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Northern Virginia Legal Blog

Mandatory Clauses In Virginia Residential Contracting Agreements

Certain activities related to the construction, repair or renovation of real property require a contractor's license. Virginia Code § 54.1-1100 defines a "Contractor" as follows:

"Contractor" means any person, that for a fixed price, commission, fee, or percentage undertakes to bid upon, or accepts, or offers to accept, orders or contracts for performing, managing, or superintending in whole or in part, the construction, removal, repair or improvement of any building or structure permanently annexed to real property owned, controlled, or leased by him or another person or any other improvements to such real property. For purposes of this chapter, "improvement" shall include (i) remediation, cleanup, or containment of premises to remove contaminants or (ii) site work necessary to make certain real property usable for human occupancy according to the guidelines established pursuant to § 32.1-11.7.

Understanding the differences between an LLC and an LLP

Starting a new business is an exciting time. Up until now, you and your partner may have been treating it as a side hustle, but now it is time to make it more official.

Your new enterprise may stay a side hustle, or it may become your full-time occupation. As your business grows, establishing it as a Limited Liability Companies (LLC) or Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP) can have advantages.

What is Infringement?

Our Virginia Business Lawyers frequently get asked as to what precisely constitutes trademark infringement. In order to answer that question, you need to know when something can be trademarked in the first place.

Exclusive Right to Use - Exclusive Right to Prohibit Use

The owner of a mark has the exclusive right to use that mark and the exclusive right to prohibit others from using the mark. This right is created at the moment they use the mark in commerce. Once that use is established, they have at the very least, common law geographic rights. If they then register the mark with the state authorities, they have statewide rights. If they had filed an application with the United States Patent and Trademark office stating a bona fide intent to use the mark in commerce and followed through with that use and acquired a registration, their rights extend back to the time they filed the application (1B application).

Fair Use, First Sale Doctrine & Re-selling Branded Goods

Our Virginia Business Lawyers are frequently confronted with the following scenario: You want to sell branded clothing, or other branded goods that you buy from the original or post-original owners and don't want to be sued by the original makers of the goods.

In the United States, trademark law includes a fair use defense, sometimes called "trademark fair use." In the case of re-selling branded goods, you have the defense called "Nominative Fair Use".

Your use will not infringe upon the property owner's rights because you will not be claiming that you are the original manufacturer. If you find a Casio® brand printer and wish to resell it, you are permitted to advertise "Casio printer for sale", as long as you don't claim to have any business relationship to the owner of the mark. The primary principal to keep in mind is whether there is going to be any confusion among your customers as to the source of origin. 

What to include in an independent contractor agreement

For small businesses, using independent contractors is a smart way to hire skilled workers without all the costs of a full-time employee. Even larger companies often use contractors to help with temporary work projects.

Hiring an independent contractor allows you to avoid many of the complications and costs of an employee. However, do not just hire someone and put him or her to work. Before you start working with a contractor, draw up an agreement that lays out the terms of employment. Here are some things you may want to include in an independent contractor agreement.

How to handle early lease termination

One problem with tenants is that they sometimes leave the premises before their lease is up. They might do so because their business is such a success that they need more square footage, but often they break the lease because their business is failing and they have run out of money.

This is a bad position for the landlord, especially if the rental market is down and a new tenant might not come aboard right away or pay as much as the previous tenant.

What is Defamation?

A lot of questions surround defamation, particularly about how it applies to businesses. It a nutshell, defamation is communication with the intent to damage another individual’s or entity’s reputation. To legally qualify as defamation, the claim(s) must be false and expressed to a third party. There are two types of defamation–libel is defamation in the written form and slander is defamation in the spoken form.

The law of defamation protects an individuals’ or business’s reputation, meaning a party has the right to sue another if false claims have been made about them publicly, including on social media.

HOW CAN I REMOVE OR FIRE MY BUSINESS PARTNER IN VIRGINIA?

One of the primary areas of our practice deals with partnership disputes between and among business partners of across a variety of industries, including co-owners of real estate brokerages, title companies, restaurants, hair salons, technology startups, and retail companies.

CAN I BREAK MY LEASE IF THERE IS MOLD IN MY APARTMENT?

Can a tenant break his lease due to mold in the rental property? This is one of the most frequent queries we get whenever a landlord or tenant (L/T) finds mold in the leased premises.

There is no simple answer to this question. Whether a T has a right to terminate the lease without penalty depends on the particular facts of each case. However, Virginia law provides some guidelines that L/Ts should keep in mind before the start of the leasing relationship.

LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANIES - WHAT IS A QUALIFIED INCOME OFFSET?

Have you ever used a boilerplate LLC Operating Agreement for your business? Have you ever wondered about some of the drastic legal consequences that the boilerplate language in such operating agreements can have for your business? Consider the following hypothetical, which pertains to the economic structuring of an LLC. Most operating agreements have standard boilerplate language related to respective member allocations and distributions. Among those provisions, one often finds a clause pertaining to qualified income offsets. What is the meaning of this provision in the context of a two-member LLC? Lets examine how this scenario plays out in the following hypothetical.

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