intellectual property

How Intellectual Property Laws Affect Small Businesses

Intellectual property is one of the most valuable assets for a small business that can help in competing against larger market players. Your business can achieve exclusive brand recognition and market dominance through the strategic handling of your company’s intangible assets.

By hiring the services of an experienced intellectual property attorney, you can develop and protect your IP assets while establishing yourself as an industry expert. Loopholes in intellectual property ownership can create legal issues, which may have distracting and financially damaging consequences for small business owners.

What Does Intellectual Property Cover?

Intellectual property refers to the “creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names, and images used in commerce” as per the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). These usually include copyrights, patents, database rights, moral rights, inventions, and trademarks.

Intellectual Property Laws for Small Businesses in Alabama

Copyright Laws

Copyright is done for protecting any type of original work, including music, books, social media, photos, and research. Anything that falls under the definition of “creative expression” is protected by the US Copyright Office through copyright laws. Small businesses need to register their copyright as per the laws to protect against infringement.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA) employs the guidelines listed by the World International Property Organization (WIPO) to allow copyright protection. This is a major revision of copyright laws in the US, which now allows member countries to protect the rights of computer databases and programs among other works.

Trademark Laws

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is responsible for administering the Trademark Act of 1946. Trademarks can be in the form of a word, design, symbol, phrase, or a combination of these. It identifies and distinguishes the products of a company from others.

Trademarks are the same as service marks, except they are used for distinguishing services. Small businesses should be aware that while they can register their trademark with the USPTO, the law doesn’t necessarily allow the use of the trademark. There are several marks that can’t be protected, such as the word ‘milk.’

Patent Law

Patents are more diverse and complex as compared to copyrights and trademarks. The America Invents Act (AIA) made several amendments to the US patent law and dramatically changed the manner in which these are filed.

Patents grant property rights to inventors for inventing new, useful, and original products, designs, processes, and plants. Inventors have the right to prevent others from using, making, selling, or offering to sell the invention.

Trade Secret Laws

Trade secrets are the information that a business wants to keep confidential because of economic value. Formulas for making a product, app, computer program, technique, methods, and processes are common examples of trade secrets. The Economic Espionage Act (EEA) of 1996 makes it illegal to steal or misappropriate trade secrets. In 2016, Defend Trade Secrets Act was set up to let small businesses pursue private civil action against theft.

Intellectual Property Infringement in Alabama

Intellectual property (IP) infringement takes place when a protected work is copied or used without the owner’s consent. Federal law enforces the unauthorized use of intellectual property, which can have serious consequences for small and large businesses. This includes damage to the company’s reputation, financial penalties, and criminal charges.

Avoiding Intellectual Property Infringement

Small businesses should take measures to prevent their innovations from getting stolen or copied. You can also avoid committing IP fraud by building a successful IP management strategy. In many cases, IP frauds are committed unknowingly and unintentionally.

These are a few tips for preventing intellectual property infringement:

  • IP audit: You should conduct a thorough IP audit to identify potential assets and any related threats.
  • Established IP protections: You should register your copyrights, patents, and trademarks for establishing public ownership of creative innovations and assets.
  • Monitor competition: You should keep an eye on industry competitors to detect any intellectual property theft before it does any real damage.
  • Use media wisely: You should create original content, graphics, and music for advertisements. If not, you should stick to royalty-free media.
  • Train employees: Small businesses should conduct organization-wide programs for bringing awareness about IP laws and infringement consequences.

If you have been accused of IP infringement or believe that your business’ IP has been compromised, you should speak with an intellectual property attorney immediately.

There are special considerations to be taken into account if you are entering foreign markets or looking at an acquisition or merger. IP rights are usually only valid in the US or the country they are granted in. They don’t get transferred automatically when a company is taken over. While selling your business, you should factor in the value of your IP rights in the final sale price.

Intellectual property protections are taken seriously by both state and federal governments since they create jobs, advance economic growth, and help in solving problems that have an effect on communities. Your business can play an essential role in supporting economic growth and global innovation by using, understanding, and respecting different types of IP.

Get Trusted Legal Advice from Our Seasoned Intellectual Property Attorneys

The proven intellectual property attorneys at the BHM Law Group have specialized knowledge about intellectual property and how it affects small businesses. Our business litigation attorneys will understand your operations and support your growth.

To set up your free, no-obligation initial consultation with us, call us at (205) 964-9764 or reach us online.


supply chain legal issues in Birmingham Alabama

How Can Businesses Effectively Deal with Legal Issues in Supply Chain Management?

Supply chain management in any industry involves a careful balancing act between two key relationships – the vendors and customers. Logistical issues must be handled with skill and foresight in order to ensure a match between demand and supply at all times. Based on this, there are times when things don’t go as planned and you need to fall back on legal remedies and documentation.

Due diligence, merger control, and foreign investment restrictions are a few things that may feature heavily in supply chain management, making it important to speak with a qualified business law attorney.

Common Legal Issues in Supply Chain Management

Supply chains have once again come under the spotlight. Recent economic and geopolitical headwinds have placed the focus on transforming and strengthening supply chains. There is pressure from a multitude of angles that businesses need to be aware of.

These are a few common legal issues that businesses face with supply chain management:

  • Increased scrutiny on maintaining fair supply chains and compliance in accordance with ESG standards.
  • Protecting data while allowing digital transformation for anticipating, documenting, and mitigating supply chain issues.
  • Rethinking the legal issues surrounding the shortage of raw materials and price inflation.
  • Industry cooperation for creating a new approach to procurement.
  • Compliance with employment and labor standards on a global level.

Legal Concerns with Data Privacy in Supply Chain Management

Data privacy is an integral component of supply chain management with the advent of digital transformation. Companies require personal data for tracking items. Sharing this data requires data privacy regulation. As a business, you need to implement strict data privacy regulations from the very beginning.

From a legal standpoint, you can avoid a lot of trouble by considering the following factors when creating a design process:

  • Who will collect the data?
  • Where will the data be collected, stored, and processed?
  • How will the data be collected?
  • Why will the data be collected?
  • How will the data be protected?
  • Who can access the data?

Data privacy issues can have far-reaching consequences. You need a business attorney in Alabama with solid knowledge of supply chain management and relevant laws to ensure your business comes out on the other side unscathed.

Managing Risks with Third Party Suppliers

Any manufacturer considering the engagement and acquisition of a third-party supplier is required to identify the operative and legal risks in the supply chain. This can be done by asking:

  • Is the supply chain reliable?
  • Does the third-party supplier have visibility of their own supply chain?
  • How does the supplier deal with disruptions?
  • Has the supplier invested in digitizing the supply chain?

You need to be careful about entering long-term contracts. You may become stuck in an arrangement that is not commercially viable for you. This became too common during the pandemic when a number of companies were unable to fulfill their contractual obligations.

Attorneys play a significant role in helping companies mitigate risks and completely rejuvenate the supply chains. It can take years to implement a project and correct course. This is why you should be conscientious of legal issues and take the necessary steps to remain prepared. It’s critical to undertake due diligence and hire the right legal counsel.

Reducing Legal Risks Associated with Supply Chain Management in Alabama

Most legal issues involving supply chain management are concerned with the law of the sale of goods. Uniform Commercial Code or UCC has been adopted by all 50 states. Article 2 of the UCC is a body of law that governs the terms and conditions under which goods are purchased and sold. This is unless the parties agree to other terms under the sales contract.

UCC Article 2 is general yet comprehensive in most aspects. Contracting parties should employ those terms and conditions that benefit them in a transaction. You should ensure terms involving the price, quantity, delivery, and condition of goods are clearly stated.

You should also consider including other factors, such as:

  • Delivery of the goods.
  • Warranty exclusions.
  • Risk of loss in transit.
  • Liability limitation.
  • Intellectual property rights.
  • Limitations on when claims can be purchased.
  • Infringement-related indemnification obligations.

Other related issues that you may want to include are choice of law, forum, jurisdiction, and payment of attorney’s fees.

Due diligence, merger control, and foreign investment restrictions are a few factors that feature heavily when acquiring a key supplier. You need to remain compliant with social standards, local governance standards, and environmental standards.

Turn to Litigation When Necessary

Commercial parties are usually amenable to resolving their differences. However, there can be times when repeated concessions start taking a toll. You may hit a downward slope on the value of your goods and business. In such situations, it’s recommended that you turn to litigation and ask your capable business law attorney for legal solutions.

Litigation is usually used in supply chain management for seeking monetary compensation where there is a breach of commitment. Parties may resort to litigation for compelling one side to perform or refrain from doing an activity. These matters usually require court input because of their legal powers of compulsion.

Our Experienced Business Law Attorneys are Here to Give You the Right Legal Advice and Support. Call Now.

The attorneys at BHM Law Group take the commercial objectives of a business and translate them into empowering contractual documentation that includes robust terms and conditions applying to a wide array of distribution, transportation, and supply agreements.

To schedule your free consultation, call us at (205) 964-9764 or fill out this online contact form.

smart city technology

The Legal Implications of Smart City Technologies

“Smart City” has become a popular buzzword in urban development in the United States. With Montgomery and Birmingham receiving Smart City grants as they expand in size and scope because of the influx of so many people moving there from northern American cities such as Philly and NYC, it’s time that businesses looked at the legal implications of smart city technologies.

The aim is to increase efficiency through resource allocation and management. This requires extensive data collection using sensors that may fall into the realm of intruding into the private life of individuals.

What Does the Smart City Law Entail?

Smart city law encompasses the regulations that are developed for the effective design of smart cities. It has an overarching aim of enhancing the quality of life for citizens through more sustainable use of resources and smart tech. However, the laws lag behind technological development by a few decades.

The result is that regulators and courts, whether code-based or common law has to use the closest legal tools from earlier stages of development for dealing with the new challenges thrown up by smart cities. The present laws and regulations may be able to deal with smart city developments and the response to the Internet-of-Things (IoT). Based on this, it may not be enough to identify those areas where legal issues may arise.

Electronic Communications Networks

Regulators have a key challenge in accommodating IoT and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) within the current legal regimes. They tend to closely control the spectrum and require large sums for auctioning licensed frequencies.

Tensions have already become apparent between developers of IoT devices and licensed operators. In fact, IoT and M2M operators are increasingly being provided “white space” spectrum. The holders of expensive licenses are demanding protection.

“Kill switch” is a key mechanism that is database-driven and allows regulators to force offending IoT devices to get disconnected. Viability for IoT investors and developers depends on the approach accepted by regulators in every jurisdiction. This gives rise to key questions:

  • When to use a kill switch
  • Can IoT developers warrant the reliability and validity of their services in the face of a sudden switch-off?

Product Liability in Smart Cities

If a self-driving car in a smart city crashes and results in personal injury or death, who can be held responsible for the injury or accident? Recent incidents in the UK have compelled US authorities to develop insurance products for self-driving cars.

In the same manner, who can be made responsible if a wearable device failed in administering the medication it was designed to do? The failure could have been because of a data breach or regulatory intervention. These questions can only be resolved by an entirely new spectrum of specially-curated law. Furthermore, it also needs the application of existing principles and causes of action.

Implications for Data and Privacy

One of the most relevant areas of concern relates to the processing, ownership, use, and security of data generated within the smart city infrastructure by IoT devices. Data concerned with individual activities, location, and intimate personal information will be stored making it important to understand who is responsible for the information.

A lot of attention is focused on implementing new data laws through GDPR or General Data Protection Regulations. Other concerns include coming up with funds for smart city projects by resource-starved authorities.

Experts claim the solution to this lies in public-private joint ventures and commercial partnerships. This gives rise to the key question of how the potential value of data can be a driving force behind private sector involvement.

The thin balance between facility and security is a pressing question for today’s civil society. There is also a rise in significant issues in relation to the consent of capture and processing of data.

There are arguments in favor of creating a form of generalized “pre-consent”. And increased reliance (on the part of municipal and government authorities) on private-sector funding for innovation may give rise to reduced protection standards for data subjects.

Contract Structures for Smart Cities

The amalgamation of public and private sectors can create a challenging array of relationships. This holds true for meshing old infrastructure with young technology in public-private joint ventures and commercial partnerships. There is a risk of potential gaps where legal responsibilities are concerned with several different suppliers involved in the testing, development, and implementation of solutions.

In addition, there is the increased possibility of developing business structures that require a rethinking of recognized legal forms. For instance, the present structure of limited partnerships, joint stock, and limited liability companies are creatures of a previous industrial revolution. Blockchain, IoT, and related strands require a more decentralized and distributed autonomous organization.

There is considerable debate among legislators about who can be sued and who will be entering into contracts in smart cities.

Legal Help is Here from Highly Rated Business Law Attorneys in Alabama

The seasoned attorneys at the BHM Law Group realize the need to understand issues posed by the globalization of data services. Our attorneys can survey the legal and practical issues affecting IoT implementation and smart city projects to make sure that your business is on the right side of this rapidly developing area of the law. To set up your consultation, call (205) 964-9764 or reach us online.


data privacy

The Importance of Compliance With Data Privacy Laws

Businesses and organizations across the United States collect user data for understanding online consumer behavior and thinking. This data plays an essential role in product innovation for meeting audience needs. With that said, companies are required to protect customer information and comply with data privacy laws to do this legally.

Businesses in Alabama need to be familiar with California Online Privacy Protection Act (CCPA) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Privacy compliance is essential because it restricts business freedom and protects consumer interests. You should consult with a qualified business law attorney that helps you navigate this challenging legal landscape and avoid heavy sanctions or fines against your company.

Data Privacy Laws Protect Users’ Right to Privacy

In the same way that you cannot force a person sitting next to you on a flight to tell their name, you cannot trick or push people online to give up their personal information. In situations where an individual allows an online business to store this information, the information should only be used for proper and legal reasons.

For instance, you cannot sell someone’s details to a third party without consent. As a business, you need to comply with this fundamental right to privacy if you want to avoid heavy penalties and maintain your brand’s reputation.

Maintain Your Brand Image

In today’s online shopping world, almost everyone buys things online. Entering your name, contact information, email address, and location is a normal part of the transaction. With that said, it’s critical that businesses promise to use this information only for sending updates about any upcoming products or related things.

Consumers may not appreciate getting bombarded with marketing calls, emails, and texts from other numerous brands. They may not want excessive advertisements from you either. You may lose the consumer and become “that website” that sells information. You may also have complaints filed against you.

You need to respect and follow international data privacy laws to avoid this from happening. You also need to show that you are trustworthy.

Data Privacy Law Compliance to Avoid Data Breaches

A data breach refers to a security violation where sensitive information gets stolen and used. If this happens to your brand, you will lose customer trust. In fact, recovering the stolen data may just happen to cost you a lot more.

Businesses need to have strong data security measures for privacy compliance. You can avoid data breaches and any damage caused to your business by complying with these laws.

Noncompliance Can be Expensive 

The biggest reason to comply with data privacy laws is that you may end up paying more than you could possibly save with non-compliance. You may be slapped with a fine if you don’t follow the laws. In severe cases, the head of a business or the person responsible may also face arrest. Facebook, in 2018, had to pay a whopping $18.6 billion in fines because they violated the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The Federal Trade Commission in the US is empowered by the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act) to pursue any company that violates its Privacy Policies. Businesses guaranteeing consumer data privacy are required to follow through on their promise.

In 2020, the FTC issued a complaint against Zoom because they falsely advertised the use of 256-bit end-to-end encryption for video chats. In reality, the company used less secure privacy measures than they told the public.

Protecting Your Customer’s Data

Businesses need to ensure data privacy is part of their effective standard operating procedure (SOP). This can help with building customer trust, complying with data privacy laws, and helping prevent potential breaches. These are a few steps you can take to comply with data privacy laws:

  • Research: You need to identify the data privacy laws that apply to your company. You need to find the consumer protection laws that can shield your customers, business, and employees.
  • Create an SOP: You need to build a policy related to operational, financial, and sales tasks.
  • Infrastructure Solutions: You may not have the budget for training or employing a privacy protection department, but you need to make sure you can monitor your organization’s data and bolster security efforts by using a data privacy platform.
  • Experts: A knowledgeable law firm can help you understand all applicable laws, consult on legal implications, and build a thorough SOP.

Data privacy laws can quickly change as can be seen in recent years. You need to make sure your business remains updated with the latest changes. Protecting the privacy of your employees, customers, and businesses should be the primary concern of your brand. Without an effective data privacy policy, you may experience devastating financial data breaches.

Get a Skilled and Knowledgeable Business Law Attorney on Your Side

At BHM Law Group, our attorneys realize the importance of data privacy regulations and the need for businesses to keep up with the ever-evolving and increasingly challenging legal landscape. We have helped many businesses become compliant with data privacy and other laws. To request a consultation, call us at (205) 964-9764 or complete this online form.


managing remote employees

Managing Remote Employees in The Covid Era

There has been a significant shift to remote work with many employees in the US looking for greater work-life balance following the Covid-19 pandemic. In relation to this, there are several challenges to managing remote employees and ensuring organizational goals get met each quarter. Managers have a great need to address people, structure, processes, and technology to create an efficient working model.

A leading business law firm with experience in workforce management and labor laws can help you realize your strengths and address all scopes of improvement in managing remote employees.

Challenges in Remote Workforce Management 

These are the more prominent challenges in managing work-from-home employees:


Managers don’t just need to set direction and help employees work in a more effective fashion – they are also required to focus on energizing the team and keeping them motivated. Managers are burdened with providing psychological safety by reiterating a shared purpose and encouraging levity. Remote work can provide successful results by letting different employees get in touch with each other through informal videoconferences.


Remote working tends to amplify any existing difficulty in navigating the different organizational tiers and a lack of clarity. The solution to this leading problem is to shift from siloed and large teams to smaller teams with cross-functionality. Teams can have 5 – 9 people with clear and results-oriented objectives.


It’s crucial to establish a clear cadence of weekly meetings. In fact, many organizations in Alabama prefer scheduling daily meetings for remote workers. This approach needs to be matched with flexibility in managers to deal with more ambiguity related to work tasks and performance.


Managers need to make sure that all their employees have the basics required for completing their tasks. For instance, they should have enough bandwidth for the entire family to be online all day.

Workers should be provided with software tools for completing their job responsibilities as well. This can be for content creation, file sharing, video conferencing, backlog management, channel-based communication, and others.

You may want to consult with a reputable business law firm in your area to understand more about remote working and its legal implications.

Leading Your Workforce from Afar

The most difficult element of remote working is managing the numerous workers and ensuring they are all on the same page. It’s fundamental to understand that from a cultural and psychological viewpoint, your workers will respond differently to the challenges of a home-working environment.

Leaders should energize the whole organization. This can be done by communicating effectively and setting a clear direction. You can offer a strong vision and provide a more realistic outlook to motivate all workers across the organization. It’s also important that you foster a results-oriented culture for empowering and holding the teams accountable to get various things done.

Don’t forget that empowering a team can pay dividends in various ways. Pertaining to this, you need to make sure that you encourage open, productive, and honest communication.

Allow Your Workers to Find a New Routine

There is a disruption to office-based rhythms and flows when employees move to remote working. Managers need to give their teams some leeway. It can be easy to miss important virtual meetings or hit the wrong notes because of packed schedules. Managers should spend time with their team to address the details of working together remotely.

You may have an added job of covering individual constraints and anticipating things that can go wrong. The way companies plan, review, and tweak their workflows needs to reflect this. By creating a digitally facilitated cadence of meetings, you can overcome the challenges of not being in the room together.

Embracing New Supercharged Ways of Communicating

The key to any successful business is enhanced communication. This needs to be embraced and adopted more consciously in remote offices. You need to choose the right channels. Video conferences are better than tele-meetings where complicated topics need to be discussed. You can have real-time meetings for developing a sense of community.

Use Technology to Your Benefit

Effective remote working requires a fast, secure, and stable internet connection. It also needs an ergonomic home office environment. One of the many steps you can ask your workers to take towards setting up an ergonomic home-based office environment is to get a fast, stable, and secure internet connection.

You can also use a suite of SaaS (Software as a Service) technology to empower your remote working needs. These tools allow teams to communicate, co-create, manage processes, and share documents more effectively. A digitally accessible single point of source of information can keep everyone aligned in the organization.

Choose a Dedicated Business Lawyer in Alabama to Improve Your Efficiency

The experienced business law attorneys at the BHM Law Group can help you design an effective structure to allow whole business units and teams to work remotely. Our seasoned attorneys have the skills, resources, and clarity to offer sound legal advice that helps you achieve all your organizational goals and growth. To schedule your consultation, call us at (205) 964-9764 or fill out this online contact form.