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Collier County Business And Real Estate Law Blog

Why punctuation matters in trademark applications

Your grade school teachers were right when they said that punctuation matters -- at least if you're applying for a trademark. One young woman learned that the hard way after her trademark application for a make-up kit was rejected last month by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

The applicant, who likely wasn't widely known to many people older than 25 until recently, is Olivia Jade Giannulli. She became one of the faces of the college admissions scandal when her parents were charged with felonies for allegedly bribing officials with the University of Southern California (USC) to help her and her sister get into the school. Giannulli's parents are fashion designer Massimo Giannulli and actress Lori Loughlin.

Business formation types that limit personal liability

When you want to open your own business in Florida, you will need to figure out what type of business structure you want to create before doing so. Different business structures offer different benefits and drawbacks, so you need to consider many things before establishing your business under a particular business type.

If one of your priorities involves protecting yourself and your assets should someone file a lawsuit against your company, some business structures may better suit your needs than others. Also, it is important to recognize that virtually all business owners have areas where others could potentially try to hold them liable. This holds true even for those who own businesses that may not have obvious risks. So, if protecting your personal assets is a goal of yours, consider establishing your entity as either an S corporation or a limited liability company.

Florida neighbors battling over dock, water rights

Many Florida homeowners have their own docks and other structures leading out to the water. These can become the subject of legal disputes between neighbors. One such case in Holmes Beach has garnered some media attention.

A woman in the Manatee County town claims that her neighbor didn't obtain the appropriate permits for her dock. She also alleges that the neighbor's Jet Ski and boat lifts are an encroachment on her riparian rights. Commonly known as "water rights," these apply to people who own land on flowing bodies of water. Property owners are not allowed to use the water in a way that negatively impacts people living upstream or downstream from them.

Why do you need provisional patent applications?

If you're starting a new business or if you've invented or created something, an integral part of your intellectual property (IP) strategy may involve provisional patent applications (PPAs). Some experts recommend filing multiple PPAs.

These PPAs might address various ways that your invention can be manufactured, for example. You might have a preferred method. However, there might be less expensive ways to produce it, using different manufacturing techniques and/or materials.

Selling a home after a loved one dies

A parent or other family member has passed away. They left their home to you or, if they didn't have a will, the court has determined that you get the home. You don't need or want it, so you're going to sell it.

You may also find yourself in this situation if you're the executor of the estate and have the responsibility of selling the home. The important thing is to ensure you have the authority to sell it.

Supreme Court rules on copyright infringement recovery

Can a copyright owner recover money in civil court for an infringement to that copyright even if that infringement occurred before they register it with the Copyright Office? After they register it, can they seek recovery for infringement prior to the registration?

The Copyright Act of 1976 states that "no civil action for infringement of the copyright in any United States work shall be instituted until preregistration or registration of the copyright claim has been made in accordance with this title." The law also states that the owner of the material has rights over it prior to registering it, but is not allowed to be granted recovery for infringements by others to that copyright.

3 most common types of commercial leases

When you look to set up shop in South Florida, you have to understand not only how the market works but also what your lease options look like. You may have a strict budget and need to really clamp down on expenses to keep your doors open.

Finding a commercial lease that suits your individual needs is easier when you know what to look for. Three different types of leases exist to help both landlord and tenant get the terms required to keep both parties happy and profitable.

The right of first refusal in real estate

You enjoy working and living in South Florida, and you understand it is a hot real estate market. People move south to save money on taxes and enjoy a more temperate climate year-round.

Before you enter into any kind of contract, you should understand every clause you read. One of the standards a rental agreement should always contain is a right of first refusal. Knowing what this section means and how to deal with it is crucial if you want to continue on in the property.

Why are millennial homebuyers choosing South Florida?

Many people think of South Florida as a retirement destination for Americans from points north who want to spend their golden years enjoying the sun, sand and golf courses that abound in this area. However, millennials are moving to South Florida -- and particularly the Treasure Coast -- in record numbers.

Millennials, which are those born anywhere from 1981 to 1996, represent about a third of new homebuyers throughout the country. However, Florida ranks in the top 10 states favored by millennials.

Are real estate agents contacting you after a loved one's death?

You've just lost a loved one. Perhaps your spouse has passed away. Maybe your elderly parent has died. Amid everything else you have to deal with, you suddenly find yourself receiving calls or letters from real estate agents offering to sell your home. Sometimes they'll make the pitch that they'll handle things "with sensitivity."

These solicitations can be disconcerting. However, the practice is nothing new. In the past, some real estate agents would scour the obituary pages looking for widows and widowers who may no longer need or be able to afford their home after their spouse died. They might seek out adult children who may need to sell their parents' home after a death.

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