Practical advice. Flat rates. Plain language.


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This post in the purchase and sale of a business series discusses employees and employment matters to consider when purchasing (or selling) a business.

One of the most important parts of a business is the people doing the day-to-day work. When looking into purchasing a business, it’s important to identify and understand the needs and rights of key employees, review existing employment agreements, and consider any employment related successor liability issues that may come up as part of the transaction. We’re continuing our series on the Purchase and Sale of a Business by highlighting important employee related considerations when purchasing a business.

Identifying (and Locking Up) Key Employees

Does the business you’re purchasing rely heavily on a few key employees? Especially for service-based businesses that rely heavily on relationships, these key employees can be one of the most valuable assets for the business. Making sure you…

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Locking up Key Employees

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This post in the Understanding Your Commercial Lease series discusses insurance, subrogation, and indemnification.

In this latest post in the Understanding Your Commercial Lease series we’re going to discuss insurance, subrogation, and indemnification. (Subrogation will often be grouped under the insurance provision in your lease.) These provisions of your commercial lease allocate risk between the landlord and the tenant (and each of their insurers).

Insurance

Generally, in every commercial lease there’s going to be robust insurance requirements for the tenant that are mandated by the landlord. The tenant is going to be required to pay for insurance that will include general liability insurance, property damage insurance for the tenant’s property, business interruption insurance, automobile liability insurance, worker’s compensation insurance, and then often an umbrella policy. The landlord will often ask the tenant for insurance they would probably…

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Insurance, Subrogation, Indemnification

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The latest post in the Understanding Your Commercial Lease series discusses Damages, Destruction, and Business Interruption.

This latest post in the Understanding Your Commercial Lease series discusses damages, destruction, and business interruption. The damages and destruction provisions of your commercial lease will detail who (between the tenant and landlord) will be responsible for damages to (or destruction of) the premises, the building, and the entire real estate complex. Business interruption is often closely associated with damages and destruction as those events often interrupt the tenant’s business, but business interruption can also come about in the context of repairs, maintenance, and utility-related issues. The language in your commercial lease that discusses “smaller” damages is often included in the repairs section of the lease, and the destruction clause (sometimes called the “casualty” clause) will generally cover major damages.

Damage

Damages…

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Damages

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The latest post in the Understanding Your Commercial Lease series discusses utilities, maintenance, and repairs.

To understand the true cost of your commercial lease, you have to understand what utility services you’re responsible to provide and what parts of the premises you are required to maintain and repair. The discussion of utilities, maintenance, and repairs overlaps to some extent with what we discussed in our earlier common area maintenance and other pass through provisions post in the Understanding Your Commercial Lease Series. Common area maintenance provisions deal with some similar utilities, maintenance, and repair related issues. But the utilities-specific section and the maintenance and repairs-specific sections in your commercial lease will detail exactly what the tenant is required to do to maintain its utilities and the leased premises, including the extent to which the tenant is responsible…

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Utilities, Maintenance, and Repairs

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In today's blog post, we discuss the recent changes made to the Washington Limited Liability Company Act.

Earlier this year, the Washington state legislature unanimously passed and the governor signed legislation making changes to the Washington Limited Liability Company Act—the most sweeping changes to Washington LLC law in recent history.

The Washington State Bar Association requested that the state make changes to the Washington Limited Liability Company Act. The bar association’s goal was to make the law easier to understand and more flexible by modifying provisions that the association described as creating pitfalls and unnecessary problems. The Washington state Senate and House eventually passed legislation making those changes, and Governor Inslee signed the law on May 7, 2015. The new changes will go into effect on January 1, 2016.

Some of the major changes to the Washington Limited Liability…

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Limited Liability Company Act

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This post in our Understanding Your Commercial Lease Series discusses operating expenses, including CAM and other "pass through" expenses.

To understand the true cost of your commercial lease, you will need to understand operating expense pass through provisions. Expense pass through provisions detail common area maintenance (CAM) expenses, taxes, insurance expenses, and other “pass through” expenses. These provisions are called “pass through provisions,” because the amount the landlord has to pay for these expenses is “passed through” directly to the tenant. The details of operating expense pass through provisions are important to determine the overall value of the deal for both the tenant and landlord. 

While these expenses are always important for a commercial tenant to understand, they are particularly important in lease structures where the tenant takes on the risk of expense inflation, such as NNN and Base Year…

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Pass Through

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The trademark spectrum of distinctiveness affects the level of protection a trademark receives.

Trademarks are words, names, symbols and other branding that distinguish and identify the sources of goods or services. Not every trademark is created equal, however, and the trademark “spectrum of distinctiveness” affects the level of protection the trademark receives. Distinctive trademarks are rewarded because they help consumers understand which goods and services come from where, thereby ensuring that consumers know who they are dealing with and (at least in theory) receive consistent quality. Generic terms are not protected because, in essence, they would interfere with the public’s ability to effectively identify the source of different types of goods and services.

So what makes a trademark distinctive?

Distinctive trademarks share three qualities. First, they are different from other marks used to describe similar goods…

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Trademark

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Today’s post highlights some of the key characteristics of end user license agreements.

If you’ve used the Internet any time recently, you’ve likely had to click “I accept” or “I agree” in order to use a particular website or software application. Typically, you are accepting and agreeing to an “end user license agreement.” As a software developer, it’s incredibly important to protect the intellectual property behind the software, as well as reduce as much liability as possible. These end user license agreements spell out the terms of the license for your use of the particular software. Today’s post highlights some of the key characteristics of end user license agreements.

What is an end user license agreement?

An end user license agreement (EULA) is an agreement between a software developer or author and an individual or…

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EULA notice

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Certain trademark rights arise automatically once you begin using a trademark. Today’s post highlights these common law trademark rights.

Trademarks can be an extremely valuable asset for your business. Think about the value tied to Nike’s Swoosh or the McDonald’s “golden arches.” Protecting the value behind these trademarks is one important step towards building a wall around your company’s intellectual property. Many people don’t realize that certain trademark rights arise automatically once you begin using a trademark. Today’s post highlights these automatic rights, also known as common law trademark rights.

Common law trademark rights versus registered federal and state trademark rights

“Common law” is a term for the rights that have developed through case law versus statutes or codes. Common law trademark rights arise automatically and give the owner of a particular trademark certain rights (see below) without the need to…

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McDonald's Trademark

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Today’s post highlights three simple questions buyers should consider to protect intellectual property rights when purchasing a business .

When purchasing a business, buyers often overlook one important part of the purchase: formally transferring the seller’s intellectual property rights to the buyer. The most common IP rights include copyrights, trademarks, patents, and trade secrets. Today’s post highlights three simple questions buyers should ask before purchasing a business.

Can you and do you want to transfer the business’ trademarks?

In most purchases, trademarks will be easily assignable from the seller to the buyer. However, in some situations even if the trademarks are assignable, you may not want to acquire them. For example, if the business’ logo infringes on trademark rights of another business, then you wouldn’t want to transfer ownership of the logo and risk being held liable for trademark infringement once…

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