Ask Entrepreneur

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

I am creating a company with my husband for a retail product. We do not fully understanding the legal details.
Nina Kaufman

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?

The invention is a new hair extension applicator. I have researched my invention and there is nothing like it currently on the market. From what I understand, it is not a good idea to try to sell the invention to an existing company.

I don't have the money to patent it, but I do not want to get sued later on by someone if my product becomes very popular. Is there a way I can protect my invention before I begin to manufacture it and sell it on the internet?
Nina Kaufman

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

I have a small online business and have access to wholesale replica brand-name products, such as Gucci, Prada, Shloe, etc. I have not purchased any products because I do not know if there are legal repercussions for reselliing imitation brand names without the original designers' permission. However, I see these products selling worldwide, apparently successfully.
Nina Kaufman

What kind of business license do I need?

I'm starting my own cosmetic line, and I'm wondering what kind of business license I'm going to need to have my products sold in boutiques and retail stores. I currently live in California but plan on selling my products in various stores throughout the United States and Canada (and perhaps even abroad). I have looked into purchasing an LLC, but I'm wondering if there is a type of license that is more affordable for someone at the beginning stage of her business. If an LLC is my best bet, could you please recommend a specific company (a reliable one) where I could buy my license from and what kind of package I should purchase?
Nina Kaufman

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

A company on the other side of the country has registered its business under the same name I have been using. We will not interfere with each other's business because both are localized services and are hundreds of miles from each other. I know I can't register the name, too, but will I still be able to trade under the same name?
Nina Kaufman

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

For instance, a national chain called Cookies Galore has a product that is trademarked under the name "Oatmeal Fudgie-Wudgies." Could I then name my own cookie business Fudgie Wudgies? If not, could I change it slightly to Fudgie Wudge?
Nina Kaufman

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

The current economy has sunk my small business. Customers have stopped buying and I can't make my overhead expenses. How can I get out of my lease?
Nina Kaufman

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

I'm starting a landscape maintenance business as a sole proprietor. I want to incorporate and to keep my business in the family. Would it be better for me to form an S Corporation or a limited liability corporation? I want my family to be shareholders, but I don't want to affect their taxes.
Nina Kaufman

How do I update my corporate minutes years later?

I am the sole shareholder and director of a closely held corporation. I have failed to keep my minute book updated for several years. How do I go back now and update the minutes? I know that corporate records cannot be falsified, so if I write minutes for meetings that should have occurred years ago, wouldn't I be falsifying records?
Nina Kaufman

My brother is working in another country that has fresh water pearls he can buy cheaply. How do we arrange to bring the pearls in legally to sell through my LLC?

He has brought some pearls in for personal use, but a lot of people want to purchase them from me. However, I will only do it legally.
Nina Kaufman

How do you go about making a business legal?

My partner wants to develop an alcohol delivery service. By the nature of the business it seems like legality could be an issue. I think it's a great idea, but I'm skeptical. How can we go about making sure this is legal, including the incorporation process?
Nina Kaufman

I own 51 percent of an LLC. If I plan to split with my business partner what am I responsible to pay him?

Am I obligated to pay him 49 percent of our total assets or just repay the cash amount he put into the business for startup? I'm the veteran, and since we used an SBA Veterans Express loan, I was required to be the 51 percent owner. All assets we have acquired have been through the SBA Veteran Express loan except our initial cash investments before we secured the loan.
Nina Kaufman