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Denver Business and Commercial Law Blog

The importance of filing early with the US Copyright Office

Colorado residents interested in copyright law may like to learn more about how a recent US Supreme Court ruling impacts copyright registration. In March 2019, the United States Supreme Court ruled that copyright owners need to have their work registered with the United States Copyright Office before they are able to file litigation to enforce their rights. This decision by the United States Supreme Court gives added emphasis to the importance of early filing of copyright applications.

When it comes to copyrights, people usually think about it in connection to music, movies, art or photographs. However, copyright laws are designed to protect much more, including computer software, presentations and other forms of expression.

How to own and grow a thriving business

In Colorado, entrepreneurs often blunder when starting their first businesses. Every entrepreneur must go through a learning period. Although many mistakes do not merit grave concerns, some errors can cause a startup to disintegrate. A lack of funds can destroy a business before it even gets off the ground. Since starting a business means taking big risks involving the owner's reputation and future financial situation, it's important to have a fighting chance before beginning a business venture.

Therefore, it's vital to create a workable business budget. Never underestimate the power associated with frugality. A new business owner should already have enough money to live on for six months. While spendthrifts create businesses fraught with debts, true entrepreneurs know how to hold on to money. Business owners should never agree to expenditures leading down a path of declaring bankruptcy. Earning a decent living as a self-employed individual takes time. That's why new business owners need to spend money wisely.

Mergers, acquisitions and uninsured liabilities

Before signing a deal for a merger or acquisition, a Colorado business owner should make sure to address any insurance-related issues with the target company. Unknowingly acquiring liabilities can negatively impact a company in many ways. It is important that a business owner consults with a transactional attorney about insurance issues that could arise.

An owner who is aiming to merge with or acquire a business should carefully review the insurance policies of the target company as well as all other contracts that may provide indemnification. This is a very important step before signing any merger and acquisition contracts. That's because the actual cost or value of the transaction can change depending on whether there are insurance policies in place for the target company's identified and potential liabilities. If there have been uninsured liabilities that have been identified, the selling price can be modified or the buyer can request to be indemnified by the seller.

Colorado debates about applicants with criminal backgrounds

Hiring someone with a criminal background is never an easy subject for employers. On one hand, many hiring managers want to keep their workers safe and believe hiring someone who has committed terrible deeds could put them in danger. On the other, this type of mentality has led to thousands of people in the U.S. unemployed and unable to get a proper second chance at life.

A study by the Colorado Center on Law & Policy stated that more than 60 percent of formerly convicted individuals are unemployed one year after their release. The ones who find jobs don’t fare well either, as 40 percent of them received less annual pay than those without criminal histories.

Private equity, venture capital and other high-profile investors

When entrepreneurs in Colorado look to find funding to grow a business, they may look toward two options -- venture capital and private equity. Many people with startup companies have great ideas or underlying technologies but need more funding in order to move into full production or elevate their work to the next level. As a result, they may approach various types of investors to play a role in moving the company forward.

Private equity firms are involved in a variety of projects but most often work with more established firms with ongoing revenue. In some cases, these might be businesses that are looking for new management or opportunities. Many private equity firms are best known for fully buying out target companies or at least taking a majority share in publicly traded stocks. Rather than funds that allow a startup founder to continue to run the company with more resources, private equity firms offer solutions for people looking to sell their businesses and move on.

How to overcome early failure as a business owner

Despite the fact that an entrepreneur has invested a lot of time and money into a startup, there is no guarantee that it will be a success. However, there are lessons that business owners in Colorado and elsewhere should take to heart to improve their chances of future success. For example, it can be much easier for a company to achieve success when the founder offers a product or service that they love.

In some cases, that enthusiasm can spread to investors who may be willing to keep the company afloat financially. When problems arise, founders and other company leaders should be transparent about what is going wrong. Issuing an apology or other sincere statement can avoid bad press or keep customers from souring on the brand.

U.S. Supreme Court considers copyright registration question

Creators in Colorado depend on registration at the U.S. Copyright Office to protect their ownership of intellectual property. A case that hinges upon when copyright registration actually takes place is now before the Supreme Court of the United States. The Justices must reconcile the differing views about registration that emerged from lower courts to determine an infringement case's ability to go forward.

The Copyright Act establishes that civil action concerning infringement cannot take place until preregistration or registration of a copyright claim has taken place. One view holds that application for copyright suffices to fulfill the requirement of registration before proceeding with litigation. Others interpret the law to mean that registration only takes place when the Copyright Office issues a certificate of registration. Applications to the office, however, routinely take two to 15 months before receiving decisions. These substantial delays could expose copyright holders to infringement without the ability to take legal action if they were expected to wait for certificates.

Startups continue to seek venture capital

Many Colorado startups and their founders look toward venture capital as a way to power their businesses and provide the funds they need to become strong players in the market. Funding a business can be a major challenge, yet it is critical for hiring employees, developing products and overtaking competitors. Some people may rely on their own savings, but few have the resources to fully fund a startup. Therefore, many people look to early investment to provide substantial contributions to new businesses, especially tech firms and creative projects.

Business founders may face many rejections when seeking out venture capital. Even so, it remains a popular path to funding, and the success stories associated with VC are well-known. Large funding rounds have pushed many companies to greater heights by helping them prepare for a sale or widespread distribution in the market. On the other hand, a number of startups that were successful in seeking funding have also run into problems.

Intellectual property infringement

Intellectual property infringement may refer to violation of a copyright, a trademark, a patent or a trade secret. However, each of these is different. A person who has written something that is published or unpublished, including a novel, a television show or website, generally owns the copyright. If someone else takes the work and claims it as their own without permission, this is copyright infringement.

Trademarks may be words, symbols or logos that identify a particular product. The idea behind a trademark is to separate a product from other, similar products. If a company starts to use a trademark that is already in use, that may be considered an infringement on that company's trademarks.

Older Colorado workers attempt to fight ageism

One of the most common forms of employee discrimination is ageism. No matter how much a position requires out of a worker mentally or physically, many employers still ultimately prefer hiring fresh faces over keeping the more experienced employees. This is especially problematic in Colorado since nearly one-third of the state consists of residents over the age of 50.

With how prevalent the problem has become in the workplace, some of the state’s residents have taken it upon themselves to make the issue more well-known amongst the population. They are trying multiple different methods in hopes of getting the point across.