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Should I file for a trademark?
Depending on whether you are selling products or services, you may consider protecting your business name by registering for a Trademark or Servicemark. A trademark, issued by the US Patent and Trademark Office, lasts for 10 years and can be renewed.
How do I copyright a product?
A copyright is the exclusive legal right, given to an originator or an assignee to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material, and to authorize others to do the same. opens in a new windowLearn more about copyrighting and the process of getting your material protected.
Where can I read up on some of the simple legal questions I have?
NOLO.com has free articles on many business legal subjects.
How do I file a patent or trademark?
If you have a new technology or innovation that you're developing, we'll be glad to help you understand the patent process and refer you to an attorney if necessary. SBDC consultants can help with preliminary trademark searches related to naming your business. Be aware that scams abound in this area. A provisional patent application is NOT a patent application.
What legal aspects do I need to consider when starting my business?
Many different legal aspects must be considered when starting or growing a small business. These include: zoning, permits, business structure, taxes, registrations, worker’s compensation, patent and trademark infringement, leases, contracts, discrimination, and many more. The SBDC does not provide legal advice or services and strongly recommends you consult with an attorney on legal issues.
How should I structure my business?
Your choice of business structure impacts taxes, liability, owner succession and other areas of your business. The basic structures of business ownership are sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), partnerships, c-corporations and sub chapter s-corporations. Among other considerations, selection of a business structure depends on the level of control you desire, size and nature of the business and vulnerability to lawsuits. Consult with an attorney and an accountant to determine the structure that works for you.
How can I protect my assets?
Your SBDC consultant can suggest some safeguards to help protect your assets. One is good business practices. We are here to help clarify and define additional practices that will help reduce your risks.