If you hold patents, have patents pending or are thinking of filing a patent, then it’s time for you to get to know the details of the most significant reform of the U.S. patent system in more than a century. On September 16, 2012, the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) of 2011 was signed into law, signaling an historic overhaul of the patent system. According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the provisions of the AIA will “spur innovation and economic growth by streamlining the patent application process and...
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a freelancer, an online business or operate a growing bricks and mortar company with multiple employees. In all cases, two things are certain: 1) You must pay business taxes (of course), and 2) you need to know a little bit about business law. The problem is there are so many laws and regulations that impact small businesses, from ensuring the emails you send to your customers fall within marketing and advertising laws to trademarking your name to making sure you comply with labor laws. So how do...
Thinking of incorporating your business? Have questions about which business entity is right for you – limited liability company (LLC), S Corporation, partnership, or sole proprietor? Maybe you’re moving out of state and aren’t sure what happens to your business entity? For answers to these and other important facts about business incorporation, check out these 10 frequently asked questions: What’s the best option for small business owners, an LLC or an S Corporation? LLCs and S Corporations are two very popular forms...
Are you self-employed and trying to understand your retirement savings plan options? Are you perhaps an employer who wants to offer your employees a retirement savings plan program? There are many ways to fund a retirement plan. In some cases, employers contribute. In others, employees or both (employer and employee) contribute. If you have no employees, your options are different again. The program you choose may dictate which options are available. Even after you’ve chosen a plan, it will take more work and diligence to maintain it....
Hiring your first employee or building your business team opens whole new areas for compliance in employment and labor law. Laws are broad and far reaching and cover a broad range: preventing discrimination and harassment in the workplace, workplace poster requirements, wage and hour laws, workers compensation regulations, and more. For small business owners short on time and resources, getting their arms around these laws can be tricky. The good news is that there are many online tools from both the SBA and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)...
Despite signs of economic recovery, countless Americans are still dealing with layoffs and unemployment. As often happens when the economy slows, many Americans respond by using unemployment as a springboard to business ownership. But unemployed workers face a fundamental challenge when it comes to starting a business – how do you start a business if you risk losing your unemployment benefits simply because you aren’t actively looking for a career-job? In an effort to address this issue, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Act...
Are you, or do you know someone, under the age of 18 who is interested in starting a business? Whether you are building the latest web app or buying and selling on eBay, young entrepreneurs face the same opportunities and challenges as their adult counterparts. But as you might expect, there are also some tax and legal considerations to bear in mind. Here are answers to some FAQs about starting a business as a minor (the definition of which varies by state). 1. Can a Minor Form an LLC or Corporation? Forming an corporation or LLC is...
Do you have a military veteran, reservist or National Guard service member on your books? If so, it’s a good idea to be aware of what the law requires when it comes to handling employees who may be called to active duty – whether to a war or disaster zone. Here’s what you need to know: Know How the Law Protects Employee Rights The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) protects the reemployment rights of service members when they return from active duty and prohibits any form of discrimination by...
Non-compete agreements are commonplace in the workplace, particularly in specialist industries. However, their enforceability varies from state-to-state. California, for example, prohibits them entirely. But non-competes can also come into play when you sell your business, particularly if you have plans to stay in the same industry. These agreements protect the new business owner against you opening a similar business for a certain amount of time, usually in the same geographic area. So what’s a serial entrepreneur to do? If you have a...
Got a great idea for a business? Wondering if you can patent it before someone else comes up with something similar? Technically, you can’t patent an idea for a business – for example, if you have a unique idea for an online store or a new chain of themed restaurants. However, you may be able to protect and patent a method of doing business – if it meets very specific criteria and requirements. Here’s what you need to know about what patent protection can do for your business, and about other intellectual property...
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