There's always something going on here at Bend Law Group. Be sure to check back often to read about our personal and professional endeavors.

Should I Have A Separate LLC for Each Of My California Locations?

By: Doug Bend If you are planning to open up more than one location of your business in California, you have two options to consider. (1) Only Have One Legal Entity For Multiple Locations. You could update the city business license for your existing legal entity to operate the additional locations. The advantage to this approach… Read More

By: Doug Bend

If you are planning to open up more than one location of your business in California, you have two options to consider.

(1) Only Have One Legal Entity For Multiple Locations.

You could update the city business license for your existing legal entity to operate the additional locations.

The advantage to this approach is you would save $3,000 to $4,000 a year by not having to pay duplicative costs for a separate legal entity. For example, you would not have to pay your CPA to file a separate tax return or pay California the annual franchise tax for multiple entities.

The disadvantage to this approach is if you operate multiple locations under the same legal entity if something happens at one location it could put in jeopardy all of the assets that are in the same legal entity from your other locations.

(2) Have a Separate Legal Entity for Each Location.

The second option is to have a separate legal entity for each location.

The drawback to having a separate legal entity for each location is you would have the expense of maintaining each entity.

The advantage is the assets from each location would be held in separate and distinct entities. As such, it might be more difficult for a successful plaintiff to get at the assets of all of your locations if something were to happen at one location.

In addition, you could give key employees and advisors equity in the location they are adding the most value too instead of equity in your entire company. For example, you may want to give your store manager in San Francisco equity in an entity for that location and not equity in one entity that runs locations in other parts of California as that manager has very little to do with those other locations.

Please feel free to contact us at info@BendLawOffice.com if you would like to chat through the advantages and disadvantages of having multiple legal entities as you grow your business.

The information provided here is not legal advice and does not purport to be a substitute for advice of counsel on any specific matter. For legal advice, you should consult with an attorney concerning your specific situation.

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Essential Legal Tips For Small Business Owners Today

This articles was originally published in Forbes. By: Doug Bend Many business owners are struggling to keep their businesses afloat and are currently making tough decisions about layoffs. My law firm has been advising dozens of small business owners and startups on how to navigate the ongoing fallout from COVID-19. Here are six tips that… Read More

This articles was originally published in Forbes.

By: Doug Bend

Many business owners are struggling to keep their businesses afloat and are currently making tough decisions about layoffs. My law firm has been advising dozens of small business owners and startups on how to navigate the ongoing fallout from COVID-19.

Here are six tips that have helped some of our clients weather the storm and may be beneficial to your business:

1. Check in with your insurance broker.

Check in with your insurance broker to see if your policy includes business interruption coverage or other provisions to help your business during this difficult time. In addition, your insurance broker may have recommendations on what type of insurance you should have moving forward.

Your insurance should be customized to your business, which has likely changed dramatically. For example, if you recently laid off employees, you may not need as much worker’s compensation coverage. However, you may need new types of coverage because your business has likely changed how it provides its products and services.

2. Ask visitors to sign a COVID-19 waiver.

If your business has a physical location, consider asking visitors to sign a COVID-19 waiver. The waiver can include provisions such as:

• The guest acknowledges that visiting your business carries with it the risk of exposing themselves to COVID-19, which they voluntarily assume.

• The guest agrees to indemnify and hold your business harmless from any damages that may be incurred from their visit.

3. Consider signage displays.

Check in with your business attorney to see if any new signage might be recommended for your business to display, on the interior and/or exterior of your physical location, to advise guests of new risks and safety precautions that they should take.

4. Check your retainer balance.

While you’re checking in with your attorneys, ask if you have a retainer balance in their trust account. Your attorney is required to return the balance to you, which could be a helpful infusion of cash.

5. Find out if you qualify for PPP loans and tax credits.

If you have not already done so, reach out to your CPA and business banker to see if you might qualify for an SBA grant or loan. At least some of the new SBA loans may be forgiven if they are used for certain purposes, which includes paying your employees’ wages under certain conditions.

Your CPA can also advise you on important tax law changes that could help your business, such as deferring FICA taxes and the employee retention tax credit.

6. Apply for grants.

Check to see if your company might qualify for a grant from another company. For example, Facebook is offering $100 million in grants and ad credits, and Salesforce is offering $10,000 grants to small businesses.

By following these tips, you can not only protect your business moving forward, but also provide your customers with important guidance on how to stay healthy and safe.

The information provided here is not legal advice and does not purport to be a substitute for advice of counsel on any specific matter. For legal advice, you should consult with an attorney concerning your specific situation.

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What Does It Mean To Vest Your Shares?

By: Doug Bend Vesting of shares means that the shareholder has to earn their shares over time by staying with the company in some capacity. If a shareholder leaves the company and owns unvested shares, then the corporation has the option to repurchase the unvested shares typically at the original purchase price. For example, founders… Read More

By: Doug Bend

Vesting of shares means that the shareholder has to earn their shares over time by staying with the company in some capacity.

If a shareholder leaves the company and owns unvested shares, then the corporation has the option to repurchase the unvested shares typically at the original purchase price.

For example, founders of start-ups typically vest their shares over four years with a one year “cliff.”

If a founder leaves the company before they hit the first year anniversary of their stock purchase agreement, the company has the option to repurchase 100% of their shares.

On the first anniversary of the stock purchase agreement, the founder hits the “cliff” and vests 25% of their shares.

Each month thereafter the founder vests 1/48 of their shares until they are fully vested on the fourth anniversary of their stock purchase agreement.

Issuing shares on a vesting schedule is optional, but it is often a good idea so you have a game plan in place if the shareholder leaves the company in the first few years of purchasing their stock.

This article discusses general legal issues and developments. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current law in your jurisdiction. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. No reader should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information presented herein without seeking the advice of counsel in the relevant jurisdiction. Bend Law Group, PC expressly disclaims all liability in respect of any actions taken or not taken based on any contents of this article.  

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What Entrepreneurs Need to Know About Legal Entities

By: Doug Bend Doug Bend was recently interviewed by Leo Manzione on what entrepreneurs need to know about LLCs and corporations. Leo is a Partner and Business Coach with Run Right Consulting. You can view the video here. This article discusses general legal issues and developments. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current law… Read More

By: Doug Bend

Doug Bend was recently interviewed by Leo Manzione on what entrepreneurs need to know about LLCs and corporations. Leo is a Partner and Business Coach with Run Right Consulting. You can view the video here.

This article discusses general legal issues and developments. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current law in your jurisdiction. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. No reader should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information presented herein without seeking the advice of counsel in the relevant jurisdiction. Bend Law Group, PC expressly disclaims all liability in respect of any actions taken or not taken based on any contents of this article.

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How Do I Register My Business in San Francisco?

By: Doug Bend If you have a legal entity that was formed outside of California, there are five steps to register the business in San Francisco: 1. Certificate of Good Standing. You should first obtain a certificate of good standing from the Secretary of State’s Office where you formed your legal entity. 2. Registered Agent. Second, you… Read More

By: Doug Bend

If you have a legal entity that was formed outside of California, there are five steps to register the business in San Francisco:

1. Certificate of Good Standing.

You should first obtain a certificate of good standing from the Secretary of State’s Office where you formed your legal entity.

2. Registered Agent.

Second, you will need a registered agent for service of process in California.
A registered agent is typically present during general business hours at a physical address to receive legal service of process if a lawsuit or other legal action arises against the company.

The registered agent’s name and address will be listed publicly on the California Secretary of State’s website.

You can list yourself as the registered agent if you will be at that address during business hours or you can use a third party service to serve as the registered agent for the company if you would prefer to keep your affiliation with the company or address private.   If you would like to hire a third party to be the registered agent, we offer registered agent services for $99/year here.  

3. Register With The California Secretary of State’s Office.

Third, you will need to file a Statement of Designation of a Foreign Corporation with the California Secretary of State’s Office.

4. San Francisco City Business License.

Fourth, if you are doing business in San Francisco for more than 7 days a year, you will be required to complete an application to obtain a San Francisco Business Registration Certificate within 15 days.

5. Fictitious Business Name Statement.

Lastly, if you will conduct business in San Francisco under a name other than your full legal name, the full legal name of a legal entity (such as a corporation), or any name that suggests additional owners, you must file a Fictitious Business Name Statement with the San Francisco County Clerk’s Office. Frequently asked questions about San Francisco Fictitious Business Name Statements can be found here.  

If you have any questions or would like our help registering your company to do business in San Francisco, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@BendLawOffice.com.

This article discusses general legal issues and developments. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current law in your jurisdiction. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. No reader should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information presented herein without seeking the advice of counsel in the relevant jurisdiction. Bend Law Group, PC expressly disclaims all liability in respect of any actions taken or not taken based on any contents of this article.

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What is a California Statement of Information And When Does It Need To Be Filed?

By: Doug Bend A Statement Of Information provides information about your legal entity to the California Secretary of State’s Office. For example, it includes who are the officers of your corporation or if there is a Manager for your LLC.  Legal entities are required to file their first Statement of Information within 90 days of registering with… Read More

By: Doug Bend

A Statement Of Information provides information about your legal entity to the California Secretary of State’s Office. For example, it includes who are the officers of your corporation or if there is a Manager for your LLC. 


Legal entities are required to file their first Statement of Information within 90 days of registering with the California Secretary of State’s Office. 


Corporations are then required to file a Statement of Information each year thereafter beginning five months before and through the end of their registration anniversary.

LLCs are only required to file a Statement of Information every other year, beginning five months before and through the end of the month of their registration anniversary. 

The Statement of Information is a public document that can be viewed on the Secretary of State’s website. 

It only takes about 10 minutes to prepare the filing and if all of the information is still the same you can merely check the first box that there has been no change.

In addition, the filing fee is relatively minimal ($20 for LLCs and $25 for corporations), but the failure to timely file the Statement of Information can result in hefty late filing fees.  You are supposed to get a postcard reminder in the mail, but we recommend our clients also set a Google calendar alert to help make sure they do not miss the filing deadline.

If you have any questions or would like our help submitting your Statement Of Information, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@BendLawOffice.com.

This article discusses general legal issues and developments. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current law in your jurisdiction. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. No reader should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information presented herein without seeking the advice of counsel in the relevant jurisdiction. Bend Law Group, PC expressly disclaims all liability in respect of any actions taken or not taken based on any contents of this article.

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Why Trademark Registration is Crucial for E-Commerce

By: John Butcher In the world of online sales, branding can be the main factor that leads to a business’s success or failure. 21st-century consumers have no shortage of options, and with many companies vying for similar markets, the difference between them comes down to the brand more than the product. This is where trademarks… Read More

By: John Butcher

In the world of online sales, branding can be the main factor that leads to a business’s success or failure. 21st-century consumers have no shortage of options, and with many companies vying for similar markets, the difference between them comes down to the brand more than the product. This is where trademarks come in.

What are Trademarks?

Trademarks fall under the general category of intellectual property law, or IP law. They are one of four primary elements of IP, the other three being copyrights, patents, and trade secrets.

Whereas copyrights and patents can protect a brand’s creative work and inventions, and trade secrets protect confidential information, trademarks exist to protect the brand itself. Trademarks shield elements related to brand identity from imitation or impersonation. This extends from the obvious aspects such as company names and logos, to more subtle details like brand color schemes, soundmarks, and slogans.

Trademarks do not legally have to be registered if business is being done only in one geographic location, but in the case of e-commerce that point is moot. Customers online can come from anywhere in the US and abroad. In this case, a trademark should be registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in order to be able to litigate against brand identity theft.

Why Register a Trademark?

The small “TM” or “R” symbol next to a brand name may seem innocuous, but with it comes an association of trust and identity. Registered brand names ensure that other companies cannot try to impersonate them without fear of litigation. Without a registered trademark, the original owner has little to no protection against infringing parties.

Brand identity also involves taglines and logos, which should be trademarked as well. Going beyond trademark registration , it is also crucial to file design patents for the aesthetic properties of a product that can define a brand. Just like Apple products are recognizable by their white, sleek color scheme, and glass Coca Cola bottles have a signature shape, most successful companies make their products instantly identifiable without the need to see a logo or brand name.

Trademark registration at its core exists to enforce brand identity, and design patents help add to that principle. But what exactly makes brand identity important?

Brand Identity in E-Commerce

The reason that brand identity, and thus trademark registraton, is so important in the e-commerce market is that being successful involves so much more than offering a good product.

Of course, having a great product or service to sell is a great foundation, but the rapid evolution of consumer-focused e-commerce adds many more factors into the equation. The main issues here are a saturation of options and the reliance on consumer trust.

The online marketplace is not limited by geography or a time schedule. This mean that consumers don’t need to buy based on convenience or proximity; they can find the exact product they’re looking for, sold by a myriad of providers, and choose the one that most appeals to them. Given this saturation of supply, purchasing decisions become more influenced by brands.

This leads to the second factor: consumer trust. The internet, being as intangible as it is, offers many options but among those there will be lower quality products and numerous scams. According to J.D. Houvener of Bold Patents:

“E-commerce offers a decreased ability to try things ahead of time and engage with real people to get a sense of their reliability. Thus, consumers will try to find companies they trust and become very loyal to those that reward their trust with good, reliable service.”

Having a consistent brand identity enables that building of trust among consumers; people will know the brand’s name, logo, and slogan and will be able to recognize other people using its services or buying its products. A collective trust can develop when people see other people using a product; this almost becomes an endorsement. Thus, trademark registration becomes crucial to e-commerce market success in the long term.

The Takeaway

Trademarks are essential for e-commerce because they establish brand identity. This means that no other companies in the field can tarnish a brand’s reputation by using the same name, logo, or slogan.

A positive brand association, or even just name recognition, boosts e-commerce sales and success. In a market where consumers have so many options to choose from, good brand awareness can often make the crucial difference. Every business should make sure to register trademarks as soon as they can to reap their benefits.

This article discusses general legal issues and developments. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current law in your jurisdiction. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. No reader should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information presented herein without seeking the advice of counsel in the relevant jurisdiction. Bend Law Group, PC expressly disclaims all liability in respect of any actions taken or not taken based on any contents of this article

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