Tag: Business attorneys

domain name

Protecting Your Domain Name

Building a business today consists of numerous new factors, in comparison to times past. There is very little focus on getting those business cards printed and letterhead made—after all, it’s a paperless world, and most of us spend time communicating about commerce online rather than in person these days. The major priorities are still the same. Do you have enough capital, and will it last long enough to keep you going through the lean startup years? Are your products or services innovative enough? What about partnerships, establishing a team of employees, and contacting vendors?

Bringing customers in the door is key as always, but your domain name can be the portal to millions online—even around the world. It may or may not be accompanied by a trademark but is in many cases even more vital to your success. While other intellectual property is maintained through application, registration, and licensing through government entities like the United States Patent and Trademark Office or the U.S. Copyright Office, your domain should be registered and protected through a reputable registrar. There, you are able not only to purchase your domain name (something like example.com) but also a select a variety of different intervals for renewing, or auto-renewals—with this being central to the protection of your address. If you forget or neglect to renew (a more common problem for those with multiple domains to manage), this is where you could become vulnerable, as someone else could intercept or purchase what could be a very popular domain name choice address for their own.

Having a strong password is vital, as well as a domain transfer lock so that it can be switched to anyone else without your permission. You may also be able to register your domain through the USPTO if it clearly identifies the products and services that your company offers to the public. Aside from that, you may also have your trademark (denoting products, usually with a symbol or design meant to gain familiarity with the public) or service mark (often this is a slogan describing what you do) listed on your website, and it should be duly protected no matter what. Even though intellectual property technically does belong to you as soon as you create it, registration through the proper office means that you have much greater legal recourse in the case of infringement.

The Bolender Law Firm can assist you in all intellectual property matters. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!

business partnerships

Business Partnerships: Five Reasons to Avoid Them

Making a go of it with a new business can be one of the most satisfying ventures one will ever experience in life—and in some cases, it may be one of the most terrifying too. Including a partner means you have someone to carry the burden with overall, as well as helping to supply much-needed capital—not only for start-up but in the critical months and first few years that follow also. There may be initial peace in knowing you have another shoulder to lean on, but as is so often the case, one or more partnerships could end up being perceived as a liability in the future.

Although you could become involved in one or more partnerships that are extremely valuable and long-lasting, consider these reasons to avoid taking on one or more partners:

  1. Two (or three) can be a crowd – this can especially become an issue if you began a business partnership with someone you have known for a long time, but the friendship becomes strained, for whatever reason. Working in a partnership may be difficult too when it comes to decision-making. You may find that you don’t really want to have to ask someone else’s opinion or gain their permission to implement something new in the company, hire or fire someone, or buy or sell inventory, real estate, or other items.
  2. Finances – as with a marriage, disputes over money can be one of the most common issues, as well as the reason for dissolution of a partnership – and something that carries on past the separation point and into the courtroom, with the possibility of litigation.
  3. Disputes regarding shares – while this could be an immediate threat, there is also the possibility for conflict or vulnerability later if your partner wants to sell their shares to an outside party or dies and leaves them to a spouse who you could then feasibly suddenly find yourself working with every day.
  4. Resentments over work duties – although this should be outlined clearly when the company is formed, resentments can build later if your partner feels like they are being asked to do too much, or like full-time employees sometimes feel – as if they are being compensated too little in return. This can become challenging in difficult times when everyone may be forced to take on extra duties and put in more hours for the good of the company.
  5. Differing visions regarding the future of the company – this may have been what brought you together with a partner, along with creating a specific, unique innovation to offer to the public. Visions and strategies can change as time goes on, however, and a serious divergence in planning for later can cause conflict you may not want to deal with.

Do you need legal assistance with a business dispute? If so, contact the Bolender Law Firm.  Our attorneys are experienced in representing clients in state and federal courts, at both the trial and appellate level. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!

ERISA

ERISA: Understand How It May Affect Your Benefits

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) was enacted solely for the protection of employees and all promised to them from their employers regarding employment. Over the years that has expanded to health plans and other benefits too. According to the United States Department of Labor, ERISA currently covers approximately 684,000 retirement plans, 2.4 million health plans, and 2.4 million additional welfare benefit plans—affecting 141 million workers in the US, with over $7.6 trillion in assets.

Just over half of the employees in our country are being offered retirement and/or health benefits as ERISA is meant to work on their behalf in seeing that pension plans and other benefits are handled responsibly by employers and fiduciaries. If you have a retirement plan or other benefits at the company you work for, ERISA protection should affect you positively as those you work for are held to particular standards in terms of making sure that you not only receive what you were promised, but that they also are completely open in allowing you access to your plans and all that is involved within them.

“More than half of America’s workers earn health benefits on the job, and ERISA protects those too, as well as other employee benefits,” states the United States Department of Labor.

Through ERISA, employers are required to make sure employees are apprised of their benefit plans. ERISA administration also makes the rules regarding items such as:

  • Plan participation for employees
  • Vesting details
  • How benefits accumulate
  • Funding procedures

Accountability regarding fiduciaries is also one of the main requirements issued by ERISA – harkening back to the administration’s original mission to make sure companies do not mismanage plans, leaving employees with little to nothing – or even worse, embezzling money that was supposed to be set aside for pensions and more. There are strict penalties if ‘principles of conduct’ are not followed, meaning that they would have to pay back any lost plan funds. Employees are also imbued with the power to sue over such issues, along with the possibility of being paid through the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation if a plan is discontinued.

Whether you are an employer or an employee, you may have numerous questions about the complexities of ERISA and how it applies to you. If your benefit plan has been disrupted or denied, you may also need skilled legal advice form a law firm experienced in both insurance law and business law.

Contact the Bolender Law Firm. If a dispute over a claim cannot be easily resolved through a call or written communication, our attorneys will advocate on your behalf through litigation, arbitration, or non-binding mediation. Our attorneys are experienced in representing clients in state and federal courts, at both the trial and appellate level. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!

partnership contracts

Partnership Contracts in Business—How to Avoid Disputes Later

Every business is different, but one central theme prevails in all: you cannot do it alone. And while many business owners may be able to create and start up a business by themselves, there is usually a strong team put quickly into place, responsible for a variety of different tasks—from customer service to accounting to human resources. For one reason or another though, you may be founding a new company with one or more partners on board. Many entrepreneurs find this a healthy way to enter the business world, brainstorming and innovating with other like-minded individuals, as well as being able to share responsibilities for startup capital, the workload, and even some of the stress and anxiety involved.

You May Spend A Lot of Time with Your Business Partner

In a partnership, you have one or more business peers to lean on, whether that is financial or not. The relationship can be like a marriage in many cases—and sometimes it may seem like work obligations force you to spend more time with your business partner than you do your spouse. With nearly 30 million small businesses registered in the US today, that makes for a lot of partners—and unfortunately, disputes too. No one likes to see a long-term relationship with someone they have worked with go downhill though, and especially not one that escalates into a nasty court battle.

A Thorough Partnership Contract Could Save You Later

Just as with so many trusting couples who dismiss the idea of prenuptial agreement, partners in the initial glow of the business startup may neglect to create the proper partnership contracts. Getting started on this paperwork while the going is still good is key however. While it may seem awkward at first, setting up all the rules of the partnership at the beginning means you can formulate a plan not only for how you will proceed at the start—but also the end.

The basics should be covered as to which titles each partner will hold, decision-making power, job duties, and how profits will be disbursed. Just as important though are exit strategies discussing what will happen should one or more partners decide to leave—or what will happen to their shares if they die. A dispute resolution clause may prove indispensable later too, giving you the flexibility ahead of time to choose whether any legal issues would be settled through classic litigation processes or alternative dispute resolution instead, such as arbitration or mediation.

Contact Us for Help

Do you need legal assistance with a business dispute? If so, contact the Bolender Law Firm.  Our attorneys are experienced in representing clients in state and federal courts, at both the trial and appellate level. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!

Business strategies

Business Strategies: Figure out Partnership Exits at the Beginning

While some business owners employ many different business strategies and some prefer to fly solo, many others find that their companies thrive with the boost of one or more partners; in fact, if you do have business partners, these could be individuals you have known for many years—and they may have been integral in helping to develop your business model, products, intellectual property, and more. The key to a successful business partnership is much like that of any relationship: communication is key, along with a clear outline of what is expected of everyone.

Speak to your business attorney as soon as possible about having partnership contracts drawn up, defining titles, delegated duties, and information regarding profits and how and when they are to be dispensed. Even more important though is the exit strategy. And although this might seem like a negative thing to be considering from the beginning, the reality is that many partners do go in different directions over time, and it is better to have a plan while everyone is on good terms. This gives stability for the future too, as everyone knows what the plan is should one partner or another wish to depart or sell their shares.

The exit strategy for partners should include establishing the value of the business and then giving one or more partners the right to buy out their shares if that was the agreed upon plan; otherwise, they may want to leave their shares to family members or sell them to individuals from outside the company—a move which could lead to surprising complexities for existing partners who may later wish they had taken the chance to buy out the exiting partner.

Another important quotient in the business partnership contract is a dispute resolution clause. Again, deciding on such details before anyone is angry or suing can lead to a much better outcome later should a dispute arise. Dispute resolution clauses can be extremely detailed, outlining what type of method would be used, whether litigation, arbitration, or mediation. They may also be used to indicate where the resolution would take place, and who would be responsible for paying any attorneys’ fees, should that be an issue.

Do you need legal assistance with a business dispute? If so, contact the Bolender Law Firm.  Our attorneys are experienced in representing clients in state and federal courts, at both the trial and appellate level. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!

Business attorney

Why You Need a Good Business Attorney—Sooner Rather Than Later

Before your company came into existence, it’s likely you spent years daydreaming about what it would be like to own a business—whether you brought forth a new concept, product, innovative business model, or helpful service to the community–and hiring a business attorney was probably not on your mind initally. There are so many benefits to business ownership, beginning with the control you have over your daily life as opposed to working for someone else. Along with that, you may have the ability to provide something truly valuable to the public, along with hiring a team and working with business partners who you may form lifelong bonds with over the years. The financial rewards are often better (although those first few years can often be challenging!), and it is an incredible feeling to watch a business you created take off. That is why protecting your hard work with the help of an experienced law firm like the Bolender Law Firm is critical.

While many new businesses do not hire attorneys until they are in the middle of a legal dispute, having legal expertise on your side from the beginning is recommended as you establish the foundation for your business. Whether you are creating a sole proprietorship or a large corporation, your business attorney will help you understand the best route to take, taking your finances and goals into consideration—as well as any tax implications.

Once your business structure is in place, a business attorney should be there for you as you form partnerships, whether they are with business partners who will be working in your company, or outside relationships with vendors and other entities. Legal advice is often necessary as you hire independent contractors also, creating specific agreements and maintaining the proper rights to your intellectual property.

More serious matters will arise over the years inevitably too, and your business will be much more secure if you have already solidified a good working relationship with an attorney you trust. You may be forced to deal with legal disputes from employees or outside sources, as well as handling any other myriad complaints or lawsuits that could be lodged against your company—whether they have merit or not. Unfortunately, dealing with disputes over the years is often the cost of doing business in a dog-eat-dog world. And, coming full circle, your business attorney will be able to assist you not only as you re-work profit allocations with employees or business partners, buy other companies or commercial real estate, but also as you or partners exit the company—or sell out altogether.

If a business dispute cannot be resolved through a call or written communication, our attorneys will represent you through litigation, arbitration, or non-binding mediation. Our attorneys are experienced in representing clients in state and federal courts, at both the trial and appellate level. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!