BHL Bogen

BHL Bogen
BridgehouseLaw LLP - Your Business Law Firm

Thursday, August 14, 2014

BridgehouseLaw Alliance LLC receives 2013 Georgia Excellence Award

BridgehouseLaw Alliance LLC has been selected for the 2013 Georgia Excellence Award amongst all its peers and competitors by the US Trade & Commerce Institute (USTCRI). 

Each year the USTCRI conducts business surveys and industry research to identify companies that have achieved demonstrable success in their local business environment and industry category. They are recognized as having enhanced the commitment andcontribution of small businesses through service to their customers and community. Small businesses of this caliber enhance the consumer driven stature that Georgia is renowned for.

BridgehouseLaw Alliance LLC has consistently demonstrated a high regard for upholding business ethics and company values. This recognition by USTCRI marks a significant achievement as an emerging leader within various competitors and is setting benchmarks that the industry should follow.

As part of the industry research and business surveys, various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the selected companies in each category. This research is part of an exhaustive process that encapsulates a year long immersion in the business climate of Georgia.

The USTCRI is a leading authority on researching, evaluating and recognizing companies across a wide spectrum of industries that meet its stringent standards of excellence. It has spearheaded the idea of independent enterprise and entrepreneurial growth allowing businesses of all sizes to be recognized locally and encouraged globally.

Particular emphasis is given to meeting and exceeding industry benchmarks for customer service, product quality and ethical practices. Industry leading standards and practices have been developed and implementation of the same has been pioneered by the dedicated efforts of the business community and commerce leadership.

Out of Raleigh – Legislative Updates

Before adjourning for the year, budget negotiations in Raleigh continue, as well as work on other outstanding legislation.

Part of the budget negotiations are the Film Incentives, which appear to be headed headed towards a grant program. A $20 million grant program is included in recent budget offers. The proposal is to create a discretionary grant program under the Department of Commerce. To be eligible, a feature film would have to spend at least $10 million in North Carolina. TV series would have to spend $1 million per episode, and commercials spending $500,000. Grants would be capped at $5 million per film and or TV series and $250,000 for commercials. The current cap is $20 million per production.

The Senate Finance committee passed a revised version of HB 1224, Local Sales Tax for Education/Economic Development Changes, which prevents counties from raising sales taxes to pay for both public education and public transportation. The legislation says that counties can raise taxes specifically for transit or for education, but not for both. It caps local sales tax rates at 2.5 cents per dollar. Though it spells out the amount eligible for use on education and transit, the bill allows for more flexibility on how to use sales tax revenue overall.  The bill has stirred controversy in Mecklenburg and Wake counties, where proposals for a referendum in November would raise both counties’ tax rates by ¼ cent to fund education. Although HB 1224 already passed the Senate Finance committee this week, it was re-referred back to committee. The bill also still needs full House and Senate approval, along with the Governor’s signature.

Just in last month's newsletter, we told you about a crowd funding bill becoming reality. Well, it is here: HB 680, Start-Ups Act/New Markets Tax Credit Act, passed the Senate Commerce Committee. The legislation allows NC residents to invest small amounts in new in-state ventures through crowd funding. It paves the way for companies to raise up to $1 million in capital, and $2 million if they have undergone a financial audit, through “unregistered securities.” These companies would have the ability to sell shares, mainly online, directly to small investors, rather than through the stock market. The bill caps each investor’s purchase to $2,000 in “unregistered securities” unless that person is an “accredited investor.” Accredited investor implies a level of financial savvy and stability of funds to have enough money to risk.

Hiking minimum wage a net benefit

Several weeks ago, a bill to increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour died in congress. It’s unlikely that the current General Assembly will support an increase in North Carolina, contrary to the public’s support for the increase.

In America, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. The U.S. government dictate a national minimum wage, from which the states may vary upwards. In North Carolina, the legal minimum wage is $7.25 hourly, exactly the prescribed minimum wage.

There are a lot arguments around the media against an increase, but are any of them persuasive?
Based on a report by the Congressional Budget Office that summarized economic research on the minimum wage, a raise to $10.10 would be a job killer.

One argument is that an increase would lead to higher unemployment in some industries, as employers struggle to cover the higher cost of minimum wage workers. Others argued, that an increase won't make a big difference in the poverty problem. 45 million Americans live in poverty, and the Congressional Budget Office report projects that raising the minimum wage to $10.10 would reduce that by fewer than 1 million. But the correct criterion isn't whether a policy solves the entire problem, but whether the benefits exceed the cost. The Congressional Budget Office report implies that a raise to $10.10 meets that test. Another pro-increase argument is that an increased minimum wage would prevent growing poverty and create fair competition. Wage dumping companies gain an unfair competitive advantage, at the expense of their own employees.

Even though many arguments against an increase continue to float around, it seems premature to declare the issue dead because of the continued public support.

Streit um Markenschutz

Laut einem Bericht im hat die Supermarktkette Real beantragt, den Markenschutz für den DFB-Adler zu löschen. Muß der DFB nun um sein wertvolles Trikot-Wappen bangen, so kurz nach dem WM-Triumph? Die Trikots mit dem DFB-Adler auf der Brust sind begehrt, und der DFB hofft auf regen Umsatz mit Fanartikeln.   

Eine Sprecherin des Deutschen Patent- und Markenamts in München bestätigte, daß Real einen solchen Antrag eingereicht habe. Hintergrund ist ein Streit zwischen dem Deutschen Fußballbund und Real um Produkte von Real. So soll Real Fanartikel, die das Logo mit dem Adler "in leicht abgewandelter Form" zeigen, verkauft haben. Der DFB ist dagegenmit einer einstweiligen Verfügung vorgegangen, die Real untersagt, Produkte mit bestimmten Aufdrucken zu vertreiben.  

Real versucht nun, die Markenrechte des DFB zu löschen. Als Begründung nutzt die Supermarktkette, daß laut GesetzStaatswappen, Staatsflaggen oder ander staatliche Hoheitszeichen nicht als Marke geschützt werden dürfen. Stellt sich die Frage, inwieweit es sich beim Adler des DFB um ein solches Zeichen handelt.  

Der DFB hat mehrere Marken schützen lassen, unter anderem eben den nun umstrittenen Adler. Dieser, umgeben von einem Kreis und dem Schriftzug "Deutscher Fußball-Bund" ist eine Wort-Bild-Marke, die seit November 2012 unter der Registernummer 302012058725 zu finden ist. Der Schutz erstreckt sich auf die Verwendung des Logos auf vielen Waren, von Büroartikeln bis hin zu Waschmittelpackungen oder Zuckerwaren.   

Packende Frage: Wer darf nun den DFB-Adler benutzen?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Fortschritte bei Visumausstellung

In unserem letzten Newsletter (August 2014) berichteten wir über das unabsehbare Ende von Verzögerungen bei US-Visumausstellungen. Heute gab das US-Aussenministerium bekannt, dass erhebliche Fortschritte bei der Bearbeitung des Auftragsbestands von Nichteinwanderungsvisen gemacht wurde. 

Das Aussenministerium arbeitet an einer Wiederherstellung der vollen Betriebsfähigkeit konsularischer Systeme, sodass schon jetzt Verzögerungen bei sämtlichen Visumskategorien seltener auftreten. Weiterhin werden Einwanderungsvisen, Adoptionsfälle und Notfall-Nichteinwanderungsvisa priorisiert.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Travel + Leisure Ranks Charlotte Among Best Domestic Airports

The Charlotte Business Journal reported this morning that Travel+Leisure magazine ranked our own Charlotte Douglas International Airport as No. 4 in their World's Best Awards reader survey.

Douglas International is up from ranking 10th last year. The airports were rate on an five-point scale for these categories: location/ access, check-in/ security, restaurants/ food, shopping and design. Our airport scored 74.06 out of 100 possible points. Top-rated Portland International Airport scored about 4 points more.

Just recently, the magazine recognized the Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte as one of the World's Best hotels.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Verzögerung bei Visumausstellungen

Das US-Aussenministerium informiert, dass technische Probleme derzeit zu Verzögerungen bei Ausstellungen von Visen aller Kategorien, und in allen Ausstellungsländern führen. Die Dauer der Verzögerungen ist noch nicht absehbar. 

Bewerber, die dringenst in die Vereinigten Staaten reisen müssen, werden gebeten, sich an die US-Botschaft in Berlin oder an die Konsulate in Frankfurt oder München zu wenden. Bewerber, die ihr Interview nach dem 21. Juli hatten, können ihren Pass vorläufig ohne Visum zurückerhalten. 

Visa-Waiver-Kandidaten sind von den Verzögerungen nicht betroffen.