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Why You Should Register a Trademark

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Why You Should Register a Trademark

Starting your own business can be exciting as it allows you to follow your passion while benefiting from your hard work. As part of the start-up process, you should take the time to create and refine a brand that encompasses and embodies your goals. This branding includes the name of your business- maybe a slogan, too- and visual markers you want people to associate with your business, which will be on display in everything from your marketing material down to the invoices you send clients. These details are the trade and service marks of your brand, which should distinguish you... READ MORE

What is the Fuss About the GDPR and Does it Matter for My Business?

At this point, you’ve probably been inundated with emails from various companies notifying you of updates to their privacy policies in light of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into enforcement in the European Union. You may have been asked to confirm your subscription or update your settings depending on the company. So, you may be asking what the GPR is, what it does, and whether your business’ current website needs to comply with these regulations? What is the General Data Protection Regulation? The European Union’s passage of the GDPR, resulted in changes to data privacy laws and regulations... READ MORE

Raising Money from Family and Friends

Long before banks are willing to loan money, often when you first have an idea, you raise money from friends and family to start your business venture. Many a long-term successful venture begins this way, with an equipment budget gifted from grandma and supplies expenses from your dad in exchange for a little ownership. Even on slightly larger scales, this is one of the most common ways businesses raise their initial capital. After all, if your friends and family won’t give you money and assistance, you’re unlikely to get it from investors you don’t know or banks that just want... READ MORE

Child Safety Online: Running Websites Aimed at Children

You might not realize this if you don’t have children, but web content is popping up aimed specifically at entertaining, engaging, and marketing to children. Today’s kids can navigate a tablet before they can talk and online businesses are targeting this demographic (and their parents) to educate and market. You can’t buy a kids meal at a fast food restaurant without the toy including an online game or component and YouTube channels with millions of views are popping up where the video is nothing but adults playing with toys or playing video games. To promote child safety online, there are... READ MORE

Preventing Discrimination in the Workplace

The U.S. has a number of anti-discrimination and harassment laws that prohibit businesses from discriminating against employees based on a number of factors including age, disability, race, sex, pregnancy, and citizenship. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act: Amended in 1991 to allow victims to recover damages, sexual harassment is defined as “unwelcome verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is severe or pervasive and affects working conditions or creates a hostile work environment.” This includes when a person in authority is demanding sexual favors from a subordinate and when sexual comments or jokes create a hostile... READ MORE

California Proposes New Law Aimed at Closing Gender Pay Gap

Across the country, the gender pay gap debate wages and California, despite our tough fair pay laws, is no exception to this rule. Recently, two new laws, one which passed and one which didn’t, aimed to help close and better document this pay gap. According to the census bureau, the average working woman is earning only 86 cents per dollar earned by a man. While stride are being taken to close this gender pay gap, we’re clearly not there yet. The first law, AB 168, bars a prospective employer from asking about previous salary. The goal is to prevent historic... READ MORE

Understanding the Business Duty of Care

Owners and managers of a business have a number of different duties, enshrined in law, to the business. These duties are designed to protect other owners and the business itself from a single owner. One important duty to understand is the duty of care. This duty places responsibility on each decision maker to use reasonable care when dealing with others and in doing business transactions. Some examples of how the duty of care applies to a business: Property: Businesses that own property have a duty of care to customers who come onto their property. Customers, for example, must be treated... READ MORE

Crafting Effective Non-Compete Agreements

One increasingly common portion of employment agreements is a non-compete agreement, designed to keep an employee from leaving one business and immediately competing with their prior employer. There has been some debate in the courts about the extent to which these non-compete clauses are enforceable and there are some good rules of thumb for businesses looking to use non-compete agreements. Non-compete agreements are generally unenforceable in the state of California. To be valid, a non-compete agreement must be given in exchange for some form of consideration, meaning that the employee receives something of value, such as a job, some company... READ MORE

Using Non-Solicitation Agreements in Business

When you bring someone into your company as an employee or contractor, they may have access to vital trade secret information like client files and lead records. A non-solicitation agreement is an agreement, generally as a portion of a larger employment contract, in which the employee agrees not to solicit your clients and customers after leaving your employment. Some also include an agreement that the employee will not try to hire other employees from your business when they leave. Non-solicitation agreements, while often presented as part of the initial contracts signed upon engagement, they can be presented at any point... READ MORE

Businesses May Employ Speech Limitations in the Workplace

You’re probably familiar with the First Amendment and its requirement that Congress not limit or abridge “the freedom of speech, or of the press.” It surprises many people to learn, then that the First Amendment's protections regarding freedom of speech don't apply to a private company’s workplace. The amendment very specifically prevents the government from making any speech rules that restrict speech, but does not restrict companies or individuals from limiting speech. There are employment laws in place that restrict a company from limiting certain forms of employee speech, such as discussion around wages, hours, and working conditions. However, restricting... READ MORE