It’s an “Economic Reality”: Your Independent Contractors May Actually Be Employees

  • The U.S. DOL clarifies how businesses should determine whether workers are independent contractors or employees
  • Classifying as independent contractor or employee is based on “economic realities” of relationship, not “control” of the worker by the employer
  • “Economic Realities” test looks at six broad factors

The federal Department of Labor (“DOL”), the agency charged with enforcing the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), recently published an Administrative Interpretation clarifying the test businesses must apply to determine whether workers are properly classified as independent contractors or if they are, in fact, employees. The Interpretation makes clear that “control” of the worker by the employer is not the name of the game. Rather, proper worker classification is determined by the “economic realities” of the relationship.

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Restaurant Owners Take Note: Capital Gains Tax Legislation Proposed for 2016

The proposed legislation to impose a new capital gains tax in Washington State (House Bill 2224) should have little or no immediate effect upon a typical restaurant operator.  This is because restaurant owners usually recognize ordinary income from their restaurant operations, not “capital gain” as defined in the Internal Revenue Code and in this bill.


However, the sale of a restaurant business at a substantial profit would likely produce a capital gain, which could be taxed under this proposal.  To the extent a restaurant owner or investor sells a restaurant or sells his stake in a restaurant, that sale might produce capital gain, which could be subject to this excise tax.

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U.S. Supreme Court Rules on Tacking Doctrine Applicable to Trademarks

A trademark serves to identify and distinguish one party’s goods or services from the goods and services of others.  A trademark may be a word, phrase, symbol or design, or any combination of those.  Trademark rights arise from either (1) actual use of the mark, or (2) the filing of an application to register a mark in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) stating that the applicant has bona fide intention to use the mark in interstate commerce.

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Good News for 2015: Lower Government Fees for US Trademark Applications and Renewals

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has reduced the governmental filing fees for trademark applications and renewals, effective January 17, 2015. For applicants that agree to utilize electronic correspondence, the new per-classification fee for a standard trademark application has been reduced from $325 to $275 per class. Applicants may also continue to receive non-electronic notifications and correspondence from the USPTO at the same $325 per class filing fee.



Likewise, fees for trademark renewals have been reduced from $400 to $300 per class for electronic filers.

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