When building a business, one of the key things to consider is how your consumers view you — your business name, logo, website and marketing copy, colours, etc. These are valuable assets that you want to protect, ensuring that no one else takes advantage of your hard earned brand development.

Once your brand is developed, the next question to ask is: Should I trademark my business name, slogan and/or logo? That’s what we set out to answer in this article; the what, why, how (and how much) of trademarks. Enjoy.

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1. What is a Trademark?

A trademark protects whatever distinguishes one product or service from another. To put it another way, a trademark is a declaration that you (and only you) are able to use a mark for designated goods and/or services. …

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It’s not a coincidence that nearly every website has a link in its footer to the “Terms of Use” and “Privacy Policy”. We all know that few people actually click these links, so do they really matter? And does anyone take the time to write these things from scratch, or do they just copy them from another website?

In this article, we summarize the importance of a well-drafted Terms of Use and Privacy Policy for web-based businesses. We also provide some tips on how to customize each document for your business to ensure your interests are covered.

What are Terms of Use?

Terms of Use explain to users the rules and procedures for accessing and using your website, including the terms of sale for any goods or services you sell. Essentially, the Terms of Use are a contract between you and the people using your website. If they don’t agree to abide by the Terms of Use, you do not want to be doing business with them and they should not be using your website. …

As an entrepreneur, it’s always important to start the year with clear goals, an action plan and a moment to reflect on what you’ve learned in the past year. With all that’s on your plate, the legal side of things is often pushed to the side. This short checklist will help you quickly review some critical legal compliance issues, so you can get back to focussing on your success in 2016!

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1) Review Important Contracts

First things first — identify your ‘big’ contracts. This may include important license agreements, supply contracts, consulting agreements and business leases. …

This guide was first published on the Law Scout blog. A direct link to the original posting can be found here.

This is meant to be a practical guide providing a short, succinct summary of the steps required to incorporate a business under Ontario Law or the federal law of Canada.

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1) Choosing a Business Name

Choosing a name for your business can be a little stressful, but ultimately, it’s a fun exercise. There are five typical steps to confirming a name is available. …

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Rodion Kutsaev for Unsplash

This article was orignally published for the MaRS BLOG. You can find it here.

If your time to you is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’

Two consecutive generations of new lawyers have taken heed of Bob Dylan’s advice, leaving traditionally coveted law firm jobs before those jobs fade into obsolescence.

This wasn’t always the case. Lawyers have long depended upon the stable and lucrative jobs offered by established law firms in order to repay their astronomical student loans. …

Why working with your lawyer is now as easy as booking a flight online

Since we launched Law Scout two weeks ago, we’ve been thrilled by the positive reactions from users, lawyers, and supporters. However, there has been the occasional nay-sayer who has not been entirely thrilled by our mission to bring online, fixed-fee pricing to the legal industry.

We’ve been told:

“No one will trust a website with important legal services.”

“People don’t buy anything worthwhile online.”

Well, twenty years ago, it would be almost laughable to suggest that the ordinary person would book international plane tickets online. …

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How three friends decided to tackle innovation in the legal industry

I’m Derek, one of the founders of Law Scout. I’m also a practicing lawyer. I’d like to share with you how me and two of my best friends built Law Scout a website changing the way businesses hire and pay for lawyers. It’s been quite a journey.

It started when Travis, a friend of mine since high school, was exiting his startup, Ghostbird Software as it was being acquired by Yahoo!. Travis was frustrated with the lawyers he had hired:

“They quoted me a price and are now telling me it’s going to be 40% more.”

“The lawyers won’t tell me what they’re doing, how much work is left, or where things are going.”

Improving communication with your lawyer to reduce legal fees

Like going to a doctor, every new business knows it’s best to see a lawyer before problems arise. But hiring a lawyer can represent a daunting monetary decision. Unlike entering a lease or hiring an employee, which might not be optional, a small business may question whether or not a lawyer is essential. And for this reason, too many businesses skip the early checkup and get stuck with the legal equivalent of a quadruple bypass in the future.

As lawyers and entrepreneurs, we at Law Scout are in a good position to understand the lawyer-client relationship from both sides. From our experience, clients who communicate effectively with their lawyers from the start mange to keep their legal fees predictable and under control. Following the steps below should assist businesses in managing their legal spend and encourage them to get legal advice at an earlier stage. …

Why it’s never been easier (or more exciting) to divert from the partnership track.

As organizations, law firms have established a unique way of wasting the talent they have invested years developing.

For those outside the legal profession, here’s a bit of background on the career structure of Canadian law firms:

The associate, who is a lawyer working as a salaried employee rather than an equity-holding partner, is not considered a career position. To be an associate at a Canadian law firm for longer than ten years is an anomaly. Typically, a law firm will decide after seven or eight years of employment whether to offer partnership to the associate or to remove that individual from the organization. If turned down for partnership, the associate will usually transition to an in-house position with one of the firm’s clients or leave the practice of law altogether. …

What would it look like? Who would be involved? And who should pick up the bill?

Since its release in August, we’ve been carefully watching the impact of the Canadian Bar Association’s “Legal Futures” report. Out of this massive body of research, we’ve been asking what recommendations will come into reality and which one’s will be immediately shelved and forgotten.

The initial response to the report suggests Alternative Business Structures (ABSs) are in. Regulators will soon start taking cautious steps to permit outside investment and ownership in law firms.

But what of the other 21 tangible recommendations put forward by the CBA? Is the legal community as a whole not willing to engage the drive for innovation when it stops being directly tied to bottom-line issues like profit-sharing and ownership? …


Law Scout

Law Scout is an online platform that connects small businesses to experienced lawyers at upfront, fixed fees. No billable hours. No surprises. www.lawscout.ca

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