Intellectual property may seem difficult to protect because it is not something so tangible as office equipment. When you close down your office for the day, you lock the doors, perhaps set an alarm, lock laptops to desks, etc. How though do you protect your ideas?
January 2013 Archives
Our discussion on the laws and regulations that may pertain to your business in regard to finance will focus predominantly on securities and antitrust laws, however, we’ll touch on bankruptcy, in case your business is currently facing it or needs to in the future. These regulations, laws and procedures exist not only to protect investors, but also to protect your business and encourage fair practices. Like all business related laws and regulations, they can at first seem daunting and complex. However, it’s our continued hope that we can guide you in your desire to understand how to comply with these laws and regulations.
When it comes to securities, being open and honest in reporting is one of the keys to complying with the laws and regulations implemented by the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission). However, there’s more to it than transparent communication with potential and current investors and timely submission of forms and applicable fees. Building an understanding of the ways in which your business may be liable in the sale of securities is crucial (for example, you are liable for the statements you make depending on what they communicate and/or imply).
The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) identifies three core antitrust laws:
- The Sherman Act: When most people think of monopolies being illegal, they’re thinking of the Sherman Act, which dictates sometimes severe penalties for attempts to unreasonably restrict the market—for example, by fixing prices.
- The Federal Trade Commission Act: In some cases the FTC Act can go hand-in-hand with the Sherman Act, because it centers around unfair or deceptive practices.
- The Clayton Act: This act covers many of restricted or barred practices that don’t fall under the Sherman Act, such as (but not inclusive of):
- Mergers & acquisitions wherein decisions are made by the same person/unit for competing businesses
- Discriminatory prices and services
An example of how to comply with Antitrust laws would be if your company is planning a merger with another large business in the same market, you may be required to notify the federal government in advance of these plans (Clayton Act).
When it comes to understanding bankruptcy, it’s best to understand the different types. For example, if you have a plan to facilitate financial recovery, Chapter 11 Bankruptcy would perhaps be a better path for your business than Chapter 7. Sole Proprietorships can file for Chapter 13, which requires a debt-repayment plan (the same way it does for individuals pursuing this type of bankruptcy). Chapter 12, the fourth type of bankruptcy, applies more specifically to groups such as family farmers and fishermen.
When your business is profitable enough to bring on an employee for the first time, or to add to an already existing staff, reviewing employment laws and regulations can save you time in the long run. It’s likely, if you’re ready to hire people, that you have an employee handbook, but if not, now is a great time to create one as well. Whether you’re starting from scratch or updating a handbook, taking a look at employment law as it pertains to your business is worth the effort.
The Second Amendment guarantees the right of the individual to keep and bear arms, even if they are not part of a militia. U.S. Constitution, Second Amendment; see also District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783, 2788 (2008).
Sometimes laws pertaining to business practices can be confusing. The trick to deciphering the regulations that may apply to your business advertising practices is to know where to look. Over the next couple of months, we’ll provide you with resources to help you understand which regulations apply to your business. This week we’re going to highlight those pertaining specifically to advertising. If you’re not running contests ads, you don’t need to wade through regulations pertaining only to contests (though if you think you may in future, it’s worth a read).
Make sure your budget is up to date