HOW DO I KNOW IF I NEED A PATENT, TRADEMARK OR COPYRIGHT?

Generally speaking, if your idea relates to something useful that can be manufactured, including an improvement to an existing product, then you should consider patent protection. If your idea related to a process or method for making or using something useful, patents still apply. If your idea involves naming a specific product or service, you are going to want to look into trademarks.. Trademarks cover titles, logos and slogans for products and services. If you want to protect the way something is done - that is, the expression or style and not the underlying idea - a copyright is what you need to look in to. You can claim copyright protection of the original expression in books, poetry, plays lyrics, music, audiovisual works, photographs, sculptural works, artistic works, architectural plans, and pantomimes.

     ARE THERE ANY OTHER ITEMS THAT I SHOULD SEEK A CPA/ACCOUNTANT FOR?

Prior to and during the formation of the business, as well as the development of the business plan, the service of a CPA or accountant can help you to avoid unnecessary mistakes and save valuable time. After registering the business with the Secretary of State and securing the EIN number:

  • Contact an accountant, preferably a CPA, and provide them with all of the basic business information so that the initial books may be opened in a timely and orderly manner.

      If the business is a partnership: If operating as a general partnership, it is a good idea to         develop a general partnership agreement to specify the details of how the partnership will       work.

  • File a state partnership return (K-1) with the Alabama Department of Revenue each year on or before April 15th or on or before the 15th day of the fourth month following the close of the fiscal year.

  • File IRS Form 1065 to report partnership income. Each partner must report his or her share of self-employment income on Schedule SE of Form 1040 and income or loss from partnership operations on Schedule E of Form 1040.

      If the business is a corporation:

  • Complete the initial Alabama license and occupation tax return. Pay the initial tax based on the capital stock issued.

  • Consider election of S corporation status (IRS Form 2552 or 2553) or take steps to ensure that stock issued will qualify as Section 1244 stock under Internal Revenue Code standards. Services of a CPA and attorney are recommended to help you with this.

  • File Federal Income Tax Return Form 1120 (Form 1120-S for an S-corporation). Services of a CPA are recommended to help you with this.

  • Deposit federal taxes and accompanying coupons in an authorized bank. Services of a CPA or accountant are recommended to help you with this.

 

ARE THERE ANY OTHER ITEMS THAT I SHOULD SEEK AN ATTORNEY FOR?

Following the registration of the corporation's name with the Secretary of State and preparing and filing the Articles of Incorporation your attorney will:

  • Prepare consent for appointment of registered agent (as part of the legal documents filed).

  • Arrange for advertising of the incorporation for two successive weeks with the local newspaper designated to handle legal advertisements.

  • Prepare a consent action form or hold a meeting of the shareholders to elect a board of directors for the corporation.

  • Prepare by-laws to be adopted at the organizational meeting of the board of directors which shall also include election of officers.

  • Accept share subscription agreements and investment letters exempting the stock from state and federal securities laws (CPA may also support this process).

  • Accept payment of stock from the stockholders and issue certificates. The shareholders should execute receipts for the certificates (CPA may also support this process).

  • Complete stockholder's information in corporate minute book and stock ledger (CPA may also support this process).

  • Consider adopting a cross-purchase or stock redemption agreement, and in turn, place a legend on the stock certificates restricting the sale, assignability or transferability of stock (CPA may also support this process).

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