Entries by Eric Norton

Buying Trademark Assets: Does the Seller Really Own Them?

When you buy a business these days, you’re going to want to make sure you’re also purchasing the trademark assets from that business. Any good trademark or business attorney will make sure the intellectual property, including trademarks, copyrights, and patents, are included in any purchase agreement. But beyond that, how can you really be sure that […]

The Benefits of a Benefit Corporation

Benefit corporations (commonly known as B-Corps) are a relatively new—around a few years now in California—way of organizing your business entity. Designed to balance the for-profit interests of a traditional C-Corporation with the corporate responsibility that all modern businesses should take part in promoting. It’s like a for-profit-non-profit hybrid! Keep in mind, though, you don’t get […]

Online Sales Tax: What Small Business Owners Need to Know

I’ve worked with my fair share of e-commerce companies and individuals selling their handmade products online. At some point, most, if not all of them, approach me with the same question. Do I have to collect sales tax? The answer, in true lawyer fashion, is always “it depends.” Of course, this time, it depends greatly […]

Independent Contractors and Non-Competes Never Mix

A shorter week equals a shorter post. That means it’s the perfect time to talk about an issue that comes up a fair amount. Can I get my independent contractors to sign a non-compete agreement? If you haven’t read the title, get ready for a surprise: NO. That’s right, you never want to have your […]

7 Documents You Need to Keep Your Business Legally Sound

I’m always a little surprised when savvy business owners come to me to make sure their business is operating legally, only to find they’re missing a number of key documents. To be perfectly honest, a lot of the documents only matter if you’re in the process of expanding your business, going to sell your business, looking […]

Using Another’s Trademark. Infringement or Fair Use?

I’m often asked whether a person’s use of a trademark is considered trademark infringement or if it the use is acceptable as fair use. The usual answer is…wait for it…it depends. That’s right, just like most legal questions, trademark infringement is often a variety of shades of grey without any clear cut black and white […]

How to Find Out if a Trademark is Available

One of the most common questions I’m asked about trademarks is how to find out if a trademark is available. Unfortunately, it’s a question I’m often asked too late in the process and not before my clients begin using their marks with their brands. Usually the client is already using the mark and they’re just […]