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Michigan Business Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Business Law and Trademark for Michigan on
Q: If something isn't properly copyrighted or trademarked can it end up in the Public Domain?

The 1968 film "Night of the Living Dead" wasn't properly trademarked due to an error and ended up in the Public Domain. Various Comic book Characters from the Golden Age of Comics in the 1930s and 1940s also entered the public domain when their publishers went out of business. I just... Read more »

Michael Zamzow
Michael Zamzow answered on Mar 12, 2021

First, be generally aware there is a difference between 'registered' copyrighted works, works protected by copyright, and works with expired copyright protections, and 'works' without copyright protection.

Second, intellectual property is quite a bit like any other type...
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1 Answer | Asked in Business Law and Contracts for Michigan on
Q: Our waste removal contract requires 60 day notice to cancel before our expired contract auto renews. Can we break this?

The contract expires 3/8/2021. We notified the waste removal company that we intend not to renew the contract on 2/23/2021, but contract terms force us into renewal unless a certified letter was mailed on or prior to 1/8/2021. We are not happy with service, and we would like to avoid this ongoing... Read more »

Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris answered on Feb 23, 2021

The renewal provision is probably enforceable.

If the hauler is not performing in accordance with the contract, notify it in writing of the deficiency. Perhaps you can terminate the contract if the deficiency is not cured. Without a copy of the contract, I am at a disadvantage in trying...
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1 Answer | Asked in Business Law for Michigan on
Q: Can majority merge LLC with a newly created LLC that has an Operating Ammendment to buyout partners involuntarily?

I am being forced out of an business in which i own 4% of in Michigan. The operating agreement currently states that you can be bought out only voluntarily, or under circumstances of bankrupty, death, etc. However, not involuntairy.

After bringing up we are not interested in selling, we... Read more »

Michael Zamzow
Michael Zamzow answered on Jan 22, 2021


Generally, Michigan LLC members, whether constituting a majority or minority have different rights. The operating agreement that you're referring to as well as the Michigan Limited Liability Company Act allocate such rights and procedures. Minority members do have some rights....
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1 Answer | Asked in Business Formation and Business Law for Michigan on
Q: Partnership withdrawal and contract debt dispute

If we started a buisness with 5 people and one of the partners volunteer to leave and just wanted what they put in and we oked that in the contract and signed it to be paid evenly between the last 4 partners and the after 5 months 3 of the partners paid there portion already but the last partners... Read more »

Patrick Duff
Patrick Duff answered on Jan 12, 2021

It will depend upon the language in the contract you signed to buy out the first partner. If the contract says each remaining partner is reliable for his/her own share, then you're ok. If it says the business is responsible as a whole, you may have to pay and go after the non-paying partner... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Business Law, Civil Litigation and Contracts for Michigan on
Q: How do I divest myself of interest in an LLC; 50/50 Members in a dispute. Accountant says I can turn it over to State.

Accountant says I can turn it over to State of Michigan division of corporations.

Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris answered on Dec 11, 2020

There is no procedure for the state to accept a transfer to it of a membership interest in an LLC. It should be possible to resign as a member. You should consult with an attorney who can review the entire situation, and the accountant may be useful for advice as to potential tax consequences or... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Business Law and Civil Litigation for Michigan on
Q: LLC in its own right may not sue a 50 percent Member shareholder except for what circumstances? Are there citing cases?

Business Court. I need an attorney for limited scope representation to dismiss an action by a LLC against a Member of the LLC. The question is whether the LLC in its own name may sue a Member without 90 day notice in advance and under what circumstances.

Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris answered on Dec 5, 2020

The Michigan LLC Act does not require advance notice prior to a suit against a member. Does the operating agreement for the LLC so provide? If not, and unless the LLC was formed in a jurisdiction that has an advance-notice requirement, there is no such requirement.

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Business Law and Civil Rights for Michigan on
Q: LLC is suing a Member. Does the Member have to be represented by counsel to defend their own interest. Not the LLC

LLC is suing a Member by another Member who has equal share. The defending Member is not representing LLC. Does Member being sued have to represented by counsel. If so, why, if the Member is not defending the LLC

Sarah S. Shepard
Sarah S. Shepard answered on Dec 4, 2020

The general rule in most states is that business entities, such as LLCs, must be represented by a licensed attorney in court. Individuals generally may appear pro se, meaning that they may represent themselves, in court proceedings and lawsuits.

That said, it is best generally best...
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2 Answers | Asked in Contracts, Business Law and Civil Litigation for Michigan on
Q: Does Michigan LLC Member have to be represented by an attorney when answering a complaint filed by a Member for the LLC

LLC filed a complaint against a MEMBER in the LLC on behalf of the LLC and the Judge said I have to have an attorney but a lawyer told me I don't need a lawyer because I am not defending the LLC

Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris answered on Dec 3, 2020

Yes. The LLC is a separate entity that cannot represent itself and therefore must be represented by an attorney.

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2 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Business Law for Michigan on
Q: Does Huntington's trademarked "welcome" prohibit if I say "Welcome to Crossnik Media" in a single advertisement?

I have a business called Crossnik Media. We are getting ready to run an introductory ad with the goal of getting some brand recognition for our new local business in Midland, MI. At the end, we say "Welcome to Crossnik Media", because throughout the ad, we're explaining our... Read more »

Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris answered on Oct 19, 2020

In order to give definitive advice to you I would want to know all of the facts, including your proposed use, but I can say for certain that the bank does not have exclusive rights to that the word "welcome". I don't see any possibility of confusion if you are using "welcome... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Business Law, Civil Litigation and Libel & Slander for Michigan on
Q: So I used the likeness of another person to sell a product without their permission. This person found out.

I used his Linkdlen profile without his permission in my sales presentation but I did not profit from using his likeness. He then said I was a fraud and con man to many other people.

He has now threatened to sue me. What is my best course of action?

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar answered on Sep 28, 2020

A Michigan attorney could advise best, but your question remains open for two weeks. As a starting point, without regard to any applicable state-specific laws, you could try to diffuse the person's anger by providing assurances you ceased and will continue to cease to use his person, his... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Business Law, Copyright and Trademark for Michigan on
Q: Can I use an acronym like G.O.A.T. in my business marketing materialand website? Or can someone actually trademark this?

The name of my business is GOAT Nails and I am wanting to make sure it is ok for me to use the acronym G.O.A.T.throughout my website.

Kathryn Perales
Kathryn Perales answered on Aug 5, 2020

Interesting question - I would have thought that G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) would be too generic to trademark, but I see that some people have successfully done it. You should check the TESS database ( to search for all of the US registered trademarks with the word GOAT in... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law and Business Law for Michigan on
Q: I have renters who have not paid rent for 2 months can I evict them yet due to Covid 19?

They don’t think I can evict them and they have said they have no intention to move or pay rent I would evict them but I don’t think I can right now

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on Jul 1, 2020

They (and you) are right. The moratorium on evictions is extended (currently) until July 15.

1 Answer | Asked in Business Law for Michigan on
Q: Q: XYz plumb. sole prop. lies, states he's after hours phone service for XyZ & Mech. LLC. Recourse for the LLc?

People call the ph. number of xyz plumbing, a sole proprietor, by mistake. They want XYZ plumbing & mechanical LLC. Instead of xyz plumbing telling the person he has the wrong number, XYZ plumbing states falsely he is the "after hours" phone number for XYZ plumbing & mechanical... Read more »

Ana Maria Del Valle-Aguilera
Ana Maria Del Valle-Aguilera answered on Jun 12, 2020

First, confirm that XYZ Plumbing is registered to use the assumed name in your state and in your county. Michigan law requires that a sole proprietor or co-partnership file the business name (if different than the real name of the person) at the county clerk's office, and maybe also with the... Read more »

Q: I have a product i want to make my own and start production and sales and i wanna know all my options

There can also be other variantions of it made and i want that too all different sizes and shapes but it the same product

Peter D. Mlynek
Peter D. Mlynek answered on May 5, 2020

Congratulations on your new venture. I hope that it will be profitable for you.

And also congratulations about worrying about patents now, before you start the production and sales. Too many people ignore patents, spend lots of money on designs, tooling up, and manufacturing their...
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1 Answer | Asked in Business Law and Employment Law for Michigan on
Q: During employment my employee secretly built the same business as me one mile away. Can I sue for disloyalty?

He secretly built the business during the 3 months of his employment with me.

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on Mar 16, 2020

Your situation is very much fact dependent. Did you have a contract or other written agreement containing non-compete clauses? Did he use anything to build his business that he would have only obtained through employment with you? (e.g. customer lists, processes). Last, did he actually do the job... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Business Law and Insurance Bad Faith for Michigan on
Q: May an insurance agent explain a competitor’s policy?
Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar answered on Feb 9, 2020

If you're asking as an agent, it might be best to comply with standard operating procedures provided in company handbooks. Even though the industry is fairly transparent and everyone knows each other's product lines and pricing, following company protocols is the best bet. Good luck

Tim Akpinar

1 Answer | Asked in Business Formation and Business Law for Michigan on
Q: Can I use the name wild Wonka for a business?
Michael Doland
Michael Doland answered on Dec 24, 2019

There appears to be no trademark under this name. That leaves Michigan ( conflicts of existing Michigan entities.

1 Answer | Asked in Business Law for Michigan on
Q: I just signed a bill of sale but my name was misspelled in Michigan

Also my husband name does not match his id

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on Nov 18, 2019

What is the relief you'd like to gain from making this an issue? Either the bill of sale is valid and all parties carry out their obligations, or it is voidable for some defect, the most likely remedy of which is that everything goes back to as if the transaction never happened.

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Business Law for Michigan on
Q: Do I need to worry about a conflict of interest when hiring a lawyer for an employment contract?

I need to hire a lawyer for help with an employment contract. I've found one in town, but I live in a fairly small town. Should I ask the lawyer if my client is their client and avoid using that lawyer if that is the case?

Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris answered on Oct 25, 2019

It's not wrong to ask, but the lawyer is required to make that determination whether or not you ask.

1 Answer | Asked in Business Law for Michigan on
Q: Can the previous franchise we owned legally force us to repaint our vehicles?

We owned a Servpro restoration franchise. 2 years ago we sold our license instead of renewing, and went on our own. We took all labeling off the vehicles. Servpro is now telling us that we have to have the vehicles repainted. They do not have the color trademarked. The vehicles were never... Read more »

Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris answered on Aug 9, 2019

The franchisor can make you stop using their trademarks. You may be correct that the color is not a trademark, but did you agree in the franchise agreement to comply with this request? If repainting is not covered by the agreement or by trademark law or by state competition law (which might be... Read more »

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