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b2ap3_thumbnail_business-visa-.jpg本周,移民局发出通知,原定于下周正式生效的EB-6创业签证法案将推迟到2018314日生效。天华律师一直密切关注该创业居留的新政策,天华公众号分别于去年8月底和今年1月中旬发布两篇文章:《创业者的新福音---美国EB-6创业移民签证》和《美国EB-6创业移民签证正式来袭!》详细介绍了EB-6创业签证的涵义,申请要求,转身份条件等诸多内容。

根据移民局2016825日发布的版本,符合资格的企业家可获得在美国两年的合法停留期限,且如果公司营运良好,可再延长期限三年。该Parole(许可)的最核心要求条件如下:

申请人占有初创企业至少15%的股份,并积极参与企业的运营

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how to close a business the right wayClosing a business requires more than just hanging an “out of business” sign in the window and locking the doors. Depending on the circumstances, the closing of your business can cause high levels of stress and anxiety, especially for those unfamiliar with the proper steps to take and the correct forms to file. While both the state of California and the federal government offers resources to assist, the help of an experienced business law attorney could make all the difference. 

When closing a business in California, the owners must:

  1. File final year current tax returns
  2. File proper dissolution, surrender and cancellation forms with the California Secretary of State’s office within 12 months of filing the final tax forms
  3. Refrain from conducting business in the state after the final taxable year

This three-step outline, in a very general sense, is the procedure one must undertake for closing a business. The reality of the situation involves the filing of a number of forms with both state and federal authorities, and failing to follow proper procedure could result in unnecessary stress and even litigation. It is important to remember that all tax forms remain open to audit until the expiration of the statute of limitations. In addition to filing final state and federal tax returns, it is important to:

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whistleblower law

Perhaps the best way to protect your business from penalties that accompany a law is to have a clear understanding of the statute. Most business owners know about “whistleblower laws,” and are aware they were enacted to protect employees who report wrongdoing by companies.

California's whistleblower laws were written so owners of both public and private companies or agencies receive equal treatment. Businesses located throughout San Francisco, San Jose, Silicon Valley and across the state would be well served if an experienced employment law attorney provided managers, supervisors and even officers with a review of California's whistleblower law.

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Tagged in: Whistleblower

Verizon is having some serious problems with its workers. Last August, Verizon's contract with workers of two unions which represent employees that deliver critical services, such as repairs, landline service, installation and customer service. The workers continued to work as the union worked towards a solution with the company, but the workers' patience has run out. They went on strike recently, meaning that some 39,000 people are no longer supporting the critical services mentioned above.

It sounds as though work location and job security are critical issues for workers, and there will certainly be a lot for the company and the unions to go over before a new agreement can be reached.Â

Back in 2011, a similar situation occurred with about 45,000 Verizon employees going on strike for about two weeks.

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Just to the north of us here in California, the state of Oregon and the tech company Oracle have been locked in a contract dispute over the state's healthcare website which was "botched," according to the source article. Oracle blames the state for mismanagement, while the state accuses Oracle of fraud and racketeering. The state of Oregon is asking for $6.5 billion in damages as a result of their botched healthcare website.

An interesting development in the case is that confidential documents that were sealed under court order were released to the public through a reporter. Oracle contends that the state of Oregon allowed this to happen, tipping off the reporter and helping her to publish the information. Oracle also contends that the case was already settled last year for $25 million, but that the state is lying about the deal not happening.

The details of the botched website aren't necessarily the point of this post (though they obviously are important in the grand scheme of things). For the purposes of this post, we would like to highlight that businesses can face legal action from a variety of sources and for a variety of reasons.

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Some people have dreams of creating content on the internet, so that they can earn some of that sweet "internet money." These people make videos, GIFs, images, blog posts and many other forms of content to reach their dream. In these cases, they do so intentionally. If they are lucky, one of their pieces of content will "go viral" and sweep the globe at a rapid pace as friends share the content with friends, who share it with other friends -- and so on.

But not every "viral" meme or video is created intentionally. Sometimes everyday people just happen to capture an incredible moment on video or in a picture, and when they share it with a few people, it quickly spreads like a wildfire without them even intending for it to do so.

So the question here is: how are viral videos and viral internet memes affected by intellectual property law?

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Many people have an entrepreneurial spirit, and that's a tremendous gift to have. It also means you will have a lot of responsibility when you start your own business. When you go this route, you will have to consider a lot of very critical issues to ensure your business is successful.

First and foremost, you have to make the decision to start your company. Great! But it's not as simple as just saying "I run my own business now." What type of business will you have? Is it a partnership? A corporation? A limited liability company? A non-profit? This first step is incredibly important, because it will dictate all of the legal setup and documentation you need to do to ensure your company is compliant with the law and properly established.

You will also want to familiarize yourself with your state's rules, regulations and laws relating to starting (and maintaining) a company. There will be many forms, fees and tax documents that need to be completed, paid and filed.

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Posted on in Business Litigation

Spring can be a good time to catch up on important chores. This is not only the case for households, but for businesses as well.

Now, spring cleaning regarding their physical workplace is not the only type of spring cleaning that can be helpful for businesses. So too can spring cleaning regarding their digital presence and practices.

Here are some digital spring cleaning steps California business owners can take:

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When it comes to attaining new, skilled employees who show a lot of promise, companies don't care where they come from. What they do need to care about is making sure that every hire is done properly and is in compliance with the law. So when companies look abroad to recruit new talent, they need to make sure that every step they take is done so methodically and legally.

Employment visas are incredibly valuable for both parties involved in the visa. For the employer, they can bring in a talented person who will help their company grow. For the employee, they get a chance to realize their professional dreams while also having the opportunity to live in the United States. In addition, they can turn that employment-based visa into a chance at a permanent stay in the U.S.

Employment-based visas (or EB visas) come in a variety of forms. From EB-1 to EB-5, these visas all serve specialized functions. Some are for people of exceptional skill; some are for people who work in niche industries or areas; others still are for people with exceptional talent in athletics, the arts and business. These visas can help many people and many companies.

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Proper planning is required if your dream is to start a business in Silicon Valley. A detailed business plan will go a long way in helping you start your business as well as ensure your business goals are protected in the future.

Your idea needs to be developed and for your business to succeed, you need to understand the market, your competition and how to set your business goals to make your business successful. Every business idea is unique and relies on specific factors. However, every business can benefit from following a carefully drafted business plan.

Your business plan should address specific items to help your business now and in the future. What should your business plan include? Listed below are items to consider addressing in your plan:

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Most people have heard of a trademark before, and even if they don't know what a trademark is, they can probably recognize the iconic "TM" symbol near a logo, word or phrase. A trademark is actually quite simple : it signifies that the mark (may that be a logo, word, phrase or something else) is of a certain source and shouldn't be confused with other sources that may make similar products.

Trademarks don't protect against other companies making or selling the same product as a company that has a trademark. Rather, the trademark prevents other companies from using similar or confusingly identical logos, phrases and imagery to the company with the trademark. The other companies have an obvious incentive for doing this: they want to reap the benefits of the trademarked company's reputation. The company with the trademark obviously wants to protect that.

Registering a trademark can be a little complicated, but it is important to note that you still have rights even if you don't register the mark. However, getting the trademark registered is a very crucial step to protecting your company's identity.

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Contracts are a staple in the world of business. They are entered into by individual parties, companies, subcontractors, real estate developers, and really anyone trying to see a project to its completion or attempting to garner a positive and fruitful professional partnership. However, not every contract is fulfilled in the way the parties intend it to be. Sometimes one party fails to hold up their end of the bargain, or the contract is breached in some other way that ruins the original intent of the deal.

A contract can be breached in myriad ways, so it is difficult to outline exactly what an individual or business could do when they are involved with a breach of contract. But there are a few things to expect and prepare for in all cases.

The first is that there will likely be language in that contract that dictates how a breach of contract is handled. You could abide by this contract's provisions and utilize those directions to solve your breach of contract. However, if that is unsatisfactory, you could take legal action. A lawsuit could yield compensation in the form of damages that one company requests as a result of the breach of contract.

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Patents are vital to the world of intellectual property. Whether a company is trying to protect a mass-produced product, or a small, independent content creator is trying to protect their work, a patent is crucial to ensuring that the company or individual receives the credit they deserve for creating that work.

But ultimately, what is a patent? Formally, it is a legal protection that forbids other people from recreating, repurposing or using your work for their purposes without your consent. This is referred to as a "negative right." In other words, it grants you the right to exclude other people from doing something. Once a patent is granted, then no other person or company can make an independent claim that they created or invented the work protect under patent.

Before a patent is granted, though, there is an extensive patent application process, and the rights granted to the creator applying for a patent are important during this process. For example, before you apply for a patent, you have no legal protections whatsoever. That means that another company or creator could be independently creating a similar (or identical) piece of work to your own and they would not be violating any rules or laws.

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When it comes to effective advertising, most professionals agree that location is crucial. You need to put ads where they will be seen by the most people in order to get the maximum return on your investment.

But what happens if your business' advertising campaign interferes with the advertising rights that a rival company paid top dollar for? This scenario is currently playing out in court between Wells Fargo and an NFL franchise.

The Minnesota Vikings are currently building a new Stadium in downtown Minneapolis. Like most sports stadiums these days, this one will bear the name of a major corporation. U.S. Bank purchased the naming rights for a reported $220 million.

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As social media continues to grow in popularity, the more it becomes ingrained into our daily lives. For many people, social media has replaced face-to-face interactions with people and for some, it even replaces watching the news.

But because of social media's immediate access to content, social media companies - and sometimes even their users - find themselves walking into a legal gray area, especially in regards to intellectual property rights. It's an issue that some of our California readers may be following, as it has cropped up in the news in recent months because of issues concerning NFL sports clips.

Though the NFL has been taking aggressive legal actions to prevent copyright infringement and protect its intellectual property rights over exclusive programming and sports clips, some believe users and social media companies may have the right to fair use. If this is the case, then the NFL would need to be more cautious about sending out cease and desist letters and takedown notices in the future.

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The average person's work experience in America has changed dramatically over the past half-century. It used to be the case that a worker just out of college could get hired by a company and stay with that organization for most or all of his career. But for better and worse, these kinds of career-long employment opportunities rarely exist anymore.

Instead, the average American worker can expect to have numerous jobs throughout his career. And it is increasingly becoming the norm for workers to work for more than one employer at a time - either in the form of a second job or through a contracting scenario. This relationship can be beneficial for workers, but it can also be exploitative. The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced that it wants to crack down on companies taking the latter approach.

In Silicon Valley and elsewhere, companies are increasingly relying on outsourcing, subcontracting and temporary employment (such as through a staffing agency). It is expensive to hire and train a large, full-time staff - especially if your company's work needs fluctuate over time. That's one reason why these alternative employment relationships are attractive.

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There's little debate about the fact that America's patent system has its share of problems. Especially in recent decades, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has "rubber stamped" too many patent applications, effectively issuing patents that would not hold up under careful scrutiny. Usually, these patents are for broad concepts or vague business processes.

Challenging or defending the validity of a patent in court can be time-consuming and expensive, which is why the USPTO began offering an alternative procedure called an inter partes review (IPR). But many allege that this system, which has been in place since 2012, invalidates far too many patents and that the patent office improperly interprets the patents that it is asked to review. Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to weigh in on a challenge to the IPR procedure.

The case to be heard was originally filed by Cuozzo Speed Technologies LLC. In 2012, Cuozzo had its speedometer patent invalidated after rival company Garmin Ltd filed the first-ever IPR petition. Cuozzo alleges that of all the cases which have come under inter partes review, nearly 85 percent have ended with some or all or the challenged claims being canceled. The company calls the review procedure "surprisingly lethal."

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It is generally understood that work environments in Silicon Valley are unlike those in the rest of the United States. Whether the business is a small tech startup or a more established company, everything about the work experience tends to be more fluid. Work may happen at all hours of the day and night, colleagues become friends and the boundaries between professional and personal life start to blur.

While this is an exciting environment to work in, it also comes with risks. If you own the business and hired the employees, you are ultimately responsible for resolving any employment disputes that arise. And you will likely be held liable if those disputes are not resolved quickly and fairly. According to the results of a recent survey, one of the biggest problems facing Silicon Valley companies is sexual harassment.

" The Elephant In The Valley " was a survey taken by more than 220 women in Silicon Valley who have been working in tech for at least a decade. Approximately 75 percent of survey respondents held high-ranking positions within their companies.

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On January 1, 2016, California's minimum wage was raised from $9 per hour to $10 per hour for most employees. Because there are a few exceptions, it is important to understand how the law may affect you or your business.

At $10 per hour, California currently has the highest state minimum wage in the country. Employers governed by state and federal laws are required to comply with the law that is better for workers. So even though the federal minimum wage rate is $7.25 per hour, most California employers must pay employees at least $10 per hour.

According to the California Department of Industrial Relations, exceptions to the state minimum wage law include:

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As we wrote in a post last week, protecting your intellectual property has never been more important than it is now in the internet age. This is true for software developers, but also for anyone with a marketable idea, song or image. Fortunes can be made online by leveraging the unlikeliest of viral sensations.

A good example of this phenomenon is "Grumpy Cat," a real housecat who always appears to be wearing a frown (partially due to an under-bite). In 2012, when some of the cat's pictures were shared online, the feline became an internet meme. Since that time, Grumpy Cat's owners have apparently been able to secure lucrative deals to license trademarks and copyrights associated with the cat's likeness.

Recently, Grumpy Cat Limited demonstrated that it is serious about retaining control of its intellectual property. The company filed a lawsuit against Grenade Beverage for violating its licensing agreement.

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State Bar of California NYSBA Santa Clara County Bar Association US Department of Homeland Security US Court of Appeals US Patent and Trademark Office
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