In New Jersey, school districts defending a bullying case can seek contribution from the students accused of bullying and their parents. That means the parents can be responsible for some or all of the damages and attorney fees. V.B. a Minor by his Parent and Guardian v. Flemington-Raritan Regional Board of Ed, et al., Docket No. HNT-L-95-13 (NJ Superior Court, Hunterdon County, March 12, 2014). The case involved a long history of physical abuse and cyberbullying.
Parents should take note. New York courts may follow suit.
For would-be entrepreneurs, there is always that nagging doubt – am I making the right decision? I hope this statistic will ease your mind: 84% of small business owners would definitely do it again. Reasons given included:
- Being own boss/independence
- Job satisfaction/sense of accomplishment
- Creating employment
- Financial reward
- Flexible schedules
- Working with customers
- Generating business/marketing
- Cash flow and credit
- Government regulations
- Uncertainty/learning curve
- Employee issues
Interestingly, the hard work was not a detracting factor. Less than 2% complained about long hours, competition and spending/expenses. Less than 1% complained about taxes, the economy or technology/website challenges.
So, what’s stopping you?
Your first step is to determine if this review or story will natural fade away or is likely to snowball and cause lasting damage to your reputation in the marketplace. You must give the situation a non-emotional evaluation and in light of the fact that the overwhelming majority of online content is never read.
If you decide defensive action is warranted, you may want to consider options such as these:
- DIY approach: Asking a social network or web host to remove content that infringes on your IP rights or violates on the site’s terms and conditions relating to defamatory content
- Involving a lawyer: A cease and desist demand, injunction, or lawsuit against the writer alleging defamation, unfair competition, breach of contract, copyright or trademark infringement or other legal causes of action
There are four steps you should take before you finalize your proposed business name and logo:
- Check the Secretary of State Division of Corporations to see if the name is available for a business entity in New York. (Corporation or Limited Liability Company). This will not, however, reveal Doing Business As (D/B/A) or assumed names used by New York businesses.
- Check the domain name registry (like GoDaddy.com) to see if the associated website is available. This can be important for your customers to easily find you online. It can also be a clue as to whether another business exists with the same or similar name. Not all trade names are registered as trademarks so uncovering common law (unregistered) marks are a necessary step to determine if a business name is available for use.
- Conduct a trademark clearance search. There is one Federal Register and fifty state trademark registers that need to be checked to determine if the same or confusingly similar trade name or logo is protected from use by newcomers.
- Conduct a common law search of the internet and product catalogs to uncover unregistered marks that could be infringed by your proposed trade name.
After obtaining your search results, you’ll need to interpret and analyze the search results. This requires an in-depth understanding of trademark and unfair competition laws. If you don’t feel confident about your ability to review your search results, an experienced trademark attorney can be helpful in this endeavor.