Business Law


  • Business Formation
  • LLCs · Partnerships
  • S Corps · Corporations
  • Choosing right business entity
  • Contracts
  • Real Estate Transactions
  • Employment Contracts
  • Purchase/Sale of Business
  • Buy/Sell Agreements
  • Trademarks
  • Copyrights


  • Commercial Disputes
  • Fraud
  • Corporate Issues
  • Arbitration Representation
  • Real Estate Disputes
  • Complex Litigation
  • Mediation Services
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Trials
  • Collections

Business Law and Formations

Comprehensive Counsel for Business

  • Business formation and incorporation: Beyond protecting your personal assets, the choice of business entity (LLC, S Corp, LLP) will be influenced by many factors, most importantly tax efficiency. The Law Offices of Mark J. McGowan, P.C., works closely with each client to establish an entity that most closely meets their business goals.
  • Purchase, sale or transfer of a business: Negotiation and review of contracts, purchase terms, and buy-sell agreements, and assistance with financing.
  • Business formalities and maintenance: Ongoing counsel regarding stock issuance, corporate minutes, regulatory compliance, annual filings, tax planning and other aspects of business operation.
  • Business transactions: Contracts, commercial agreements, distribution agreements, franchise agreements, and equipment purchase or lease.
  • Commercial real estate: Purchase or sale of commercial property or undeveloped land, commercial leases and construction and development matters.
  • Exit Strategies: Planning for dissolution, succession or transfer of ownership stake.

Business Law Services

Attorney Mark McGowan is available to assist you with a wide range of business law matters, including:

  • Business formation (limited liability companies (LLC), joint ventures, partnerships, corporations)
  • Contract disputes and breach of contract cases
  • Collection of debts
  • Drafting and review of contracts
  • Trademarks
  • Employment and agency contracts
  • Non-competition agreements
  • Fraud
  • Conversion
  • Insurance coverage and negotiation of claims
  • Business disputes
  • Vendor issues
  • Unfair competition
  • General legal advice for businesses

Business Litigation

The Law Offices of Mark J. McGowan, P.C., has built a trusted reputation for helping businesses successfully navigate through commercial litigation and disputes. When you choose the Law Offices of Mark J. McGowan, P.C., as your law firm, Attorney McGowan will take the time to learn about your business. He will get to know your goals to ensure that the legal strategy he develops is designed not only to support them, but also to further your progress toward them.

Attorney McGowan is detailed and thorough, ready to research your case and make certain all of the facts are on the table. He does not shy away from taking every step necessary to pursue your interests, from settlement negotiations to aggressive trial work. He is here to see your business succeed.

Businesses face a host of challenges on issues such as contract formation and enforcement, employment, mergers and acquisitions. Often however, business owners can find themselves confused by the complex legal system we operate under. The Law Offices of Mark J. McGowan, P.C., handles a wide variety of business litigation cases, including contract law. Business owners can often protect themselves from unseen legal problems by hiring an experienced attorney to handle their cases.

Whether you are seeking legal remedies or your business is being sued, you need an experienced lawyer who understands business. The Law Offices of Mark J. McGowan, P.C., provides sound legal counsel and effective plaintiff or defense representation.

Its goal is to resolve disputes as effectively and efficiently as possible. It regularly engages in alternative dispute resolution such as mediation or arbitration. But the Law Offices of Mark J. McGowan, P.C., is prepared to prosecute or defend your interests in state court when alternative avenues of dispute resolution do not get results.

Business disputes and related litigation:

  • Breach of contract (suppliers, clients, business partners)
  • Business transactions
  • Fraud or unfair business practices
  • Franchise and licensing disputes
  • Partnership and shareholder disputes
  • Business dissolution

Attorney McGowan has handled complex business, commercial and civil litigation. If you are bringing the action, he will pursue monetary damages or other remedies for the tangible loss, including harm to the goodwill or competitive advantage of your company. If you are defending against a lawsuit, he will aggressively counter the claims and maneuver to limit your potential exposure.

Trademark/Service Mark Registration [USPTO] – Process Overview

Step 1; Trademark/Service Mark Search and Registrability Opinion Letter.

The first step, in the typical registration process of a trademark, is conducting a trademark search. A trademark search is a search of various trademark databases for the purpose of identifying identical or potentially similar/conflicting trademarks, their status, and their owners. The reliability of the trademark search results depends on the number and the quality of the databases searched, and on the search techniques used (wild cards, Boolean operators, phonetic searches, etc).

Is a trademark search needed? For most businesses, whether they are for-profit or non-profit, the answer is yes. It is wise to decide to invest in a business name, product or service name (or logo) only after you have a comfortable degree of certainty that the name or the logo is yours. Or at least, you should know the trademark risk you assume, before spending money and other resources with the registration of a particular trademark and its promotion through marketing.

What’s the risk of not conducting a trademark search? That is what is called trademark risk. Trademark risk is the risk that someone else already applied for, or registered the same or a similar trademark, which may result in the registration being denied by the USPTO and the loss of the filing fees, among other things. In addition, it is the risk that someone else can claim rights in your trademark, or even worse, that someone else can claim superior rights to yours. If someone else can claim rights in your trademark, obviously your trademark is a weak mark. Furthermore, if someone else has begun using the trademark before you did, he is a senior user, and therefore, he may have superior rights in the trademark. A senior user may force you to stop using the trademark, and may sue you for trademark infringement. This is especially true when the senior user has the financial means to do so (e.g., a large corporation, etc).

Therefore, a trademark search should be conducted, preferably, before starting to use the trademark in commerce or before applying for registration, whichever occurs first. The scope of the search depends primarily on the budget available to the trademark owner. In other words, the scope of the search is a question of how much security the trademark owner can buy upfront.

The results of the trademark search are analyzed by a trademark attorney and in the opinion letter the registrability of the trademark is assessed so that the applicant can make an informed decision whether or not to proceed with registration.

Step 2: Trademark/Service Mark Registration Application.

The second step, in the typical registration process of a trademark, is preparing and filing a complete trademark registration application with the USPTO. The trademark owner may do this on his own, pay for a filing service, or, pay a trademark attorney to conduct a preliminary review the information provided by the trademark owner, and prepare and file the application.

The preliminary review is very important as it can uncover obvious flaws or inconsistencies in the information provided by the trademark owner. These flaws, if undiscovered, may subject the application to a rejection by the examiner later. Here are examples of common flaws, which may cause trouble later during the prosecution of the trademark application: the trademark is descriptive of the goods and services; the mark drawing or the specimen are inappropriate; the filing basis is wrong; the description of goods or services is indefinite. A prior/preliminary review of the information provided by the trademark owner, by a trademark attorney, may help spot and, if not completely remove, at least reduce the number of these flaws before the application is filed.

Step 3; Trademark/Service Mark Prosecution.

The third step, in the typical registration process of a trademark, is the trademark prosecution step. It comprises such actions as responding timely to any communications from the USPTO in regards to the status and/or the deficiencies of the application or the basis for rejection. Typically, few months after the filing of the application, a USPTO attorney/examiner will review the application, and if no deficiencies of the application or conflicts with other trademarks are found, the application is “allowed.” From here, assuming no one will oppose the registration, it is generally only a matter of time before the certificate of registration is received by the trademark owner/applicant.

However, if the examiner finds that, for example, the proposed trademark conflicts with another registered trademark, or that the proposed trademark is descriptive of the goods or services associated with the trademark, he/she issues what is called a non-final Office Action. A timely response to the Office Action, using argument, evidence, etc, and addressing all the issues raised by the examiner, has to be prepared and filed with the USPTO in order to avoid abandonment of the application. If the examiner is convinced by the response, he/she will allow the application to proceed toward registration. Otherwise, he/she will issue a final Office Action. From here, typically, the options are to file a Request for Reconsideration and/or an appeal with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB).

Step 4 – Certificate of Registration.

Finally, once the application is “allowed,” it will be published for opposition, and again, if no one opposes the registration of the trademark, the registration will be granted by the USPTO and a registration certificate will be mailed to the trademark owner. Typically, from the time the application is filed to the time the registration certificate is issued, it takes approximately 8-16 months.


The Law Offices of Mark J. McGowan, P.C., is available to assist you on a limited basis. This is known as “limited legal services.” You retain control over your case and are responsible for all decisions. You simply choose to hire an attorney for specific services. You choose from a menu of services that could include:

  • Legal Advice
  • Review of agreements or other documentation prepared by the other party’s attorney;
  • Advice about alternative means of solving a dispute, such as mediation or arbitration;
  • Evaluation of your case and advice about legal rights and responsibilities;
  • Guidance and procedural information for filing or serving documents;
  • Review of pleadings and other documents you have prepared;
  • Suggest documents for you to prepare;
  • Legal document review and preparation;
  • Drafting of pleadings, motions or other documents;
  • Legal research and analysis;
  • Discovery – which includes interrogatories, depositions, and requests for document production;
  • Planning for negotiations;
  • Planning for court appearances; or
  • Standby telephone assistance during negotiations or settlement conferences.

The Law Offices of Mark J. McGowan, P.C. performs only the services specifically agreed upon in writing. Attorney McGowan does not represent you and does not make appearances for you or sign papers on your behalf and does not become your attorney of record with the Court. You represent yourself throughout the case except for a limited appearance.

Attorney McGowan working on a limited services basis will make only those court appearances he is specifically hired to make and will make it clear to the Court at the appearance that he is appearing only for that particular hearing, as a “limited appearance.” The client continues to represent himself or herself.

Clients can sometimes handle the more routine, simple matters with the guidance of any attorney’s limited services. But once the limited services have been performed, if you determine you cannot adequately represent yourself, you can later retain Attorney McGowan to represent you in all aspects of the case. Attorney McGowan would then substitute in and become the attorney of record.

Curriculum Vitae

Mark J. McGowan is a Phi Bets Kappa graduate of Stanford University (1981) and of Stanford Law School (1984). As a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law, a license and distinction of the California State Bar’s Board of Legal Specialization, he is devoutly dedicated to providing each selected client with personal, caring counsel, attentive accessibility, diligent performance and quality service.

Click To Download Forms