Boston Legal Issues Blog

Can I use a trademark even without a product?

A creative mind in Massachusetts may come up with a snappy phrase, a name, something that can be used as part of a product, only to run into a problem. It will take a while, perhaps months, to fully develop the product, but somebody comes up with the same idea and might beat the Boston entrepreneur to the punch. However, a creative person in this scenario can still trademark the phrase or name even though the product is not ready yet.

According to FindLaw, entrepreneurs in the development or planning stage of making a product have the option of trademarking a product name with the federal government. In this scenario, you would file an ITU trademark. An ITU, meaning “intent to use,” is a way you can reserve the mark for a future date. The trademark is not active yet. However, you are creating a placeholder that allows you to use it later on.

What is a limited liability company (LLC)?

It’s a great time to be an entrepreneur. Millennials and technological innovations are fueling the rise of all kinds of new businesses and business models. Every day, we hear how these things are disrupting old traditions and creating space for new ideas.

These changes are as present in Boston as they are anywhere. We see their influence in the gig economy and in stories about the rising popularity of co-living spaces. These changes are transforming the city, but they don’t come without risk.

What is involved in due diligence?

Buying your new home in a Massachusetts neighborhood can be an exciting time, but although you may be chomping at the bit to move into your new residence, you should still check your new home for anything that you fear might go wrong. According to U.S. News and World Report, conducting due diligence helps ensure that you do not suddenly uncover problems with your home or its environment after you have moved in.

Due diligence can involve a number of actions, including having your new home inspected. You do not want to find out after you move in that your home has a plumbing issue or needs drywall replaced. Some people also want to check out the surrounding environment for possible hazards, such as pollution in the nearby water or in the air. Other homeowners are concerned about local crime and will scrutinize the neighborhood to see how safe it is.

Can you prevent partner disputes from happening?

Operating a business in Massachusetts requires a lot of personal and professional strength and determination, but running your organization can be easier with a loyal partner sharing in the responsibilities with you. However, one risk of being part of such a relationship is the chance that you or your partner will disagree on how to do things and ultimately have to part ways. While this may not sound too serious at first thought, a crumbling partnership can put significant strain on company operations and in some cases be what forces a company to close indefinitely. 

While it may not be pleasant to consider the thought that you or your partner may disagree on certain factors, it is imperative that both of you are upfront about your concerns and committed to putting measures in place to protect your company's assets in the case there is tension. According to Forbes, from the onset of your partnership, openly discuss worst-case scenarios involving the business relationship and thoroughly examine your options for resolving disagreements before they affect your company's operations. 

Prematurely ending a contract

Boston companies who have contractual agreements with their business partners likely feel quite secure in the safety of those accords. They represent stability in that they have guaranteed work to do while those agreements are in place. Yet just how strong is a contract? The common school of thought is that a contracted partner cannot end such an agreement prematurely without cause. Otherwise, they would be in breach of contract and potentially subject to litigation. 

Per the Cornell Law School, breach of contract whenever a party is in violation of a contractual obligation. Common instances of breach of contract can include: 

  • Failing to fulfill a contracted promise 
  • Refusing to accept work already stipulated in a contract 
  • Interfering with another party's attempts to fulfill a contracted promise

Optimism regarding commercial development in Massachusetts

While there is no such thing as a simple commercial real estate transaction, delays can sometimes lead to the loss of significant opportunities. It’s understanding why caution is necessary. Commercial development projects can be tremendously expensive, and mistakes can prove costly.

There is optimism concerning commercial development in Massachusetts. In a recent article, one real estate partner stated that capital is now available. There are also a significant number of commercial opportunities. The partner added: “Deals are ahead of the capital, but the capital is right at the beginning edge to flow in a meaningful way.”

What should you consider as you look for a commercial lease?

Many businesses start small and take time to grow, until in what may like seem like overnight success to others, your hard work, sacrifice and dedication result in greater needs. You might need to expand staffing. And as your business takes off, perhaps you will need to find an appropriate office space.

Many business owners do not know what to look for in a location. On top of that, it is often difficult to weigh your desires against your budget. As you look for a place to expand your company, do you know what you should consider before you enter into a commercial lease agreement?

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