poetic justis

 

In describing the secret of success, the famous businessman Andrew Carnegie once stated "The first man gets the oyster, the second man gets the shell." With respect to maximizing the value of your company through trademark protection, Mr. Carnegie was absolutely correct. Federal trademark protection is vital for small businesses, and could mean the difference between becoming a market leader or being forced to cease operations altogether. This article is the first in two-part series, and focuses on the importance of being the first to file for trademark protection. Part two of the series will discuss the benefits and rights that a federal trademark bestows on its owner.

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If you have seen Showtime's (in my opinion, awesome) series, Homeland, you may already have an idea of what the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 ("FISA") is. In one of the first episodes of Homeland, CIA employee Saul Berenson obtains (by blackmailing a federal judge, no less) a FISA warrant for Carrie Mathison, his CIA protégé, to surveil the newly
returned POW Marine, Nicholas Brody. Carries suspects Brody of being a terrorist. Carrie and her team rig Brody's home with video cameras and microphones and then settle in to glean information from watching his daily routine. Of course, the Brody family has no idea that their lives are being so closely monitored by the CIA.

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Yesterday was a really bad day at work. I lost a trial that I shouldn't have lost. I received an unexpected bill that isn't in our budget. One of my best employees resigned, and one of my oldest clients left a message that he just can't afford to pay his past due invoice. My wife Shannon knew about all of this, not because I told her but because she sensed it from the tone of my voice when I called to tell her I was coming home. She knew exactly what to do. When I entered our kitchen through the garage door, still solemn with a hanging head and dangling arms, I was instantly greeted by the only magic in God's universe that could have empowered me at that moment: three kids beaming ear-to-ear and proclaiming "hi Dad!"

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As a business law attorney, I am often approached by clients who are considering starting a business. Most of these clients are aware that incorporating can provide limited liability protection and have certain tax advantages, but they are unsure about what type of business entity is right for them.

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The importance of obtaining federal trademark protection for your small business cannot be overstated. To illustrate the importance of trademarks, one has to look no further
than the true story of a Virginia-based vegetable farmer named Robert Muller-Moore.

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When people think about traditional estate planning or writing a will, they fail to consider their digital lives. Often we only think about how to handle property such as homes, bank accounts, brokerage accounts, and jewelry. A new area of the law is about to explode over how to handle the digital side of our estates. Our lives are so entwined with technology that it only makes sense for people to want the ability to pass on all or part of their online presence, or give certain trusted people access to online accounts and passwords. Unfortunately, companies, and the law, are slow to provide answers to these problems.

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After recently meeting with a client to discuss a potential acquisition of property, the 1976 classic song "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" came to mind.

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Anyone following the latest billing scandal involving DLA Piper may have formed new opinions regarding the "billing trends" many of us have been preaching about. In the interest of full disclosure, DLA's former Managing Partner in Chicago, Bill Rudnick, is a friend and our firm has assisted DLA as local counsel in Central Illinois on several occasions. Rudnick, like myself, is a modern champion of alternative fee arrangements. Unfortunately, unlike our firm, he has been at the helm of an ocean liner that can be very difficult to change course. I regret that he and DLA's leadership has been forced to deal with this issue and defend their billing practices in this very public lawsuit.

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In an opinion released last month, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals admonished an appellant's attorneys while going out of its way to express extreme frustration over the multitude of motions courts receive to vacate arbitration awards.

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The third of our six publications we are preparing for various journals in 2013 has recently arrived off the press and already has been greeted with much enthusiasm from our clients who serve as commercial landlords.  Co-authored by Joe VanFleet and Brian Peterson, this article gives a brief overview of the rights and obligations faced by commercial landlords in Illinois.  It is reprinted at the link below with the permission of the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education.  We hope you find the article informative, and please let us know if you have any questions. 

 Landlord's Duties and Liabilities

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Many of the blog icons on this page have been created by Joe’s three children. They are so excited to see their artwork on Dad’s work website!

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