startup moneyThe new business idea is coming together, the circle of friends and advisors is tightening and it’s time to pull the proverbial trigger on this thing. The questions arise, “who’s in?” “who’s out?” and “how do we set this up?” During the initial startup phase, it is important to keep key players involved, and maintain the flexibility to let them go if things aren’t working out.  Most startups don’t have the cash to pay salaries high enough to keep people involved, so a mix of compensation options is often on the table.  A common solution is restricted stock (or restricted units in the LLC context), which is equity that is subject to certain contractual restrictions on its ownership, typically including: Continue Reading Are You In or Out: Equity Incentives for Emerging Companies

Money puzzleThere are many ways to raise capital for your startup… and many potential pitfalls. While the initial conversation may center on “how much do we need?”, startup companies should also take some time to discuss “how do we structure this financing?”. Your startup may have short-term or long-term needs, may desire long-term investment and involvement from VC investors, may or may not know the valuation of the company, etc. The answers to these types of questions may factor in to choosing which capital-raising method works best for you and your company.

Before you can determine what approach is right for you, it’s helpful to figure out what the different options are and how they work. The list below contains a brief description of the most common methods by which a company can raise capital. Continue Reading Show Me the Money: Financing Options for Startups

trademarkAccording to BrandFinance’s annual report on the world’s most valuable brands, the GOOGLE trademark is the most valuable brand in the world; worth over $100,000 million. So how is it that the world’s most valuable brand is the subject of a claim that it has become generic and is no longer protectable?

When a trademark owner develops a product category that is new to the marketplace, its success in branding can sometimes be its demise if the brand loses its significance as a trademark and becomes the generic name for the product itself. Think aspirin, escalator, laundromat, and kerosene.

While all of us should be so lucky to develop a brand that becomes so well-known it becomes vulnerable to a trip to the trademark graveyard, this case is a good reminder to all brand owners to have processes in place to avoid such a finding.

Continue Reading Google No Longer Protectable as a Trademark????

PatentIntellectual property (IP) is a key component of almost every startup’s business. It can distinguish a startup from its competition, attract potential investors, and provide a foundation for future success. Because IP can be such an important part of a company, startups are often eager to disclose their innovations, technology and other IP when pitching their company to investors or when presenting to the public at events such as #TechweekKC. However, a startup’s failure to properly protect its IP prior to making these outside disclosures can have unintended and sometimes devastating effects. Below are just a few reasons why startups should strongly consider their IP protection strategy before revealing their IP to the public.

Continue Reading Why Startups Need to Protect Their IP Before Disclosing Their Technology

immigrationEffective October 1, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will require all applicants who are eligible for a green card based on sponsorship by their employer to appear for an in-person interview at a local USCIS field office. Previously, employer-sponsored applicants for green cards were exempt from the in-person interview requirement after USCIS determined decades ago that in-person interviews were usually unnecessary for this category of applicants. Adjudicating officers were still permitted to conduct in-person interviews for applicants when necessary. All applicants were and will continue to be subject to fingerprinting and background checks.

Continue Reading U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Announces Plan to Require In-Person Interviews of all Applicants for Employer-Sponsored Green Cards

shipping containers In guidance released August 28, 2017, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reminded carriers whose ocean vessels have been diverted from their intended port of unlading by Hurricane Harvey to amend their manifests to reflect the new port of unlading. Amending the manifests ensures that the automated terminals at the new port of discharge will receive the appropriate notifications. But who must pay the additional costs that are incurred when cargo is rerouted because of extreme weather?

Shippers Usually Bear Disaster Expense

Hurricane Harvey has disrupted shipping in Texas and Louisiana, forcing carriers to divert vessels to alternate ports. This raises the question of whether shippers must assume the risk and additional costs of receiving cargo at a port to which it was not destined and for on-carriage to get the cargo to its ultimate destination. Additionally, shippers that intended to export cargo from ports impacted by Hurricane Harvey may face terminal demurrage charges for containers that were delivered before the hurricane but have not been shipped.

Continue Reading Cargo Rerouted by Hurricane Should Be Picked Up Quickly

jet“Cessna 1234A cleared for takeoff, caution wake turbulence from the departing Citation jet.” It’s a common warning at controlled airports where light planes mingle with jets and airliners.  Encountering wake turbulence at low altitude immediately after takeoff is a well-known danger that can have fatal results.  But wake turbulence is increasingly recognized as a danger to all aircraft, at all levels.

Continue Reading Air Safety: Caution—Wake Turbulence!

White HouseOn Tuesday, August 22, the Trump Administration unveiled new sanctions against Chinese and Russian individuals and entities in order to restrain North Korea’s development of its nuclear and missile programs. The United States Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) added ten companies and six individuals accused of trading coal, oil, and mineral resources with North Korea to its Specially Designated Nationals List. The Department of Treasury says that North Korea generates nearly $1 billion a year in coal exports and imposed sanctions on three Chinese companies that it determined to have imported North Korean coal between 2013 and 2016.

Continue Reading Trump Imposes Sanctions on China and Russia to Restrain North Korea’s Weapons Program

cargo shipOn August 24, 2017, Titanium Metals Corporation filed a petition for the imposition of antidumping duties and countervailing duties on imports of Titanium Sponge from Japan and Kazakhstan.


The product covered by these investigations is all forms and grades of titanium sponge, except as specified below. Titanium sponge is unwrought titanium metal that has not been melted.

Continue Reading Petition Summary: Titanium Sponge From Japan and Kazakhstan

Coal Loading MachineryThe month of August, 2017 has seen three distinct developments that may significantly impact management of “Coal Combustion Residuals,” or “CCR,” which include bottom ash, fly ash, boiler slag, and flue gas desulfurization materials generated from burning coal at steam powered electricity plants. Although one of these developments may provide a degree of regulatory relief, the other two may preserve or even strengthen existing regulatory requirements.

Continue Reading The Shifting Landscape For Coal Ash