What’s In a Name?

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Finding just the right name for your business, product or service isn’t an easy task. First, you need to find a name that isn’t already being used, or one that could be considered confusingly similar to one already in use, so as to avoid trademark disputes. You also need to find one that speaks to consumers and entices them to purchase your product or service or come to your place of business.

In today’s Star Tribune business section, there is an ...

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What to do when if you are a franchisee and the franchisor goes bankrupt

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Interesting story in the New York Time Small Business section the other day. It dealt with a nightmare scenario of anyone who purchases a franchise: the franchisor goes bankrupt. The article talks about the story of William Burris, who was faced with that situation only five months after he spent more than $100,000 a purchased a Australian franchise that rented moving boxes.

The story provides inspiration and idea for how to face a situation that may seem dire, but with ...

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Name Confusion Leads to David v. Goliath Fight

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I read an interesting article a couple of weeks ago in the New York Time. It is about a new company called Willa (named after the founder’s daughter) that is being sued by Proctor & Gamble, the maker of Wella hair-care products. Willa makes skin-care products aimed at tweens, and P&G claims that the names are confusingly similar and has demanded that Willa stop. Willa claims that this is another case of trademark bullying, a big company using its ...

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Some Tips on Tip Pooling and Tips Sharing

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Minnesota Employment Law on Tip Pooling and Tip Sharing

It is hard to go to a restaurant, coffee shop or bar without seeing a tip jar. For anyone who has saved their spare change, you know how quickly those nickels and dimes (and even dollar bills) can add up to signficant money. For employees in these establishments, a tip jar can be an easy and non-confrontational way to increase their income. But ...

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Workplace Bullying: Can You Be Held Liable?

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What Is Your Liability for Workplace Bullying

We have all heard a lot about bullying lately, especially in the context of school bullying. Although we might not hear about it as often, workplace bullying is also a problem. In 2010, the Workplace Bullying Institute found that 35% of all American workers have experienced first-hand bullying in the workplace, while 15% have witnessed it.

I wrote this post about tip sharing, stressing that Minnesota ...

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Coach Trademark Infringement Action Takes an Interesting Twist

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Last week, there was a story in the news that Coach was threatening to sue for trademark infringement a woman who the luxury purse manufacturer claimed was selling false Coach purses on E-Bay. This isn’t the first time that the handbag manufacturer had taken action against those who were trying to make an extra buck on E-Bay or on other second-hand sites. The problem with this threat (in the form of a nasty cease-and-desist letter, along with a demand that ...

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Franchising: Is the Franchise Disclosure Document Enough?

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According to an article on the International Law Office, a recent Colorado court decision leaves doubt for franchisors and franchisees about what needs to be disclosed in the Franchise Disclosure Document, the document that all franchisors must present to all prospective franchisees.

Although the decision relies on Colorado common law and states that franchisors might have a greater obligation to release financial information about the parent company to potential franchisees, it leaves the question open for franchises in other ...

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Intellectual Property is the Powerhouse for Economic Growth

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Intellectual property is defined as the

commercially valuable product of the human intellect, in a concrete or abstract form, such as a copyrightable work, a protectable trademark, a patentable invention or a trade secret, including the rights of creative workers in literary, artistic, industrial and scientific fields which can be protected by copyright, trademark or patents.

In this article from the International Chamber of Commerce, we learn just how important the protection of intellectual property rights are for strengthening economic ...

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Responsibility of Business Owners to Warn of Dangers

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We are used to thinking that business owners must warn for all conditions and activities and that if someone slips and falls, or is otherwise injured at a business, the business or land owner will be held liable. That is not always the case. It depends.

The law imposes a duty of “reasonable case” upon a business owner to inspect or repair his premises and maintain it in a reasonably safe condition for use by customers and clients. This does not ...

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