Technology Law Blog

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

Patent Basics

So you just had a Eureka moment and your epiphany is going to make you millions as soon as it hits shelves. Learn more about patent basics in this short video including:

  • Time limits for filing a patent;
  • Different kinds of patents; and
  • Different kinds of patent applications.

Categories: Intellectual Property, Patents

What's in a Name: Selecting a Name for Your Business

Why is a business name so important? A name is everything, it is your business's identity. When you select your business name, from a legal perspective, you need to come up with a unique name, a name that does not infringe on others rights. Unique names are the easiest to protect. Learn more about protecting you business name in the video below:

Categories: Intellectual Property, Trademarks

Why You Should Register Your Copyrights: The Benefits of Registration Under The Copyright Act

A copyright is automatically created upon the completion of an original work of authorship that is fixed in a tangible medium of expression. While an automatic copyright protects that work, a formal registration of copyrighted materials within three months of release to the general public provides extra benefits that can prove extremely valuable to the owner. These benefits serve to not only protect the copyrighted work, but also to provide additional remedies for the author in the event of infringement. Registering a copyright is as simple as submitting an application to the United States Copyright Office with a minimal filing fee and a copy of the copyrighted material. Then, once the work is registered, the benefits begin immediately. Read More ›

Categories: Copyright, Intellectual Property

U.S. Supreme Court Addresses Criminal Liability For Facebook Threats

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal law that prohibits sending threats over the internet requires some level of intention by the sender. The ruling leaves some issues open but is significant for those who engage in hyperbole online. Read More ›

Categories: First Amendment, News & Events, Social Media

Free Speech on Social Media: FTC Updates its Guidance on Social Media Endorsements

Social media is a great tool for companies to build their brands. Many have moved from nearly invisible to viral superstar status, thanks to a well-timed Tweet, Facebook post or clever YouTube video. But with this power comes risks.

One tried and true marketing tactic - both in social and traditional media - is leveraging the power of endorsements. If others are happily using or consuming a product it must be worthwhile, right? While the law and regulatory framework regarding social media promotion is still evolving, social media endorsement is an area that has recently received additional scrutiny from government regulators. Read More ›

Categories: News & Events, Social Media

Fraudulent Kickstarter Campaign Leads to First-of-its-Kind FTC Legal Action

A drink cooler that doubles as a blender and stereo system. A card game called “Exploding Kittens” for “people who are into kittens and explosions and laser beams and sometimes goats.” A motion picture starring Kristen Bell. These are a few of the inventions and initiatives that have received the most funding on Kickstarter, the popular crowdfunding site.

Kickstarter is an online platform that allows project creators to seek financial backing. If people like a project, they can pledge money to make it happen. Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing - a project must meet its funding goal to receive any money at all.

I have previously written about the tax implications of Kickstarter campaigns here.

While there’s always a risk that a project won’t make it from concept to completion, most backers have an expectation that their monetary pledge will be used in good faith and for its intended purpose. Read More ›

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

The Department of Justice Issues Recommendations for Preparing for Cybersecurity Threats

The recently formed Cybersecurity Unit of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice (the “DOJ”) recently issued guidance regarding best practices for organizations to protect against and respond to cybersecurity risks. The guidance, titled “Best Practices for Victim Response and Reporting of Cyber Incidents,” was drafted with smaller organizations in mind, but has relevance to larger ones as well.

What to Do in Advance of a Breach

The DOJ urges organizations to prepare an incident response plan before a breach occurs, and recommends that an organization do the following: Read More ›

Categories: News & Events