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How Can I Avoid an “Accidental Franchise”?


One of the benefits of owning a trademark is enjoying the ability to license the mark – meaning, you can agree to let someone else use the trademark in exchange for a fee or some other type of compensation. In theory, trademark licensing should be straightforward. However, the “franchise trap” or the “accidental franchise” makes it more complicated than it may initially seem. Franchises are highly regulated at both the state and federal level. For example, franchisors are required to make substantial disclosures of financial information, which must be audited. In California, as in many other states, the franchise must…

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Who Should I Ask to Sign an NDA?


Non-Disclosure Agreements, or NDAs, are one of the most common types of business documents. The purpose is simple: to prevent one party from disclosing the confidential information of another party. Business owners are sometimes confused about NDAs and who should sign them. So let’s go over some of the basics. What is Covered? An NDA can cover any information that your company owns that’s confidential. These are referred to as “Trade Secrets” – for more information about Trade Secrets, click here. Items covered by an NDA may include: Lists and contact information of customers or clients Business plans, including future…

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California’s New Privacy Law – Does Every Business Need to Comply With CCPA?


California’s new consumer privacy law, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), goes into effect on January 1, 2020. Does every business need to comply with CCPA? And what is required to be in compliance? The CCPA applies to your company if you meet at least one of the following requirements: Your annual gross revenues are at least $25 million. You obtain personal information of at least 50,000 California consumers (meaning residents, homeowners, or devices) per year. At least 50% of your annual revenue is generated from selling California residents’ personal information. If you meet requirement #1, you probably know that your…

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5 Steps to Register Your Trademarks With U.S. Customs


The counterfeit industry is reportedly worth $1.2 trillion per year. That’s trillion with a “T”. According to Chavie Lieber at Vox, “counterfeits have also been linked to funding terrorism and other rings of criminal activity.” Lieber goes on to show how Instagram (particularly Instagram Stories, which disappear after 24 hours and therefore are difficult to track) has helped lead to the explosion of knockoff goods. Trademark owners do have one way to combat this issue: they can register their trademarks with U.S. Customs (also known as Customs and Border Protection or “CBP”). CBP regularly inspects goods brought in at various…

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