Business & Commercial Law

Ohio Small Business Law

When creating a new small business in Ohio, you’ll need to learn about many small business law topics. The more you learn about the laws affecting your personal and business liability, the better you can protect yourself from costly penalties and criminal charges.

For business owners in Cleveland, Cincinnati or Columbus, it’s important to understand state and federal laws and know how to proceed when a legal issue develops. LawInfo has the Ohio small business law information you need from choosing a business structure to setting up employee benefits.

Types of Business Insurance in Ohio

You can reduce your personal and business liability for financial loss by purchasing business insurance. There are many insurance policies that cover a wide variety of liabilities. Not every policy will be right for your business, though. You’ll need to assess your business’s liability risks to determine the type of policy it requires. Every insurance provider will assess your business’s risks during the underwriting process to determine coverage and premiums.

Among the various policies you’ll find, some of the most important include:

  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance—This policy protects your business from an employee’s personal injury lawsuit and compensates them for injuries sustained on-the-job.
  • Professional Liability (Errors & Omissions) Insurance—This policy protects your business from negligence, malpractice and error claims against its products and services.
  • Product Liability Insurance—This policy protects your business from personal or property injury claims against its products.
  • General Liability Insurance—This policy protects your business from a broad range of personal injury claims.

If you require several insurance policies, you may consider purchasing a business owner’s policy. This type of policy combines separate policies into a single policy package, which helps reduce your premiums. Insurance providers may offer pre-made or customizable business owner’s policies, but not every type of individual policy can be included in one.

Ohio Intellectual Property

At some point in your small business’s lifetime, you’ll want to protect its intellectual property from unauthorized use by competitors. This type of property includes your business’s name, inventions, publications, products, logos, etc. There are three types of intellectual property protections available to small businesses in the U.S.:

  • Patents protect new and original inventions. There are three patent subtypes:
    • Design patents protect new and original aesthetic designs for an “article of manufacture.”
    • Utility patents protect new and useful or improvements to an article of manufacture, machine, process or composition of matter.
    • Plant patents protect a newly invented or discovered variety of plant.
  • Trademarks protect symbols, names, words or devices used to sell goods, such as the Coca-Cola logo and name. Alternatively, servicemarks protect the same types of identifiers used for selling services.
  • Copyrights protect “original works of authorship,” such as books, magazines, music, theater productions, film, photography, artwork and other published or unpublished creative works.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issues and maintains a database of intellectual property protections.

Typical Small Business Legal Issues in Ohio

Legal issues crop up for all businesses, be it contracts, taxes or employment. Legal questions and issues will vary widely by industry and it’s a good idea to consult a business attorney beforehand. But a small business owner may encounter legal issues such as:

  • Extending credit and collecting on past due amounts in accordance with Ohio and federal laws;
  • Which legal structure to select (such as a corporation, partnership or limited liability company);
  • Protecting inventions and trademarks through intellectual property law;
  • Maintaining the required level of workers’ compensation insurance coverage;
  • Complying with health and safety regulations when constructing or preparing a work site; and
  • Hiring and managing employees in accordance with Ohio and federal employment laws.
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