What’s in a Name – Difference Between a Business Name and Brand Name

Recently, I’ve had startup clients consult me for registering their business and then encounter a roadblock because their chosen name is not available to be registered as a trademark. But it shouldn’t be a roadblock because business name and brand name are two different concepts.  Now this may leave many of you confused. Most entrepreneurs think that their business name is their brand name. In a lot of cases, business …

Is it a Trademark or a Copyright? – Meaning and Protection of Intellectual Property Rights

I see that entrepreneurs are often confused by what intellectual property means. Some think that it includes real estate/property. Others get them all mixed up – they want to patent a brand name, or trademark a product. As an Intellectual Property Law attorney, it is my job to explain to them that brand names are protected by trademarks and products by patents. Entrepreneurs may develop and own brands, logos, taglines, …

Year of the Rooster – Foreign Language Trademark Protection

I often talk to business owners who either filed a trademark application on their own or put together a client contract themselves, and ultimately ran into some trouble with the trademark office or their clients. In the bargain, they’ve lost some valuable resources like time, money and sometimes assets. Last week, I got a call from a client telling me that their trademark application was rejected by the United States …

The State of Being – Delaware or New York

The minute you think of starting a business, the first question you are confronted with is where should your business be incorporated. One of the most frequently asked questions that I get from startups based in New York is whether they should incorporate in Delaware or New York. Most of them think that they need to incorporate in Delaware because most big corporations are registered there. So as a New …

What Do Marilyn Monroe and Campbell Have in Common?

A few days ago, I was watching an episode on the HBO series, Vice, called “The Business of Making Art”. The episode covers how Andy Warhol appropriated works of others in his own silkscreen paintings. The technique of silkscreen painting is something that I am very familiar with. I grew up watching my mother, a graphic designer in India, make silkscreens by hand everyday and then use those screens to …

The Perfect Dress to go with Cartier’s Love Bracelet – Trade Dress

Clients often ask me how they can protect jewelry designs that they create. While the most common protection for jewelry designs is through copyright registration, they can also get trade dress protection. Trade dress protection is a type of trademark law that extends to configuration of the product itself. Trade dress is defined as a product’s total image or overall appearance and may include features such as size, shape, color …

FIFA, A New Act to the Rescue

A new law went into effect on May 15, 2017 called the Freelance Isn’t Free Act or FIFA (not to be confused with Federation Internationale de Football Association). It is the country’s first law that is designed to protect freelancers against non-payment. While freelancers do not get benefits that are offered to employees, statistics show that about 70% of freelancers in New York reported some problem with receiving payment. This …

The Clock is Ticking – Trademark Your Brand or Business Name

Founders often find themselves caught in a situation where they have waited too long to register their business name or brand name as a trademark. They have invested thousands of dollars on marketing and promoting their business or brand only to find out that they are infringing on someone else’s trademark rights or that the name is not protectable as a trademark. I recently had a client who had launched …

It’s Not Always Yours Even If You Pay For It – Work For Hire

Early stage startups and small businesses do not have the resources to hire employees to meet their staffing needs. They usually hire independent contractors for software development, UX designs, or product development. Startups engage the services of independent contractors by entering into independent contractor agreements setting forth their scope of services, and making it clear that they are not entitled to health or employee benefits, or other privileges enjoyed by …