Donna Ray Berkelhammer

Donna Ray Berkelhammer

Sands Anderson PC

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Running a Business is an Ongoing Process

I was reading a bulletin from the FTC, which just closed an investigation on whether certain Verizon data security practices constituted unfair trade practices. The closing letter in part reads...more

11/18/2014 - Employer Liability Issues Insurers

What “Magic Language” Should My Contract Have?

There is very little required by law to make a contract enforceable. Some types of contracts are required to be in writing, such as anything to do with land, contracts for goods worth $500 or more, and contracts for services...more

11/11/2014 - Contract Formation

Starting with Employee 1

While many employment discrimination laws don’t apply until you have 15, 25 or 50 employees, there are several employment laws that apply when you hire your first employee...more

10/29/2014 - Anti-Discrimination Policies Discrimination Employee Rights EPA FLSA OSHA USERRA

What does the Redskins Cancellation Mean for My Business and Trademarks?

The US Trademark Trial and Appeal Board recently cancelled several Washington Redskins trademarks on the grounds that at the time these marks were registered, they were disparaging or offensive. This means the marks should...more

6/20/2014 - Blackhorse v Pro-Football Disparagement Football Laches Native American Issues NFL Redskins Registration Trademark Act Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Trademarks

I Caught Someone Copying My Website. Now What?

You just discovered that a new entrant to your existing market copied your website FAQs, but changed them a little. Your site has “© ABC Corporation 2009-2014? on the bottom. What do you do now....more

6/17/2014 - Cease and Desist Copyright Copyright Infringement Popular Takedown Notices Websites

To Be a Franchise or Not to Be….

When starting a new business, many people toy with the idea of opening a franchised business. What is a franchise, exactly? Legally speaking, a franchise has three components: 1) license of trademarks and systems, 2)...more

6/2/2014 - Franchise Agreements Franchise Taxes Franchises

Anatomy of a Commercial Real Estate Purchase

Once you have selected a property and have some idea of a fair price and market conditions, it is time for the real estate attorney to be involved. There are many protections for consumers purchasing real estate, but hardly...more

5/28/2014 - Commercial Real Estate Market Real Estate Market

Check Your General Commercial Liability Policy for Cyberliability Coverage

It is likely that your company has an obligation to protect the data and the financial information of its customers, clients and/or employees. This may be harder than ever since much of the company’s most of the valuable...more

5/21/2014 - Commercial General Liability Policies Cyber Insurance Cybersecurity Data Protection

What to Consider Before Buying a Business

Buying an existing business can be exhilarating and frightening all at once. It is important to find out as much about the business, its operations and finances as possible before purchase. Typical asset purchase agreements...more

5/13/2014 - Asset Purchaser Buying a Company Due Diligence Purchase Agreement Selling a Business

Business Succession Planning is More Than Just Money

In reading about Ron Francis’ promotion to general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes, one paragraph stood out to me... ...Many business owners think succession planning is all financial, but there are significant...more

5/1/2014 - Succession Planning Successor Liability

‘S Wonderful, ‘S Marvelous, ‘S Unreasonable

One of the reasons to choose an S-Corp instead of an LLC is tax savings. An S-corp does not pay any taxes at the corporate level, but instead all income is passed through to the shareholders, who are responsible for a number...more

4/8/2014 - Choice of Entity Corporate Taxes LLC S-Corporation

I Am Not Rich So I Don’t Need a Will and Other Estate Planning Myths

Many people draw up complicated estate plans to minimize the taxes they have to pay on their assets when they die. But people who are nowhere near the $5 million+ floor for estate taxes have very valuable reasons for having...more

3/25/2014 - Estate Planning

Striking the Right Balance in a North Carolina Non-Compete Can Be Tricky

North Carolina companies who rely on non-compete agreements to protect their trade secrets and proprietary information may want to review their agreements in light of two recent court decisions....more

3/17/2014 - Corporate Counsel Non-Compete Agreements Restrictive Covenants

North Carolina’s New LLC Statute: Do We Need to Revise Our Operating Agreement?

North Carolina updated its Limited Liability Act effective January 1, 2014. One of the benefits of the limited liability company has been its flexibility. It is a creature of contract, allowing much more flexibility than the...more

3/10/2014 - Choice of Entity Limited Liability Companies LLC Operating Agreements

In Virginia and NC, Consumers Can Dispute Debts Verbally

If you routinely collect debts from consumers, you are probably familiar with the requirements of the federal Fair Debt Collections Act (FDCPA)....more

3/5/2014 - Debt Collection FDCPA

Significant Changes to the North Carolina Limited Liability Act

On January 1, 2014, the North Carolina Limited Liability Act was significantly overhauled. Existing Chapter 57C was repealed and 57D was passed in its place. Many of the substantive changes are highlighted below....more

3/5/2014 - Corporate Governance Limited Liability Companies

In NC and Virginia, Consumers Can Dispute Debts Verbally

If you routinely collect debts from consumers, you are probably familiar with the requirements of the federal Fair Debt Collections Act (FDCPA). Under this act, consumers who disputed a debt had thirty days after...more

2/7/2014

A Trade Name May Not Smell So Sweet If It’s Also a Trademark

There are many legal principals behind names of companies and their products and services. It is common for new businesses to check with the North Carolina Secretary of State to make sure no one else has their name. This is...more

1/28/2014 - Trade Names Trademarks

Use Proper Terminology to Protect Your Personal Assets

Do you have a corporation or an LLC? How often do you use the proper name of your company (as it appears in the records of the Secretary of State)? Do you often shorten your name and omit the “Inc” or “LLC” on your...more

1/23/2014 - Articles of Incorporation Corporate Veil LLC

Growing Your Business without Producing Unintentional Franchise Headaches

Many successful businesses want to open secondary locations, or “license” the business to a third party to operate additional locations. Be very careful when setting up a third-party model — it is easy to create an...more

1/7/2014 - Business Development Franchises FTC

Be Secure In Understanding Secured Interests

When a business borrows money, especially when it’s a new business, the lender wants to make sure it will be repaid even if the business fails. The lender often asks for additional security that it will be paid. Additional...more

11/26/2013 - Deed of Trust Liens Loans Personal Property UCC

Can You Define “Total Heating Bill”? Or is Your Contract Ambiguous and Unenforceable?

We previously discussed in broad terms that a valid and enforceable contract must have offer and acceptance, mutual exchange of something of value and definitive terms. But what does it mean for a term to be “definitive”?...more

11/12/2013 - Consumer Utility Costs Contract Interpretation Manufacturers Utilities Sector

Be Up to Speed on Enforceable Contracts

In August 2007, Charlotte Motor Speedway and Speedway Motor Sports announced their intent to build a hot rod dragway next to the speedway. The City of Concord responded by changing its zoning laws to prevent the dragway. The...more

10/15/2013 - Breach of Contract

Tenants Beware on Commercial Leases

Commercial leases can be dozens of pages long. It’s easy to miss something critical — such as who’s responsible for HVAC repairs or what the tenant can or cannot do in the space. While there are many consumer protections...more

10/1/2013 - Commercial Leases Contract Drafting Rent Tenants

What Does Intellectual Property Mean to a Small Business?

Intellectual property is “inventions of the mind:” inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce to identify the owner as a source of goods or services. But what does this...more

9/24/2013 - Copyright Logos Patents Small Business Trademarks

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