Nashville Business Law Blog

Intellectual Property: Protect what makes your company unique

Competing in today's market requires Tennessee companies to exploit what make them unique. This is often done through branding, which includes using unique words, images and designs. The hope is that consumers and clients will begin to recognize the company by its brand, but that only happens if it remains unique. In order to do this, it would be beneficial to protect this piece of intellectual property, which is called a trademark.

In recent years, the increase in online shopping has transformed how people make purchases. It has also changed how people selling products do business. Computer technology allows unscrupulous individuals to mimic or even steal your trademark in order to sell products similar to the ones your company sells. People buy them because the recognize the images, designs and words your company uses, and when they are dissatisfied with their purchases, your business could suffer. Many of these issues arise on sites such as EBay and Etsy.

Don't forget about parking when negotiating a commercial lease

Finding the right location to rent for a business here in Nashville probably took some time. Now, the owner is anxious to get through the formalities and get into the space. The problem is, accepting the first draft of a commercial lease from the property owner could cause issues in the future for a prospective tenant.

Even as a first-time renter, a small business owner may benefit from knowing that the lease terms might not be written in stone. A Nashville property owner will want to protect his or her interests, but that does not mean that a prospective tenant cannot do the same. He or she can go through the lease to determine whether any provisions need revision or omission. In some cases, new terms may need to be included.

What if someone steals your idea after you filed for a patent

Americans believe anyone can be successful with a little hard work and determination. For many people, success is starting their own business. For others, success is creating a new idea or a better way of doing something.

You can protect your new invention by filing for a patent. However, getting approved for a patent usually takes one to three years. During that time, someone may try to knock off your invention and leave you wondering if you have any legal recourse.

Is an environmental assessment required for your land purchase?

When purchasing a piece of property here in Tennessee or elsewhere, the potential buyer goes through numerous steps in order to complete the due diligence portion of the purchase. In some cases, an environmental assessment will be part of that process. This is done to determine whether any environmental issues exist on the property that may require mediation, which could affect the terms of the purchase.

The assessment's three goals are to identify any issues, propose ways to mitigate those issues and determine whether any of the environmental effects will remain serious issues even after steps are taken to mitigate them. It is important to have a qualified and experienced individual perform the assessment. The requirement for an assessment could come from numerous sources such as the mortgage lender, the government or an engineer.

Zoning and land use issues affect many real estate transactions

Searching for the right residential or commercial piece of land here in Nashville can take some time. Even individuals looking for residential property may run into issues with zoning and land use if they are looking for a piece of property that does not already have a home on it. Depending on the purpose for which the property will be used, these issues could interfere with a smooth real estate transaction.

Not every instance is as simple as finding out whether a piece of property is zoned for residential, industrial, commercial or some other approved use. You may decide that a certain spot of land is perfect for your needs and want to find out if the zoning can be changed. Perhaps the land use rules once made sense, but no longer do as the city has grown and shifted over the years.

Do you know what intellectual property includes?

When you started your business here in Nashville, you may have taken steps to ensure that your business assets were protected. However, you may have missed one category of property that could have significant value -- your intellectual property. Most businesses have some form of intellectual property, and if you are not sure what may fit into this category, it could be at risk.

You may already be aware that you may need to patent an invention in order to protect it from someone else using it without permission. However, did you know that any original works of art, music, writing or other creative works may obtain protection as well? If you created a brand name and image for your business, you may be able to take steps to protect that, too.

Tennessee sees a big jump in its rating for business friendliness

Has Tennessee become a friendlier place for small businesses in recent times? Recent survey results suggest the answer is yes.

The survey was by Thumbtack. In the survey, small business owners throughout the country were asked about various factors touching on the business friendliness of the state they operate in. Then, based on the results, each state was given a letter grade and a rank for overall business friendliness.

What is environmental due diligence and why is it needed?

The purpose of due diligence in a real estate transaction is to reduce and assess any aspect of the deal that might create financial uncertainty. Appropriate due diligence starts with the objective of the transaction. Are you purchasing an apartment complex? Or, are you developing newly zoned land for commercial buildings? Each transaction has its own specifics and therefore, due diligence varies depending on the nature of the deal.

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Blink Law, LLC
Fifth Third Tower
424 Church St.
Suite 2000
Nashville, TN 37219

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