Think Your Corporation or LLC Totally Protects You From Personal Liability? Think Again

One of the primary reasons business owners set up corporations and limited liability companies (LLC) is to shield their personal assets from debts and other liabilities incurred by the business.

Indeed, corporations and LLCs exist as separate legal entities from their owners, meaning the business itself can acquire assets, enter into contracts, and take on debt. In turn, if a corporate entity is unable to pay its debts, creditors are typically only allowed to go after the company’s assets, not the owners’ personal assets.

However, there are several circumstances in which business owners can be held personally liable for corporate or LLC debts. Sometimes business owners simply make innocent mistakes when running a business that leave them personally liable.

Other times, business owners take deliberate actions that expose them to personal liability,  such as using the corporation to promote fraud, failing to observe corporate formalities, or even commingling corporate and personal assets. In any of these circumstances, a court can hold the owners personally liable for the debts and liabilities of the corporate entity. Lawyer types refer to this as  “piercing the corporate veil.” Read more

Protect Your Intellectual Property: Copyright It!

Just about every business owner—whether they know it or not—has created some form of intellectual property (IP) during the life of their company.

IP is an extremely important part of your business. Indeed, valuation experts estimate that IP makes up 40% to 90% of the total value of some companies.

When it comes to IP protection, patents protect inventions and trademarks protect brand names, while copyrights protect a wide range of original creative output, including literary, musical, dramatic, and artistic works, among others.

For instance, if you’re the original creator, all elements of your website—written content, photos, graphics, audio, and video—are eligible for copyright protection. But if you’re not the original creator of these elements and don’t have the correct legal agreements in place, you may not own the work displayed on your company’s website. In an upcoming article, we’ll look into this topic more deeply, explaining how you can protect work created for you by someone else using work-for-hire clauses. Read more

The GDPR: What Is It, Who Does it Impact, and Why Should I Care?

Like everyone else, you’ve probably been getting a ton of emails and online notices announcing that companies are updating their privacy policies and/or website tracking tools.

Although businesses do this from time to time as part of routine updates, practically all of the latest notices are aimed at complying with a new European Union (EU) law known as the General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR).

Some of you probably don’t even know what GDPR is, and for those of you who do, I’m betting only a fraction of you have made serious efforts to comply with the new law.

The good news is—you’re not alone. Read more