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What Can Business Owners Do?


These are challenging times for everyone, not least business owners. This is true regardless of the size and scope of your business. I’m not promising any easy solutions; beware of anyone who does. However, I am here to help any way I can. Over the last few weeks I’ve spoken with clients regarding: Interpreting¬†force majeure terms in contracts, including commercial leases. These clauses will continue to come into play as businesses evaluate their legal obligations, particularly businesses whose doors are temporarily shut due to government mandate. Business loans. The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for…

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Celebrity Trademark Update: Greta + the Sussex Royals


Waaay back in 2011, I wrote about names as trademarks in this blog post: Who Owns Lady Gaga?. People who are famous, for one reason or another, have good reason to protect their names. By “names” I’m referring to given names, pseudonyms such as “Lady Gaga”, and other appellations, as we’ll see. Trademark law is one of the means by which names are protected. Greta Thunberg Recently, Greta Thunberg posted on Instagram: Impostors, trademarks, commercial interests, royalties and foundation… First: Unfortunately there are still people who are trying to impersonate me or falsely claim that they “represent” me in order…

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New Report on Growing Trademark Infringement – and How to Avoid Conflicts


A new report by Thompson Compumark provides some valuable insight into the world of trademarks. The news isn’t all good: while the number of trademarks is increasing, trademark infringement is also on the rise. When you read between the lines, however, the report suggests that there are ways to stay ahead of the competition and to minimize the risk of conflict. The report, titled “The trademark ecosystem”, was drawn from a survey the views of 351 trademark professionals across five countries, including in-house and outside counsel, as well as from other data sources and news reports. The first key point…

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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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