Explosive Franchise Growth Poses Challenges

by John D. Dadakis, Esq.
the firm of Rogers & Wells

Family business issues are permeating the business headlines, frequently because of costly and destructive litigation that had its origins in flawed legal advice rendered to a family business.The fight over the one share control issue in the battle for American Maize Products exemplifies how a distribution from an estate can have lasting effects.The Haft family’s public battle over the Dart Group can only conclude a nightmare for its public shareholders.

The problems that arise are the same, whether the family business is defined as a closely-held, owner-managed, or family-owned business, and in fact pertain to publicly-traded companies with an important presence of family in stock ownership, as well as to strictly private family enterprises. More…

Questions and Answers on Trademarks and Service Marks

by Ronald J. Kransdorf, Peter C. Lando, Edward F. Perlman, David Wolf

What are trademarks and service marks?

A trademark identifies the products and a service mark identifies the services of a business.They distinguish such products or services from those of others.Collectively, trademarks and service marks are referred to as “marks.”What constitutes acceptable marks varies for different countries and may include words, names, symbols, logos, package shapes, designs, devices, fragrances, colors, or sounds.

What is the difference between trade names and trademarks?

A trade name is a name under which a company does business.”General Motors Corporation” is an example of a trade name.A trademark is the word or symbol under which a product or service is advertised and sold. “Chevrolet,” and “Pontiac” are examples of trademarks.

While the same word or name may function as a trade name and trademark, either in whole or in part, the two are legally distinct and serve different legal functions. Therefore, while a word or name may be clear for use as a trade name in a particular state or country, this does not mean that the word or name is available for use as a trademark.A separate clearance procedure must be performed for trademark purposes. More…