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socrateaser
socrateaser, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 38451
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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what steps do i need to take to ensure my hot sauce company

Customer Question

We are a hot sauce company in our formative stages. We've already created a partnership and filed the DBA with the state, and electronically filed for a trademark on our name.

What other steps do we need to take to ensure legal protection and that we are allowed to legally do business and sell our sauce on shelves? Do we need business insurance?

Thank you!
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 5 years ago.
Consider filing a copyright registration for any illustrations/artwork of your name. The name itself is not generally susceptible to copyright, but the expression of the name, in the form of a unique label can be copyright protected

Re insurance, if your partnership is not a legal entity (LLC, LP, LLP or INC), then insurance is a must, because general partners are liable for the acts and omissions of other partners done in the partnership's name, and that liability extends to all of each partner's personal assets. So, consider forming a legal entity to protect yourselves from unlimited liability.

Also, if you establish any offices or manufacturing outside of Oregon, you will become subject to the income and sales tax laws of the other jurisdiction. Whereas if you only sell your product from Oregon and ship to other jurisdictions, you are not subject to the other jurisdictional sales tax laws.

You must also adhere to FDA food labeling regulations. See this link. Oregon may have additional requirements, as may other jurisdictions.

And, depending upon the ingredients, you may have obligations under the USDA, as well as Oregon state health law for food manufacturing.

Hope this helps.

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socrateaser and 2 other Business Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
To Socrateaser,

Thanks for your help. If another business has a made up word (that happens to be the name of our business) in a slogan that they have trademarked in another state, should we be worried about using this as our name?

Made-up Example:

If we want to do business as "Crabtastic" in Oregon, but a business in California has a trademark on "it's Crabtastic!", are we okay to do business as "crabtastic"? If they have "it's Crabtastic!" as a registered Standard Character Mark?

Thank you!
Expert:  socrateaser replied 5 years ago.
Possible trademark infringement, if the source or affiliation of the products could be confused with each other. Unless the competitor actually has registered a federal trademark and used it in commerce for at least 5 years, then you could still claim the right to market the name everywhere else other than in California.

Hope this helps.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
So if they have a business name like:

Jake's Crab House, and their tagline is "it's Crabtastic!" (trademarked)

Then we would be infringing on their trademark by doing business as Crabtastic ONLY if they haven't used "it's Crabtastic!" for more than 5 years?

Also, if I click "Accept Answer", am I charged another 23 bucks?

Expert:  socrateaser replied 5 years ago.
So if they have a business name like:

Jake's Crab House, and their tagline is "it's Crabtastic!" (trademarked)

Then we would be infringing on their trademark by doing business as Crabtastic ONLY if they haven't used "it's Crabtastic!" for more than 5 years?

A: No, you will be infringing, regardless. Five years is the date after which the trademark law presumes that the registrant has priority. Before 5 years, a challenger can claim that they used the trademark first, and thereby invalidate the later mark -- even if it was registered.

The other isssue is whether or not the trademark is related to the same class of products/services. If you are in the hot sause biz, and the competitor is selling a product to remove crab lice, then there's no infringement, because the two products are distinct. No one will confuse one with the other -- and if they do, then woe unto them!!!

Also, if I click "Accept Answer", am I charged another 23 bucks?

A: I have no account-related information. You will have to ask customer service about your account questions. Sorry. Please click help and send a message.

Hope this helps.