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b2ap3_thumbnail_mlnariklaw-healthcare-web.jpgThe healthcare system in the United States is known to be one of the most expensive and, some might say, overpriced systems in the world. Other countries with lower cost healthcare more efficiently utilize the bargaining power of their governments while we rely on free enterprise and the private sector. Healthcare is the top employer and the sixth-largest industry in the U.S., which complicates any kind of change, and has been a political football for all of the recent presidential elections.

While Obamacare offers income-based subsidies, plans presented by the GOP have age-based tax credits and do away with the individual mandate requiring everyone to get insurance or pay a fine. The GOP’s plans have also capped Medicare funding, a program that grew under the Obama administration, but they still require that insurance companies cover people with pre-existing conditions.

Democrats and Republicans agree that our healthcare system should cost less and be more efficient. But with every new layer of regulation and bureaucracy comes higher cost and a loss of efficiency. Making changes to our complicated system happens slowly even in a political environment where the three branches of government are largely controlled by one party.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_business-law.jpgThere are many reasons franchisees decide to sell their franchise – life changes like death, divorce or retirement comes to mind – and if you are looking at investing in a resale franchise, you should neither discount nor leap into it without careful investigation.

Here are some considerations to keep in mind:

Reason for the sale. If a franchise owner is moving, retiring or has other family issues that require the sale, you will probably be told this right off the bat. If he or she is selling because they can’t make a go of it, you will probably be given another reason for the sale. This brings to light the importance of careful due diligence – an experienced franchise attorney is of great assistance here.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Online-Scam-300x225.jpgIt should not be a surprise that if you have a newly registered domain name, trademarked or not, you are going to be the target of some form of scam or another concerning a name dispute.  Typically, the trend is an email from a foreign entity such as The Department of Asian Domain Registration Service in China claiming that some other company is trying to register your trademark in China. Posing as a foreign Intellectual Property Office, these solicitations may appear to be legitimate inquiries from companies affiliated with foreign government agencies, but a basic internet search of these services will provide you all of the information that you need to know… it is a scam.  The United States Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) and many legitimate foreign intellectual property agencies have issued official warnings about these types of solicitations. 

Many new domain owners are not aware of the laws or procedures concerning domain ownership and become targets of these types of scams believing that their brand will be diluted by not registering with these companies; or worse, that they will be the subject of a dispute with a company that has already trademarked that domain name.   The bottom line is, do not respond to these emails and delete them immediately.  It is likely that your email address has been harvested by data mining the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) “WHOIS” data base (a publically accessible database which publishes the details of every new registered domain name), or by reviewing the Official Gazette for Trademarks (OG) and you are receiving these emails based on this publically available information.   This particular scam has been around for years and has been well documented.   If you have questions or concerns it is advisable to discuss the matter with your attorney. 

-Aro T. Ebenhahn, Law Clerk

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No matter what type of business you are preparing to start, one of the first decisions you b2ap3_thumbnail_What-do-I-name-my-photography-business1-300x225.jpgneed to make is what you’re going to name your business. Choosing a name is often something that business owners don’t realize needs more research than just finding a name that is memorable and will appeal to both them and their clients.

Why go to all this effort? You’re opening your business with plans of success, knowing you will be investing yourself, your time, and your effort into growing your business. Generally, you won’t be notified of any disputes related to your name until your business has grown and become successful, after you have spent time and energy getting your name known. Don’t lose this valuable piece of your business when it really means something to you because you didn’t research whether you could use it at the beginning. Trademark litigation is costly; a search determining whether you name will be rightfully yours is not.

1. Type and Scope of Your Business

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Groundog-Day-Blog-Graphic2-150x126.pngGroundhog Day AGAIN? Why, it seems like the last one was just yesterday ...

Of course, I'm referring to the classic Bill Murray romantic comedy. Bill plays a TV weatherman covering Punxsutawney Phil's annual moment in the sun (or the shade). The "next" day, the hapless reporter discovers that every day is Groundhog Day, over and over again.

But if there's anything worse than being the same person on the same eternal day, it's being a different person EVERY day. That's what it's like if you're a victim of Identity Theft -- and it's neither romantic nor a comedy.

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