Bethesda Business & Commercial Law Blog

A Supreme Court ruling versus the court of public opinion

After years of legal battles that saw them lose the rights to their controversial trademark, the NFL team based in Washington picked up a legal “fumble,” thanks to the Supreme Court. While they haven’t crossed the goal line just yet, the Redskins are in the “red zone” thanks to a decision involving the name of an Asian-American rock band.

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office discriminated against musician Simon Tam after refusing his trademark for The Slants.” Blocking trademarks based on being offensive violates the First Amendment’s free speech protection.

Worth of the ink

The best thing about purchasing a printer is that you not only get the device, but also ink to get started. The worst thing is that, when the ink runs out, you need to purchase more. When shopping for new cartridges, sticker shock sets in. On far too many occasions, the ink ends up costing almost as the initial outlay for the printer.

Impression Products and other companies are in the business acquiring, restoring and reselling used cartridges. By counteracting a microchip installed to prevent reuse, they refurbish the cartridge and significantly undercut the prices charged by Lexmark International and other titans of “Big Ink.”

Real life infringement into a virtual world

Released in 2003, Second Life allows users to reside in an online virtual world. The escapism allows them to interact with their fellow avatars as they explore many locations and gather countless objects. Whether they socialize or trade virtual property with each other, Linden Labs insists that their creation is not a game.

There is no objective. More importantly, there is no conflict.

A prominent bank returning to the well of controversy

Wells Fargo has been in a continuing state of damage control since unethical account opening practices garnered attention in 2013. The Los Angeles Times uncovered an aggressive sales culture that undermined employee morale and resulted in unethical tactics, customer complaints and labor lawsuits.

The fallout over the allegations saw high-level leadership leave the company under clouds of scandal. The most recent removals occurred in February with four executives losing their jobs.

Thinking of starting a business? Call a lawyer

Starting a business is not as easy as putting up an "Open" sign in the door. It takes specific legal filings, state and federal registration, the creation of a partner or shareholder agreement, and possibly submitting an application for licenses and permits. Due to the complexities involved, it is important to seek legal advice before starting the process.

An attorney in the Bethesda area can help you decide what type of business entity you should choose. For example, should the company be a sole proprietorship, a partnership or a corporation. Since the laws that surround each of these entities are different, legal advice can help you determine which option is best for you. Read further for reasons why you should consult with an attorney before starting a new business.

A man dragged down an aisle. An image dragged through the mud.

Overbooking is a common trend for businesses in the travel industry. In the pursuit of maximizing capacities, hotels and airlines anticipate “no-shows,” and use complex algorithms to account for any shortfalls.

United Airlines is not immune to the commonly used practice. However, when faced with resistance, the famed airline launched a different type of “trend.”

Maryland’s budding new business industry

A new industry is months away from its introduction in Maryland. While state residents wait for its introduction, logistical and legal issues involved in selling products are being sorted out.

Medicinal marijuana is on the verge of becoming a “budding” business.

McMahon’s hand raised in victory

Businesses in Maryland and throughout the country have a new champion. And she does not need an ornate title belt to prove it.

Perhaps Valentine’s Day softened the ever-deepening rift between Republicans and Democrats. Love in the form of bipartisanship was clearly, if not temporarily in the air on February 14. The U.S. Senate confirmed former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) chief executive officer Linda McMahon to head the Small Business Administration.

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Daniel S. Willard, P.C.
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Bethesda, MD 20814

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