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.

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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Is Your Business CCPA Compliant?

By: Vivek Vaidya The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) went into effect on January 1, 2020 and has wide-reaching implications on businesses in California. To help you understand how the CCPA affects your business, here are a few answers to basic questions: What do small businesses in California have to worry about when it comes to… Read More

By: Vivek Vaidya

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) went into effect on January 1, 2020 and has wide-reaching implications on businesses in California. To help you understand how the CCPA affects your business, here are a few answers to basic questions:

What do small businesses in California have to worry about when it comes to the CCPA?

In order for the CCPA to apply to your business, you must meet one of the following criteria:

  • You have an annual gross revenue over $25 million
  • You receive, buy, sell or share the personal information of at least 50,000 California consumers
  • You derive at least half of their revenue from selling the information of state residents.  

If a small business meets the above-mentioned criteria, here are the top three things that should be prioritized:

1) Understand the breadth of the law

It’s important to understand the somewhat vague definition of “personal information”, which is defined as any info which “identifies, relates to, describes, is capable of being associated with, or could reasonably be linked, directly or indirectly, with a particular consumer or household.” Personal info can include email addresses, social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, employment information, geolocation, biometric information, commercial information, internet activity, audio/video information, or education information not available to the public.  If you collect this information, you need to have the capability of fielding user requests to access, delete, or change their personal information.

2) Train your employees (even if you only have a few)

The CCPA requires employees who field customer requests about data privacy practices (deleting personal information, opting out of sharing personal information, etc.) and employees who are responsible for the company’s compliance to undergo instruction to understand the law. Generally, this will require instruction of all customer service representatives and whoever handles legal compliance. 

3) Understand the penalties

The penalties for not being CCPA compliant go up to $7,500 per intentional violation and $2,500 for unintentional violations which are enforced by the California attorney general. Consumers also have the right to pursue their own individual action against non-compliant businesses, and can sue the company if a data breach occurs due to carelessness. 

What are the top 5 things they should have in place to be compliant?

Here are the top 5 most pressing details that need to be squared away ASAP if you are a small business owner who meets the criteria of the CCPA:

1) Be sure to clearly outline consumer data. In other words:

A) What personal information do you collect?

B) How do you acquire said data?

C) Where and how do you keep it?

D) Do you share it with other entities?

E) Is the shared data part of provision of service, sale or another purpose?

2) Create a homepage “privacy link”:

The CCPA also calls for a privacy link on the homepage of any relevant entity’s website. It must be “clear and conspicuous,” titled “Do Not Sell My Information,” and linked to a page that allows consumers to opt-out of having their personal info sold to third parties.

3) Update Privacy Policies:

The CCPA gives consumers the right to know exactly what personal information is being gathered about them. In order to comply with that, businesses must provide a disclosure “at or before the point of collection.” It must “inform consumers as to the categories of personal information to be collected and the purposes for which the categories of personal information shall be used.”

4) Develop a process for fielding consumer complaints:

Starting on Jan. 1, 2020, relevant entities must be ready to field consumer requests about their personal information that are allowed under the CCPA. These requests must be processed free of charge and within 45 days. Some examples include:

A) Request a copy of their personal information

B) Request that their personal info be deleted

C) Obtain consent from a guardian to sell personal info from a consumer under the age of 13

D) Opt out of sharing their personal information with third parties

5) Strengthen data security:

Relevant entities should review and update their info security and privacy policies and actively monitor their data security defenses to ensure that consumer data is not easily stolen, as they can seek damages for data breaches covered under the CCPA. 

Anything else small business owners should know about this law right now?

There is a 6-month grace period from January 1, where mistakes can go unpunished. There is still plenty of time before you need to be truly compliant as a small business owner who meets the criteria of the CCPA. If you have questions about becoming compliant or need legal aid with preparing a Privacy Policy that is CCPA compliant, feel free to contact Vivek Vaidya of Bend Law Group at Vivek@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 does it mean to be “FTB Suspended?”

By: Doug Bend If a legal entity has been “FTB Suspended” it was suspended by the California Franchise Tax Board most likely because the company did not pay its annual franchise tax. There are two potential problems with being FTB Suspended: (i) Someone could register a new entity name as the same name as your entity and… … Read More

By: Doug Bend

If a legal entity has been “FTB Suspended” it was suspended by the California Franchise Tax Board most likely because the company did not pay its annual franchise tax.

There are two potential problems with being FTB Suspended:

(i) Someone could register a new entity name as the same name as your entity and… 

(ii) you might not be provided with any liability protection if a cause of action arises while your entity is suspended.

The best way to lift the suspension is to file a Statement of Information with the California Secretary of State’s Office and to work with a CPA to get your corporation squared away with the California Franchise Tax Board.

You can read more about what it means to be FTB Suspended and how to revive a suspended legal entity here.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you’d like a recommendation for a CPA or if you have any questions.

Disclaimer: 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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