Technology Law Blog

Remedying Past Employee/Independent Contract Misclassification Through IRS’s Voluntary Settlement Program

Employee or independent contractor? It’s a legal distinction that has significant implication for both workers and employers. Take ride-sharing service Uber, for example. It’s now defending a class action lawsuit filed by its drivers who claim they are misclassified as independent contractors. Should plaintiffs be successful, they may be entitled to damages including reimbursement for expenses they incur, such as gas and vehicle maintenance. Read More ›

Categories: Employment, News & Events, Tax

YouTube Will Pay Content Creators’ Legal Fees in Defense Of Fair Use

Tech continues to test the elasticity of the law and use case precedent as its own disruptor. The Google Goliath, YouTube, is moving forward to pay several video content creators’ legal fees in copyright infringement disputes that use the defense of fair use.

A copyright is an expression of an original idea through words, music, pictures, computer programs, or any other method conveying ideas as works of authorship. The copyright is governed by federal law and is, unlike many of our laws, explicitly identified in the U.S. Constitution. A copyright gives authors the exclusive control of their works of authorship, including derivative rights. An author controls whether or not the copyright – work of authorship - may be used or displayed.

There is, currently, one minor exception: fair use. Read More ›

Categories: Copyright, Intellectual Property, News & Events

SEC Finalizes Long-Awaited Title III Crowdfunding Rules

The long awaited SEC Title III crowdfunding final rules have arrived.

The new rules will open the equity crowdfunding gates to non-accredited investors. Non-accredited investors include individuals: (A) with a net worth less than $1 million, or (B) who have an annual gross income of less than $200,000 (or $300,000 together with their spouse). In other words, businesses will now be permitted to utilize crowdfunding to raise capital by selling their securities to “everyday folks.”

Below are some of the key highlights from the new rules. Read More ›

Categories: Crowdfunding, News & Events, Venture Capital/Funding

FAA and DOT to Require Registration for Drones, Additional Rules Coming Soon

In an effort to improve the accountability of drone users, the U.S. Department of Transportation has announced plans to require drone users to register their "unmanned aircraft systems." Additionally, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta announced the creation of a task force to finalize the details of the registration system, including which drones must be registered. The task force may create a streamlined process for commercial drone users and recommend additional rules by November 20, 2015.  Read More ›

Categories: News & Events

Does my Small Business Need to Protect its Intellectual Property?

There are four basic kinds of intellectual property that you can protect: trademarks, copyrights, patents and trade secrets. At the very early stages of starting a business you will want to protect your business name or brand through a trademark. Learn more about intellectual property basics and what you need to protect, in the Youtube video below.

Categories: Copyright, Intellectual Property, Patents, Trade Secrets, Trademarks

What is a Covenant not to Compete?

Employers often seek to enter into a covenant not to compete with employees. In many cases, the covenant is the best way to protect the employer from future harm.  Also, many purchase agreements include covenants not to compete. Learn about covenants not to compete in the video below.

Categories: Intellectual Property, Startup

Financing Your Vision

What does a startup entrepreneur need to know about financing a company? The entrepreneur needs to work with an adviser or accountant to create a realistic budget. Watch the video below to learn more about your options.

Categories: Crowdfunding, Startup, Venture Capital/Funding

Forming a Business Entity

Why should someone form a business entity? The main reason is to protect themselves from personal liability. Other benefits include attracting investors, marketing the company, maybe saving in taxes and helping to sell or transfer the company to a third party or other family members. Learn more about business entities and the benefits of forming a business entity in the short video clip below.

Foster Swift business attorneys realize entrepreneurs and business owners have many legal questions so we've developed a library of short videos to provide basic legal information on some of the more frequently asked questions. Click here to view our video library.

Categories: Startup, Tax

How to Protect Your Business's Intellectual Property

Sam Frederick and John Mashni, both attorneys for Foster Swift, will be presenting a live webinar on how to protect your business's intellectual property on Tuesday, September 15, 2015 at the Lansing Regional Chamber Board Room. The webinar will be held from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

They will discuss copyright, trademark and trade secret basics and the importance of monitoring and enforcing your intellectual property rights. Frederick and Mashni will also present the best practices for protecting your intellectual property.

For more information and to register for the webinar, click here.

Categories: Intellectual Property, Patents, Trade Secrets, Trademarks

Get It In Writing: Contracts

Let's say you are going to get into business or enter into an agreement with someone you trust. Do you need to get it in writing? It is always a good idea to have a written agreement. Writing provides clarity. Even the process of working through what you have agreed to, to the point of reducing it to writing, will help you think more precisely about what you have agreed to do and what the other side has agreed to and to articulate better the terms of the agreement. Learn more about why you need to get it in writing in the video below.

Categories: IT Contracts