What Steps Do I Need to Take to Dissolve My LLC?

Jennifer Wickman Common Questions

The dissolution process is often set forth in the operating agreement for the company. In general, however, the dissolution process begins with winding up business affairs and operations, followed by officially filing a Certificate of Dissolution with the Secretary of State. Winding Up Winding up occurs when a business dissolves, whether voluntarily or by court order. During the wind up …

What Happens to My Copyrights When I Die?

Jennifer Wickman Copyright

When an individual dies, their assets are distributed to family members, friends, charities, or other beneficiaries designated in a Will or Trust, or to heirs, as determined by state intestacy laws.  These assets generally include personal property such as furniture, jewelry, and fine china. What about intangible property, such as Copyrights? Copyrights, while considered intangible property, are also personal property. …

How Do I Copyright My Work?

Jennifer Wickman Copyright

The essence of copyright law is to encourage individuals to express their creativity and share that creative expression with the public without fear that the work will be taken and reproduced by others. There are two fundamental elements to a copyright: (1) an original expression that is (2) fixed in a tangible medium. An original expression means that the author …

Six Tips for Avoiding a USPTO Trademark Office Action

Elliott Stapleton Trademark

Previously, I wrote about two important considerations to keep in mind when selecting a trademark: (1) avoid creating a likelihood of confusion with a pre-existing trademark and (2) select a legally strong mark. In addition to those two considerations, there are several other issues to keep in mind if you want to register your mark with the United States Patent …

Should I Sign a Separation Agreement?

Elliott Stapleton Employment Law

For Employees Like the answer to most legal questions, it depends.  The legal reason your employer is offering you a separation (or severance) agreement is to secure a legal release of almost every legal claim you may have against it.  In exchange for a certain amount of severance pay, your employer achieves a sense of finality surrounding the termination in …

Do I Need an Attorney to Register a Trademark?

Elliott Stapleton Trademark

As a trademark attorney that has filed multiple trademark applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), I can tell you that this article should really be entitled “Do I Want to Maximize My Chances of Actually Getting My Trademark Registered While Reducing My Chances of Losing my Nonrefundable Filing Fee or Incurring Additional Costs?” Unfortunately, that title …

If An Online Photo Does Not Have a © or a Watermark, Can I Use It?

Elliott Stapleton Common Questions, Copyright

Probably not.  There is a common misconception that if a photograph does not have the little ©, or some sort of watermark designating the picture as belonging to someone else, it is not protected by copyright law and is free for the taking.  That is simply not true.  Copyright protection attaches the moment an author fixes a form of creative expression …

Stopping Cyber-Squatters with the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP)

Elliott Stapleton Internet Law, Trademark

Imagine a website pops up with your business’s name in the domain (or a common misspelling of your name).  The page starts to show up on the front page of Google when customers search for your business and upon first glance looks like your website, easily confusing your customers.  Maybe the purported owner of this new domain contacts you offering …

Is Your Business Running an Illegal Lottery?

Elliott Stapleton Government Compliance

Many businesses run contests or sweepstakes as a way to promote the business and engage customers.  If done properly, these promotions can be a great way to generate sales.  However, if a contest or sweepstakes is not run correctly, it could be considered a lottery.  Lotteries, unless state-run, are illegal in every state and could subject your business to civil …

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

Elliott Stapleton 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 …