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Most Recent Questions in Legal Basics For Startups

Question added to topic Legal Basics For StartupsJanuary 7, 2009

How do I close an LLC and S Corp?

Just as you needed your Secretary of State's permission to open your company, you'll need its permission to close (dissolve) it. This is done by what's sometimes called a Certificate of... (more)
Question added to topic Legal Basics For StartupsJanuary 7, 2009

How do I protect my company and idea from the bigger companies in my industry?

Ah, the classic David-and-Goliath situation. Generally, ideas are not protectable, so if you have a new idea for, let's say a sun block for dogs, you can't prevent someone else from developing a... (more)
Question added to topic Legal Basics For StartupsJanuary 7, 2009

We want to start several businesses. Is it better to set up a separate LLC for each business focus or to create a holding company with several subsidiaries?

When you have several lines of business within one company, you run the risk that if one of the lines doesn't do well, it can take down the fortunes of the others. In addition, you may find that... (more)
Question added to topic Legal Basics For StartupsDecember 22, 2008

Do I need permission to use images from the web in my online magazine?

The general rule is that you need permission to use anything that anyone else created -- images, text, video, etc. -- regardless of where you find it. There are narrow exceptions if, for example,... (more)
Question added to topic Legal Basics For StartupsDecember 22, 2008

Can a non-compete clause be enforced if the business closed down?

Generally, if a business has closed its doors, there's no one to enforce the provision...so you're free to move forward with your activities. However, if the non-compete agreement made the terms... (more)
Question added to topic Legal Basics For StartupsDecember 12, 2008

Legally, can I sell cooked food from my house?

You cannot sell prepared foods from your home without having the appropriate permits. In fact, some states prohibit the sale of home canned foods altogether. There are a host of health and safety... (more)
Question added to topic Legal Basics For StartupsDecember 12, 2008

What legal steps need to be taken when starting a parcel forwarding business?

If you are already receiving legal counsel, speak with your attorney about your legal positioning once you've incorporated. Make sure that you check post office regulations about what can and can't... (more)
Question added to topic Legal Basics For StartupsDecember 12, 2008

Can a contractor sue for nonpayment of an amount he never disclosed or invoiced?

Unfortunately, you can't prevent people from suing you, no matter how crazy the claim. What you can do, though, is prevent them from succeeding on their claims. However, there's being right, and... (more)
Question added to topic Legal Basics For StartupsDecember 12, 2008

I'm starting a home video editing business; can I use commercial music for my videos that my costumers provide?

You may not use commercial music for your videos unless you have some form of license (that you pay for) or other permission to use it. The music is the copyrighted property of the... (more)
Question added to topic Legal Basics For StartupsDecember 12, 2008

What are the pitfalls of using LegalZoom to file for an LLC?

LegalZoom is a document preparation service. A company like LegalZoom will do a good job assisting you in one thing, and one thing only: getting you the documents you need in order to incorporate.... (more)
Question added to topic Legal Basics For StartupsDecember 2, 2008

I have an invention that I don't want to patent because of the cost. Will I be safe to manufacture the product myself and sell it online?

Selling your idea to an existing company means selling your right to profit off your invention, so if you want to manufacture and sell your invention yourself and keep the profits, you'll need to... (more)
Question added to topic Legal Basics For StartupsDecember 2, 2008

Is it legal to resell replica brand-name products without the original designers' permission?

You're right--these knockoff products sell like hot cakes worldwide, especially in and out of foreign markets such as China. The reason you don't see many of these products coming from the U.S.,... (more)
Question added to topic Legal Basics For StartupsDecember 2, 2008

I just openied a small engineering consulting office. Can I bring to my practice an independent contractor whose H-1B visa is still in good standing?

Workers who hold H-1B visas can only work in the activities described in their petition for the H-1B. If the contractor you're planning on hiring is going to do the same work for which he or she... (more)
Question added to topic Legal Basics For StartupsNovember 21, 2008

I want to start a business that involves using logos of established companies. How should I contact the companies to get their authorization for use and what percentage of sales should I offer in return?

It's not clear exactly how you intend to use the logos--my first suggestion would be to contact the legal departments of these companies or, depending on who they are, there may be a separate... (more)
Question added to topic Legal Basics For StartupsNovember 21, 2008

What kind of business license do I need?

You are mixing up a couple of concepts here. The first is the need to form a business entity (corporation or LLC) for doing business. That just gives you general permission to do business. The... (more)
Question added to topic Legal Basics For StartupsNovember 21, 2008

Can I trade under a business name that has already been registered?

Company names are determined by the Secretary of State of your state. As long as there are no other businesses with the name you want to use in your state, and provide the name meets other criteria... (more)
Question added to topic Legal Basics For StartupsNovember 21, 2008

Am I allowed to trademark the name of my business even if it's the name of someone else's product?

The Trademark Office determines what's allowed when it comes to trademarks . . . but based on the facts you've presented, it's unlikely your application would be permitted. The Trademark Office... (more)
Question added to topic Legal Basics For StartupsOctober 19, 2008

Is there a legal way of breaking a business lease that has eight months left, given the terrible events happening in this economy?

You can try speaking to your landlord to see if he/she/it will let you out of the lease early. It's possible that the landlord could find another tenant quickly (at an even higher rent). You... (more)
Question added to topic Legal Basics For StartupsOctober 19, 2008

I don't know whether to form an S Corporation or a limited liability corporation.

It's entirely possible that once your family has an ownership interest in your business--regardless of the form--there will be an impact on their taxes. Speak to a business accountant who... (more)
Question added to topic Legal Basics For StartupsOctober 19, 2008

I'm starting a landscaping business as a sole proprietor. Can I hire an employee and 1099 him or use a staff leasing company without filing for an EIN number?

By definition, you cannot hire an employee as a 1099. A "1099" is an independent contractor. Lack of clarity about whether you have hired an employee or an independent contractor can get... (more)
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