Entries by Stephen Hammers

HOW TO KEEP COMPETITORS OUT OF YOUR RETAIL SPACE

Most retail shops operating in a mall or other commercial area would like a guarantee that the landlord will not rent to a competing business.  This guarantee is often negotiated in the lease as an “exclusive use” provision.  Here are some things to consider when negotiating exclusive use provisions: What’s the use?  Commercial tenants should […]

ARE YOUR LINKEDIN CONTACTS A TRADE SECRET?

If salespeople connect with their business contacts on LinkedIn or another social media site, can they take that information with them when they leave the company?  Maybe not, according to a federal court in California. Employees who wish to start their own businesses are often faced with difficult questions.  Can I take my customer list […]

COPYING COMPETITOR’S WEBSITE? THINK AGAIN.

If you’ve put a lot of time and money into designing a distinctive website or online store, and a competitor comes along and copies your site’s look, what are your rights?  Can you file a lawsuit?  Yes, according to a federal court in a recent California case. The “look and feel” of a website is […]

FANNIE MAE WILL CONTINUE TO BACK LARGER MORTGAGES

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the quasi-government entities that insure or repurchase a high percentage of mortgages in the U.S., will continue to back mortgages as large as $417,000 – and as large as $625,500 in some high-value areas. That’s the word from the new director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees the […]

‘CROWDFUNDING’ BUSINESSES HAVE OBLIGATIONS TO INVESTORS

Start-up businesses are increasingly seeking funding on websites such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo, and promising small rewards to individual investors in return for micro-contributions.  Examples of these businesses include the Veronica Mars movie, which raised millions of crowdfunding dollars by promising small contributors posters, DVDs and movie scripts, and a space telescope project that offered […]

LESSEE LIABLE FOR SLIP AND FALL?

If you are a commercial tenant, running a business and occupying under a commercial lease, can you be liable for injuries if a visitor or other passerby slips and falls outside your business?  The answer depends on a number of factors.  The most important, however, may be a Court’s assessment of legal responsibilities of landlord […]

SUPREME COURT SAYS “NO PATENT” IN ALICE CORP. LTD.

A business cannot obtain a patent for taking some ordinary process in the real world and coming up with a computer program to make it easier, according to the U.S. Supreme Court. In ALICE CORPORATION PTY. LTD. v. CLS BANK INTERNATIONAL ET AL, decided in June of this year, a company called the Alice Corporation […]

DON’T SKIMP ON PROTECTING TRADEMARKS

Ever heard that you don’t actually have to register a trademark?  Perhaps you believe you only have to “use” your trademark in business to have “a right to it.” That’s true to some extent – but beware! Trademarks are obviously an important aspect of branding and marketing an business.  They are particularly important for start-ups.  […]