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Old 10-04-2014, 03:42 PM
 
52 posts, read 65,316 times
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I'm really at a loss here and really hope you all can offer some guidance.

I want to start on online craft business. I am not too concerned about someone copying the craft idea, but I want the business name protected. Will an LLC do that? Or do I need a copyright? Or a patent?

I understand the difference between a LLC and sole proprietorship being the chance of being sued. But are there any other major differences that could affect an online craft business?

Also, about how long is the process of obtaining a LLC? Should I wait to launch my business Website until I have the LLC? Or would I be OK to launch my site now?

TIA!
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Old 10-04-2014, 04:18 PM
 
75 posts, read 172,893 times
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All of this depends on the state, and you should consult a lawyer, not an internet message board.
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Old 10-04-2014, 05:03 PM
 
52 posts, read 65,316 times
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Yeah, probably so, but I would prefer consulting a lawyer as a last resort.

I consider this and other advice-seeking measures much more economical.

The business would be based in Georgia. But I thought it was irrelevant for online businesses. Maybe I was told wrong.
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Old 10-04-2014, 07:52 PM
 
795 posts, read 1,090,356 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1LTJoy View Post
I'm really at a loss here and really hope you all can offer some guidance.

I want to start on online craft business. I am not too concerned about someone copying the craft idea, but I want the business name protected. Will an LLC do that? Or do I need a copyright? Or a patent?

I understand the difference between a LLC and sole proprietorship being the chance of being sued. But are there any other major differences that could affect an online craft business?

Also, about how long is the process of obtaining a LLC? Should I wait to launch my business Website until I have the LLC? Or would I be OK to launch my site now?

TIA!
LLC will... but you should look at business trademark or service mark. But it depends... and you should speak with a lawyer or visit your local book store and read all you can.

Time it takes for the llc depends... visit the GA gov't business site and ask them.. or read it.

Website? Depends... if it is informational only (since you can't get a business checking/savings account without the LLC), then I'm not sure there is any harm in having the site up (unless the name is taken and you rush out and build a site with the name and can't obtain the LLC for whatever reason, etc... many things "could happen"). But a lawyer can help you there. If you don't want to go the lawyer route, read as many books as possible about starting a business.

Everything depends on your situation... I went LLC... sounds better.
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Old 10-10-2014, 08:24 AM
 
4,665 posts, read 2,939,608 times
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An LLC will not protect your business name, anyone can still use that name. You probably need to get the name trademarked, but in all honesty I don't know how that works. An LLC can protect you from liabilities. Say you use some image you found online and someone sues you for thousands of dollars for unwritten permission, you personally shouldn't be effected. Again a LLC does not trademark a name, it's no different then a d/b/a in that regard. I always recommend doing a LLC, it just makes sense. You never know when something might happen.

The above example happened to me, I hired someone to build a gallery for products I was selling and for the background images he copied and pasted from google. Before long I got mail saying I owed $8,000 for using those images. Well I just closed the business, wasn't worth it to me.

Edit: here in Kansas it took me less then a week to receive my LLC, my legal consul always recommends not to start doing business until you have the business setup properly.
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Old 10-10-2014, 08:37 AM
 
Location: Florida
23,647 posts, read 10,698,706 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1LTJoy View Post
I'm really at a loss here and really hope you all can offer some guidance.

I want to start on online craft business. I am not too concerned about someone copying the craft idea, but I want the business name protected. Will an LLC do that? Or do I need a copyright? Or a patent?

I understand the difference between a LLC and sole proprietorship being the chance of being sued. But are there any other major differences that could affect an online craft business?

Also, about how long is the process of obtaining a LLC? Should I wait to launch my business Website until I have the LLC? Or would I be OK to launch my site now?

TIA!
You can form an LLC almost overnight in most states. Many states let you form the company online and pay with a credit card. If you want the name protected on a national level you'll have to trademark it. Most states will only allow one company to have the name, so yes, the name would be protected. If the name already exists you cannot use it according to the the Georgia Statute -- http://law.justia.com/codes/georgia/...e-2/14-11-207/.

You will also have to file a fictitious name if you are not going to use the entire legal name of the company (including "LLC") on your website or marketing materials. If you are going to have any fullfillment centers in other states, you have to register the business there as well. You really should talk to an attorney before forming it so that you know which tax election you are going to use.
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Old 10-10-2014, 08:43 AM
 
Location: Florida
23,647 posts, read 10,698,706 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattks View Post
An LLC will not protect your business name, anyone can still use that name. You probably need to get the name trademarked, but in all honesty I don't know how that works.
Actually, in many states, the name of the company must be distinguishable from other names of companies, so it is protected in that state, but not on a national level.
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Old 10-10-2014, 08:44 AM
 
Location: All Over
4,004 posts, read 4,949,755 times
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It depends on how serious you are about this business. Is this a hobby you are doing to make some extra pocket change or is this something you actually think could grow into a real business? It sounds like you are trying to create a brand moreso than just protecting a business name. In that case I would get a trademark. Like you said an LLC is more to protect you from being used as well as many tax benefits come along with it. If your just looking to knit and sell your stuff on etsy its probably not necessary to do any of this. Whats probably more important is getting all the social media and websites associated with your name or brand. If you google social media name checker there's a number of sites with tools tht let you plug in a name and you can see across pretty much every social media out there ie pinterest, fb, twitter, etc along with about 100 others if they name is available on them all.
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Old 10-10-2014, 08:48 AM
 
4,665 posts, read 2,939,608 times
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I'll make an example. Say you form Pizza Palace LLC, you will dba Pizza Palace. Your competition comes and they can't use Pizza Palace LLC, because you already have it. But they can do John Smith LLC dba Pizza Palace. The LLC name can only be used by one company, but anyone can dba Pizza Palace. That is why you need to get it trademarked. I second seeking professional legal advice.

Edit: every state has its own LLC rules, so again get legal advice.
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Old 10-10-2014, 12:24 PM
 
5,157 posts, read 3,433,779 times
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First I'd check and see if the .com is available for the name you want to use. If not, keep tweaking until you get get one. You can check at godaddy.com.

Then find Georgia's small business start up list - every state seems to have one.

To protect the name, first you need to find out if someone else is using it. You can search via google and uspto.gov (search trademarks).

However, let's say you trademark your name either thru the US or Georgia, if someone else starts using it, you will need attorneys to get them to stop. Happened to me, just wasn't worth the time or effort.

Most small businesses are sole proprietorships because they are easier to set up.
Sole Proprietorship | The U.S. Small Business Administration | SBA.gov
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