Beware of Non-Government Affiliated Trademark Solicitations!

 

blog4Please be aware that private companies that are not associated with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) are using trademark applications and registration information from the USPTO’s databases to issue trademark-related solicitations. These solicitations may include offers for legal services, for trademark monitoring services, record trademarks with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and even to “register” trademarks in the company’s own private registry.

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Some applicants have reported paying fees to these companies, mistakenly under the assumption that they were paying mandatory fees to the USPTO.  If you receive documents that appear to be from an official government agency, please be sure to read the fine print. If an address is provided, always perform a search to verify that the location is legitimate. Sometimes these companies will provide an address for a vacant building or office space. Usually, an official correspondence will be from the “United States Patent and Trademark Office” in Alexandria, VA, and if by e-mail, specifically from the domain “@uspto.gov.”

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Unfortunately, if you have already submitted any payment to these companies for services offered, the USPTO is unable to provide a refund. The USPTO encourages you to file an on-line consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), at www.FTC.gov. If you receive one of these solicitations and you’re unsure of its legitimacy, or if you are interested in filing for a new trademark, we can help! Contact us today so that our legal professionals can discuss your options.

Purchased a New Property In Florida? Beware of Solicitations!

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As many of you know, the process of purchasing a new home, or commercial property involves quite a few important documents that you need to be familiar with. Title and Deed documents are given to you by your attorney. Usually, these documents are also accessible online via your county’s property appraiser’s website FOR FREE. In instances where you have purchased a new property, you may receive a letters in the mail that might look like an official county or state document which states that you will need to take additional steps to finalize documentation, or that you will need to order vital documentation that shows ownership of your property.

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This mailing will have your name, parcel number, and property address on it. What Record Transfer Services is doing might not be illegal; however, these services are usually already performed either before or at closing by a title company or real estate attorney. A title search is usually performed by a title company or an attorney, who researches the vested owner, the liens or other judgments on the property, the loans on the property and the property taxes due before the closing is done. If duplicates are needed or documents are misplaced from your records, these documents can usually be found via your county property appraiser’s website or you may contact your real estate attorney.

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Given that the letter includes a deadline for which to request for these documents, it appears to be an official document, however, make special note of the disclaimer in fine print at the bottom of the letter: “This product or service has not been approved, or endorsed by any government…” Generally, if you receive a solicitation asking for more money after your closing, it is not necessary and is rarely legitimate. If you are not sure or you would like more information, contact your Florida Real Estate attorney or title company as soon as possible.

Interested in Florida Real Estate Investment? Here are Some Tips!

Real estate investing can be an extremely rewarding process, but it can also carry some worth-noting risks.  Troubleshooting for these issues begins before the purchase takes place and continues throughout ownership.  Here are some tips to help get you started.

The thing to address first and foremost is the financial aspect.  Buying profitable real estate means investing in properties that are cash flow positive. Rentals should provide a fair rate of return on the invested equity.  Also make sure to secure long-term fixed rate financing. Financing or refinancing a property can end up costing you more in the long run or effect transfer issues.

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When it comes to “fixer-uppers,” you may want to look elsewhere.  Projects that involve extra remodeling or renovations are very much likely to loose money in the end.  Estimating the cost of repairs can be difficult to the average buyer, except for construction contractors that have experience in such. Obtain experienced contractor opinions before you consider a “fixer-upper”.

Take an in-depth look through all title documents.  This includes the title insurance policy, title abstract, schedule of exclusions, and a survey of the property.  Schedule some time with an Florida Real Estate Attorney to assist you in going through all items in detail and addressing any issues before you go forward with the purchase.

Proper insurance should always be put into place for each specific property and circumstance.  Speaking with an experienced Title Insurance Agent will make it easier to cover all liabilities and reduce the chances of anything severely impacting your finances.

All areas touched on above are great places to start when considering a new real estate investment.  If you are relatively new to property investment, speaking with seasoned long-term investors and Florida Real Estate Attorneys may offer some insight into how to go about taking on a new project. At Gulati Law, we are able to work with you in all these areas. Contact us for more information today!

Source: Zillow Blog

Gulati Law Receives an Appreciation Award!

On Thursday November 14, 2013, our very own Attorney Gulati participated in the North East Indo-US Chamber of Commerce Legal Panel with five other leading attorneys in the area. After a successful panel, she was presented with an Appreciation Award.

If you missed the event, here are a few questions she answered on the panel:

What are some common mistakes immigrant small business owners make?

  • Do not plan to protect their assets
  • No business plan
  • No budget
  • Did not get an attorney to review contracts before entering into them
    • Such as leases, confidentiality agreements, vendor, phone contracts, etc
    • Tax issues- did not seek advice from a CPA
    • Not getting the correct or required licenses
    • Starting with large amounts of debt

What factors should a home-buyer consider before purchasing a home or investment property in the current real estate market?

  • What kind of property are you looking into
  • Do your due diligence of the property and make sure it is outlined in the contract so you have ways to get out if there is something not favorable to you. i.e. Make sure you have contract contingencies in place.
  • Location- such as attractions, school district, community resources, this also helps resale.
  • Have a plan and exit strategy
  • How are you financing the property

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It was also our distinct pleasure to have Attorney Gulati discuss the FIRPTA requirements for foreign Sellers on November 15, 2013, at the North East Florida Association of Realtor’s- Global Business Council. If you would like more information on this presentation or a copy of the PowerPoint discussed, please contact us.

To join any of these great organizations please e-mail us for more information.

Jacksonville in The Top 20 Best Markets for Single-Family Rental Investments

According to the Jacksonville Business Journal, Jacksonville was placed in the top twenty “best markets” for single-family rental investments in RealtyTrac Inc.’s “20 Best Markets for Buying Single Family Rentals” list.

“RealtyTrac came up with the list by analyzing median sales prices and average rental rates for three-bedroom homes and using that data to calculate capitalization “cap” rates and average cash flows.”

That being said, other Florida cities made the list also, including:

  • Daytona
  • Lakeland
  • Ocala
  • Orlando
  • Palm Bay
  • Port St. Lucie
  • Tampa

Gulati Law can assist you with the purchase or sale of your property, as we have an affiliated Title Company that offers title insurance and many other services for real estate investors, purchasers, or jobbers. If you are a real estate investor, or a first time home buyer, contact us today, our Attorney is not only a  licensed Florida Real Estate Agent, but also a Florida Real Estate Attorney.

 

Source: Jacksonville Business Journal

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