Stephen Hoffman

  • California’s New “Right to Die” Signed Into Law

    California’s New “Right to Die” Signed Into Law As a business and intellectual property lawyer, it may seem strange to see me post about California’s new “right to die” law. However, like many lawyers and scholars, it’s an area that has always interested me, and one I’ve been published on in the past. (Click here for my comparison of U.S.

    Stephen Hoffman/ Hoffman Law Office, P.C.- 16 readers -
  • Shooting on Location and Location Releases

    Shooting on Location and Location Releases As I get more and more involved with the entertainment industry, I’ve found myself branching out of simple legal work and into the production side of this incredibly interesting world. One aspect that isn’t going anywhere, however, is the need to protect my clients.

    Stephen Hoffman/ Hoffman Law Office, P.C.- 8 readers -
  • “Dope!”, IP Rights, and the Beastie Boys

    “Dope!”, IP Rights, and the Beastie Boys Earlier this year, the hip-hop group Beastie Boys won a jury verdict against Monster Energy Company for a staggering $1.7 million. On top of that, they managed to score a cool $668,000 in attorneys’ fees. So what lead to one of the most venerable groups in the ’80s rap game to take on an energy drink manufacturer in the first place? Ac ...

    Stephen Hoffman/ Hoffman Law Office, P.C.- 8 readers -
  • How to Develop an IP Portfolio for Small Businesses

    How to Develop an IP Portfolio for Small Businesses Whether your business sells goods, provides services, produces a mobile app, or whatever, you’ve already received a crash course in intellectual property: these are the things that make your business unique and special compared to others. It could be in the form of a website and logo, an original blog post (like this one), o ...

    Stephen Hoffman/ Hoffman Law Office, P.C.- 13 readers -
  • Five Tips for California Residential Tenants

    Five Tips for California Residential Tenants Due to the terrific feedback and popularity of my post on tips for Minnesota tenants, I’ve decided to write a post for California renters since I also practice real estate law there. Although landlord/tenant law tends to be pretty similar, it’s rarely identical due to not only how the laws are worded, but also how they are interpr ...

    Stephen Hoffman/ Hoffman Law Office, P.C.- 8 readers -
  • Five Tips for Minnesota Residential Tenants

    Five Tips for Minnesota Residential Tenants Part of my real estate practice is dedicated to representing commercial and residential landlords. As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what’s expected from my landlord clients as well as their tenants. The vast majority of landlords are just like any other small business owner—trying to comply with the law as best they can.

    Stephen Hoffman/ Hoffman Law Office, P.C.- 12 readers -
  • Real Estate Transfers, Quiet Title Actions, and the Torrens System

    Real Estate Transfers, Quiet Title Actions, and the Torrens System Although I’ve discussed contracts for deed before, as well as deeds in general, sometimes disagreements arise about who owns real estate even when everything’s been put in writing. Occasionally, it’s because of a falling out between the grantor (the person giving the property) and the grantee (the person recei ...

    Stephen Hoffman/ Hoffman Law Office, P.C.- 11 readers -
  • Buy-Sell Agreements and Getting Out of Business

    Buy-Sell Agreements and Getting Out of Business When people go into business, they rarely think of how to get out. Even so, it’s one of the most important things they should consider. Sometimes the business owners have an agreement between them in place; many times, however, they don’t. Avoid the anguish and headaches of a long, drawn-out corporate break-up and have a buy-sel ...

    Stephen Hoffman/ Hoffman Law Office, P.C.- 11 readers -
  • Selling Goods Internationally and Strange Coincidences

    Selling Goods Internationally and Strange Coincidences When I checked my email on Monday afternoon, I was a little surprised to find a legal question from another Minnesota lawyer. Not because I didn’t know the lawyer (I didn’t), but mostly because his question was on the sale of goods—a topic I had just been writing about a few minutes earlier in that afternoon’s blog post.

    Stephen Hoffman/ Hoffman Law Office, P.C.- 11 readers -
  • Sales of Goods and the Uniform Commercial Code

    Sales of Goods and the Uniform Commercial Code If you’ve been reading this blog lately, you’ve probably noticed a theme developing with the Uniform Commercial Code. As the set of statutes that defines things like sales of goods, negotiable instruments, investment property, and security interests, it relates to much of what we consider “business.

    Stephen Hoffman/ Hoffman Law Office, P.C.- 6 readers -
  • The Legal Side of Developing a New Product

    The Legal Side of Developing a New Product Many entrepreneurial people have, at least one time in their life, uttered the tell-all phrase, “You know what would be a great business idea?” It’s the heart of innovation–discovering or rediscovering a tool, device, or other product that would make life simpler, easier, or more efficient.

    Stephen Hoffman/ Hoffman Law Office, P.C.- 37 readers -
  • Creating an Enforceable Noncompete Agreement

    Creating an Enforceable Noncompete Agreement Noncompete agreements, also known as noncompetition agreements or simply noncompetes, restrict what a former employee of a business can do during or after he leaves. Since an employee is typically privy to private business information and trade secrets, these agreed-upon restrictions (a/k/a restrictive covenants) generally guarante ...

    Stephen Hoffman/ Hoffman Law Office, P.C.- 11 readers -
  • Understanding and Perfecting Security Interests

    Understanding and Perfecting Security Interests In my last post, I talked a little about what a security interest is: an interest in property that secures an obligation. In many cases, the obligation is a debt and the property securing it is related to the debt. When you borrow money to buy a house, the loan is secured by the real estate.

    Stephen Hoffman/ Hoffman Law Office, P.C.- 9 readers -
  • Understanding Security Interests (Pt. 1)

    Understanding Security Interests (Pt. 1) Practically everyone has loaned someone else money. Your kids, your friends, your family–all these people have likely enjoyed the benefits of your generosity. You’ve probably been on the receiving end of lenders before as well, in the nature of a mortgage, car loan, business financing, etc.

    Stephen Hoffman/ Hoffman Law Office, P.C.- 6 readers -
  • Funnel Cakes Are Serious Business: Why You Need a Trademark Lawyer

    I’ve written about why using an attorney to register trademarks is valuable, but registration is only part of the story. Much of the attorney’s work comes much earlier in the process, when he conducts searches to “clear” the mark. If there are conflicting marks out there, the lawyer’s job is to uncover them and determine if those conflicts will prevent you from getting a valid trademark.

    Stephen Hoffman/ Hoffman Law Office, P.C.- 45 readers -
  • Pensions and Stock and Bonuses, Oh My!: Employee Benefits

    As your business grows and becomes more profitable, you may discover that wages aren’t enough to attract or keep your top performers. This can be especially true where you pay workers on a commission or similar structure, or where your competitors offer greater compensation or benefits packages. While giving an employee an equity interest in your company such as stock options ma ...

    Stephen Hoffman/ Hoffman Law Office, P.C.- 30 readers -
  • Understanding Contracts For Deed and Mortgages

    If you were born before 2007, you’ve probably heard of real estate mortgages and know a little bit about how they work. A mortgage is generally a loan to purchase property in exchange for a security interest in the real estate. Where the seller provides the loan and the loan gives you with the money to buy the real estate, they are called purchase-money mortgages.

    Stephen Hoffman/ Hoffman Law Office, P.C.- 23 readers -
  • The Benefits of Copyright Registration for Small Businesses

    No matter what line of work you’re in, you’ve probably heard a few things about copyright protection and infringement. From the (in)famous Napster case to the DMCA takedown notices cropping up on YouTube, copyright law shows up more and more in our daily lives. As a small business owner, you should be especially concerned with protecting your intellectual property, since failing ...

    Stephen Hoffman/ Hoffman Law Office, P.C.- 32 readers -
  • Internet Assets and Garnishment in Minnesota

    As a business owner in the digital age, few things are more valuable than a user-friendly website and a memorable domain name. Sure, much of their value comes from the company itself. The website iTunes.com, for example, wouldn’t be nearly as valuable if Apple didn’t create iPods, iPhones, and provide a digital storefront for music and movies.

    Stephen Hoffman/ Hoffman Law Office, P.C.- 31 readers -
  • So What’s the Deal with Deeds?

    If you’ve ever bought or sold real estate (or even thought about it), you’ve probably heard the word “deed” thrown around. Maybe you’ve heard about particular varieties of deeds: warranty deeds, statutory deeds, quitclaim deeds, etc. But how are they different, and which type of deed should you expect in your next (or first) real estate deal? Quitclaim Deeds: Best for Grantors T ...

    Stephen Hoffman/ Hoffman Law Office, P.C.- 22 readers -