Legal Question in Business Law in California

Startup advertising business

I am attempting to create a startup that will sell advertising to healthcare facilities and healthcare products. We will send a monthly mailer to each Occupational, Physical, and Speech Therapist in my state on an 11x17 tri-fold brochure. There are many companies selling ads out there to gain attention from this crowd. I have heard of a company that sends a slightly smaller version of the same type of mailer, however they sell ads to only healthcare facilities, not product companies. Their ad is also slightly smaller, but still a trifold brochure. They also send their mailer to occupational, physical, and speech therapists in the same state, but they do 3 seperate publications (one to OTs, one to PTs, one to STs). So, before I get started, I want to be sure that I'm not infringing on anyones rights, copyrights, etc.

Asked on 8/15/08, 12:49 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Jeb Burton The Burton Law Firm

Re: Startup advertising business

Just because you are sending advertisements out to the same demographics (business, etc) does not mean that you are encroaching on copyrights, etc. You would have to be stealing their copy (wording), their name, their design or their images/graphics/logos to be running into this problem. Or if you stole the list from them, then you could also run into issues. Also, if you are intentionally making targets think that you are this other company... that is also a problem.

Based on what you described, I doubt if you will be running into any problems. However, if you are concerned, or you have some reason to believe this is not straight forward, I would recommend speaking to a business law attorney and bringing in the other companies mailers as well as yours.

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Answered on 8/15/08, 1:37 pm

Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

Re: Startup advertising business

Copyright law protects creative expression, such as the words used in expressing an author's ideas and the artist's rendition of a landscape or portrait. Copyright does not stifle competition that addresses the same set of customers with the same business concepts so long as they are expressed in different, non-plagiarized words. Size of the ad brochure and delimitation of the target audience is irrelevant. What is important is to avoid copying the way someone else wrote it up. Use your own copy and illustrations and stay away from cut-and-paste.

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Answered on 8/16/08, 12:31 am

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