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Questions Answered by Robert Philip Cogan
1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for California on
Q: Do we have an elder financial abuse case?

My dad is a 83 years widower and recently met a female who became his best friend. They have developed an intimacy relationship over the past months. I recently found out that my dad lent his female friend $210,000 in the past few months without a promissory note. According to my dad, his female... Read more »

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Nov 23, 2020

This question appears to be requesting a legal opinion. That is normally done within an attorney-client relationship. Based on the limited fact statement above there seems to be a problem. An attorney might be able advise your whether you have standing to do anything about it even if your father... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Business Formation and Business Law for California on
Q: I what to incorporate so as to give an Artificially Intelligent agent legal rights as a corporation, is that possible?

Can the bylaws be written so an A.I.'s choices are recognized by a corporate board or the AI's code be recognized as part of the bylaws and by default, its choices have to be recognized?

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Nov 23, 2020

Attempting setting up bylaws in this manner could be problematic. It may be better to decide what your business objective is. An attorney can evaluate your needs and seek to implement your business objectives by recognized legal means. It may be unnecessary to attempt a highly unusual approach. You... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Contracts for California on
Q: Car loan. Biggest mistake I could have made. Now I need advice on which way to go.

My situation is about a vehicle loan. I opened a $3,000 loan on my vehicle in 2018. I havent been able to pay it off. I am charged $400 every month for the interest. I want to get a better car for my family. I don't know what would happen of I let the car go and they take it. Will I be... Read more »

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Nov 23, 2020

Interest of $400 per month on a $3,000 loan? If that is really the case it could be loan sharking. An attorney can look at the numbers and see what they mean. You might possibly be entitled to relief.

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2 Answers | Asked in Business Formation and Business Law for California on
Q: I have an LLC biz license in CA for a brewery/distillery. I've decided to start my hand sanitizer biz w/a dif name/logo

I have maybe another 2 offshoot business (all using brewing ingredients or manufacturing brew-related items) as well. I'm wondering if I need 3 separate business licenses/ llc's-like subsidiaries. The "parent" company "St. James Brewery & Distillery LLC" will now... Read more »

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Nov 19, 2020

It is wise to consider all these factors. It appears that your objective is to get the best result for your bottom line and to minimize risks. Among the many factors to be taken into account are whether you are planning for a long term duration of the company or whether you are seeking to build the... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for California on
Q: Can I patent and idea or concept of a device me and my team created?
Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Nov 17, 2020

There is excellent tutorial material at www.uspto.gov/patents.

Spend some time studying this. It will allow you to do a much better job of presenting your invention. You will be able to ask better questions and enable the patent attorney do do a better job for you.

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1 Answer | Asked in Libel & Slander for California on
Q: Business defamation

I own a cosmetic brand in the usa and there's a popular app that evaluates safety of cosmetic products. It rated my products badly and stated they're not safe to use because they contain certain ingredients. These ingredients are researched to be toxic in certain concentrations, which is... Read more »

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Nov 8, 2020

Many do-it-yourself options do not work in a scenario like this. This fact statement by itself does not appear to establish whether or not a legal a legal wrong has been committed. Many legal and practical matters need to by considered.

If you are not content to incur any losses resulting...
Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Contracts and Employment Law for California on
Q: I want to check whether my company can hire online coaches and classify them as contractors.

Details:

- It's a Delaware C-corp.

- The coaches and clients could be anywhere in the United States. For the coaches, we can control which states to hire them.

- The coaches will coach their clients over Zoom.

If that's possible, I'd like some help to... Read more »

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Nov 8, 2020

There are ways to draft a contract that will meet the requirements in most circumstances. My experience in handling audit issues under AB5 has shown that there are basic principles that can used to justify classifying a coach as a contractor rather than an employee. My extensive experience in... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property for California on
Q: Hello, Can you patent a phrases imprinted on a sandal if the phrases came from a historical book
Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Nov 6, 2020

It sounds like you want to protect the design of a sandal. Phrases don't get patented. The question is not clear, but an attorney can help you reach your objective if s/he knows what you want to do.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: How can I legally sell my tee shirt design based on the Brady Bunch?
Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Nov 6, 2020

What does "based on" mean? More information is needed to evaluate the situation.

See disclaimer below.

2 Answers | Asked in Contracts for California on
Q: Writing and NDA for over seas contract

I want to work with a contractor that is based in Russia, and I need an NDA that would legally hold the contractor accountable if there was a breach in the contract that required us the go to a US court. Are there templates of NDA's that take into consideration working with someone over seas?

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Nov 6, 2020

"Is there a template?" How much time, effort, and money are you putting in to this? There are many different issues to cover. Even if you have a template, you still need an attorney to evaluate what it does not say. I can usually tell a contract that is cobbled together from templates by... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Intellectual Property for California on
Q: I signed a non-compete with a toddler/ infant lifestyle company. Would a job at a children’s food company violate it?

I’m a freelance illustrator and am in a contract with no termination date with a toddler lifestyle company. There a potential job I’m interested in illustrating children’s books for an upstart children’s superfood and edutainment brand. Would this be a violation of my non compete even if... Read more »

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Aug 31, 2020

The generality is that non-compete agreements are not enforceable in California. That is only a generality. Situations exist where a service provider must not compete whether or not there is a non-compete agreement. Your question does not include facts that would be necessary to make a... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Trademark for California on
Q: Hi, Can I use the words 'Muck boots' in a business name? For example - Women Muck Boots
Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Nov 26, 2019

The general criterion for deciding if a name should be used is whether the use will cause a likelihood of confusion in the marketplace as to the source of the goods. The conflicting mark need not be the same as the new mark. A search would have to be done and an attorney would have to interpret the... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Business Law, Employment Law and Communications Law for California on
Q: Some employees refuse to use company software - instant messaging - how can they be disciplined/forced to use it?

I have an instant messaging system on my office computers. Some users are logging out. We can’t fire them, but how can I set consequences for logging out or ignoring messages? What can I do to make the software so users can’t disconnect? Program is Synology Chat. Server is Windows.

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Nov 20, 2019

There is a middle ground between firing people and letting them sabotage your system. An attorney can provide rules and procedures that can be set up and provided to employees. Rules can be enforced without firing people.

Firing employees who perform their tasks, except for the ones they...
Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Q: Is the patent on the locking system or the way it fixes to the support bar? Or on the actual design of the bag?

I’m confused as to the patent. So anything that locks to a cross member with a combination lock in a portable bag form? Would be patent infringement?

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Nov 19, 2019

It would help to know the number of the patent you are talking about.

If this is important to you, consult an attorney.

Providing detailed legal advice goes far beyond the scope of Ask a Lawyer.

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2 Answers | Asked in Intellectual Property for California on
Q: My patent was stolen by another employee. What legal actions can I take against him?

My patent was stolen by another employee who contributed nothing to its conception. I did not even know him when I conceived my idea. He inserted his name onto the application without my knowledge. I have paper trails of my invention including (1) the official company announcement acknowledging... Read more »

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Nov 18, 2019

The answer hasn't changed since the last time you asked this. You still need to know if you had an employee patent agreement. Witnesses can attest that you worked on the product. It is highly unlikely that witnesses know what the invention is. The invention is what the attorney wrote in the... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Business Law for California on
Q: Is It possible for a PC with a MD director and P.A., for an esthetician to hold shares through joint venture or other?
Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Nov 17, 2019

If you mean a medical practice PC, probably not. However, the question is unclear. What is it you want to do? Just mentioning "holding shares through a joint venture" does not give much of a hint about what legal solution might be appropriate.

2 Answers | Asked in Consumer Law for California on
Q: I rented a car w/out showing my license, credit card info, or address. Just online w name,email,phone. Do I have to pay?

The cashier was trying to leave early, I barely caught them despite being in 45min before closing time. They just reached over the counter and handed me the keys.

All I did was reserve the car online with my name email and phone number.

They never verified who I was or took any... Read more »

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Nov 14, 2019

That is one way to look at the issue.

The rental company might rephrase the questions as follows:

The customer reserved a car knowing full well that car rentals are not free. The customer undertook to pay for the car rental. A contract was formed. Rental company provided the...
Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Intellectual Property for California on
Q: My patent was stolen by a director at a previous employer. What legal actions can I take against him?

In 2013, I invented an aircraft concept. At the company's recommendation, I filed and received a patent for it (patent issued Aug 2018). In 2015, I modified this patent to include another design feature. During the internal application process, I learned that a director inserted his name... Read more »

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Nov 13, 2019

In most cases the company owns any inventions produced by the employee within the course and scope of employment. Did you sign a patent and proprietary agreement when you became an employee? Aerospace companies that get large contracts use these agreements. It is possible you have no rights.... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for California on
Q: Could I publish a book about vocal experts' opinions on a topic, taken from interviews/info online, without permission?

Could a couple of their names be featured in the book title? Could I write each chapter focusing on one public figure scientist, explaining their perspective on the topic as researched through free material found online? Would a disclaimer at the beginning of the book saying these scientists... Read more »

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Nov 12, 2019

In the absence of careful legal planning, this book could run into a number of legal problems. A disclaimer is a good way to avoid presenting a misleading picture. However, disclaimers and attributions in bibliographies do not avoid copyright problems. There are issues of derivative works and fair... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Q: Is the claim for a cooling and heating product under patent??

For example the Icy-hot product..if I make another natural based product that cools and then heats the skin with all organic ingredients is it legal to manufacture and get a patent?

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Nov 3, 2019

See https://www.uspto.gov/patents-getting-started/general-information-concerning-patents

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