Law Blog

How Do I Trademark My Book Title?

How Do I Trademark My Book Title?

Entertainment, Trademark, Trademark Infringement
Stacked Books by Thought Catalog from Pexels Every now and then, I'm asked by aspiring authors, songwriters, film makers, and other creative types, “How do I trademark the title of my book [or song, movie, etc.]?” In this post, we take a look and answer the question of whether titles to books can even receive trademark protection and how you can possibly protect the economic value of that awesome book, song, or painting title of yours. Ben's Note: For purposes of this post, I will keep things simple by referring to titles of books, but, for the most part, you can extrapolate these ideas to whatever work you’ve created, e.g., new song, photograph, YouTube video, etc. Can I Trademark My Book Title? First off, let's eliminate the suspense. In general,…
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Using Your Home Address as Known Place of Business in Arizona

Using Your Home Address as Known Place of Business in Arizona

Business Formation, Corporations, Entity Formation
Startup founders who have just launched their business are usually focused squarely on developing their MVP and are not quite at the point where they need office space or want to take on the expense of an actual lease. These business owners will frequently ask our Phoenix startup law practice if they can use a home address (usually that of the company owner or a shareholder) as the known place of business for their Arizona corporation? First of all, the usual caveats. This post deals strictly with Arizona law and requirements. You should always examine the applicable law of your state of formation or consult an attorney practicing there. For purposes of this article, we also are focusing on Arizona domestic corporations. Now, let’s take a look at what Arizona…
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Repeat After Me—Domains are NOT Trademarks (but Trademarks Can Be Domains)

Repeat After Me—Domains are NOT Trademarks (but Trademarks Can Be Domains)

E-Commerce, Entity Formation, Lanham Act, Trademark, Trademark Infringement
Lately, I've had more than one new business owner client tell me they registered a website domain with their company name and, because they were able to do this, then it must not be a registered trademark and available, right? [I direct your attention to the title of this blog post] No, you cannot just add a word onto someone else's trademark and register that domain A recent situation with a new startup client ran something like this: the founder had selected their company name but had not ever bothered to perform an actual trademark search or "clear" the usage of the name. She subsequently hired my firm to assist with getting their startup formally set up and basic initial documentation and disclosures prepared. At one point, the founder requested…
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Strange Brew: Restaurant Texting Case Highlights Importance of Maintaining TCPA Records

Strange Brew: Restaurant Texting Case Highlights Importance of Maintaining TCPA Records

Digital Marketing, Privacy, Telephone Consumer Protection Act
Businesses using automated text messaging campaigns to market to its existing and prospective customers should heed the lessons of a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) decision out of the Western District of Missouri examining the legality of a brewhouse chain's SMS marketing campaign. What is the TCPA anyway? To back up, the TCPA imposes detailed restrictions on businesses engaging in telemarketing and---of particular importance to not a few of my business clients---the use of what the Act refers to as an "automatic telephone dialing system" (ATDS) to send such automated text messages to recipients. Let's be clear, as a business owner, you shouldn't be fooled by the “telephone” portion of the TCPA moniker. The Federal Communications Commission (the federal agency tasked with TCPA enforcement) has already concluded that cell phones…
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Is An S-Corporation Right for Your Startup?

Is An S-Corporation Right for Your Startup?

Business Formation, Corporations, Entity Formation, Equity Incentives, Foreign Corporation, Start-Up
In my Phoenix emerging business law practice, I’m regularly asked to incorporate a client’s startup company. However, I’m often met with a founder's blank stare or “Um…” when I ask them if they wish to be considered a C or an S-corporation. Let me remind the reader that I am not a CPA or tax attorney and that you should always (and I mean always!) discuss your and your co-founders' specific tax situation and business and capital raise goals with your CPA or tax advisor before making a Subchapter S election for your startup. Aren't all corporations just...well, corporations? Not exactly. When you incorporate your startup company, for Federal taxation purposes anyway your new corporation will be treated by default as what is known as a "C" corporation (based on…
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