Wills, Trusts, Business, Real Estate, and Probate Blog

What's new in estate planning, business, and real estate law.

Supreme Court Expands Protections for Federal Trademarks

Posted By Scot Putzig on August 22, 2017

On June 19, 2017, the Supreme Court ruled in Matal v. Tam, that the anti-disparagement provisions of the federal Lanham Act, which governs federal trademark applications, infringes on free speech rights of trademark applicants. The Supreme Court held that Asian-American members of the rock band “The Slants” have the right to trademark their disparaging name in a ruling that will potentially have a broad impact on how the First Amendment is applied to federal trademarks. The United States Patent and Trademark Office rejected the band’s federal trademark application and cited the anti-disparagement provision of the Lanham Act prohibiting federal trademarks that “disparage…or bring…into contempt or disrepute” any “persons, living

Michigan Court of Appeals Affirms Corporate Limited Liability Protections

Posted By Scot Putzig on July 10, 2017

Under Michigan law, corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs) are treated as separate and distinct entities or “persons.” Shareholders, owners, and members are presumably not liable for business obligations as a general rule. This enables business shareholders, owners, and members to be free from personal liability for business obligations, liabilities, and debts. However, there is an exception to this rule known as “piercing the corporate veil.” “Piercing the corporate veil” of corporate limited liability sometimes occurs in Michigan business litigation. Under this exception, owners of a corporation or limited liability company can be found liable for the business’s obligations by failing to adhere to corporate

Does My Business Need to Protect Its Intellectual Property?

Posted By Scot Putzig on March 21, 2017

Whether your business is retail, service, industrial, or otherwise, its logos, names, products, customers, and business practices may be worth protecting from competitors and former employees.  Whether you have a successful business or are just starting out, every business needs to determine what its intellectual property is and whether it is valuable enough to protect. There are four basic kinds of intellectual property which a business can protect:  trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and patents.  Intellectual property can be one of a business’s most valuable assets, and should be protected ferociously.  Think of the formula for Coke, the “11 herbs and spices” of KFC, or even the name of your business.  How would you feel

Goodbye, Dower! Hello, Equality!

Posted By Kelli King-Penner on January 17, 2017

Recently the Michigan Legislature took a huge step towards furthering the equal treatment of its residents and their real property interests by eliminating an archaic and unnecessary law treating men and women unequally.  On January 5, 2016, Governor Snyder signed a series of bills that eliminated dower rights in Michigan.  Now, I’m sure most of you reading this have two questions: What is Dower? How does this affect Michigan residents, including those in the Saginaw, Midland, and Bay county areas, like me? Fear not readers and allow me to explain why this new law is a win for equal treatment and a step in the right direction for Michigan residents like you. What is Dower? Dower is a married woman’s right to a

New Department of Labor Overtime Pay Rules Put on Hold

Posted By Scot Putzig on December 2, 2016

On Tuesday, November 22nd, a United States District Judge in Texas issued a preliminary injunction blocking the Department of Labor’s new overtime rules nationwide.  This essentially places a hold on the new rules, which were set to take effect on December 1st.  The blocked rule, issued by the Department of Labor, would have doubled to $47,476 the minimum salary an employee can earn and still be exempt from mandatory overtime pay. The Federal Judge agreed with the Plaintiffs, a group of 21 State Attorney generals and a wide-ranging coalition of businesses, that the Fair Labor Standards Act does not grant the Department of Labor the authority to utilize a salary-level test or an automatic updating mechanism without new