The Business Name I Want to Use Doesn’t Show Up in a Trademark Search. Am I Free to Use It?

CMRS Law Trademark

No.  Unlike patent rights, trademark protection does not only arise from registration.  Most trademark protection begins when the trademark is used in commerce.  When your business starts selling a product under a particular name, you are afforded some trademark protection. Who Has Priority in a Name? Priority in a trademark attaches on a first use basis.  If your business starts …

What do I do if Another Business is Using My Business’s Name?

CMRS Law Trademark

No company wants to lose business to a competitor using a name similar to its own.  Such a use can cause confusion among your customers and wrongfully associate your business with an inferior product.  What should you do when this happens and how do you prevent it from happening? When Another Business is Using Your Name The first thing you …

Are Non-Compete Agreements Enforceable in Ohio?

CMRS Law Employment Law

In short, yes.  It is well established under Ohio law that a non-competition agreement of reasonable duration and geographic scope is enforceable if properly made part of an employment agreement.  However, the courts will treat these agreements with skepticism and carefully scrutinize them because they are often drafted by the employer and in favor of the employer.  If the agreement appears too …

Is Your Criminal Background Check Policy Violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act?

CMRS Law Employment Law

Criminal background checks for employment purposes are commonplace.  But recent literature from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency charged with enforcing employment discrimination laws, has suggested that certain criminal background check policies may violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 due to the varying rates of criminal activity among different minority groups. Title VII …

Six Essential Agreements Your Business Needs to Protect Its Intellectual Property

CMRS Law Confidentiality and Nondisclosure Agreement, Contracts

Whether you’re a start-up business or an existing business, protecting your intellectual property is vital.  Intellectual property includes your trade secrets, customer lists, recipes, inventions, and much more.  If your business is not using all of the six agreements described below, your intellectual property may be at risk of exposure or theft. (1) Non-Disclosure and Trade Secret Protection Agreements This …

Does My Business Need a Work for Hire Agreement?

CMRS Law Contracts, Copyright

The answer to this question is “Yes” if you want to own the work an independent contractor just created for your business without having to obtain the contractor’s permission and pay him or her royalties.  Typically, any work created by an independent contractor is owned by the contractor unless a work for hire agreement is signed. What is a Work …

Complying with OSHA: Basic Requirements

CMRS Law Employment Law

The Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), created in 1970, is a federal agency designed to assure safe and healthful conditions for workers through the implementation of various safety regulations, procedures, and enforcement mechanisms.  All private workers are covered by OSHA. In general, OSHA requires that employers keep their workplace free of serious recognized hazards.  More specifically, OSHA requires employers …

Selecting a Strong Trademark: The Four Types of Marks

CMRS Law Trademark

When selecting a trademark, there are two important considerations: (1) avoiding the likelihood of confusion with other marks and (2) selecting a “strong” mark in the legal sense.  A likelihood of confusion will occur when your mark is the same or similar to another mark that identifies related goods or services.  Whether or not a mark is “strong” in the …

What is a Copyright and What Does it Give Me?

CMRS Law Copyright

Copyright protection finds its roots in Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the Constitution, which gives Congress the power “[t]o promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”  Through this Constitutional power, Congress passed the Copyright Act of 1976.  This Act …

Convertible Promissory Note (Debt) Financing in Ohio

Elliott Stapleton Corporation

What is a convertible promissory note? A convertible promissory note is typically used in the early investment stage of a startup business.  It is a loan which will, upon a predetermined event, convert from debt into stock. Here is a visual summary of the process: How does a convertible promissory note work? The process is best explained by an example: …