Nashville Business Law Blog

Not having a ginseng dealer permit violates environmental law

Many people across the country are more health conscious than they used to be. They look for herbal and natural remedies for a variety of ailments or health concerns, and ginseng is one of them. Selling it could be a profitable business, but in order to do so in this state, a permit is required. Failing to adhere to this Tennessee environmental law requirement could mean trouble and cut into any profits that could be made.

Permits are valid from Sept. 1 through Aug. 31. In order to obtain one an application must be submitted no later than Aug. 15 of each year in which a seller intends to purchase ginseng from a Tennessee grower to resell it. A permit may be obtained after Sept. 1, but may be too late for the current year's harvest, which takes place from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31 of each year. The dealer season lasts longer than the harvest season, which runs from Sept. 1 through March 31.

Red flags for tenants in commercial real estate leases

Renting commercial property here in Nashville can be a complex and exciting prospect. When reviewing a commercial real estate lease, it would be a good idea not to move too fast. Instead, it deserves a thorough review in order to be sure that the tenant's rights and business interests are protected.

Part of the review of the lease should include a search for any red flags. A rental term of two years or more could constitute a red flag. Most business owners like to plan at least a few years out, but whether those plans come to fruition depends on a variety of factors. If one factor falls through, the remainder of the plan could falter as well. Having a rental term longer than two years could jeopardize future success if a company can no longer make the rental payments.

The correct use of business law can help your company thrive

Perhaps you did not anticipate the number of legal decisions and situations you would find yourself in when you opened your business. Whether you run a company here in Nashville or elsewhere, you need every advantage possible for it to thrive. If you use business law correctly, the legal decisions you make could keep you on the right course and help you grow a successful business.

Regardless of the type of business you have, you more than likely had numerous legal decisions to make from the beginning. You decided what type of entity to form, what to name your business and whether to purchase property or rent it, among others. These choices all involved looking at the legal ramifications and advantages you incur as a result.

What to consider before signing a commercial lease

Opening or expanding your own business is an exciting time. Things are going well, and you are ready to sign a commercial lease on a new space. However, before you sign on the dotted line, there are some important things you should consider. After all, office or retail space is usually the biggest monthly expense for a company.

Environmental law and the EPA: What is the NEIC?

When it comes to running certain businesses, whether here in Tennessee or elsewhere, complying with certain rules and regulations is just part of it. For particular companies, this may include environmental law. Understanding how the Environmental Protection Agency conducts its civil and criminal investigations could help prepare a company for what may happen if an investigation is opened against it. One aspect of any investigation is the analysis of evidence.

This duty falls to the National Enforcement Investigations Center, which does all of the forensic analysis needed by the EPA during its investigations. The laboratory is a fully accredited ISO/ICE 17025 forensics lab. In addition to analyzing forensic evidence, its primary duties include providing engineering evaluations, gathering data and providing data that is legally defensible.

Real estate issues: Adverse possession

Some people believe that good fences make good neighbors. It's a proverb that dates back to the mid-17th century. Robert Frost used it as a refrain in his poem, "Mending Fences," though Frost appears to have meant the opposite -- that boundaries are actually what alienate us. Nevertheless, when a boundary, such as a neighbor's fence, falls on the wrong side of the property line, it's one of the primary real estate issues that homeowners encounter across the country, including here in Tennessee.

It is called adverse possession. Technically, a neighbor's fence, garage or some other structure or activity (such as crossing the property for ingress and egress) that crosses onto a neighbor's property is trespassing -- at least at first. If it continues for a substantial amount of time, a Tennessee court may award the other party the right to use the portion of property in question.

Choosing the correct business structure

Starting a business involves making a number of important decisions. Front-facing choices like a name, logo and marketing strategy may seem like foundational decisions, but the first decision should determine the overall structure of your business. Whether you're considering sole proprietorship or a type of corporation, it's important your business structure fits with the needs and goals of the new venture

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.

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