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What’s in a Name? Protecting Your Business’s Name from a Look-Alike

TrademarkDue to the depth of information this article provides, the full article is linked below and is also featured under 'Publications' on this site.

As the old phrase goes: what’s in a name? For any business, a name is a brand. A name is tied to a reputation, a marketing strategy, and a presence within an industry. We have all laughed at off-brand products in grocery store aisles: Mountain Mist masquerading as Mountain Dew, Mr. Pibb stepping in for Dr. Pepper, or Cinnamon Crunch Squares replacing Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Other times, similar names represent companies in unrelated industries: Domino Sugar vs. Domino’s Pizza or Delta Airlines vs. Delta Faucets. But when does a company’s name cross the line into violating another company’s rights?

See the full article here.

Categories: Intellectual Property, Trademarks

New Safe Harbor Announced for Electronic Disclosures Required by ERISA

EmailFor more articles from the June 2020 Issue of Business & Tax Law News, click here.

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”) and its applicable regulations require a plan administrator to provide a number of notices to plan participants. For example, an ERISA plan administrator must provide to all plan participants a Summary Plan Description (“SPD”) that provides an overview of plan terms. Additionally, a plan administrator must provide a Summary of Material Modifications (“SMM”) to plan participants every time it makes certain changes to the plan. Read More ›

Categories: Electronic Health Records, Employee Benefits

A Guide to the Employee Retention Tax Credit: An Alternative to the PPP

PPP Loan with Sticky NoteFor more articles from the June 2020 issue of Business & Tax Law News, click here.

The CARES Act created the Employee Retention Tax Credit (“ERTC”), which is designed to provide financial relief to employers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ERTC is a refundable tax credit that is credited against an employer’s share of social security taxes for specific wages paid on or after March 12, 2020 and before January 1, 2021. An eligible employer can access ERTC funds by (1) immediately reducing employment tax obligations, (2) applying for an advance payment of the estimated credit, or (3) calculating the final credit amount at the end of the applicable calendar quarter, usually on Form 941.  Importantly, an employer that has received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan cannot also claim the ERTC (unless the employer has repaid its PPP loan by May 14, 2020). Read More ›

Categories: Employment, Tax

Latest Trend in Executive Compensation: To Include Diversity & Inclusion or Not?

Diversity & Inclusion in WorkplaceCompanies are increasingly tying executive compensation to diversity and inclusion (“D&I”) initiatives in an effort to increase female and minority representation among the workforce and management. Despite progress in recent years, an overwhelming majority of executives in the United States remain Caucasian males. Many companies have previously adopted diversity measures at the directorship-level; however a lack of diversity remains at the management level and among the rank and file employees. Read More ›

Categories: Compliance, Employment, Inspirational, Liability

Legal Impact of a Pandemic - Interview with John Mashni

Attorney John Mashni discusses several topics affecting Michigan businesses amidst the COVID-19 pandemic during an interview with mConnexions' Principal Strategist, Julie Holton. Mashni offers some insight for businesses dealing with issues such as cybersecurity, contract enforcement, and employment. You can view the entire interview below. Please visit our Coronavirus Task Force Page for more resources related to this ongoing situation.


Categories: Compliance, Contracts, Cybersecurity, Employment, Tax

COVID-19 Resources for BizTech

COVID-19

 Do you have questions concerning COVID-19 as it relates to your business? Foster Swift is ready and able to assist any business in making the determination about whether it is exempt, or to answer any other questions you may have regarding the impact of COVID-19 on your business. With the uncertainty and partial information surrounding the Coronavirus, consider the following articles and interview for relevant and accurate updates: 

Cyber Insurance: Is it right for you?

Block on KeyboardWe are frequently asked about insurance policies that cover internet-based risks like those involving network security like data breaches and ransomware, as well as data privacy related risks like class action lawsuits for privacy violations and costs related to the increasingly complex landscape of privacy rules. Read More ›

Categories: Cybersecurity, Insurance

Three Steps to Forming an LLC

A limited liability company (“LLC”) provides many benefits and protection to its owners. When forming an LLC there are several steps you should take. Below are three key steps to setting up your LLC. Read More ›

Categories: Compliance, Contracts, Entity Selection, Organization & Planning, Startup

Legal Cybersecurity Hotline Launched

Cell Phone in HandsThis blog post has since been updated with new information

Hackers are more sophisticated than ever. It is often not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’ a data breach will occur. October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and with new threats frequently reported in the media; individuals, businesses, municipalities and other organizations need to do their due diligence in preparing for the inevitable. Read More ›

Categories: Cybersecurity

What to Consider Before Filing a Patent

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This blog has since been updated with new information

What is eligible for patent protection?

In the U.S., what is known as a "general utility patent" or what most people typically imagine a patent to be, protects the use and function of an invention. Processes, machines, articles of manufacture and compositions of matter are all patent eligible. You cannot get a patent for an abstract idea or something that you discover in nature; you have to have a true physical invention or a process that creates a transformation of some kind in order to be eligible. Read More ›

Categories: Copyright, Intellectual Property