Small Business Law
Yes, so long as it is reasonable. In determining reasonableness, courts will look at the duration of the restriction on competing, the geographic area covered by the agreement, and the scope of business activities which are restricted. Additionally, the employer must be able to demonstrate a legitimate business interest for needing the clause, such as the protection of trade secrets or maintaining substantial relationships with certain customers. The clause not to compete must also be in writing and signed by the employee to be valid.
Although there are many important things to think about when choosing a business form, some of the main considerations include your preference of tax treatment, how you intend to capitalize the business, whether you plan to issue stock and trade it publicly, how you intend to structure the management of your business and issues surrounding the liability of the business owners, among other things. It is very important to plan your business and to work closely with someone who can help you choose the business form that will meet your needs. It’s best to find out early in the formation process then have to restructure your business later on.
Sometimes, courts will allow plaintiffs and creditors to receive compensation from corporate officers, directors, or shareholders for damages rather than limiting recovery to corporate assets. This procedure bypasses the usual corporate immunity for organizational wrongdoing, and may be imposed in a variety of situations. The specific criteria for piercing the corporate veil vary somewhat from state to state and may include the following:
• Courts may not allow owners to benefit from a corporation’s limited liability if the underlying business is indistinguishable from its owners.
• If a corporation is formed for fraudulent purposes.
• Courts may impose liability on the individuals controlling the business if a business fails to follow certain corporate formalities in areas such as record-keeping.
Yes, the Suncoast Law Firm can negotiate on your behalf to ensure that your best interests are met and the clauses in the contract or lease are in your best interest.
Intellectual Property Law
A trademark is a word, symbol, device or any combination thereof, which is used to distinguish the goods of one person manufactured or sold by others, and to indicate the source of goods. Goods have Trademarks and services have Service Marks. Both are approached and researched in the same way, so any commentary about Trademarks usually applies to Service Marks as well. Trademarks and service marks may also include packaging, smells, sounds and architectural designs. The purpose of trademark law is to ensure that consumers are able to rely on marks in exercising their preferences by prohibiting competitors from using marks in a way that confuses consumers about the source of goods or services. The Suncoast Law Firm can assist you in filing your trademark or service mark in the United States as well as Internationally.
From a legal standpoint, a distinctive trademark is important. The more original the mark, the less the chance of infringing the rights of others, and the easier it is to protect. The strength of the mark is an important factor in determining whether a mark infringes on another. From a marketing standpoint, distinctive marks offer greater advantages in the long run. However, they also require more investment over a longer period of time in order to build customer recognition and meaning.
The Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks (Madrid Protocol) is an international treaty that allows a trademark owner to seek registration in any of the countries that have joined the Madrid Protocol by filing a single application, called an “international application.” The International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization, in Geneva, Switzerland administers the international registration system. The resulting “international registration” serves as a means for seeking protection in member countries, each of which apply their own rules and laws to determine whether or not the mark may be protected in their jurisdiction. Neither the Madrid Protocol nor the Madrid Agreement provide for registration of an “internationally effective” trademark.
Real Property Law
Because land is permanent and can have many owners over the years, various rights in land (such as mineral, air or utility rights) may have been acquired by others by the time you come into possession of it, even if the land has never before been built upon. So in order to transfer a clear title to a piece of land, it is first necessary to determine whether any rights are outstanding.
A title search is a detailed examination of the historical records concerning a property. These records include deeds, court records, property and name indexes, and many other documents. The purpose of the search is to verify the seller’s right to transfer ownership, and to discover any claims, defects and other rights or burdens on the property.
Florida’s homestead exemption has several aspects. A “homestead” is defined as a person’s primary residence. There is a tax exemption. The first $25,000.00 of the value of a homestead is exempt from property taxes. The homestead tax exemption must be applied for at the Property Appraiser’s office. They require you to bring a recorded copy of your deed, and of your closing statement, as well as two forms of identification. The deadline for filing for the homestead exemption for year is March 1st of the year following the year you bought the property. However, you must have owned the property since January 1st of that year to qualify. Florida’s homestead law also prevents one spouse from selling or mortgaging the homestead without the other spouse’s signature. This is an important protection, which protects the family home, and can prevent fraud, especially in cases of divorce. Florida’s homestead law also protects a person’s property from their creditors taking the property to satisfy debts. It also protects the homesteaded property against most judgments and liens.
Personal Injury Law
Yes, however some more complex cases we refer out to trusted local attorneys that we work closely with to ensure the highest quality representation.