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Top Five Legal Basics For Business Owners

Top Five Legal Basics For Business Owners

5/11/2021 3:05:00 PM

Top Five Legal Basics For Business Owner s

To help your business to continue to grow, it's helpful to be aware of basic legal issues.

2) What are the basic elements of an employee handbook?Location of employees.The employee handbook needs to comply with relevant federal, state, and local laws. As a result, one of the first things that an employer needs to consider is the locations of its employees. If the business has employees in different states, the handbook will need to cover different state laws.

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Updates in law.Periodically, there will be updates in federal, state, and local laws. The employee handbook should be updated to reflect the updates in the law.At-will employment status.The at-will employment status is likely important for many business owners and it is common practice to reiterate it in employee handbooks. To protect the at-will status, the handbook should be worded in a way that does not create an unintentional implied contract, changing the at-will status. At-will employment means that the employer or the employee may terminate the employment relationship for any reason at any time, with or without notice.

3) How to protect your intellectual property.The three most common types of intellectual property (“IP”) are trademark, copyright, and patent. They often protect different aspects of one’s business.Trademarks protect brands and their main function is to identify the seller of the product or service. Copyright protects creative works, such as paintings, books, and songs. Lastly, patents protect inventions.

[Related: ]4) What are the benefits of obtaining a trademark registration?Business owners may put off registering their trademarks until their businesses become much more established. However, delaying registration exposes businesses to trademark infringement risks. Trademark infringement can in turn lead to mandatory rebranding, which disrupts business operations and is expensive.

Trademark infringement can occur in two main circumstances. First, when a business uses the identical trademark as someone else on the same or similar products. Second, which is much more common, is when a business uses a confusingly similar trademark as someone else on the same or similar products.

To find out if identical or similar trademarks already exist, you will need to search in the federal, state, and common law trademark databases. These searches are conducted during the registration process. Without going through this process, a business owner would not be able to know what trademarks already exist and could be unknowingly infringing upon someone else’s trademark rights.

5) What is IP license and assignment and why is it important?It’s important to understand the difference between the terms"license" and"assignment" if you are giving away or obtaining intellectual property rights.In a license, the owner retains ownership and only gives another the permission to temporarily use its IP. In an assignment, however, the owner permanently gives away its ownership rights. The difference is similar to renting (license) versus selling (assignment) a house.

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Copyright assignment is a common document needed by business owners. This is because copyrights are generally owned by the person who actually created the work. For instance, if a contractor creates a logo for a business owner, the contractor remains the copyright owner (even if the business owner has already paid for the work). The underlying copyright rights do not transfer automatically; a written copyright assignment agreement is needed.

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