Nashville Business Law Blog

Does your intellectual property portfolio need patents?

If a Nashville business includes new inventions or improvements to existing ones, protecting that work needs to take priority. In this situation, a company's portfolio of intellectual property should more than likely need at least one patent. Before applying for one, it will be necessary to determine whether a particular product qualifies for this legal protection. 

A product could qualify under one of three different types of patents: A design patent, a utility patent or a plant patent. The most commonly applied for and granted fall under the utility patent category. Machines, methods or processes, and improvements to an existing invention are included in this type of patent, along with a composition of matter or article of manufacture. To receive a utility patent, the idea must not be obvious; rather, it must be useful and novel.

Doubling down on one piece of Nashville real estate

Developing enough residential housing to meet demands of the Nashville housing market may be easier said than done. Even so, it may be possible to take advantage of a zoning policy that allows a builder to double down on one piece of real estate. In fact, you may have already seen single-family homes being demolished in order to make room for something new.

That something new is the building of "skinny houses." Numerous neighborhoods here in Nashville are being transformed by this phenomenon. It falls under a zoning policy called the horizontal property regime. It allows two homes to be built on a lot previously meant for a single family home. Townhouses most commonly fit under this policy, and now, more of these types of homes are under construction. 

How environmental law applies to owning a nail salon

Owning a nail salon here in Nashville could provide a lucrative business opportunity. Making this type of business a success includes providing a safe environment for employees and customers alike. Due to the number of chemicals used in many salons, owners must adhere to numerous environmental law requirements to achieve that goal.

Customers often do not run the same risks as employees since they do not ordinarily spend hours each day in the salon. They are in and out on an occasional basis, but that does not negate the need to protect them. However, the focus is keeping the environment safe for employees. The Environmental Protection Agency even provides guidance for nail salon owners on this topic.

Do you know how to handle commercial zoning conflicts?

Opening a brick-and-mortar location for your Nashville business is always a complicated experience, whether it is your first time dealing with commercial real estate or your hundredth time. Maybe a commercial space offers almost everything that you need, or it seems perfect until you realize all the zoning restrictions that apply.

Zoning conflicts can turn a great business opportunity into a nightmare full of red tape and fine print. If you find yourself stuck with zoning restrictions that get in the way of operating your business effectively, you may have more options than you realize.

How does environmental law apply to your business?

Many Tennessee business owners need to ask themselves this question. In a time when federal, state and local governments are increasingly stressing the need to comply with environmental law, violating them could prove costly, especially to a small, new or growing business. Moreover, consumers and the public are demanding that companies provide and use more environmentally sustainable practices.

Most people expect certain businesses, such as mining operations, industrial plants, and oil and gas companies, to have a plethora of environmental laws and regulations to adhere to. It may surprise you to know that many other industries also have environmental issues. If you are not aware of the ones that apply to your Tennessee business, you could end up facing fines, cleanup costs or worse.

The importance of an appraisal to a commercial real estate deal

Nashville residents looking to purchase commercial property could search high and low for the right one. After finding it, several details will need addressing before the real estate transaction can close. Some would say one of the most important steps is obtaining an appraisal since the receipt of a loan, along with other financial considerations, often hinges on it.

Generally, appraisers use one of three different methods, or a combination thereof, to determine the value of a certain property whether it is located here in Nashville or elsewhere. An income capitalization appraisal looks at a property's potential for income. Part of the equation involves reviewing the sales prices of similar properties in the area.

Protect intellectual property with confidentiality agreements

Keeping an edge over the competition often seems like a never-ending process for many Tennessee business owners. Intellectual property could help a company stay viable in its market, but protecting it can take some doing. Federal law protects a good deal of IP, but that does not mean that taking extra precautions to keep it safe are not warranted. For instance, trade secrets are not covered by federal law even if a patent, trademark or copyright is, so they require more security.

Confidentiality agreements could help. These contracts between an employer and employee require the employee not to discuss what he or she sees or does with the company. They can be tailored to fit the circumstances, but the crux is that the employee faces consequences if he or she reveals the information protected by the agreement.

Most businesses need to address environmental law concerns

When opening a new business, Tennessee owners need to address numerous issues. One that some may forget to attend to is compliance with any environmental law associated with the industry. Preserving the environment is at the forefront of much of the public's minds these days, and a noncompliant business may not only have problems with federal and state officials, but with its customer base as well.

The primary governmental agency most business owners are familiar with is the Environmental Protection Agency. However, Tennessee also has its own environmental agency that addresses issues specific to the state and with which a business must also comply. Certain industries must comply with more rules, laws and regulations than others do, but they are all just as important.

What can you do when someone sells your original art online?

The internet makes it infinitely easier for creative professionals to reach people interested in what they produce. Social media, specialized marketing sites and even personal blogs can all help artists and other creators connect with their intended audiences. You can quickly build a small business with your art or creative concept by targeted marketing and social media use.

Unfortunately, while the internet makes it easier for creators to get their ideas out there, it also makes it easier for other people to steal ideas or images. Works of art and other visual forms of intellectual property shared online all too often become a means for someone else to make money off of your concept and work.

Understanding some terms in a real estate purchase agreement

Buying a home here in Nashville for the first time can be an exciting time, but it can also be a confusing and frustrating prospect. So many steps require attention before the buyer gets the keys to his or her new home, and a new homebuyer may wonder what takes so long and why there is so much paperwork. Understanding the terms of the real estate purchase contract could help alleviate some of that and answer some questions.

Contingencies may serve as some of the most important provisions in the contract from the buyer's perspective. They outline the items that a buyer needs to do prior to closing the sale. For instance, the deal could be contingent upon the buyer receiving a clean home inspection, upon receiving a clean title search or upon some other condition specified by the buyer and agreed to by the seller. Contingencies allow a buyer to walk away from the deal if they are not met. In most cases, the buyer would receive his or her deposit, or earnest money, back.

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