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Trademark Rejection, Eviction, Bankruptcy Questions and More – Free Joe Friday 6/17/11

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Every Friday, attorney Joe Escalante answers legal questions for free on the LegalZoom Facebook Page. Did you miss last week’s Free Joe Friday? Don’t worry. We’ve got it all right here.

Tom & Cathy: QUESTION: Live in a co-op. House rules state no commercial vehicles on co-op property. My 89′ pickup is not a commercial vehicle, not registered or insured as a commercial vehicle.P/up did come with a plow pkg in tact, plow itself is not on. Two of my neighbors who happen to be on the board do in fact have commercial vans (plates and biz advertisements in full effect) and park on the property daily..

2nd half:Co-op attorney sends me a letter & says I have to perm remove plow pkg in order to get co-op parking permit to park on the property or must go.I took photos of these commercial vans and sent with a short note to co-op attorney stating will remove plow pkg as long as said commercial vans were removed from the property and their permits revoked. Please tell me I am in the right here & what to do if this does not settle on its own. I feel as if I am being singled out and unjustly harassed

Joe Escalante: I think you’re in the right. You are definitely doing all the right things. Selective prosecution of an individual will not be looked at kindly by the court if this ends up in litigation. Wait for the next letter and hold your ground for a while. If they revoke your parking permit, they might be in violation of the terms of your deal with the HOA. They have to be careful.

Ron: Hey Joe, how are you?…Got a question: Did work for an International company for two months, as per the contract I signed…Did not get paid (March $3000.00, April $3000.00 plus bonus Of $1000.00 = $7000.00…What can I do to receive the pay that I earned for those two months? I don’t know what to do…

Joe Escalante: I would check with the department of labor in your area. You can file a claim for those wages and get a hearing. If by international, you mean a east European white slavery trafficking operation, they are probably not governed by the labor commission in your area. But if the company does business in the U.S, they are subject to your state’s labor laws.

Alex: Good Morning, Joe!
I’ve recently been interested in the idea of licensing a few ideas to larger companies in hopes of collecting some royalties. Unfortunately, I don’t know very much about the process and I don’t want to go about it the wrong way and risk giving up my ideas/inventions for nothing in return. Can you make some recommendations that don’t involve paying the tremendously costly fees associated with sitting down with a patent attorney for so much as an hour-long Q&A session? Maybe even just some books you’d recommend to get me started? Or, even better, if you know of a person, place or other sort of resource that might be willing to lend some experienced wisdom pro bono, I’d genuinely appreciate it.

Thanks very much!
All the best.

Joe Escalante: First, make sure you own your ideas, and they are protect-able and if so, get them protected with proper registration. Nolo Press has some great patent and intellectual property books and podcasts on their web site. Start there.

Pamela: just wanting to know what i can do about me calling 911 and they hung up on me.

Joe Escalante: Take it from Flava Flav Pamela. 911 is a joke! But if there’s a real emergency and you suffer damages, you can actually sue the dispatcher! good luck with that.

Gabriel: Fee legal advice question: My parents are getting older and I don’t know what would be the best thing to do. I am looking at a living trust, will or both?

Thank you,


Joe Escalante: It depends on if they have significant assets or not. Read this short book that I like and you will gain great knowledge:

Kim: Good morning Joe! Thanks for all you do! My question today would be… I have started the process of trademarking a logo which it being done through Legalzoom and recently have received two emails stating there Is a “likelihood” of being rejected by the USPTO. How often does this happen? I’ve put everything I have into this process and can’t afford to be rejected and to start over not to mention cards, website, banner and logo for my car. Plea help and thanks again.

Joe Escalante: Well, I haven’t read your application but if it doesn’t qualify for protection, it’s better to find out this way then after, as they say, “you’ve invested in giant ghostbuster magnets for your ambulance.” There are many reasons why a trademark would be rejected. If could be too descriptive like “Sweet Peach Company” or too generic, or maybe it’s taken already. But to answer your question, it’s very common so people are advised to do a lot of research before taking the plunge.

Kim: This is my first attempt in doing this sort of thing and I had a really good feeling about it. Would you mind taking a look? # 26861102 and also do they also base their decision on your credit score?

Joe Escalante: No Kim, they don’t base these decisions on your credit score these days, that practice was abandoned after great “Trademark Credit Score Scandal” of the 1920s. All this advice is free, but you’d have to actually hire an attorney to examine your application and give you advice on it further.

Dee: Hi Joe,

I have a friend who recently received an eviction “judgement” via mail from the county court JP; but he never received ANY prior notice of eviction proceedings or scheduled court appearances. Upon calling the court to find out what recourse he had, he was instructed to fill out a paupers’ affidavit. He did so this past Mon; but upon asking “what’s next”, he’s only been told to read the first few pages of the affidavit. I’m sorry to say that neither of us has been able to decipher what we’ve read well enough to know either what to do next or what happens next. He lives in Houston (Harris county), TX. Can you help; and do you know what either happens next or what he needs to do next?

Thank you for any and all assistance you can give in this matter!

Joe Escalante: Click these links and try to get someone there to look at your the paperwork. If your friend isn’t paying rent, eventually they will be booted but your friend does have the right to due process.

Vicky: Good Morning, I filed a samll clamis and won my judgement in Dec. I waited the 30 days with no contest. Still no money received. Filed Order on Request to Make Payments, judge signed, still no money. Filed Writt of Execution, then had Earnings Withholing Order served by Sheriff. Now I receive a letter saying they have filed Ch 7 bankruptcy! Can I still get my money owed, it was from a rental of mine they had destroyed living there for only one year. I did everything I was supposed to do through the courts. Thanks Vicky

Joe Escalante: You will be in line with other creditors. Secured creditors go first. That’s why many people are unwilling to lend money or services to people without security. You did everything right, except demand enough security. :(

Vicky: Sorry but I was told to file a Proof of Claim but I didn’t know if I should file before or after the creditors meeting.

Joe Escalante: If they’ve sent you a notice and a proof of claim form, file it.

Jeanne: Hi Joe! :-) Would I be able to do a will of my wishes after I’m “gone”, without involving an attorney? Will this be legal and inforceable? Thanks! :-)

Joe Escalante: Is this a trick question? It is upon this principle that the Legalzoom empire was founded, more or less. Make a will without an attorney. Check it out, but do it before you are “gone.” And lucky for you, June is National Make A Will Month.

Lisa: Id like to know how to get something from 1993 expunged from my record? Can it be done without $ ?-its keeping me from working! Thanx

Joe Escalante: This usually takes a criminal attorney to get it done but google the term “pro se expungement.” That will get you on the right track. Pro Se means w/o an attorney. good luck with that Tink.

Paulette: I am in the process of funding our Living Trust. I have the information on real estate but wonder if I should also put our 37′ sloop into the trust. Can you advise me?

Joe Escalante: If you don’t it will go through probate and that will have tax consequences. I’m not a tax professional, but it would be a good idea to consult one for this because it’s an important decision.

Diana: Yea I have been divorced a little over a year now and I have to keep taking my ex to court cause he will not follow judges orders. And after 27yrs of marrage only gave me 2yrs alimony and that runs out in march. How can I get the judge to make him pay more. He make more than twice as much as me and his new wife is owner of her own salon. The 500 a month just barely helps me make ends meet. How can I fix this.

Joe Escalante: You can petition the court for an increase in spousal support, or an extension or you can get a husband who owns a chain of salons.

Tracy: I have a friend w/a construction corp. that is massively in debt (millions) due to the economy. The owners are guarantors on the corp. and are filing bankruptcy personally but have been told they don’t need to file bankruptcy on the corporation — that they can just close the business down. Are there any repercussions to doing that? They started up a new construction business under another corporation.

Joe Escalante: The creditors from the old corp would have the option of suing anyone they feel responsible for any debts. A corporation may provide a shield, but the creditor could “pierce the corporate veil” and go after personal assets of the owners if certain criteria are met that amount to a badly or fraudulently run corporation. So that’s something to think about.
I don’t know enough about the specifics to give any further advice but they should seek the opinion of more than one bankruptcy lawyer. It’s worth 4 or 5 hundred dollars per consultation to get a straight answer.

LegalZoom: That’s all for Free Joe Friday this week. Thanks for joining us with your legal questions. Didn’t get your question posted in time? No worries–we do this every Friday. Come join us next week or catch Joe on the radio. Details on the Free Joe tab: Have a great weekend!

Get more info and all the details and fine print about Free Joe Fridays. And join us on Facebook next Friday at 10am PT for more Free Joe!

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June 21st, 2011 at 6:36 am