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Get the Most Bang for your Legal Bucks: Top ROI for Entrepreneurs

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Discusses some of the top legal projects that produce the greatest return on investment (ROI) for entrepreneurs.

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Get the Most Bang for your Legal Bucks: Top ROI for Entrepreneurs

  1. 1. PRESENTED BY Jim Chester, J.D./LL.M Chester & Jeter LLP Dallas, Texas Critical and Cost-Effective Legal Solutions For Entrepreneurs
  2. 2. © J. F. Chester 2014 Jim Chester CAREER HIGHLIGHTS Managing Partner, Chester & Jeter LLP, located in Lakewood. Represent entrepreneurs and knowledge-based companies operating in US, the world, and on the web. Also an adjunct professor of law at Baylor University Law School. Former adjunct professor of Business Law at the University of Dallas. Chair, EDCC Entrepreneur & Innovation Committee EDUCATION LL.M., International Economic Law, University of Houston School of Law J.D., South Texas College of Law (Law Journal, Varsity Mock trial) B.S., Economics/Political Science (Double major), magna cum laude, Texas A&M University, Commerce HONORS “Rising Stars Under 40,” Law & Politics Magazine published in Texas Monthly & Texas Rising Stars (2008-09, 2011). “Super Lawyer” Law & Politics Magazine published in Texas Monthly & Texas Super Lawyers (2013, 2014). “Best Lawyers in Dallas,” D Magazine (2014). “AV® Preeminent,” Peer Review Rating by Martindale Hubbell® (2011-present). “I help people and solve problems for a living.”
  3. 3. © J. F. Chester 2014 Based on our experience, some of the best uses of resources on legal advice and assistance for businesses and entrepreneurs (from a “bang for your buck” perspective) are: 1. Forming an LLC, Corporation or other legal entity. 2. USPTO / Federal US Trademark Registration. 3. Business Succession and Estate Planning. The benefits one can obtain from these, which can cost less than $1,000, can pay for themselves many times over.
  4. 4. © J. F. Chester 2014 Big 3: Entity Formation
  5. 5. © J. F. Chester 2014 About & Benefits a. Can protect personal assets from business debts, judgment, and lawsuits. b. Can choose type of entity to get most flexibility, tax benefits, etc. c. Entity formation in Texas is cheap and fast Big 3: Entity Formation
  6. 6. © J. F. Chester 2014 About & Benefits Entity Choices: • Corporation (“C” or “Sub S”) • Limited Partnership (“LP”) • Limited Liability Partnership (“LLP”) • Limited Liability Company (“LLC”) • Professional Entities (PC, PLLC, PA, etc.) Big 3: Entity Formation
  7. 7. © J. F. Chester 2014 Cost and Process a. Texas State Filing Fees range from $300 for LLCs/Inc, $200 per LLP partner, $750 for LPs) b. Other costs from $0 (DIY) to $1k-$2k for law firm c. File Certificate with state, other docs are internal but generally need to be signed Big 3: Entity Formation
  8. 8. © J. F. Chester 2014 Typical Situations: a. New company b. Spin-off new line/products c. Add partner/owner/investor d. Growth of company Adding employees Bigger projects/risks/clients Big 3: Entity Formation
  9. 9. © J. F. Chester 2014 ® Big 3: Registered Trademarks
  10. 10. © J. F. Chester 2014 About & Benefits a. This can grant you potentially permanent rights to your brands, logos, and other marks throughout the entire U.S. b. TM law allows owners to prevent “Confusingly similar marks” c. Can also register in other countries based on USPTO mark. d. Ability to use “®” is a powerful deterrent to copycats. e. Can preserve new markets for expansion. Big 3: Registered Trademarks
  11. 11. © J. F. Chester 2014 About & Benefits Any name, symbol, figure, letter, word, or mark adopted and used by a business to designate its goods/services and to distinguish them from those of others Includes service marks, certification marks Also Trade Dress - Identifies the source or good by: • Packaging • Total image of a product • Look and feel of business Big 3: Registered Trademarks
  12. 12. © J. F. Chester 2014 Cost & Process a. The pre-filing and filing process typically cost as little as $275 in USPTO fees for DIY, to a $1k-$2k for an IP lawyer b. Filing is not the end, but the beginning of admin process, so sometime additional work is needed c. Process can take years (typically 9-10 months), but “priority date” reverts back to filing date. Big 3: Registered Trademarks
  13. 13. © J. F. Chester 2014 Typical Situations: • Formation of new company or spin-off • New products/marketing campaign • Enter new markets (including overseas) • Notice a similar mark used by other company • Merger/Acquisition or Financing Big 3: Registered Trademarks
  14. 14. © J. F. Chester 2014 • Registered TM Owners Can Get Some Help at the Border • Because of its border control responsibilities, the U.S. Customs & Border Protection (“Customs”) is uniquely positioned to prevent illegal importations. • Although IP owners must typically self-police against infringement, US Customs will seize potential infringements of US IP rights, provided the rights are recorded with Customs Big 3: Registered Trademarks
  15. 15. © J. F. Chester 2014 Big 3: Legacy Planning
  16. 16. © J. F. Chester 2014 About & Benefits a. This includes buy-sell and similar provisions in company documents to deal with death, divorces, and other departures of co-owners. b. Also includes an updated estate plan such as a wills, and advance directives, powers of attorney & guardianship appointments to protect your interests and ensure your legacy. Big 3: Legacy Planning
  17. 17. © J. F. Chester 2014 Cost & Process a. Business docs – a. Often integrated into company agreements b. Generally simple buy-sells can be created for less than $1k b. Will/Estate docs a. Simple DIY “Holographic” is enforceable in Texas b. Full estate plan docs (wills, PoA, living will, etc.) range from $500 -$1,500 for simple plans with no trust/tax Big 3: Legacy Planning
  18. 18. © J. F. Chester 2014 Typical Situations: a. New business b. New partners c. Life changes (marry/divorce/kids, etc.) d. Transition plan for retirement e. Employee incentives Big 3: Legacy Planning
  19. 19. © J. F. Chester 2014 Based on our experience, some of the legal projects that product the best return on investment (ROI): 1. Forming a Legal entity. 2. USPTO Trademark Registration. 3. Business Succession and Estate Planning. The benefits can pay for themselves many times over. Take-Aways
  20. 20. © J. F. Chester 2014 Email jim@chester-law.com 214.382.0755 www.innov8law.com Questions?

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