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TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4430
Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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Hello, Thank you for being on this service. My situation is

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Hello, Thank you for being on this service. My situation is I was asked by a Lady named Emily to be a part of her counseling business. I am certified in alot of therapeutic arts and she was excited to have me onboard. She told me in July/12 that since I was just starting with her that there was no need for me to sign a subcontractor year lease because until I had enough clients she did not want me to have the burden of a year contract. We were friends at the time and I thought that I could trust her. The agreement between us verbally and on paper was that she would get 20% of each client service plus rent each month. I furnished my room and paid my advertising business cards, flyers, web ads etc. At the beginning I came up with two unique names for services that I did with clients. These were originally names and my conceptions. Emily acknowledged that they were mine and on her center's website she listed me and these services. I have several texts, and emails between us over the months where she knew they were my names and services solely.
On October 15, I got an email out of the blue from her saying that I could come and get my stuff. She and the center were going in another direction and that she was hiring more therapists. (We were all sub-contractors with her not employees) I had told her in the beginning that I was going to have my names copyrighted.
She owes me for 1/2 months rent.
I have not responded to her email but went over and got my things. She has continued to use my names for my services on her website even though I am no longer there. She says they were soley developed by the center under description on her website. She took me off website but continues to use my ideas.
What are my rights? She is using my names and ideas, I have documentation to proof it from early on in July. I did not sign a contract with her, just rented a space and paid 20% to her for each client that I had sessions with.
She is stealing my ideas and names. What do I do?

Thank you for your question.

There are two separate issues you have here. The first to address is the rent matter. Since she terminated your lease without notice and through you out in the middle of the month term, she owes you a half months rent plus any consequential damages (moving expenses, etc.), as she is supposed to provide you with notice and let you stay out the term.

The second issue is the service title issues. When you come up with a unique name for a service you are providing, you have created what is called a "service mark", which is a form of trademark. A service mark is not automatically protected unless you register the service mark with the state. You can find the registration forms here:

Once you have the service marks registered, then you can legally prevent her from further using them.

That being said, you do not likely have a suit for any form of civil damages against her for her misappropriation of the service marks until you have registered them. If she continues to use them after you have registered the marks and sent her a notice of the registration, then you may seek damages for lost income because of her misappropriation of your registered service marks.

Please let me know if you have further questions.\


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