Categories
Trademarks

International Companies Required to Have US Legal Representation to File a Trademark

A new rule from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) requires all international companies that wish to file a trademark application do so with the help of an attorney who is licensed to practice law in the United States. This includes any company wishing to file an application from Canada, as well. The new rule went into effect on August 3, 2019. The experienced intellectual property attorneys from the Benkabbou Law Firm, PLLC can represent your company when you file an application for a trademark with the USPTO. 

The Rules for Canadian Companies

Canadian companies are no longer allowed to be represented by a Canadian attorney when filing for a trademark with the USPTO. This rule is in place for new trademark issues that are brought before the USPTO. Any existing trademark attorneys from Canada are permitted to represent their clients, if they are eligible, but the USPTO will still only communicate with the attorney appointed in the United States.

The Goals of the New Rule

The goals of the new rule from the USPTO include the following:

  • Safeguard the register for United States trademarks
  • Improve accuracy of all trademark applications made with the USPTO
  • Increase the compliance of customers of the USPTO with the trademark regulations and laws in place in the United States

Reasons for the New Rule

Aside from the goals mentioned above, the USPTO was forced to initiate the new rule for a few reasons. One of those reasons was that many trademark agents were operating under the guise that they were practicing law, representing trademark applicants of foreign companies without having the authorization to practice law. This means that these agents are not permitted to represent parties, registrants or applicants in front of the USPTO. The bottom line here is that the USPTO wants foreign applicants to be represented in the United States by a licensed attorney who knows the law and the requirements for filing a trademark application.

How an Attorney From the U.S. can Help

Now that your foreign company is required to have legal counsel from an attorney in the United States, you should know the benefits of working with one. The benefits include the following:

  • Search before filing the application to avoid wasting marketing dollars and time and infringement lawsuits 
  • Complete review of your application to ensure it meets United States laws and regulations
  • Correct any mistakes on your forms that could lead to the denial of your application
  • Legal strategy for filing your application 
  • Answer all of your questions related to the application process
  • File your application with the USPTO
  • Represent you in front of the USPTO and handle any opposition proceedings

Filing a Trademark from Outside the United States? Call the Benkabbou Law Firm, PLLC

When you wish to file a trademark with the USPTO and are operating as a foreign company, the team from the Benkabbou Law Firm, PLLC will be able to examine your situation, help complete the application, and represent you in front of the USPTO when you submit your trademark application. Call our office at 813-586-3351 or email us at consult@blawfirmpllc.com to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys. We look forward to being of service! 

Categories
Immigration

How to Cover the Cost of Immigration Fees

Becoming a citizen of the United States involves much more than just completing paperwork while proving you have good intentions when entering the country. Immigrants are charged hefty fees to become citizens of the United States. These fees include the cost of completing the United States citizenship application, the application processing fee, and the USCIS Immigration Fee. If you are coming to the United States in search of work or greater opportunity, you may not have the disposable income available to cover these fees, and you may feel like your chance of gaining United States citizenship are slim to none. Do not worry; there are ways to secure the money you need to cover your immigration expenses.

Secure a Loan for the Money You Need

Many immigrants believe there is no hope when it comes to securing the funds needed to pay their immigration fees. While traditional lenders are usually not willing to provide loans to people who are not citizens of the United States, our law firm has teamed up with a non-profit organization that can assist immigrants secure a loan for the immigration fees needed. The loan could cover the cost of filing fees as well as legal fees associated with hiring an immigration attorney to assist with the different steps that must be taken to obtain legal status in the United States. 

Obtain a Waiver for the Filing Fees

Hiring a good immigration attorney is the best choice you can make because the attorney can help you obtain a waiver for the filing fees. You will need to qualify for the waiver, but most people looking to become legal immigrants do qualify to have their fees waived. If an individual does not qualify to have the fees waived for any reason, The Benkabbou Law Firm always makes available the option of setting up a convenient payment plan. Instead of paying the full amount due at once, which is nearly impossible for most immigrants, you would have the opportunity to pay what you owe in smaller increments on a monthly basis with our firm. 

If you are an immigrant who would like to gain citizenship in the United States the proper way, you need to hire an immigration attorney to help you get through the process with as minimum hurdles as possible. Our lead immigration attorney understands how much of a burden these legal fees are to you and to others who are traveling from countries all around the world to come to America. She is an immigrant herself and had to go through the same struggles you are facing now.

If you are ready to get help, schedule your consultation with The
Benkabbou Law Firm today by calling 813-586-3351 or emailing us at imconsult@benkabboulawfirm.com. Our staff will work tirelessly to assist you obtain the freedom and security you immigrated to America for. 

Categories
Immigration

The Dangers of Completing the USCIS Forms Yourself

When the time comes to file the forms provided by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), it is within your best interest to work with an experienced immigration attorney. The forms required to obtain citizenship, a green card, a student visa, and other documents for you and your family are very important. These forms cannot have any mistakes on them if you wish to have your request approved by USCIS and avoid being subject to deportation. The team from The Benkabbou Law Firm, PLLC is here to prepare your forms and petitions along with complete and accurate supporting evidence to support your request and avoid a denial.

Incorrect Answers

There are dozens of questions you must answer when completing the USCIS forms. These questions might have simple answers, but if you answer even just one of them wrong, your application could wind up being denied and you could automatically be put into deportation proceedings. It can be as simple as providing an incorrect address, or mixing up the dates of your addresses. It can also be as simple as providing the USCIS with an incorrect answer about your employment because you forgot about a particular timeframe. Our immigration attorney will complete your forms in-depth to avoid any mistakes, major or minor. Our firm asks you all of the necessary information required to complete the forms without any incorrect answers. 

Some major mistakes include a misunderstanding of the questions asked on the forms. Such misunderstandings may rise to fraudulent answers if answered incorrectly and tarnish your file with bad moral character not only for your green card, but also for your citizenship filings later on. You are creating a record with USCIS with everything you submit to them and so you are building your profile with each petition and evidence submitted. Do not rely on the instructions on USCIS website for guidance on how to apply for a green card or how to apply for citizenship because the instructions can be confusing to most people. 

Clerical Mistakes

Small clerical mistakes on USCIS forms can lead to your application being denied, as well. What is a clerical mistake? A clerical mistake can be anything from a typo found in your name to a missing word in one of your answers. Clerical mistakes also include entire pages missing from a petition and submitting unsigned or incorrectly signed forms to USCIS. 

Other clerical errors include the following:

  • Using correction fluid or correction tape
  • Failing to complete the entire form
  • Paying the incorrect fees
  • Illegible handwriting

Form Instructions Are Not the Only Instructions

The instructions you find on the forms you wish to file with USCIS are not the only instructions that you will need to follow. 

For example, our firm has seen USCIS denials for people who filed for a green card without a lawyer or filed for citizenship without a lawyer because they failed to submit a complete record of tax returns. The applicants were immediately placed in deportation proceedings without having the chance to submit the entire record and correct what they submitted.  

An experienced immigration attorney knows how harshly USCIS reviews the filed forms and supporting evidence. Our firm implemented a quality control process to ensure that no mistakes are made so that your application is not denied for these type of errors.

Please understand that when USCIS denies your application, you lose your legal status, which means you will be placed in deportation. It is not worth it to risk your entire livelihood for simply not hiring an immigration lawyer. 

Need to File USCIS Forms? Contact the Benkabbou Law Firm Today!

If you need to file USCIS forms for residency or a student visa, or if a family member needs to file for a green card or citizenship, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced immigration attorney.

It’s also important to note that you do not use form preparers, notarios, paralegals, or any translation offices for these filings. These offices or service providers are not lawyers and they cannot represent you in front of USCIS. In fact, they are engaged in criminal activity for unauthorized practice of law as a lot of the answers on the forms require a legal analysis and strategy to ensure that you are protected. The mistakes can cost you your entire future, it is NOT worth it to save a few dollars. 

Call the office of the Benkabbou Law Firm, PLLC at 813-586-3351 or send us an email at imconsult@blawfirmpllc.com to schedule a consultation to get started on obtaining your American Dream.

If you need help paying for the attorney fees and USCIS filing fees, check out our blog on How to Cover Immigration Fees.

Categories
Business Law Trademarks

Do I Own the Domain if I Own the Trademark?

If you are currently the owner of a specific domain, you might want to know if you are the owner of its trademark, too. People often tend to confuse the two, but there are differences between owning a domain name and owning a trademark. Just because you are the owner of a domain does not mean that you own its trademark. It is possible to own both, but you would need to take extra steps to make sure that you are the owner of both the domain and the trademark when you have a business and a website for it.

What is the Difference Between Owning a Domain Name and a Trademark?

When you are the owner of the domain, you are the one who owns the name of a specific website. As an example, if someone owns a website called ThisIsMyDomain.com, it belongs to them because it is registered to them. If someone creates a trademark, they may own the rights to that specific phrase, but they cannot use it for their domain name because it is already being used. While there is a difference between owning a domain name and owning a trademark, there is a way to make sure that you can own both.

What Does a Person Need to do to Own a Domain Name and a Trademark?

If you own a domain and you would like to own the trademark because you do not want to have to worry about someone else trademarking the name in the future, you would need to hire a trademark attorney to complete a detailed search to find out if the domain has already been trademarked or used in commerce. If nobody has trademarked it or used it, you can take the next step to obtain the trademark.

The Trademark registration process is lengthy and complex. You must hire a business lawyer to handle the registration for you so that you do not risk a rejection from the USPTO examiner.

Why is it Beneficial to Own Both a Domain and a Trademark?

When you have federally registered and trademarked your domain name, you can keep others from attempting to replicate that domain name or use something that is similar. When you are trying to brand your business, the last thing you need is someone to come along and attempt to steal your ideas while using a name that imitates the one you have created on your own. If you own a domain and a federally registered trademark, you can protect your business and website by making it much harder for people to try to steal your traffic or the number of customers you currently have. Although it does require taking extra steps, it is important to have that federally registered trademark for your domain name if you want to avoid having any problems in the future.

Need help applying for a trademark now that you currently own a domain? Let the Benkabbou Law Firm assist you. Our experienced business lawyers look forward to working with you.

Complete our
contact form to get started with your consultation. You can also call us at 813-586-3351 or send us an email at consult@blawfirmpllc.com for more information. 

Categories
Business Incorporation Business Law Contracts

5 Mistakes Rookie Entrepreneurs Make When Buying a Business

Buying an existing business can have its advantages. If the business already has a loyal fanbase, you could potentially have plenty of customers, which makes it easier to ensure continued success. However, there are some mistakes that people tend to make when buying businesses that puts future success in jeopardy. Below, the Benkabbou Law Firm describes some of the common legal rookie mistakes that people make when buying a business and what you can do to avoid making them.

1. Not Being Aware of the Reason(s) for the Sale

Always find out the reason for the sale of a business. Some entrepreneurs start businesses and move on from them quickly because they are always looking for a new, profitable venture. Just because someone is selling a business, it does not mean that the business is not doing well. Some business owners choose to sell at the right time when they can make a decent amount from the sale while stepping away from the industry for personal reasons. However, there are times when business owners are looking to sell because they are unable to achieve success with the business. In order to make an informed decision, you need to know this information in advance.

2. Not Reviewing the Contract Before Signing

The sales contract between you and the original business owner is a BIG deal. If you do not read through it and have any legal jargon translated into simpler terms before signing, you could make some major EXPENSIVE mistakes. Always make sure that you have a good understanding of what the contract entails before you sign it. You should have a business lawyer carefully review all the details of the contract before moving forward. 

3. Not Having a Plan for the Business

Before you buy a business, you should have a plan for it. If you know what the business is about and who the targeted audience is in general, you should be able to come up with some unique and fresh ideas that could help you take the business to the next level. If you do not have a plan and you just jump into the purchase anyway, you could run into a lot of trouble, including coming across unexpected legal issues.

4. Failing to Seek Legal Advice Before Making the Transaction

Not getting legal advice when making such a major transaction is one of the worst things you could possibly do. You need to speak with an attorney about your intentions of purchasing the business. An attorney can help you make the decision to invest in the business based on different factors, including the potential legal liabilities of the business, the value of the business, and more. Your attorney will help you review financial documents, contracts, governing documents, etc. for the business to let you know if you are making a wise investment or not. Your attorney will also ensure that the purchase will not violate any antitrust laws as these laws can be implicated in some business acquisitions.  

5. Investing in a Business That You are Not Passionate About

If you are not passionate about a business and what it sells, you should not invest in it. You need to have a true passion for the product or service that is provided to the customers. If it is not something you love or believe in, you are going to have a difficult time staying motivated to keep things running during the pitfall of the entrepreneurship journey.

Thinking of Buying a Business? Get Expert Legal Advice Ahead of Time

When you are thinking about buying a business, make sure to get legal expert advice beforehand. At the Benkabbou Law Firm, we are prepared to help you make an informed decision about your investment. Your best interests are important to us. Reach out for a consultation by calling us at 813-586-3351 or emailing us at consult@blawfirmpllc.com.