Category Archives: Commercial Matter

Start-Up Basics, Part 2 – The Importance Of Being In Agreement

By: Brian J. Meli

This is Part 2 of a two-part article on the legal basics of starting a business. Part 1 can be read here

The last time around, we discussed some of the ways to turn a promising new business idea into a real live commercial entity. Now let’s assume you’ve selected your business form, registered it (if necessary) with the appropriate governing body of your home state, and taken all the other incidental but necessary steps to achieving businesshood. Now what?

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Start-Up Basics, Part 1 – Laying The Right Foundation

By: Brian J. Meli

This is Part 1 of a two-part article on the legal basics of starting a business. Part 2 can be read here.

It starts with a great idea and ends with a thriving, profitable business. Every entrepreneur’s vision is the same: take a conceptually promising idea and with a lot of hard work and a healthy dose of ingenuity, turn it into a successful commercial enterprise. But as any entrepreneur worth his seed money knows, it’s always easier on paper than it is in execution. The reality is that, more often than not, the business goals of a start-up go unmet; the lofty dream of seven figure revenues, unfulfilled.

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Curing A Common Headache: Healthy Habits In Health And Wellness Advertising

Male Executive With Severe Headache - Isolated

By: Brian J. Meli

The healthcare industry is hands down the most regulated on the planet; and for many a good reason. As healthcare costs seem to be on an irrevocable ascent into the firmament, cracking down on anti-competitive behavior among healthcare providers is priority 1A of regulators. Last year, nearly half of all antitrust enforcement actions filed were against healthcare companies, according to the Federal Trade Commission’s annual report. But unfair competition is only part of the government’s oversight of the industry. Regulatory priority 1B, if you will, is protecting consumers from deceptive trade practices; a pursuit that extends well beyond the boundaries of the traditional healthcare sector.

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The Fascinating Art of Visual Deception In Advertising

Frustrated you don’t look like the Adonis-inspired models in those health ads? Fear not. You may be a lot closer than you think.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-dixon/weight-loss-secrets_b_3643898.html#!

The content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only. The information provided in this blog is not intended to and does not constitute legal advice, and your use of this blog does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and The Law Firm of Brian J. Meli. Under the rules of certain jurisdictions, the material included in this blog may constitute attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Every case is different and the results obtained in your case may be different.

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Supreme Court To Small Business Owners: Read Your Service Contracts!

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By: Brian J. Meli

If there’s one thing to take away from the Supreme Court’s opinion last month in American Express v. Italian Colors Restaurant, it’s the renewed importance for small businesses to read their service contracts–particularly the dispute resolution sections–very carefully.

Italian Colors restaurant was a participating Amex merchant that didn’t particularly care for the company’s ‘honor all cards’ policy, which mandates that when a merchant chooses to accept Amex cards from its customers, it must accept them all. Italian Colors and others wanted the option of accepting Amex’s premium and corporate cards, but not the personal cards that subject them to significantly higher fees than competing cards (roughly 30% higher, as the complaint states). And so they joined with others to bring a class-action lawsuit against American Express, alleging the company was using its monopoly power to keep fees artificially high, in violation of federal unfair competition laws.

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FTC Issues Warning To Search Engines: We’re Watching You

By: Brian J. Meli

On June 24th the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection sent several dozen strongly-worded letters to Internet search engines. Those letters served as a warning: clearly and prominently distinguish paid advertising from natural results or you may find yourselves in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act, which prohibits unfair or deceptive trade practices. The rationale the FTC gave was equally straightforward: since the agency’s original guidance letters were distributed to search engines back in 2002, there has been a noticeable decline in the level of voluntary compliance.

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Demystifying The Mystery Shopper

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By: Brian J. Meli

The mystery shopper (or secret shopper in some circles) has long been used as a way for businesses to gain real-world consumer insight into their products and services. Mystery shopping gives company decision makers a customer’s-eye view into the purchase experience of their brands, and, among other things, a practical understanding of how those brands are regarded in the marketplace. More and more though, the clandestine tactic of mystery shopping is being used to gain a competitive advantage over the competition. What better way, after all, to figure out what your chief rival’s up to than by simply asking his employees? The question is, when does snooping on the competition cross the line? Continue reading

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Advertising Agencies: Your Client’s Lawyers Work For Them, Not You

50's TV commercial

By: Brian J. Meli

There’s a dangerous and all too common perception in the advertising industry that the client’s legal department has the agency’s back. On this subject I won’t mince words: they don’t. Your typical agency account director will fervently argue she’s developed a very close, strategic partnership with her clients that’s built on mutual trust. And my response to her is: it doesn’t matter; they still don’t.

I can say so without hesitation because the rules governing attorney ethical conduct demand that they don’t.

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