4 Legal References for SMBs and Informed Readers

Old Tyme Legal AdWhether or not you are a small business owner, you are probably exposed to legal topics on a regular basis. There are daily news developments regarding patent lawsuits, especially in the mobile arena. “I’m not a lawyer” (INAL) is a common phrase you’ll see on message boards and blogs as individuals seek informal guidance on areas such as business formation and Intellectual Property (IP) issues.

While you always have the option of consulting a licensed attorney, you may first want to do your own research so you can have an informed conversation. I’ve found the publications from Nolo® to be extremely helpful for general and business-specific legal knowledge. Here are some recommendations from my personal library.

Nolo’s Encyclopedia of Everyday Law – covers a variety of subjects for your business and home, and is a good first step when you begin your research.

Form Your Own Limited Liability Company – Covers what an LLC is and compares it to other business entities. Member/manager responsibilities and tax issues are covered in detail. Takes you step by step through the process of forming your own LLC. Nolo has similar references available should you choose another entity type such as an S Corp, C Corp or Partnership.

Legal Guide to Web & Software Development – covers areas such as licensing agreements, contracts and IP law (trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets and patents). Whether you are building your own web site or software, or contracting out development projects, this is a very useful guide.

Trademark: Legal Care for Your Business & Product Name – from your company and product names to your logo, trademarks are something you’ll want to learn about. What exactly is the difference between TM, SM and ®, when can you use them, and what can be trademarked? You’ll find out here. You will also learn how to conduct a trademark search, which is helpful if you are marketing a new product or service. A registered trademark will provide the most protection. This guide also walks you through the process of registering your trademark with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

For tablet and e-reader users, these books are available in electronic format, so you can refer to them any time no matter where you are.

Klisto™ Mobile Database for the iPad®, iPhone® and iPod touch® is now available on the Apple AppStore. Your data synced on your devices and the cloud.

“Nolo” is a federally registered trademark. All trademarks appearing here are the property of their respective owners. This article is not legal advice and I am not a lawyer. If you require professional assistance you should consult with an attorney licensed in your state. I figured I should add this paragraph based on what I learned in the books I just mentioned =)

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