Three months before 2021 ended, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook’s corporate name will now be known as Meta. Whereas Facebook used to be its overarching brand, now it’s become a subsidiary along with its other products — WhatsApp and Instagram. This move is to allow the company to focus on the metaverse.
The Metaverse Wars
Zuckerberg just started the metaverse wars, according to the technology news website, The Register. In fact, Microsoft has already spent years working on the Hololens, a mixed reality smartglasses first released in 2016. It runs on its own mixed reality platform and operating system.
Cisco, a global leader in network hardware, doesn’t want to watch silently, too. Days before Facebook changed its name, Cisco’s Webex launched a holographic interface for web and video conferencing.
Other major tech companies have already had their say and staked their claim, but one thing’s for sure, metaverse wasn’t even invented by Facebook.
Metaverse was first mentioned in Snow Crash, a 1992 science fiction novel written by Neal Stephenson. It’s described as a mixed reality environment where humans, as avatars, interact with each other, while connected to the internet and wearing virtual reality headsets.
Facebook doesn’t own the metaverse. No tech company holds the patent or copyright for the name itself. Knowing this, experts are observing how the social media giant is trying to gain control over the name.
Surely, there are laws that protect businesses from this kind of activity? While giants like the ones mentioned here can play it out well, considering their billions of revenue, how about small businesses? How can they protect themselves?
Importance of Small Businesses in the Economy
It’s important for small businesses to remain standing and strive to become successful. Small companies, after all, are the cogs that keep the economic machinery in local towns and cities thriving. They provide employment and revenue, supporting local communities.
If you want to start a small business and protect it from being overpowered by big companies, you must be knowledgeable about business laws. Laws applied to businesses maintain order, establish standards, and implement regulations. They also protect intellectual properties and resolve disputes. Foremost, however, business laws handle compensation issues, safeguard shareholder rights, and assist in business
Understanding Local and Federal Laws
In other words, staying legally compliant can protect your business. Most especially though, you can protect your business from losing revenue, and even generate more income, if you simply understand and follow city ordinances, state regulations, and federal laws.
To better understand local, state, and federal business laws though, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), advises hiring a legal counsel who will provide you with expertise on US business laws. According to the government-run agency, you should at least first, know the following basic business laws.
Your business structure is also your legal structure. This means it will dictate your tax and employer requirements. This will also dictate the extent of protection your business can get. It’s therefore important to choose the right structure to help you get the legal protections and benefits your business need.
You need to first, choose a tax year, which is the time that will cover your tax returns. After which, you need to determine your state and federal tax obligations. Local and state tax laws depend on your business structure and location.
Federal tax laws, on the other hand, cover income, self-employment, estimated, employer, and excise taxes.
Employment and Labor
You also have to get your Employer Identification Number (EIN), which will also act as your federal tax ID. It is required for hiring employees, paying federal taxes, opening a business bank account, and applying for licenses and permits.
You should also know more about labor laws. This will ensure that you comply, you’re compensating your employees appropriately, and you’re providing what they need to do their work properly.
Although not required, getting copyrights, patents, and trademarks can strengthen and grow your business. They are after all, considered your intellectual property and must be protected. For example, if you’re a company developing apps, you should get the help of a software patent law firm to get the necessary intellectual property protection for your business.
Licensing and Permits
You’re required to get state-level licenses and permits if your business activities and business location are regulated by local and state agencies. The same is true for federal-level licenses and permits. Licenses and permits are often issued to businesses to allow them to operate legally.
Stay Legally Compliant
There are many more business laws that you need to know about. They vary per state though. It’s best to inform yourself about these laws, however, to avoid violating them. Contact your local SBA office for help, too.