Q: What precautions do startups need to take to protect their intellectual property?
As an entrepreneur, you may be unclear on how and when to file to protect your ideas and designs. This information is intended to help you get started.
Q: What is considered intellectual property and how is it protected?
Intangible assets created by your company may fall under the category of intellectual property. There are three legal means to protect this property: trademarks, copyrights, and patents.
Trademarks distinguish your business from others and can include logos, slogans, taglines, and packaging. They are usually specific only to your field or business industry.
Copyrights cover creative literary and artistic work such as written papers, research, photographs, and music. You can also copyright technical drawings and database contents.
Patents are for inventions, such as new product designs. This includes not only physical devices, but also processes, such as business systems.
Read more on “Intellectual Property Rights for Entrepreneurs” »
Now that You’ve Seen FINRA’s Exam Priorities – How About Some Practical Guidance?
On January 6, 2015 FINRA published its 10th annual Regulatory and Examinations Letter.
Although 17 pages and dense, when broken down it is a roadmap for broker-dealers as to actions they can take now to reduce regulatory risk in 2015. Most broker-dealers can address many of the recommendations with ease.
This article is not a summary of the letter; instead it is a guide to assist broker-dealers in addressing topics raised. A good practice for Chief Compliance Officers (“CCOs”) is to perform a gap analysis of the topics discussed vis-à-vis their firms’ current practices, and begin addressing gaps identified immediately.
Several themes emerged, and Compliance Departments should ensure their programs are appropriately weighted towards these themes. Themes included: conflicts of interest, improved and increased surveillance, supervision, review of new products and continuous monitoring of existing products.
Read more on “FINRA 2015 Priorities For Broker-Dealers” »
Health Insurance Updates for Employers and Employees
Putting politics and rhetoric aside, tis the season to prepare for the new 2015 Affordable Care Act requirements.
On January 1, 2015, employers with 100 or more full-time equivalent employees will be required to provide qualified health care. Businesses within this size category must offer benefits to at least 70% of employees by 2015 and to at least 95% of employees by 2016.
Companies with between 50 and 99 full-time equivalent employees are encouraged to meet the 2015 requirements of the Affordable Care Act, but compliance for companies that fall within this employee range will not be mandatory until 2016.
Employers have specific fiduciary health care responsibilities to their employees. The cost of affordable care can be no more than 9.5% of an employee’s yearly household income. Health plans meet the minimum qualifying value if its benefits cover at least 60% of medical services. Noncompliance results in a $2,000 fee per employee (with the first 30 employees fee exempt).
Read more on “The 2015 Affordable Care Act” »
By Elin Cherry, Compliance Risk Concepts
On September 18, 2014, the SEC issued a final Order against registered investment adviser – Strategic Capital Group (“SCG”). The Order was a typical laundry list of wrong doings by SCG:
- SCG engaged in hundreds of securities transactions with advisory clients on a principal basis through its affiliated registered broker – dealer, RP Capital, LLC (“RP Capital”), without providing prior written disclosure to, or obtaining consent from, the clients.
- SCG Forms ADV Part 1A filed in 2012 and 2013, SCG incorrectly stated that neither it nor any related person engaged in principal transactions.
- SCG failed to seek best execution in determining to route its clients’ fixed-income transactions to RP Capital.
- SCG provided prospective clients advertisements that contained false and misleading claims and disclosures about the performance of SCG’s investment model. The advertisements were also publicly available on * SCG’s website for at least a month.
- SCG’s Chief Executive Officer, and its Chief Compliance Officer failed to implement SCG’s compliance policies and procedures that were reasonably designed to prevent violations of the Advisers Act.
Read more on “Are you CEO and CCO? : The Genuine Cost of Non-Compliance” »