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 …

Five Questions to Ask Before Purchasing a Franchise in Ohio

Elliott Stapleton Contracts

  Starting a franchise can be both exciting and overwhelming. In the evaluation stage, you will receive a lot of information, interviewed by the franchisor (the company that sells the franchise to you) and presented with a very large packet of legal documents. This article covers the five questions to ask during your initial discussions with the franchisor. The answers to …

What Exactly is Copyright Infringement?

CMRS Law Copyright

Many people throw around the term “copyright infringement” without fully understanding the legal elements of a copyright infringement claim.  Given the ease at which modern day media can be copied, especially over the internet, every person and business should have a clear understanding of copyright infringement so that they can protect themselves and their intellectual property. When Infringement Occurs When …

Who is Liable for Infringing Media on My Website: Me or My Web Designer?

CMRS Law Copyright, Internet Law

Both of you can be held liable.  As the end user that financially benefits from your website and because you have the ability to direct and supervise your web designer, you are liable for any copyright infringement committed by your web designer.  This is true whether or not you or your web designer actually knew that he or she infringed …

To Which Employment Laws Is Your Business Subject? The Minimum Statutory Requirements of Various State and Federal Laws.

CMRS Law Employment Law

With so many employment laws on the books, at the state and federal level, and many with different requirements regarding applicability, it can be confusing to determine which laws apply to your business.  Given the importance of different obligations, policies and restrictions imposed upon businesses by the various laws, and the hefty penalties for violating them, it is critical that …

Does Your Employee Own Your Company’s Social Media Account?

CMRS Law Employment Law

Who owns your company’s social media account? Does it belong to your business or the employee who created the account to promote your business? Absent a social media policy, the answer is not always clear and can result in costly litigation. Ownership of the account has huge implications regarding who can access the account. If an employer takes over an …

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 …

Patent, Trademark, or Copyright: Which Does Your Business Need?

CMRS Law Copyright, Trademark

Wondering whether your business needs a copyright, a patent, or a trademark?  Unsure as to which one you need?  Don’t worry, you’re not the first.  The type of intellectual property protection your business needs depends upon the subject matter you are trying to protect.  To ensure you are completely protected, it is important that you know what type of protection …

Top 5 Benefits of Copyright Registration

CMRS Law Common Questions, Copyright

Like trademarks, registration is not required to enjoy legal protection in a copyrightable work.  A copyright is obtained automatically by the author as soon as some creative form of expression is fixed in a tangible medium.  However, there are some significant benefits of registering your work with the United States Copyright Office.  These benefits include: 1.  Public notice of your …