Boyer Law Firm was invited to join the Better Business Bureau!

The Better Business Bureau (BBB), founded in 1912, is a corporation consisting of several private business franchises of local BBB organizations based in the United States and Canada, which work through their parent corporation, the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB).

The Better Business Bureau, through local chapters, invites businesses to become members. In return, the BBBs allow their member businesses the use of their logo, mediation services, and access to their compiled information.

BBB has determined that Boyer Law Firm, meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints.

Boyer Law Firm strives to provide for our clients, if you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact us. Boyer Law Firm is now a proud member of the Better Business Bureau!

Criminal Judge Questions Competency of Lawyer Who Advised Clients to Break Into Foreclosed Homes

A judge is questioning whether a suspended California lawyer who has advised some clients to break into their foreclosed homes and is now facing criminal prosecution is competent to stand trial.

Judge Runston Maino appointed counsel for attorney Michael T. Pines, 59, who is defending himself pro se and scheduled a hearing later this week on whether to require a mental evaluation, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune.

“They’re trying to get more time because they realized they have no case,” Pines told the newspaper today, calling the judge’s move in the San Diego County case a “delay tactic.”
Prosecutors charge that Pines had advised an evicted family to retake possession of their home for roughly two months and, during that time, stalked and harassed the current occupants — Phillip Ladman and his family — as well as Ladman’s business partner, Ronald Bamberger.

Pines — who is unrelated to another Michael Pines, a personal injury attorney in La Jolla who is 53 — has been ordered not to practice law after he failed to respond to a State Bar Court notice of disciplinary charges.

He has had numerous run-ins with authorities throughout Southern California, mainly stemming from instances where he would help families break back into their foreclosed homes, notifying the media and authorities beforehand.

The Necessity of Obtaining an Export License

Why apply to the U.S. Department of Commerce for an export license? There are many restrictions on exports, including the destination country and materials that can be exported. Exporting certain materials or to certain countries or entities can lead to criminal prosecution.

Last week an Iranian national was sentenced to just over four years in federal prison for illegally exporting items to Iran. Iran, like many countries, is an export destination that is heavily restricted by the U.S. government. The Iranian national did not have and did not apply for an export license and also did not apply for approval by the U.S. Treasury Department.

Whether you are exporting restricted materials, exporting to a restricted destination, or are exporting unrestricted materials to any other destination, it is important that you obtain an export license and approval from the U.S. Treasury Department. The process can be complicated and there are numerous ways to have your application delayed or denied.

International exporting can be lucrative and because of that much of the exporting can be time sensitive. That is one reason it is important to have the help of an attorney when filling out and filing your application for an export license. An attorney can aid you in completing your application, making sure that every question is answered correctly and with sufficient detail so that your application is not delayed or rejected.

Applying for an export license is only the beginning of the international exporting process. Call Boyer Law Firm and let us help you navigate the waters of international exporting. We are here to help.

USCIS Expands its Self-Check System to Include Spanish

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) expanded its Self-Check system. The USCIS started its Self-Check system in March 2011 in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Mississippi, Virginia and the District of Columbia. The Self-Check system is an online system offered through E-Verify. E-Verify allows participating employers to check the status of workers before they are hired. The Self-Check system is similar in that it allows employees, ages 16 and older, to check their eligibility status before they seek employment.

The new developments of the Self-Check system are important because it has expanded to include California, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Washington. What is of further importance for potential workers is that the system is now available for Spanish speakers in order to simplify the process. The system also allows for potential workers to make sure that their information on the site is the same as it is on their Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification), which employers check through the E-Verify system.

The Self-Check system can be utilized by visiting the USCIS website, and clicking on the Self-Check link on the far right of the page under the heading “Employment Verification”.

Call Boyer Law Firm for any questions you may have regarding U.S. Immigration, we will be happy to help.

Copyright v. Trademark: What’s the Difference?

Everyone has heard of something being copyrighted or trademarked. However, people often use these terms synonymously when in fact they mean very different things and have very different implications. Although I explain the difference between a trademark and copyright, most of my focus is on explaining a copyright.

Let us begin with defining a trademark. A trademark is a name, symbol, design or logo which is used when goods are traded to indicate the source of those goods. A trademark distinguishes one good from another. For the purposes of this article, I will use the Mickey Mouse character to better illustrate the differences between a trademark and copyright. The Mickey Mouse character has been trademarked as a design of Disney. Using the character to sell goods would be an infringement of the trademark.

If you are interested in protecting a title, slogan, or other short word phrase, a trademark is better suited for your needs. Copyright law does not protect a bare phrase, slogan, or trade name. For example, Nike’s slogan “Just Do It” would need to be trademarked in order to be protected.

A copyright, on the other hand, is a form of protection to the authors or creators of original works of music, art, literature, motion pictures and even architectural works. Ideas, procedures, processes are NOT eligible for copyright protection. A copyright is distinct from a trademark in that a copyright is a tangible form of expression. The Copyright Act of 1976 allows the owner of the copyright to reproduce the work, distribute copies of the work, perform the work (piece of music), and display the work (art). Let’s look at Mickey Mouse’s character. Mickey Mouse has been copyrighted as a cartoon character and one would infringe the copyright by using the character of Mickey Mouse is one’s own cartoons.

It is important to remember that a copyright protects a form of expression, not the subject matter of the work. For example, if Steven Spielberg made a movie about aliens invading the Earth in 2525, that particularly movie and the text of the movie would be copyrighted. James Cameron can just as easily make his own movie with original text about the exact same subject matter.

A work is copyrighted at the very moment it is created. No registration is required to secure a copyright, however, there are advantages in registering a copyright. One of the advantages is that the copyright becomes part of public records. Another advantage is that an infringement suit can only be filed with a court once the work is registered.

Furthermore, using trademarked or copyrighted names, symbols, logos or artistic work would not lead to an infringement of the trademark or copyright if one receives the author’s consent or permission.

If you are interested in trademarking an item or creating a copyright, please contact Boyer Law Firm, and we will be happy to assist.