McDonald’s Triumphant in “Mc” Trademark Dispute

Published on 7/25/2014
Categories: biodiesel, Intellectual Property, Trademark

An individual who wanted to trademark “BioMcDiesel” won’t be allowed to do so according to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, which ruled (McDonald’s Corp. v. Joseph, July 14, 2014, Bergsman, M.) that consumers would likely confuse the proposed biofuel mark with McDonald Corp.’s family of “Mc” trademarks.

The applicant, Joel Joseph, filed an intent-to-use application to register the trademark “BioMcDiesel,” in standard character form, for biodiesel fuel. McDonald’s opposed this registration for several reasons, including that “BioMcDiesel” could be construed as part of McDonald’s family of “Mc” formative marks and it had the “likelihood of confusion.” The applicant conceded that that “Mc” family of marks is famous and has been in use much longer than his application filing date.

The applicant’s mark, “BioMcDiesel” has the “Mc” formative in the middle of the mark with a generic term following it, which does not distinguish it enough from McDonald’s marks since its family of marks has such items as Chicken McNuggets, Egg McMuffin, and Sausage McMuffin.

The applicant’s biodiesel fuel is an alternative fuel for diesel engines or can be used as an additive to standard diesel fuel.  It can be made from used fryer grease, also known as yellow grease. McDonald’s is one of the largest suppliers of yellow grease and has received media publicity for its recycling programs. It promotes its sustainability programs, including its recycling efforts, on its website (

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Published on 7/03/2014
Categories: Benefits, Corporate, Federal Law, Healthcare, Human Resources, Illinois Law

Mom and daughter in clinicOn June 30th, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of three family-owned businesses, with the majority of the court saying that businesses can refuse to pay for certain forms of contraception they find “morally repugnant.”  At issue are four contraceptives known as abortifacients which are contraceptives that prevent ovum implantation or cause a miscarriage shortly after becoming pregnant.

In writing the majority opinion, Justice Samuel Alito noted that the Obama White House already provided an opt-out for nonprofit religious corporations by allowing an outside insurance company to pay for birth control and felt this should also apply to for-profit employers.  It was suggested by the court that the Government could assume the cost of providing the four contraceptives at issue to women who are unable to obtain them under their health-insurance policies due to their employers’ religious objections.

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Federal Involvement in Gay Marriage Rights

Published on 6/27/2014
Categories: Federal Law, Human Resources, Same Sex Marriage, Uncategorized

7K0A0426Recently the Obama administration, along with the Department of Labor, have proposed expanding the definition of spouse to allow legally married same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Family Military Leave Act. This means that if same-sex couples were married in a state that has legalized gay marriage, then these couples would experience the benefits of the FMLA no matter which state they live in, even if gay marriage in that state is illegal. This in effect would impose federal law over something which has always been a state regulated matter.

In addition, this week U.S. District Judge Richard Young, for the 7th Federal Judicial District, ruled that the State of Indiana’s ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional. This issue is expected to be presented to the U.S. Supreme court because several similar Federal rulings are on hold pending appeal.

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What Happens Now that the Redskins Trademark Has Been Revoked?

Published on 6/23/2014
Categories: Trademark

On June 18, 2014, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of the USPTO cancelled the Washington Redskins’ registrations for the “Redskins” trademarks on the grounds that the term “redskins” is disparaging of Native Americans.  Hear Ken McLaughlin being interviewed on the John Kass and Lauren Cohn show on June 19, 2014 on WLS 890AM!   What do you think?

John Kass and Lauren Cohn Radio Interview 6 19 14

For more information on Trademark and Copyright law, please contact Ken McLaughlin, Jr.

Starting a Business as a Non-Citizen, Part lll (Work Visas for USA)

Published on 6/12/2014
Categories: Business, Federal Law, United States, Work Visas

World w moneyThis is the third installment of a series discussing the options for non-citizen business investors to obtain Work Visas in the USA. The following are a list of the least desirable visa options a non-citizen may apply for in order to work for the company that he or she built:

Temporary Visas (Less than one year duration)

B-1:The B-1 visa temporarily allows non-citizens to participate, and get paid, for activities of a “commercial or professional nature.” While the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) does not limit the definition of “commercial or professional nature,” managing a business would be an accepted activity under B-1 so long as the applicant can show that the purpose of the trip is legitimate, the stay is for a limited period of time, there are adequate funds to cover the trip, and the applicant has a residence outside the United States that they do not intend to abandon. However, with a B-1 visa and extension good for only one year in the United States, this visa is a temporary solution that would not be ideal for a potential business owner or investor looking to build a business. Read more…

Starting a Business as a Non-Citizen, Part ll (Work Visas for USA)

Published on 5/13/2014
Categories: Business, Federal Law, United States, Work Visas

Hands on a globeThis is the second installment of a series discussing the options for non-citizen business investors to obtain work visas for the USA. The following are a list of the most recommended visa options a non-citizen may apply for in order to work for the company he or she built:

Temporary Visas (More than one year duration)

E-2 (“Treaty Investor”): The E-2 visa is the ideal visa for a foreign national looking to start a business in the United States. The E-2 visa is available to non-citizens that invest substantial capital into a bona-fide enterprise in the United States. Substantial capital is a sufficient investment to ensure success. Also, a bona-fide enterprise is one that is operating and possesses an employer identification number, tax returns, financial statements, or other information that shows the legitimacy of the business. The E-2 visa allows the holder to work for their company, and spouses may also work after getting special authorization from the USCIS. This visa is initially granted in two year increments and possesses no maximum number for renewals. However, the E-2 visa is only available to nationals of a country that possess a certain treaty with the United States. The list of treaty countries is located on the United States Departments of State website at As of 2014, India, China, and Mexico do not possess such treaties with the United States. Read more…

Relief for Late S-Election Under Rev. Proc. 2013-30

Published on 5/02/2014
Categories: Business, Corporate, IRS Regulations, S Corporation

IMG_0912In August 2013, the IRS issued Rev. Proc. 2013-30 that consolidates and simplifies rules provided previously. Taxpayers now have 3 years and 75 days from the date the S-election was originally intended to be effective to file a late S-election. No use user fee will apply. The election will be effective as of that intended date. To qualify for relief, the corporation must meet the following:

  • The S-election would have been effective had the Form 2553 been submitted timely.
  • The failure to qualify as an S-corporation was solely because the election was not submitted timely.
  • The corporation has reasonable cause for its failure to file timely and acted diligently to correct the error.

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Starting a Business as a Non-Citizen, Part I (Work Visas for US)

Published on 5/02/2014
Categories: Human Resources, United States, Work Visas

74879089This is a three part informative series for Non-Citizens of the United States discussing options to incorporate and obtain work visas.

Business ownership has become a sub-plot to the modern “American Dream.” Entrepreneurs from all over the United States are eager to bring their ideas to life in an effort to achieve success. However, business ownership is not limited to United States citizens and many non-citizens are starting up new businesses, as well.

Whether a visa holder inside the United States or a foreign national from outside the United States, a non-citizen can start or invest in a business using the same process as a United States citizen or green card holder. The process begins when an individual selects a business entity and registers it with the appropriate state administration. The most common business entities are “C” Corporations, “S” Corporations, or Limited Liability Companies (“LLC”). Read more…

To E-Smoke or Not To E-Smoke

Published on 4/24/2014
Categories: E-Cigarette, Handbook Policy

direct-e-cig-electronic-cigarette[1]These days you can’t drive by a strip mall without seeing a retailer that sells what is now becoming known as E-Cigarettes. They come in many forms but the general concept is that it is an electronic device that mimics the look and sensation of smoking a real cigarette by vaporizing nicotine which the “smoker” then inhales. It does produce a vapor when the smoker exhales just like the real thing.

People who use the e-cigarettes have many reasons why they use them, it mimics real smoking but is less dangerous to their health, second-hand “vapors” from them are less dangerous, but the topmost reason is that it is a tool to help them quit smoking altogether. Read more…

Medical Marijuana in Illinois

Published on 2/19/2014
Categories: Illinois Law, Medical Marijuana



On January 1, 2014, it became legal for patients with diseases or conditions currently specified by the Act to use marijuana for medical purposes.  Under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, these patients must be registered with the Illinois Department of Public Health and may purchase up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks from a licensed dispensary.  Employers may not discriminate against individuals based on their status as a registered patient under the Act. Read more…

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