The Undeniable Tour Update – Everything’s Coming Together

This was the view from my hotel in San Francisco last weekend. I'm so glad it overlooked the water.

This was the view from my hotel in San Francisco last weekend. I’m so glad it overlooked the water.

It’s hard to believe that The Undeniable Tour is less than a month away. At this point I feel like all the pieces are starting to lock into place. I booked my flights and most of my lodging. I’m going to be staying in hostels and couchsurfing for most of my trip. I’m really excited to meet so many new people – law students, lawyers, other social media movers and shakers, and fellow travelers. I’m also looking forward to spending a lot of time near the ocean, which is something I only get to see and pictures since I live in the desert.

This tour will give me the chance to connect and share ideas with others in the legal industry about what it means to be a lawyer and how we can better use social media to create professional opportunities for ourselves. I feel like I got a good primer in both of these areas this week by being a guest on the Human Social podcast hosted by fellow lawyer Mitch Jackson and at networking event for lawyers who work in eat-what-you-kill environments. The internet has provided the opportunity for the legal industry to break out of the stuffy ambulance-chaser stereotype and show prospective clients that there’s more than one way to be an effective lawyer.

I feel lucky to be a lawyer who gets to travel and attend non-legal conferences as part of their job. I spent last weekend in San Francisco at the Dad 2.0 Summit – a conference for men who blog about fatherhood. (I was on hand to answer their legal questions related to their blogs.) Being out of the office for a few days and getting away from my everyday routine was refreshing. Meeting a new group of people and listening to some of the topics that were important to them (how men are depicted in the media, gender roles, and what it means to be a man and a father) got the wheels in my head turning in new and different ways. And these guys were the masters of fun. I’d never attended a conference before where I got to shoot Nerf guns and take a field trip to LucasFilm. It so important to periodically take a break from the norm to prevent falling into a rut. I got all that out of a 3-day trip. We’ll see what a difference of 14-day trip will make.

I’m very excited to announce that I’ve added another speaking gig to the tour yesterday (just after I filmed this week’s video update. I will be speaking to the Solo and Small Practice Section of Washington (State) Bar Association via webinar on March 27th from Los Angeles. I think this will be the first time that I do a webinar that is strictly audio which will be a new challenge for me not to use visuals and to not have immediate feedback from the audience.

Recently, I sent out the contracts to my sponsors and as soon as I have their commitments I will be announcing them on the site – hopefully next week!

Planning this tour has been an exciting, stressful, and to be honest an exhausting endeavor. I’m so glad I’m doing it because it’s teaching me so much about myself and giving me the opportunity to connect with so many people. If you have any questions about the tour or if you live along the west coast and you want to meet with me during this trip, please connect with me via Twitter, Facebook, or send me an email.

Top Three Legal Tips for Dad Bloggers from Dad 2.0 Summit

Awesome Bo-Gos at the Dad 2.0 Summit 2015

Awesome Bo-Gos at the Dad 2.0 Summit 2015

I had an awesome time at Dad 2.0 Summit – an awesome conference for dads who blog. I was invited to the conference to hang out in the Knowledge Bar during the breaks to talk with people about the legal dos and don’ts when it comes to their blogs. One gentleman asked me what three tips I’d give to the conference’s audience. Here’s what I said.

1. Be Thoughtful about what Images you Use on your Site.
Unfortunately, a lot of people think they can use any image they find online as long as they give an attribution and a link back to the original. What you’re likely doing is committing copyright infringement and telling the artist what you did. I recommend getting permission from the person to use their image or only use Creative Commons images for your site. I only use images that come with the license that lets me modify and commercialize them.  For more information about this topic, check out this post and/or watch this video.

2. Register your Trademarks.
This is my soapbox issue for the year for bloggers, vloggers, and podcasters – register your trademarks! If you don’t, someone else can start using it, register it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and they could essentially shut down your site. You’d have to decide whether to fight them for it or rebrand. It’s easier and cheaper to protect yourself by registering your brand first. Then that way you’ve secured your rights to your name, logo, and slogan everywhere in the U.S. For more information about this topic, check out this post and/or watch this video.

3. When you get Free Products or Write Sponsored Posts, Disclose It.
Federal law requires you to only give true and accurate reviews when you do product reviews and you must disclose when you are compensated for giving your opinion. You have to tell your audience when you get products for free, participate in campaigns for compensation, or have sponsors. This rule applies to blogs, review sites, and anywhere you post on social media when you’re compensated for doing so. For more information about this topic, check out this post.

The laws regarding blogging and social media are still developing so it’s important that you stay abreast of changes as they occur when they apply to you. I will do my best to create content on developments in social media and internet law. If you’re looking for a resource that reviews the laws that apply to bloggers, please check out my book, The Legal Side of Blogging: How Not to get Sued, Fired, Arrested, or Killed. You can always send me an email if you ever have questions, and please stay connected with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube.

If I don’t see you before then, I look forward to re-connecting with you at Dad 2.0 Summit next year!

The Undeniable Tour Update – Building my Schedule

Fort Point by Tom Hilton from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Fort Point by Tom Hilton from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

I’m starting to get really excited about The Undeniable Tour. I booked my flights and I’ve locked in five main speaking gigs, and talking with two groups about organizing two more. Now that I’ve locked in those speaking dates, I’m shifting my focus to what I want to do on the other days of the tour – I’m going to be on the road for two weeks total.

Because my brain works in a very systematic way, I’m building my calendar day by day starting with my first day in San Diego and the last day I will plan will be my last day in Seattle. This trip is giving me the incredible opportunity to reach out to so many people I admire and either want to meet again or meet in person for the first time. I have a short list of people I really really want to meet and I’m wondering how many times I have to tweeted them or message them before they respond – if only to tell me to shut up. And when it comes to this trip, I’m going big. I’m trying not to be so intimidated by anyone that it causes me to not attempt to contact them. As my friend Jason Zook says, “You don’t get what you don’t ask for.” (If you haven’t read his book Creativity for Sale, go buy it immediately. It was because of his book and his course on How To Get Sponsorship For Anything that I was inspired to do The Undeniable Tour.)

I’m getting close to solidifying my lodging for each night. When I said I was handpicking where I wanted to stay each night, I meant it and I only reached out to places where I really really wanted to stay. (What is with me and “really really” today?) I know a lot of these awesome hotels and B&Bs probably get a lot of solicitations like the ones I sent asking for a free or reduced fee night in exchange for giving them exposure. I know I get plenty of opportunities to speak and write for free and I generally turn most of them down because I just don’t have the time, so I’m not offended that a lot of the places have declined the opportunity to give me a free night as part of The Undeniable Tour. There are a few places that I like so much that I may pay full price and stay with them depending on my final budget, and for the other nights, I’m looking into more economical options like couchsurfing and hostels.

I’ve never couchsurfed with strangers before and I’ve never stayed in a hostel. I’m using my upcoming trip to San Francisco to experience hostel life for the first time. I’m really curious to see what it’s like to stay in a dorm room with strangers with the communal bathroom down the hall. It may be the closest I get to camping, and if I like it, I can absolutely see myself traveling more often and using hostels instead of hotels. When I go on an adventure, I don’t really care about where I sleep as long as it’s warm, dry, and safe. Why pay $100-200/night plus a fee for Wi-Fi when you can stay in a hostel for $25/night or couchsurf for free?

 

The Undeniable Tour Update – Getting Excited

California One by Thibault Martin-Lagardette from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

California One by Thibault Martin-Lagardette from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

It is about 6 weeks before The Undeniable Tour starts – and I’m starting to get really giddy-excited about it! There is so much to do, so little time, and so much to schedule.

The Undeniable Tour will be a two-week road trip from San Diego to Seattle that includes at least 5 large speaking engagements at law schools and bar associations, and I plan to use my so-called “down time” to meet with fellow awesome lawyers and hopefully some of the people and organizations that I admire professionally. The list of people I want to meet with is growing every day.

I also plan to use The Undeniable Tour to have some much-needed fun. For years I’ve been fascinated by a website called Roadside America. You can enter any city or state in the U.S. and it will tell you what weird, quirky, or unique things are in that area. I’m really want to see the giant Fork in the Road in Pasadena, California. I’m a big fan of the Yogi Berra quote, “When you come to the fork in the road, take it.” Some of the other places I hope to visit during this trip are the Legal Grind coffee shop, the Redwood Forest, the Hat Creek Radio Observatory where they do SETI work, VooDoo Doughnut, and Ballard Locks (fingers cross that at least one of The Deadliest Catch boats will be there).

Since I haven’t gotten a “concierge” sponsor to cover my lodging, I’m beginning to make a list of hotels, B&Bs, and the like where I might want to stay. I want to find independent and unique places that have a good story behind them. My plan is to offer to feature them in a blog and video in exchange for them putting me up. Some of the places on my dream list are the Railway Inn, the Out ‘n’ About Treehouse Treesort, and the Jupiter Hotel. I need to figure out where exactly I’m going to be on each day of the tour to determine where I want to stay each night.

My Hustle Your Face Off Shirts, made by Brand X

My Hustle Your Face Off Shirts, made by Brand X

Did you see the awesome t-shirts that Brand X Custom T-shirts in Tempe made for me? My motto for this tour is “Hustle Your Face Off.” This will be the mantra that drives me every day and also the message I hope to pass along to my audience. I’ll be wearing one of these shirts at each of my large speaking engagements. (Hat tip to Gary Vaynerchuk for coining this phrase and giving his blessing to have these shirts made.”) If you want to have your own Hustle Your Face Off shirt (or anything else) made by Brand X, use the code 4TRV-16VSL-3 to get $5 off your order (expires 4/3/2015).

One of the walls in my office is covered by 4 large sticky notes right now – one for each region I’ll be hitting during the tour with color-coded ideas on each one. These are definitely helping me stay focused and organized. I included them on this week’s video update.

If you have any suggestions for things I should see, people I should meet, or places I should stay, please let me know!

Bloggers & Vloggers: Register your Trademarks!

Registered by tup wanders from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Registered by tup wanders from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Ever since I heard about the Turner Barr story in 2013, I’ve been on everyone I know – including recreational bloggers and the vloggers – to register their trademarks in at least their sites’ names with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). If this isn’t on your to-do list for this year, take a break from reading this post and go add it right now.

For those of you who don’t know or don’t remember, Turner Barr started an awesome blog called Around the World in 80 Jobs where he writes and creates videos about his travel adventurers and how he works from place to place. It was a simple but brilliant idea. He didn’t register his trademark. I bet the thought never crossed his mind. I bet he never thought that another company would register the trademark “Around the World in 80 Jobs” and essentially shut down his site. Thankfully, Turner was able to resolve the situation in part by publicly calling out the people he suspected stole his idea. He has since registered the trademark for his blog.

When I saw this situation where it looked like another company ripped off an individual blogger’s idea and name for themselves and basically (temporarily) stole it out from under him by registering the trademark, I became scared for every person I know who has an amazing blog or vlog. I don’t want to see them in the same predicament. It also reminded me to be a diligent about reminding and re-reminding my clients who are startup entrepreneurs about the importance or registering their trademarks so they don’t end up in the Burger King situation.

This is the type of situation potentially where someone can steal your idea and you will have to fight to try to get it back. And it’s the type of situation that is easily prevented by registering your trademark first. Once you have a registered trademark with the USPTO, you can stop other people and companies from using a name that is confusingly similar to yours in your industry.

Compared to the heartache, headaches, and what you will pay a lawyer if you end up in a situation like Turner Barr did, filing at trademark application is cheap. The USPTO recently lowered their filing fees so if you did your application yourself (which I don’t recommend) it may cost you only $275. If you’ve never filed the trademark application before, I suggest you at least consult a trademark attorney in advance just so you understand the trademark process including what information you have to give the examining attorney to prove that you’re using your trademark. It may not be as expensive as you fear.

And just to show that I put my money were my mouth is and that the shoemaker’s children have shoes in this situation, I recently submitted a trademark application myself for my personal blog, The Undeniable Ruth. I want to be able to call myself “undeniable” for the rest of my life and this is the first step to ensuring that.

If you have questions or want to talk about your trademark needs, feel free to connect with me on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn, or you can send me an email.

Hitting the Road!

On the Road Again....... by Cheryl VanStane from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

On the Road Again……. by Cheryl VanStane from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

It’s been a crazy year so far for me, and it’s going to get even more crazy because I’m hitting the road this spring! I been invited to speak at three conferences and I have The Undeniable Tour.

I’m really excited to travel so much this year. I hope to use the time to meet incredible people, hopefully meet some of the people I greatly admire and follow online, connect with friends, see interesting places, and talk about some of my favorite topics – social media and social media law.

Here’s a snapshot of some of my plans:

February:
Dad 2.0 Summit – San Francisco, CA

March:
The Undeniable Tour – Southern California

April:
The Undeniable Tour – Northern California; Portland, OR; Seattle, WA
New Media Expo – Las Vegas, NV

May:
Ungagged Conference – London, UK

Plus I’m doing a handful of speaking events in the Phoenix area the spring too! I wish I didn’t have to sleep because there are so many things I want to do during my travels and so much I need to do to prepare for each one. I’m so excited to be invited to be involved in so many amazing conferences. And I’m so lucky that I get to take on a challenge as big as organizing my own speaking tour. (Sponsorship opportunities are still available!)

My plan is to blog, vlog, and post content on my various social media profiles during my travels. I want to share my adventures with you and do a lot of handstands. (It’s a gymnast thing.)

The only downside of all this traveling is I have to be away from my baby girl, not that she would enjoy planes, trains, unfamiliar hotels, or long hours in the car.

Photos, the Internet, and the Law – FAQs

paparazzi! by federico borghi from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

paparazzi! by federico borghi from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

I get a lot of hits on my site from people asking questions about what they can and can’t do with photos that they get from someone else that’s sent to them, texted to them, or that they find online. In many cases, the person who took the photo (not necessarily the person in the photo unless it’s a selfie) is the copyright holder and so they have the right to decide when and how their photo will be copied, distributed, and displayed. If you want to use their photo, you need their permission. If you want to own the copyright, they have to give it to you in a written and signed contract.

Let’s look at some of the more common and interesting questions I get. (Of course, any situation involving the legalities of using a particular photo is fact dependent and you need to consider the specific circumstances. These cases are often governed in part by state laws so you have to look at what rules apply to you.)

May I Post Someone’s Photo on the Internet without Consent?
If we’re talking about a situation where you want to know if you can take a photograph of another person and post it online, the answer is often “Yes.” If you’re the photographer, you’re usually the copyright holder so you get to decide where your work is displayed. However, if you want to make money off the photo or use it for a commercial purpose, you often need the person’s consent.

If were talking about a situation where you’re not the photographer and you want to use another person’s photograph, you need that person’s permission to use their work.

What if I Illegally used Someone’s Photo but I had Good Intentions?
The law often cares about what you did more than your intentions. In many cases it doesn’t matter that you didn’t intend to hurt anybody or that you didn’t know what you’re doing was illegal.

If Someone takes a Photo of Me and They Don’t Delete it, Can I Sue?
It depends. Remember you have no expectation of privacy in public so if you’re just upset that a photo was taken and they don’t use it to harass you, make money, or otherwise violate your rights, there is often little you can do about it.

What are the Laws about taking Photographs of People on Private Property?
You would have to look at what laws apply in your state, but typically the property owner or manager sets and enforces the rules, including rules about photographs. Be mindful when you go into businesses or attend events that there may be a notice posted that informs you that by being on the property, you are consenting to being photographed and the property owner can use those images however they want without needing any additional consent or payment of compensation to you.

Can You be Sued if You Post Someone’s Picture Online if They Sent it to You in a Text Message?
The law treats photos taken by cell phones the same as other photographs. If someone sends you a picture in a text, you have permission to look at it. It doesn’t give you permission to send it to other people or posted online without the person’s consent. Be very careful if this is a situation involving a nude or intimate photo because the depending on the person in the photo’s age, it could be child pornography. Additionally, several states have passed criminal laws against revenge porn.

What if Someone took a Picture off my Facebook Profile and put it on Theirs?
When you post a photograph on Facebook, the “Share” function implicitly gives permission to anyone who has access to the image to share it according to the settings of the site. If it’s a situation where somebody downloads your photo or takes a screen shot that include your photo, and then posts it to their profile or somewhere else online, that is likely of violation of your copyright rights.

Is it Illegal for a Family Member to Post Pictures of You on the Internet?
It depends. The law applies equally to family members as to other people. If it’s their photograph, meaning they are the copyright holder, there may be little you can do unless posting that image somehow violates one of your rights. If you don’t like that someone is posting images of you online, hopefully they will respect you enough to remove them upon request.

As I said before, cases involving photographs are governed by federal and state laws, so if you have a legal question in this arena please consult a copyright attorney in the your community for assistance. If you believe that you might be the victim of a crime that involves a photograph, please call your local law enforcement agency.

If you want to talk about this issue further, please connect with me on TwitterFacebook, or LinkedIn. If there is a specific situation you want to discuss, please send me an email.

Proposed AZ Law Would Outlaw Wearing a Disguise While Committing a Crime

Improv AZ - Flash Mob Fiction by Sheila Dee (used with permission)

Improv AZ – Flash Mob Fiction by Sheila Dee (used with permission)

The Arizona legislature is considering a law that would make it a crime to conceal your identity while breaking the law or to avoid being arrested or punished. Proposed by State Representatives Bob Thorpe, Brenda Barton, and David Livingston, HB 2143, would add the following t the Arizona criminal code:

A. IT IS UNLAWFUL FOR A PERSON TO WEAR A MASK, FALSE WHISKERS OR OTHER PERSONAL DISGUISE, WHETHER PARTIAL OR COMPLETE, FOR THE PURPOSE OF:
1. EVADING OR ESCAPING DISCOVERY, RECOGNITION OR IDENTIFICATION IN THE COMMISSION OF ANY PUBLIC OFFENSE.
2. CONCEALMENT, FLIGHT OR ESCAPE, WHEN CHARGED WITH, ARRESTED FOR OR CONVICTED OF ANY PUBLIC OFFENSE.
B. A VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION IS A CLASS 1 MISDEMEANOR.

Punishment for a Class 1 misdemeanor in Arizona is up to 6 months in jail and up to a $2,500 fine.

Speed Camera Snaps Man in a Monkey Mask (Image from CBS 5 News)

Speed Camera Snaps Man in a Monkey Mask (Image from CBS 5 News)

The purpose of this bill appears to be to go after guys like Dave VonTesmar. Dave gained notoriety in 2009 because people were driving his car and speeding past the speed cameras while wearing a monkey mask. He reportedly received close to 40 tickets, and at least half of them were thrown out because the prosecution couldn’t prove that he was the person in the picture, and therefore the driver when the offenses occurred. To date, he’s refused to pay the other tickets.

As a flash mob organizer and participant, this proposed law makes me a little nervous. If it passes, I hope law enforcement and the prosecutor’s office make a distinction between people who use a disguise in order to commit a crime or evade law enforcement and people who commit crimes while wearing costumes. It’s an issue of intent. It’s clearly wrong to wear a Nixon mask while robbing a bank to avoid being identified. But if you’re doing a flash mob or a prank that involves wearing a costume, or you’re involved in cosplay and you happen to commit a crime while you’re in costume, you shouldn’t be punished for concealing your identity, just the other crime you committed.

Let’s say somebody organized a Zombie Die-In and they did it in the street without permission, the participants could be arrested for blocking a thoroughfare. They shouldn’t be charged with concealing their identity just because they were in costume at the time. By the way, the organizers could also be facing solicitation and conspiracy if they did a stunt like this. If you’re curious about the legalities of flash mobs and pranks watch this video.

I’m curious to see if this law will be passed and what the implications will be if it does. If someone is planning on committing a crime while trying to conceal their identity, this law won’t stop them from putting on a mask or even just a hood and sunglasses to avoid being identified. It will simply give law enforcement another charge to throw at them when they get caught.

If you want to know more about flash mob law, I wrote an entire book about it. You can also connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or you can send me an email.

Exciting News: I Joined Venjuris!

My Business Card for VenJuris!

My Business Card for VenJuris!

A few months ago I made the important decision to join a law firm in Phoenix called Venjuris. The firm used to be Venable Campillo Logan and Meaney but they recently rebranded. I’m excited to combine forces with them. I’ve been getting settled in to my new office during the last two weeks and getting hooked into their computer file and billing system. I’ll be seeing clients again starting next week. Check out my new bio – I’m blonde!

Will the Type of Work I Do Change?
Not really. I will continue to work on copyright and trademark matters; website terms of service; business formations; contract negotiation, drafting, and review; and offer consultations for clients who need help with related to business, intellectual property, social media, and flash mob law issues.

What do my New Colleagues Do?
Venjuris is mostly an intellectual property firm. They do patents, copyrights, trademarks, and licensing. We also have an attorney who does intellectual property litigation. They also do a lot of international intellectual property work. They’re all awesome people. (I wouldn’t have joined the firm if they weren’t.)

What will happen to Carter Law Firm?
Nothing! I will continue to do professional speaking and writing under Carter Law Firm, but all new client matters will be handled under Venjuris. I’ll continue to write blog posts and make videos for Carter Law Firm on at least a weekly basis and I’m putting more energy into public speaking. I have gigs lined up for San Francisco, Las Vegas, and London in the first half of this year and, of course, I’m doing The Undeniable Tour starting in March.

I will be revamping this website to shift the focus to speaking, writing, blogging, and vlogging during the next few weeks (maybe months). But in terms of what I do and how I do it, not much will change.

Where’s my New Office?
1938 East Osborn Road, Phoenix, AZ 85016

Will Rosie Still Come to Work with Me?
Yes. For now, she’s allowed in the office one day a week. Hopefully my colleagues will see that she’s not a distraction and actually helps me work better and will let her come more often.

Want to See my New Office? I made a Video!

How can you Contact Me?
If you’re interested in hiring me for legal work, contact me at rcarter@venjuris.com or 602-631-9100.
If you’re interested in hiring me to write an article or post for you or speak at your event, contact me at ruth@carterlawaz.com or 602-644-1701.

Email is usually the fastest way to reach me.
Of course, you can always connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Starting a Business in Arizona

Little Waitrose - Birmingham Snow Hill - Colmore Row - Now open - sign by Elliott Brown from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Little Waitrose – Birmingham Snow Hill – Colmore Row – Now open – sign by Elliott Brown from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Starting a business is exciting and can be overwhelming at times with everything that has to get done. I wish more business owners put more energy into creating structure within their business when they contemplate and launch their endeavors. It will save a lot of pain and frustration in the long run. If your plans for 2015 include starting a business, make sure these steps are on your to-do list in the first month or two of starting your company.

Discuss with your accountant what type of entity you should form. Every company needs an accountant. In Arizona, you have the option to create a C corporation, an S corporation, a B corporation, or an LLC. I tell all my clients to meet with their accountant to make sure they select the right entity and understand the corresponding tax implications and other responsibilities.

Check with the Arizona Corporation Commission and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to ensure that the name you want for your business is available. Many companies make the mistake of assuming that just because the website domain they want is available that their desired company or product name hasn’t been registered as a trademark for another company. If you use a name that has already been registered by someone else in the same or similar industry, they can make you rebrand.

Submit the necessary paperwork and fee with the Arizona Corporation Commission. Consider filing your trade name with the Secretary of State’s Office as well. The forms to file your Articles of Incorporation or your Articles of Organization are on the Arizona Corporation Commission’s website. Make sure you get all the supplemental forms you need. The standard filing fee is $60 for a corporation and $50 for an LLC. The filing fee to register a trade name with the Secretary of State is $10. (Registering a trade name prevents other companies in Arizona from using the same name. It is not a substitute for filing a federal trademark.)

Create a separate bank account for your business and set up your accounting system. It’s imperative that you keep your company’s corporate veil intact. I strongly recommend using an accounting system like QuickBooks. It makes life so much easier when you’re reviewing your books and preparing for taxes.

If your LLC has more than one owner, create an operating agreement. If you have a corporation, write your bylaws. These documents will dictate how you will run your business, including how you will divide responsibilities and how you will address problems when they occur. They will help you decide in advance how you will address situations that are likely to occur.

Create the contract templates you will need for your business. If applicable, write the terms of service for your website. If you are going to be hire to provide a product or service by multiple customers, you will want to have contract templates for those interactions. This creates consistency and uniformity which will help you build your reputation as well as be more efficient. You can customize your templates to suit your needs. I encourage business owners to look at others’ templates for ideas of what they might want to include but be leery of using someone’s template unless it’s been reviewed by your lawyer.

Discuss what intellectual property your business will or might create and what strategies you will use to protect it. Every business has intellectual property: copyrights, trademarks, patents, and trade secrets. It’s often the company’s most valuable asset. It is important you understand what you have and the best ways to protect it.

Ideally, you would have a lawyer involved from the beginning of your business, if only to tell you what you should do and when you’re better off hiring a lawyer to work for you. Even if you’re on a shoestring budget, you can find a reasonably priced business lawyer or resources for startups to assist you. It’s also prudent to schedule an annual consultation with your lawyer to educate yourself about what legal issues might be on the horizon and to get advice about what more you should do to protect your business as you have the ability to afford it. It’s easier and cheaper to prevent problems than to clean up the mess when something bad happens.

If you want to chat with me about starting a business in Arizona, feel free to connect with me on TwitterFacebookYouTubeLinkedIn, or you can email me.

Please visit my homepage for more information about Carter Law Firm.