify all parties!
As obvious as this may seem, not using correct legal names is a common mistake. Make sure the proper names of all parties are used and DBA is correctly applied if using business names. If it’s between legal entities, then make sure the entities are listed, with an individual with authority signing on behalf of the entity.
It’s in the details!
Make sure to clearly outline the terms and conditions of the contract. Anything that has been previously verbally agreed upon should be added as well. Items that are mistakenly left out can be added with an amendment, generally only if both sides agree. Typically all terms should be in the original contract. Outside oral agreement will generally not be enforceable.
What happens upon termination?
Termination is not something you want to think about, but it needs to be covered in your contract. Not only do you need to include a termination date but also clauses that cover what will happen if one of the parties is in default of the contract. This is also a good section to add dispute resolution terms.
Still not feeling confident? No worries an experienced contract lawyer can look over your contract before you head to the signing table and help you correct areas that need more attention or have been accidentally left out. Need a new contract drafted? Feel free to reach out to our office for help and a flat fee quote.
You are ready to open your cross training center, you have a great location, all of the proper equipment and a great set of trainers ready to go, you have even thought of a catchy name for your center. Have you really thought about how much that name means to your business though? Your name is so much more than just what you call your center, it is your brand and will forever be associated with the business that you have built. Let’s fast-forward 5 years, your cross training center is thriving and you are ready to grow but when you start looking at locating in a neighboring community you realize that another Center has the same name as you! How can this happen? Better yet, how can you prevent it?
A great way to protect your brand name or logo is by registering it as a trademark. A distinctive word, phrase, symbol or design qualifies a trademark that you can register with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). An experienced startup lawyer can help you navigate this process smoothly.
How do I start?
First, there is the trademark search. A thorough search needs to be done to determine whether there is already a business out there with a same or similar name registered.
After you search and conclude that no one is yet using your proposed name in your same category of goods or services, it's time to start thinking about what kind of application you will submit. There is an actual use basis or an intent-to-use basis.
Then, you'll need to choose which class or classes of goods or services your mark falls into. Also, is it a design mark or plain word mark? You'll need to prepare a specimen to submit. Make sure it complies with any file format requirements and properly shows the mark.
Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t worry an experienced business attorney can handle all of this for you and you can do what you do best, running your fitness business. You will have peace of mind knowing that you brand is protected, without worrying about trying to navigate complicated and confusing process!
Contact us to see how we can help trademark the name or logo of your new fitness business.
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.
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