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Palo Alto business owners are faced with heavy competition in the Silicon Valley, all of which are looking for the best practices, methods, and trade secrets. Some of a company’s most valuable assets can be found in your intellectual property. Each year intellectual property theft costs businesses billions of dollars. If you think your intellectual property might be at risk of being stolen or you can confirm it has been stolen, you need to act fast.

Different Types of Intellectual Property

In order to protect yourself from Intellectual Property theft, a business owner must first define what they need to protect. For example, if the business owners want to secure a method of a certain process, a formula specific to their company, or even lock down a logo and name to fight off competition, there will be different applicable forms of legal protection to consider and utilize. There are several forms of protection, some of them being:

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A lis pendens, or Notice of Pendency of Action, is a legal notice which is filed with the recorder’s office that provides notice that there is legal action pending against the parcel of real property at issue. This area of law can be complicated, but at a minimum, it is important to understand that a lis pendens action can prevent sales and other legal transactions with respect to your real property, as the property will be found to not have “clear title” upon a basic title search.  A California real estate attorney can help you and your business resolve all matters related to lis pendens notices.

The Basics of Lis Pendens in California

In much the same way that a recorded property deed gives notice of an ownership interest, a Notice of Pendency of Action gives notice of a legal interest in real property. Both types of notice are considered to be “constructive”. This means that even if a third party does not actually find the recorded notice, he or she could have with a simple search and is legally deemed to have received notice of the action. The third party is therefore bound to the notice whether or not it was actually discovered.

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Many companies conduct business in California without having incorporated under the laws of this state. While this is entirely lawful, it does expose such businesses to civil liability. This risk can be mitigated by filing a Certificate of Qualification. This process enables a foreign corporation to operate in California with the protection of California corporate laws. An experienced California corporate attorney can help your business determine whether filing a Certificate of Qualification is appropriate for your business. An experienced California Corporate  attorney can also help entrepreneurs determine which state they should incorporate their business in.

What is the Difference Between a Foreign and Domestic Corporation?

In California, a domestic corporation is one that has incorporated under the laws of California. A foreign corporation is one which has incorporated under the laws of another state.  As is common in business, many foreign corporations do business in California. This can expose the business to liability under California law. Any business which “reaches into” California for the purpose of doing business is subject to the jurisdiction of California courts over that transaction. Thus, a foreign company which does business in California may find itself subject to the jurisdiction of the California courts, but without the protection of California corporate laws.

Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) have recently become a popular new source of funding for Silicon Valley businesses. They are new and exciting, but they can also be risky. It is important for business owners considering an ICO to understand both blockchain processes and the securities laws which apply to digital currencies. The experienced corporate attorneys at Structure Law Group can help your business enter this emerging market cautiously in order to explore the many exciting possibilities it holds.

An ICO is a method of funding a new (or even established) company by selling its own form of cryptocurrency. The company may accept traditional payments or even other forms of cryptocurrency. This financing is then used to fund the company’s operations. Its new cryptocurrency gains value, and this allows many of the initial investments to appreciate.

While the goals of an ICO are the same as those of an initial public offering, the process has some critical differences. IPOs are heavily regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Investors are left with stock and voting rights which are clearly defined, and the entire process is underwritten by an investment bank. By contrast: an ICO has no underwriter, no equity or voting rights, and little regulation by the SEC. (The SEC is quickly adapting to this emerging market, and the regulatory landscape is likely to change drastically in the near future.) Interestingly, many ICOs involve new companies with little or no proven track record of financial success. Many do not even have products. All of these factors can make ICOs highly risky for investors.

When you enter a contract with a provider, a client, or another business setting forth the terms of your business deal, you expect the other party to abide by the terms of the contract. If the other party fails to adhere to the terms of your business agreement, it can cost you time and money and can be infuriating, especially if you have performed your obligations under the contract or the breach of contract costs you money or future business. Business owners harmed by another party’s breach of contract often want to immediately march into court and file a lawsuit against the breaching party. However, this is often not the best or most advantageous course of action and often may even constituted a breach of contract by you. If you believe that a contract has been breached, consider promptly consulting with a qualified attorney to evaluate the contract and assess rights and legal options.should-you-take-your-contract-dispute-to-court-300x200

Have Your Attorney Negotiate with the Other Party

Often, a party may not realize that they have violated or are not in compliance with the terms of a contract and may not understand the potential liability they face for having breached or being in non-compliance with the agreement. Many times these issues can be remedied, putting the aggrieved party in a much stronger legal and negotiating position. It may then make sense for your attorney to reach out to the other party to attempt to resolve the dispute prior to commencing a lawsuit.

Businesses Should Elect to Incorporate in a State with Favorable Business Laws

When starting a business, owner(s) should always be focused on incorporation. Incorporation is important because it provides owners and investors business law protections that would not otherwise extend to individuals. Not only should a startup concern itself with selecting a business entity which works best for its needs and long-term goals, but it should always be concerned with incorporating in a state whose business laws best protect the business’s needs.

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Startups most often incorporate in the same state in which its owners live and do business. This choice is easiest and makes sense. However, while incorporating in the state of the startup’s principal place of business is just fine, owners may wish to incorporate elsewhere for purposes of jurisdiction, tax liabilities, protections under the law, and other considerations. 

More and more startups are issuing stock and other forms of equity as a form of compensation for work, especially in the early stages of a venture. This arrangement allows a business to recruit talent that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford and, if the company is successful, can result in a significant windfall for people who worked to get a company off the ground without a guarantee of compensation.toad-river-brown_3737_990x742

Generally speaking, when you are transferred equity in a company it is necessary to pay taxes on the fair market value of that equity as you would with any other type of income. In many cases, however, a grant of equity is subject to a vesting agreement, which means that the equity is not actually owned by the grantee until a certain period of time passes. As a result, at the time of the grant, nothing is actually owned, so there is no tax liability associated with the initial grant. When the stock vests, however, that income becomes realized, meaning that there may be significant tax liability, particularly if the company has done well.

83(b) elections can minimize tax liability associated with grants of equity

Historically, only general or limited partnerships were used for investing in real estate, but over the past decade, forming a Limited Liability Company (an “LLC”) has become a more popular choice for real estate investors. An LLC formed for real estate investment purposes is not very different from a regular limited liability company, and the steps for formation are very similar. Here are 4 benefits of using an LLC instead of a partnership or a corporation for real estate.

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