Archive for the ‘Small business’ Tag

Join us for the GLQC 2013 Small Business Week Awards Luncheon

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Andersen, Tate & Carr is a proud to be a sponsor for the Georgia Lenders Quality Circle

2013 Small Business Week Awards Luncheon

Thursday, May 23, 2013

11:30 – 2 pm

Villa Christina

400 Summit Boulevard

Atlanta, Georgia

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What’s In a Name? – Part 3   Leave a comment

Official seal of the USPTO

Official seal of the USPTO (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

            Our earlier posts in this series covered the legal and marketing considerations involved in choosing business or product names.  Many of our start-up business clients ask whether they should spend part of their limited resources on obtaining a federal trademark.  The answer:  it depends on the type of business you will have an where you plan to practice that business.  Understand that trademark rights arise automatically by operation of law based on a company’s use of the mark in a geographic area—registration, itself, does not create any trademark rights and, therefore, is not a prerequisite for obtaining protectable trademark rights.  There are many benefits of registration of a mark on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s principal register, though, not the least of which is nationwide priority over all later, conflicting marks. 

 Our advice, then, is that federal registration often makes sense for businesses that hope to distribute their goods or services outside of their immediate local area. Further, we recommend that our clients make that investment before they start building significant brand equity in their company or product name.  After all, no one wants to spend years establishing and growing a business, only to discover that someone else in another part of the country where you hope to expand adopted your business name and can use it to compete with you in that region.

             Even if you don’t—or financially can’t—pursue trademark registration initially, it is an essential part of your start-up due diligence to investigate whether your proposed name or mark infringes on someone else’s existing trademark.  An experienced trademark attorney can assist you in this effort and help avoid the situation where you invest resources in a brand, only to receive a trademark cease and desist letter from a party with prior and superior trademark rights in your name, requiring you to abandon the brand you have worked to establish.

             We hope this series has been a helpful overview of the factors new business owners should take into account when choosing a company name.  If you are looking for help in forming a new business or in evaluating or seeking trademark registration for a new or existing company or product name or logo, please feel free to contact our trademark attorney, Kathleen Hart.

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You may, as long as you include this complete bio with it:

 Kathleen Hart is a Georgia attorney, focusing her practice in corporate law, including intellectual property and franchise matters. 

 Her firm, Andersen, Tate & Carr, P.C., works with all manner of clients in business and personal matters, providing “big firm” sophistication with suburban law firm attention and service.

Website: www.atclawfirm.com

Blog: www.andersentatecarr.wordpress.com

 Copyright © 2012, Kathleen Hart & Andersen, Tate & Carr, P.C.

Starting Your Business Off Right   Leave a comment

As with almost any issue that arises today, individuals interested in starting a business often turn first to the Internet as a potential source of information and guidance. A web search returns an overwhelming number of listings on the subject, some with general principals and advice, others advertising “one-stop-shop” start-up business packages, often promising online legal advice and company formation services for a few hundred dollars.

Although such services are appealing due to their promised ease of use and low price tag, using an online start-up service has high hidden costs. These services may advise customers on taxation, whether to form a corporation or a limited liability company, how to structure shareholder relationships, and whether to file a trademark application – this type of advice, when given by a non-lawyer, may amount to unauthorized practice of law. More gravely for the customer, these services, by their very nature, are limited in scope and cannot effectively assist the entrepreneur with customized or long-range business planning. Therefore, while new business owners utilizing such services may save a few dollars initially, they may ultimately lose significant money, property, relationships and sleep over legal problems that could have been avoided or minimized with a modest initial investment in comprehensive, competent legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.

Here at ATC, our corporate attorneys regularly assist new and small business owners with their start-up and ongoing legal needs and are familiar with the challenges and obstacles small business owners face. In the coming weeks, we will post a series of articles intended to spotlight those areas and issues that every entrepreneur should consider at the outset of any new business venture, from proper entity choice and ongoing corporate governance, to shareholder and partner relations, protection of tangible and intangible company assets, relationships with employers, suppliers and customers, and e-commerce and web presence matters. Although these articles cannot replace individualized legal advice, we hope they highlight the complex legal issues involved in starting a business.

If you are an entrepreneur with a great idea looking to start your business, we encourage you to engage a lawyer early in the process to help you identify and prioritize the most pressing legal needs of your new business, so that you may efficiently use your limited start-up capital. If you are interested in learning more about our firm’s wide-ranging and services and how our expertise can help build a better business, please contact us at the link above.

By: Kathleen Hart, an associate in our Corporate Department

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