Clothing Line and Retail online/offline small home based business? Do I need to have a license or permit if I have friends model for my clothing line?
Check with your city finance office to see about a business license and city business tax.
Starting a business is about more than a license, however, especially where intellectual property is concerned. The best way to protect clothing, which isn't really entitled to either COPYRIGHT or PATENT protection, is through TRADEMARK law. You need to choose a viable and available trademark (and domain name for your WEBSITE), and that requires professional help, especially if you want to avoid problems later on with any of your competitors.
Copyright law does affect your WEBSITE, however, because the site itself can be registered for copyright protection.
As for your friends acting as models, you need written releases from them, even if they're not professionals. Many legal disputes are between (former) friends, so don't take any unnecessary chances. Get everything in writing, and see your own business/IP lawyer.
Avvo doesn't pay us for these responses, and I'm not your lawyer just because I answer this question or respond to any follow-up comments. If you want to hire me, please contact me. Otherwise, please don't expect a further response. We need an actual written agreement to form an attorney-client relationship. I'm only licensed in CA and you shouldn't rely on this answer, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it's impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue.
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Intellectual Property Law Attorney
Licenses or permits just scratch the surface. You need to consider intellectual property law issues, both as to possible infringement and as to possible protection. Clothing is tricky to protect as it is functional in nature and thus not normally susceptible to copyright protection. And, design patent protection is not likely available or worthwhile (that is a whole other discussion). Brand name protection is important, indeed often vital. COCO CHANEL, DONNA KARAN,GIORGIO ARMANI, CALVIN KLEIN, RALPH LAUREN, etc. - all rely on their brand and on constant innovation and freshness.
Yes, you should have model releases even for friends.
You need an IP attorney to assist you. You cannot get by without one. It is a necessary cost of business without which you will soon face disaster unless you want to stay forever humble and small and insignificant and BROKE.
I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is at your sole risk. This is done without compensation as a free public service. I am licensed in IL, MO, TX and I am a Reg. Pat. Atty. so advice in any other jurisdiction is strictly general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.
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To start a proprietorship, all you need is a business license in the city where it is located. Check to see if a license is needed for a home based business. The more complicated your business the more hoops to jump through. The other attorneys have addressed many of there issues.
Disclaimer of California Attorney. Laws differ from state to state. Although the above response is believed to be accurate, it should not be relied upon as any type of legal advice because the information provided is incomplete. It is intended to educate the reader and a more definite answer should be based on a consultation with a lawyer. No attorney client relation is formed with me without a written contract. Good Luck starts with a strategy and a plan. Tax Relief Lawyer. Former financial auditor and controller. Admitted to US Tax Court, Income Tax, IRS representation, Fiduciary income tax returns, Estate and Gift tax returns, Homeowner Association Strategist.
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The nature of license will depend on what exactly you are doing and you may not be required to comply any special registration. As noted by the others, you have a variety of legal considerations here including but not limited to: entity formation, trademark, copyright, contracts/agreements, licensure, website legal language, among others.
I will link you to some introductory and general info below on a couple salient topics, but you really need to identify a competent lawyer to help guide you. I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your objectives in more detail. You can start by calling around to several for a free phone consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with.
DISCLAIMER: this is not intended to be specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. No attorney-client relationship is formed with the law firm of Natoli-Lapin, LLC on the basis of this posting.
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Are You Planning on Opening a New E-Commerce Website?
There is much you need to know as you begin your new business. I suggest you do not attempt to write your own legal policies. This is not where your training and background lie, and though you are probably as smart as an attorney, you do not have their experience.
Below is a checklist for legal issues I use for new e-commerce clients.
1. Business Model – Is your idea viable as a web based business?
2. Business entity - Are you going to be a C corp, a sub-S, an LLC or a sole proprietorship?
3. Terms of Service - This is your contract with your visitors and is the most important item for any e-commerce site. A little work here brings big dividends in the future.
5. FTC guidelines - The FTC has been regulating business advertising for almost a century. All of their advertising guidelines apply to e-commerce sites.
6. Domain Name issues? Is your name available. Can you create a Trademark?
7. Trademark - Do you have a brand name free from conflict? Should you start with just common law rights? Should you register the mark, and when?
8. Copyright - If it is on the web, it already belongs to somebody. Did you buy a license for the images you are using?
9. Do you need a DMCA policy?
10. Web Site security issues?
11. Do you need and have an EIN? You can get that for free.
12. Do you need an arbitration clause?
13. Do you have employees? - If so you need written policies regarding their authority and use of the internet.
14. Do you know the difference between a "browser wrap" and a "click wrap" and which do you need?
15. Are you abiding by the Child's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)rules?
When I discuss this list with clients other issues arise. Finally, I always discuss with my clients their need for good accounting services. An accountant's advice as you start up can save you many dollars in tax that you might not save if you wait to speak to an accountant until your first tax return is due.
I hope this list will give you pause to think about those issues for which you might need to seek professional advice.
You may want to discuss your situation with a lawyer in more detail. Most lawyers on Avvo, including myself, offer a free phone consultation.
This post is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice specific to you. This general information is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney in your jurisdiction. The attorney client relationship is not established by this post.
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