Frequently Asked Questions
What is an Assumed Name or a Doing Business As Name?
An Assumed Name/Doing Business As Name is a process used to simply put the County or State on notice that you are using a particular name to do business. An Assumed Name or Doing Business As Name is simply putting a name tag on that says, “Hello I’m using _____________name to do business”. An Assumed Name/Doing Business As Name is not a business entity, nor does it offer any protections that a legally formed business entity offers its Owner(s). In the event of a bankruptcy or legal dispute with the business, the owner’s bank accounts, homes, and cars will be viewed as assets of business.
2. What is an LLC?
“LLC” is an acronym for Limited Liability Company. A LLC is a legally registered business entity that is filed with the state where the business will conduct its business affairs. A LLC offers its owner’s limited liability protection against any debt or obligation that the LLC owes. Additionally, the LLC will protect the owner’s personal assets against any action of bankruptcy or a legal dispute with the business.
3. What is an Operating Agreement?
An operating agreement is a key document used by LLCs because it outlines the business' financial and functional decisions including rules, regulations and provisions. The purpose of the document is to govern the internal operations of the business in a way that suits the specific needs of the business owners. Once the document is signed by the members of the limited liability company, it acts as an official contract binding them to its terms. An Operating Agreement is a legal document formed in order to govern a Limited Liability Company.
4. What are the benefits of an Operating Agreement?
To protect the business' limited liability status: Operating agreements give members protection from personal liability to the LLC. Without this specific formality, your LLC can closely resemble a sole proprietorship or partnership, jeopardizing your personal liability.
To clarify verbal agreements: Even if members have orally agreed to certain terms, misunderstanding or miscommunication can take place. It is always best to have the operational conditions and other business arrangements handled in writing so they can be referred to in the event of any conflict.
To protect your agreement in the eyes of your state: State default rules govern LLCs without an official operating agreement. This means that each state outlines default rules that apply to businesses that do not sign operating agreements. Because the state default rules are so general, it is not advisable to rely on a governing body state to manage your agreement.
5. What protections does a Trademark offer?
Owning a federal trademark registration provides a number of significant advantages over common law rights alone, including:
A legal presumption of your ownership of the mark and your exclusive right to use the mark nationwide on or in connection with the goods/services listed in the registration (whereas a state registration only provides rights within the borders of that one state, and common law rights exist only for the specific area where the mark is used);
Public notice of your claim of ownership of the mark;
Listing in the USPTO’s online databases;
The ability to record the U.S. registration with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to prevent importation of infringing foreign goods;
The right to use the federal registration symbol “®”;
The ability to bring an action concerning the mark in federal court; and
The use of the U.S. registration as a basis to obtain registration in foreign countries.
6. What protections does a Copyright offer?
Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed. See Circular 1, Copyright Basics, section "What Works Are Protected."
My business offers services to our customers, what kind of contract do I need to have between me and my customers?
A service agreement is an agreement between two persons or businesses where one agrees to provide a specified service to the other. A service agreement will outline: a. a description of the services to be provided, and how often; b. identification of the persons or categories of persons who are to provide the services; c. fees for services, and other provisions that are pertinent to the deal.
7. I want to make sure the help I am hiring does not share my business ideas, or unique method of production, what can I do?
Non-disclosure agreements are an important legal framework used to protect sensitive and confidential information from being made available by the recipient of that information. Companies and startups use these documents to ensure that their good ideas won't be stolen by people they are negotiating with.