Trademark owners often feel a justifiable sense of pride and satisfaction when they receive their trademark’s Certificate of Registration in the mail from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Although it is tempting to view getting that certificate as the end of a long and sometimes bumpy road, the fact is that registering a mark is only the first step in protecting and building the value of a brand.
Trademark owners have a duty to “police” their marks to prevent consumer confusion. “Policing” means actively searching for potential infringers and, if an infringer is discovered, enforcing your trademark rights against them in a timely manner.
Failing to take action against an infringer promptly could result in actually losing the ability to bring an infringement lawsuit in the future. In
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Lots. Especially for small businesses like you and me.
The Margin Tax is an initiative proposed by the teacher’s union to raise funds for Nevada schools. That sounds all well and good on the surface; after all, who doesn’t want to provide for our schoolkids? However, this initiative is NOT the way to do it, for a laundry list of reasons I’ll attempt to tackle within the bounds of a blog.
1. No guarantee the money will actually go to schools.
The language of the initiative does not require the funds to go to schools. In reality, politicians can divert the funds any way they see fit, with no accountability or oversight.
2. From Business-Friendliest to Business-UNfriendliest
As many of you know, Nevada is one of
Continue reading What’s Wrong with the Margin Tax?
Your company’s trademark or service mark is the core of your brand identity in the marketplace. As such, it is one of your most valuable business assets and deserves to be developed with a great deal of forethought and creativity.
Once you have selected a potential mark, proper trademark searching must be conducted before you begin using it to make sure that your mark does not infringe the rights of prior users of a mark that is very similar. The importance of proper trademark searching will be discussed in detail in a future post. For now, here are some practical tips to bear in mind while searching for a distinctive trademark or service mark:
1. Make your name memorable. A creative, distinctive name will
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Are you a Nevada business interested in doing business with state and local government agencies? Are you already certified as a minority, woman, or veteran owned business? Do you not qualify for one of those certifications? Fret not, I have good news for you.
The Governor’s Office of Economic Development has introduced an Emerging Small Business certification, which is open to business that fit the following requirements:
You must be a for-profit business; Your principal place of business must be in Nevada You must be in compliance with all licensing requirements; You cannot be a subsidiary of a parent company; and You must be qualified as either a Tier 1 or Tier 2, which relates to the number of employees and gross profits.
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Have you received an audit notice from the Nevada Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation (DETR)? Try not to panic. Here’s what you should know:
The primary purpose of the audit is to verify that the numbers reported to DETR match the numbers in your books. The letter you received lists a bunch of documents the auditor wants to see at the audit meeting. The auditor will check your numbers against the ones you reported to DETR and make sure they match.
The secondary purpose of the audit is to make sure you haven’t been misclassifying your employees. This is where most companies get hosed.
If you have paid workers as independent contractors, the auditor wants to see backup documentation that they are, in fact, independent contractors
Continue reading Nevada DETR Audits – What You Need to Know
It’s a question almost every startup client asks – should we incorporate in Nevada or Delaware? This is becoming a hotly contested debate among lawyers, investors, and startups. As was drilled into your head in business school, Delaware is a very business-friendly state. It’s known for its business-friendly laws, a solid history of business-friendly legal precedent (court decisions), and a chancery court that handles only business matters in a more skilled, expeditious manner than the general court. Nevada, being pretty quick on the uptake, has basically copied and pasted Delaware statues into the Nevada Revised Statutes to provide the foundation for a business-friendly environment to be built out further with case law. We also have a business court which, similar to the Delaware chancery court, handles cases
Continue reading Nevada vs Delaware – The Great Debate
I’m Gina Bongiovi, and I’m a lawyer who works with start-ups and small businesses. And in this video, I’m going to talk about the myth of forming an S Corp. I have a lot of clients that come to me or they call me and they say I want to form an S Corp. It’s kind of a technicality, but that’s not exactly possible. And let me explain why.
First of all, the IRS allows entities like LLCs or corporations to elect be taxed certain ways. So basically there are two different worlds–you have a legal world over here where you choose your entity, your full proprietorship, general partnership, limited partnership, LLC, corporation, and then on this side, then you have the opportunity to choose how you want your
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On January 1, 2014, the Nevada Secretary of State began accepting filings for a new entity, the benefit corporation, or “B corp.” Traditional corporations labor under an obligation to turn a profit for shareholders. A corporation’s failure to do so can result in a shareholder derivative suit, where the individual shareholders sue the management or board for failure to keep profits in the crosshairs. Companies turning an eye toward social change and community activism have recently struggled with whether to incorporate as a for-profit business or as a non-profit. The benefit corporation is a marriage of the two. A concept pioneered by globally conscious retailer Patagonia, the benefit corporation allows a for-profit company to subordinate its fiduciary duty to turn a profit to a larger, more “beneficial” goal. Whether a
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While we make personal resolutions to exercise more, quit smoking/drinking/gambling, swear less, and spend more time with family, we business owners should make some resolutions for our companies. May I suggest the following:
Get things in writing. Many, if not most, of the disputes between partners arise because they don’t get the terms of their partnership in writing. We no longer live in a world where doing business on a handshake is advisable. If someone is making you a promise, get it in writing. Review everything you sign. EVERYTHING. Yes, business owners are busy people. Yes, running a business requires making quick decisions without getting bogged down in details. However, it’s imperative that you (or a trusted advisor) carefully read everything you sign BEFORE signing. The quickest
Continue reading Small Business New Year’s Resolutions
I’m Gina Bongiovi. And I’m a lawyer who works with start ups and small businesses. And in this video I’m going to talk about whether or not you should incorporate your business.
So if you’re in business and the most formal thing you’ve done thus far is print business cards, then you’re operating as a sole proprietor. And what it means when you’re operating a sole proprietor is God forbid somebody sues you for something you did in your business, they can get at your personal assets if they win a lawsuit.
The purpose of forming an entity like an LLC or a corporation is that you’re then doing business as the LLC or the corporation and you’re not doing business as yourself. So the LLC and the corporation
Continue reading Should I Incorporate My Business?