When running any small business, there’s the potential for problems to flare up and become legal issues if you’re not too careful. To avoid your business plans getting derailed, it pays to set up ways to mitigate or remove certain business risks where possible.
For the smoother running of your business, it’s necessary to follow a few simple rules to ward off obvious potential problems before they occur.
Here are 5 rules to use as a small business
1. Check the Trademark Registry
Before using a brand or company name, it’s important to verify whether there’s an existing trademark under that name.
A trademark can be a design such as a logo, or it may be a trading name. Generally speaking, you should avoid trading using a name that’s the same, similar, or could be confused with another brand in the marketplace. While for smaller companies with a trademark, avoiding using their registered mark in the same line of business is sufficient, for conglomerates with wide-ranging business interests, they may take objection to the use of the name regardless of the marketplace.
To avoid needing to re-register a different name, start again, and smooth over ruffled corporate feathers, checking that the selected name is free avoids headaches. The TESS database search is a quick way to do a spot check.
2. Organize a Terms and Conditions Statement
A Terms and Conditions document broadly lays out the terms and certain conditions that the business is working under. Typically, the T&Cs are seen on a website or app to clarify what the business aims to provide and under what circumstances.
The idea is to cover the ins and outs of what will happen, how data is collected, how data is used, whether cookies on a computer are activated, and how analytical and/or advertising systems may track your activity.
The best way to create this type of document is to use a systematic approach. You can click here to find the best terms and conditions generator, which makes the process painless. Then you can add the T&C statement to your website very fast.
3. Use Written Contracts
Everything is up to interpretation. People hear different things even with a verbal agreement and form different beliefs about what was agreed upon. As such, two parties can have a very different idea about what was decided and there’s often no proof because it was a verbal agreement. This leads to problems with a so-called “Handshake agreement” especially as the details of the deal points become more complex.
Whether dealing with a client, service provider or another party, a contract broadly lays out what is expected of both parties, who agrees to pay what, and what the purpose of the engagement is. Contracts should remove any ambiguity over who is taking responsibility for certain aspects, which reduces the potential for legal issues should a dispute occur later.
4. Incorporate the Business
While incorporation in its various forms is not a direct way to avoid a lawsuit per se, what it does do is provide some degree of extra protection.
The alternative is trading under your name. This is problematic for a variety of reasons, including failing to limit the potential legal liability should something go wrong.
Remember, you don’t have to have done anything wrong to get sued. Other companies or individuals can decide they feel wronged – whether that’s factually true or not – and the cost of defending or settling a case can be prohibitively expensive.
When trading as a business and not under your name, usually your assets are ring-fenced and business assets separated. This affords a reasonable amount of protection from business activities.
5. Get Insurance
Having business liability insurance protects companies from some of the cost of lawsuits because an insurance company offers cover. These policies may protect against someone on the business premises slipping, falling and injuring themselves. They may also provide considerably more protection depending on the clauses included in the insurance policy.
Insurance is relatively inexpensive to take out for most types of business operations. There are also several types worth exploring depending on the type of business that you’re actively running. Get as much as necessary to protect the underlying business.
As long as you do what’s necessary to protect the business, then it avoids making mistakes of omission that can be the most problematic.
Living an entrepreneurial life day-in-day-out is a dream come true. It’s one of the fascinating chances to lead a fulfilling life as you wake up to an exciting activity as you impact positively in people’s lives. There are lots of details that go into being a decorated business owner. Running a successful enterprise requires utmost precision during the development, building as well as managing ace for the business to flourish. In a rather seemingly busy endeavour, it’s easy to overlook certain aspects. It’s quite unfortunate that the legal matters are often receiving a back seat.
The legal mistakes are mainly
§ wrong enterprise structures
With so many business structures, you can choose one that suits your immediate needs. However, it would be best if you were cautious as each arrangement comes with its advantages as well as drawbacks. Seeking experienced entrepreneurial advice on the best structure to pursue isn’t enough. It would help if you had legal help before making this substantial decision.
§ Sloppy records
With a tight schedule to ensure everything is running smoothly, it’s easy to overlook the record-keeping department. It’s a very grave mistake which makes you vulnerable to future legal predicaments. For any incorporated enterprise it’s essential to have proper records at all times. It’ll ultimately act as a protective shield while you intend to protect yourself from any liabilities. Adequate records are very crucial more so when you plan to expand or sell your enterprise in the coming years. It’s also a way to ensure that all your taxes are in order. Thus, you won’t face any tax law predicament that might arise.
§ The handshake affair
As a smart and detailed entrepreneur, you mustn’t be hasty when sealing business partnership deals. Any verbal agreement or handshake deal can cost you your entire business more so in the absence of a legal attorney. You need not take every person’s word for it as some are business predators. With a professional lawyer by your side, you can become assured of the best deal. Each aspect that you want to undertake needs to be in pen and ink. Thus, in case you have to settle any dispute, you have everything in writing.
§ Employment issues
Watching a business flourish to a point where one can hire other people is quite thrilling. It’s because staff workers are exciting lot and you need to be ready for anything, including legal liabilities. You ought to be extra careful and bring an attorney on board to enable you to formulate company policy structure. They will also assist you with any union regulations, harassment legal lawsuits, among other items. The employment sector in an enterprise is very delicate, and if you aren’t careful, your enterprise might be on the risky receiving end of the law. You must seek legal services for small business to have a surefire legal strategy at all times.
The repercussions of ignoring the legal aspect of your enterprise are very grave. Thus, you need to rise above the norm from other business owners and seek legal services for small business. It’s an opportunity where your enterprise operation doesn’t get affected, which might ultimately lead to a bad rep and in worst-case scenario closure.
When you are getting close to the end of your university engineering program, you have a choice to make – will you pursue your PE (professional engineer) license or take the FE (Fundamentals of Engineering) exam? Or, are you going to skip this step altogether?
If you take and pass the FE exam, you face another choice – after four years of being an Engineer-in-Training, you have to decide if you will receive the PE exam (Principles of Practice of Engineering Exam), or pass this opportunity.
While you may not want to pursue the PE license, there are some benefits. However, before moving forward, understanding the PE license requirements is a must.
Understanding Licensure in the U.S.
In the United States, the engineering profession is regulated by licensing boards. These exist in each US territory and state. The licensing boards have set high standards for professional engineers to help protect the general public.
If you plan to practice fire protection engineering and work as a consultant, or if you want to work for a firm that requires the presence of a registered PE, it’s smart to follow a path that leads to you acquiring the professional engineering registration.
Additionally, modern employers put a value on engineers who have earned this license. Some require licensure for a promotion, and PEs will usually result in higher salaries.
Since FPE is related to public safety, the state laws have required that some engineering projects be managed by a registered and licensed PE. The professional engineer registration is given by the state registration boards based on a written exam, professional experience, and college education.
There are two different exams, you are required to pass after you have graduated from engineering school, and before you earn your engineering license. The first is the FE exam, and the second is the PE exam.
Test Administration and Requirements
The Principles and Practice of Engineering Exam are given by the NCEES – National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying. This is a national organization that is given the job of regulating engineer and surveyor testing.
The PE exam is a type of standardized test that is administered around the nation. It is the individual state boards that outline the eligibility requirements of the PE exam, and it is pretty apparent that the specific requirements will vary from one state to another.
While this is true, there are some basic requirements you must meet in every state where the exam is given. These include:
- Meet state educational requirements
- Pass the FE exam
- Meet the experience requirements under a licensed PE
- Pass a background check
- Have an Experience Record signed by references and submitted
- Submit the application paperwork to the appropriate state board
- Pass the engineering ethics or rules exam given by the state
Some states have chosen to separate the PE exam and experience requirements. What this means is you can take the PE exam before meeting the experience requirements and submitted the application to the state board. However, before being licensed, you still must meet the licensing requirements.
Benefits Offered by Passing the PE Licensing Exam
There are several benefits offered when you pass the PE licensing exam and get your license. Some of the most significant benefits are listed here.
Stand Out from the Competition
When you have a PE license, it shows you have the equivalent of a four-year engineering degree, along with four (or more) years of progressive experience and a full understanding of engineering and physical principles.
It also proves you have met or exceeded the standards required in this profession. For a field like electrical engineering, where PE is preferred but not always needed, it provides you with the perfect opportunity to stand out.
Earn a Higher Salary
It’s estimated that the median salary for engineers – in any profession without a PE license is approximately $94,000. For engineers with a PE license, the average salary is $99,000. This represents an increase of about five percent.
It’s a Differentiator During the Hiring Process
If a business is trying to choose between two equally qualified applicants, the one who has a PE license is going to be more appealing. Usually, companies are going to choose a candidate they believe will benefit the company the most.
A company will gain benefits from an employee’s PE license, which makes this person a smart hire.
Sign and Seal Drawings and Plans
Only licensed engineers can submit drawings and plans and manage work in the private sector. These requirements result in more responsibility for the PE, which results in more career possibilities.
You Are Officially an Engineer if You Have a PE License
If you don’t have your PE license, you can’t call yourself an engineer (officially). Also, your company can’t identify you as an engineer in any official documents, resumes, letterheads, business cards, or any other documentation.
If you want to have the title of engineer, then acquiring your PE license is a must.
PE License Requirements: Now You Know
As you can see, the PE license requirements can vary from state to state. While this is true, there are some general guidelines you can use to know what you must do to acquire this certification.
If you are looking for more information about engineering requirements and the legal stipulations and requirements in this industry, check out our blog. In addition to topics about your career, we offer other information and resources for those who have questions. Visit often to see the new content we have posted.
Are you launching a small startup?
Congrats on your leap. Now it’s time to finalize the details by ensuring that you dot all your I’s and cross all your T’s.
One of the many things to not only consider but do is hire a lawyer.
“But I don’t need one,” you might proclaim. Well as you know two heads are certainly better than one. This is especially true in business.
Starting a business comes with a myriad of questions, one of which should be, “What does a business attorney do?” Learn everything you need to know here.
What Does a Business Attorney Do?
Business attorneys are integral in helping business owners to resolve their problems. Essentially, they help you as a business owner to understand the problems you’re encountering as well as prepare you for possible legal challenges in the future.
Now that you know exactly what they do, take a look at the four reasons why you should definitely hire one.
Incorporating Your Business
With a lawyer on board, you will garner help to decide what type of business you want to start and why. You can decide if you’ll be incorporated as an LLC, C-Corp or S-Corp.
Since each type has different structures and tax implications, having a lawyer to help with the paperwork will ensure that you choose the best one for your business.
Choosing Business Partners
Despite screening and selecting your business partners carefully, there is no guarantee that they will carry out duties as they should.
A good way to hold them to their obligations is to have your lawyer draft a partnership agreement that is to be carried out by all partners. This agreement will clearly outline each partner’s expectations of the other, their responsibilities and their financial duties.
Employees and Contracts
Lawyers will help you to determine which forms a new employee should sign and if they should sign a waiver. They can also draft the employee’s contract.
If you run into problems related to employee benefits or workplace safety, a lawyer can educate you on what to do. Your lawyer will also be able to represent you or suggest someone who can.
A business attorney can let your contractor know that they have dishonored your contractual agreement. Your attorney can also work with the contractor on your behalf to demand that you are paid what you are owed.
They negotiate and speak on your behalf and will even file a lawsuit if necessary. Your lawyer can advise you on how to deal with compliance issues with contracts and more. They can even help to implement systems to monitor and reduce risk.
A Final Look
As you launch your business, it’s good to know the answer to the question, “What does a business attorney do?”
A lawyer will help with incorporation, compliance, contracts, and partners. They make it easy for you to have peace of mind when dealing with the legal aspects of your business.
If you would like to hire a business attorney, please contact us.
The government has passed laws that govern the operations and taxation of different forms of businesses. The regulations are also applied to online B2C and B2B sales and transactions. In this article, you will learn more about e-commerce regulations and taxes to help you make informed decisions. If you find the compliance requirements to be challenging, you can seek the services of e-commerce service providers who can help you out with issues such as VAT tax, shopping tax, and the prevailing foreign exchange rates.
E-commerce Regulations and Taxes
The Taxation of Export Businesses and E-Commerce Platforms
Many e-commerce professionals say there are no legal differences between e-commerce and transactions by exporting businesses. In 2018, a Christian clothing store called The Good News Tee exported and sold Christian t-shirts via e-commerce and was required to pay the same amount for all sales. The government applies the same taxation, customs, and licensing rules to the two forms of businesses. In some countries, there are different duties structures depending on industries and geographical locations. Some countries have also enacted strict e-commerce laws to protect consumer data privacy.
Domestic sales tax is calculated based on the “sales tax nexus.” We spoke with Veterans CBD and they mentioned that they are required to pay sales tax whenever someone make a purchase of a commodity on their e-commerce platforms in the U.S. Custom Duty and Value Added Tax paid varies depending on the country you live in. The two types of taxes are also paid during every e-commerce purchase.
There are online resources that you can utilize to get an estimate of the amount of foreign exchange that you are likely to pay. American firms are allowed by the law to pass the cost of VAT to their customers. As a US-based businessperson, you are required to register for the Value Added Tax in the country you are importing the goods from.
The Function of the Department of Commerce and the Federal Trade Commission
The U.S Department of Commerce is tasked with helping local businesses to comply with the GDPR data transfer regulations. The legal provision requires every business to disclose facts such as when they are collecting customer data, how the data will be used, and any third parties that will have access to the information. The EU law defines personal data as any information about an identified or identifiable person such as their identification number and physical location.
The Federal Trade Commission was formed more than a century ago. It regulates the operations of e-commerce platforms in the U.S. Over the years, it has presented numerous resources that can help the local business owners to understand different e-commerce concepts. The Federal body also protects customers and promotes competition among businesses. It develops relevant policies by collecting information from avenues such as workshops, conferences, and hearings. The commission works closely with relevant international bodies and law enforcement authorities locally and abroad to achieve its objectives.
Best E-Commerce Practices
Hopefully, you now have a broad understanding of e-commerce regulations and taxes. Recently, the International Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development published some guidelines for e-commerce platforms which outlines the best practices to ensure that they comply with customer data protection laws and regulations. Some of the issues that have been addressed in the guideline include dispute resolution mechanisms, payment methods, online disclosures, and the best marketing practices.
Small business owners who want to compete with the well-established giants in their industry face a number of issues when starting out. Indeed, 20 percent of start-ups and small businesses go out of business in the first 12 months, and that figure increases to 50 percent after five years. To increase their chances of survival, new businesses need to try and steal an edge over their rivals by doing some things differently. Right now, one of the best ways to do this could be to offer cryptocurrency payments.
The world is currently split on the stance over whether bitcoin or another cryptocurrency could go mainstream in the future. Some people find it impossible to fathom that a monetary system that isn’t overseen by a central bank could exist.
Others are convinced that the decentralised blockchain system is infallible and will be used for a number of things in the future. For small business owners, it doesn’t matter whether you believe that bitcoin will take over the world or not. It is simply a case of giving those that do see it as the currency of tomorrow an outlet to spend their assets.
To say that bitcoin has risen to highs of around $20,000 in the past from starting out with no actual value, the digital currency is still far from being mainstream. For it to become the global currency that it aspires to be, many more businesses will need to begin taking payments with it. If bitcoin rises to the fore, other smaller cryptocurrencies will also gain attention. Bitcoin trade sites allow cryptocurrency enthusiasts to exchange their assets for others if they begin to gain traction. Business owners who already accept bitcoin, therefore, could easily switch to taking payments with other tokens if they become more widespread.
Bitcoin is not currently regulated, which means there are fewer restrictions for businesses that want to use it. This enables global transactions, as the currency can be used from almost anywhere. If your small business is an online store and you want to ship to countries all over the world, using bitcoin transfers means that there will be no hassle with fluctuating exchange rates. The fees for international transfers are also much lower than they would be with banks.
Small businesses don’t need to go down the route of only offering bitcoin, it can simply be used as one of many different payment options for customers. Having the freedom to choose between preferred payment systems will also make a business more attractive to potential customers. Talking to a lawyer about anything you are uncertain with is also advisable.
Some small businesses, including coffee shops and restaurants, have gained a lot of attention by giving customers the chance to pay with bitcoin. Not only does it give consumers more choice, it also helps lower transfer costs. In addition to this, if bitcoin does end up going global, businesses who got on the bandwagon first will end up reaping the rewards.
Starting a new business venture is a time that should be exciting and fun.
No matter what type of business you plan to open, you need to make sure that you are following the law. You have a lot of responsibility on your hands, and that means you need to know the various laws that apply to businesses inside and out.
You can’t use the excuse that you simply didn’t know. That won’t work in a court or with an attorney.
Read on to find out the most important business laws you need to know before you start your business.
1. American with Disabilities Act
In 1989, Congress passed this law and it was signed by President Bush in 1990. This was a huge victory for people with disabilities in that they could not be discriminated against.
From a business perspective, any public building has to be accessible to all people. The law is also being applied to websites. This is one area of the law that is changing, so you need to be aware of the changes.
When hiring employees, you have to provide reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities.
2. Federal and State Tax Laws
You know that taxes are a part of life, and they’re a big part of your business. You need to know your tax responsibilities at the federal, state, and local levels. How much in taxes you need to pay depends on your legal structure, how many employees you have, your revenue, and your location.
Are you starting an ecommerce business? You may now be responsible for paying sales taxes. This is another area of business law that’s evolving. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court opened the door for states to collect sales tax from retailers doing business there.
3. Intellectual Property and Copyright Laws
If you’re promoting your business, there’s a good chance you’ll have a blog or a website. When you’re putting your website together, you may see an image online that looks great, so you decide to use it.
You could put yourself in legal trouble by doing so. You could be violating someone else’s copyright or intellectual property. They would have the right to seek damages for that copyright violation.
On the flip side, someone could violate your intellectual property. For example, another business could start a business with a very similar name, creating confusion in the marketplace. Someone else could use your secret recipe that your restaurant is known for.
These are important aspects of your business that need protection. Check out
https://weisblattlaw.com/business-litigation/ for more information.
4. Data Privacy Laws
Technology has changed business laws and that includes how data is collected and stored. There are a few data privacy laws that you need to be familiar with.
There are industry-related laws like HIPPA for the healthcare industry, and Sarbanes-Oxley for the financial industry. Both of these regulations have stipulations for storing, sharing, and collecting sensitive data.
Other data privacy laws are coming out that are supposed to give consumers more control over how their personal information is collected and used.
One is GDPR or the General Data Privacy Regulation. This applies to European businesses or businesses outside of Europe that have website visitors or customers from Europe.
California recently adopted a similar version of GDPR, called the California Consumer Privacy Act, which is due to go into effect on January 1, 2020. This applies mostly to larger organizations, but you should expect other stated to pass similar laws in the next year or two.
5. Employment and Labor Laws
If you are planning to hire employees, this is one area of law you need to know. There are federal and state employment standards that you need to abide by.
There’s FLSA, FMLA, EOC, ADA, and Worker’s Comp. Is your head spinning yet? These acronyms just scratch the surface of what you need to know.
FSLA is the Fair Labor Standards Act, a federal law that oversees minimum wage and overtime laws. Most states have a minimum wage that’s higher than the federal standard, so you need to know both.
FMLA is the Family Medical Leave Act, which gives employees up to 12 weeks of medical leave without losing their job.
The Equal Opportunity Commission works to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity for a job. Worker’s Comp. is insurance that you need to have in case an employee gets hurt on the job.
6. Business Licensing Laws
As you start your business, you’ll need to have a proper business license to operate. This is one confusing area of business law because there is no set standard.
It will vary from municipality to municipality. You don’t want to get caught opening a business without a license.
You can learn about your laws by contacting your local government. You can also use resources like your local chamber of commerce and the Small Business Administration office.
7. Environmental Laws
Some businesses like healthcare or manufacturing will have to know environmental laws. There are laws on the books that deal with disposing of hazardous waste and keeping the air clean.
Some of the business laws include the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Federal Insecticide, and the Fungicide & Rodenticide Act
8. Healthcare Laws
Do you need to provide health insurance to your employees? That depends. That’s why you need to know about the Affordable Care Act.
If you have 50 or more employees, you do need to provide health insurance to your employees. If you have fewer than 50 employees, you can offer insurance through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP).
Protect Your Business by Knowing Business Laws
You worked hard to start and build your business. You should protect it by understanding how you could be in legal jeopardy.
You don’t need to be an attorney, but you do need to know the various business laws and how they apply to your business. For every action you take in your business, you have to assume that there’s a legal implication.
Everything from using images for a blog post to hiring employees requires some legal knowledge. If you’re ever in doubt about business laws, don’t assume anything. Check out the directory and contact a business lawyer.
Taking your first step into the realm of startups is an exciting time. Before you can push forward, do you know what you need to get started?
There are a lot of important business documents that you cannot ignore. Without them, you might be in major legal trouble if you try to do more than chat about your great new business idea.
We have the five most important business documents you need to get your startup started.
1. Business Formation Documents
To start, you need to file documents to create a legal business entity. This will help set the foundation for your business and cover personal liability and taxes.
There are three major forms of businesses you can choose from.
The first is a corporation. This allows you to get outside financing and allows you to offer shares in the business to employees.
The second is an LLC, which offers more flexibility in how you operate the business and share profits.
The last form is an S corp. These companies distribute their profits and losses to the shareholders and often avoid federal taxes. For more information, here are documents for starting an S Corp.
2. Governing Documents
To operate as a professional business entity, you must have governing documents. These showcase how a business operates, like how shareholders can operate and organize or how to decide where profits and investments go.
These documents should cover everything that a company does and dictate how it does it. Many startups ignore this because everyone involved knows each other, but one disagreement could tear the whole company apart.
3. Intellectual Property Assignment Agreement
That idea you had to start your company is the foundation of your entire startup. It is intellectual property that needs protection at all costs. Intellectual property covers any kind of product or even an idea for a service.
Without this agreement, your company cannot use the idea if a shareholder or employee created the idea before the founding of the company. You must transfer the rights of it over with one of these agreements.
IPAAs and NDAs are common materials to use when starting a business.
4. Shareholder Agreements
Shareholder agreements are similar to the governing documents, but with stronger specifications. They outline shareholder details, such as the nature of the shareholder position and how they interact with each other.
This set of documents also describes how buying or selling the company works and how to settle shareholder disagreements.
5. Employee Contracts
Employee contracts are the foundation for how the employee/employer relationship work in your company. Employee contracts are a vital part of smooth management.
You need a clear and strong employee/employer relationship. If you don’t manage your employees well, you’ll have a hard time keeping a stable workforce. Do your employees right and your business will succeed.
Getting Your Business Documents in Order
Starting a business can be a rewarding experience, but dealing with business documents isn’t always interesting or easy. It is a required part of the process though, so doing it right the first time is important.
From the legal documents to marketing strategies, we at AllTopStartups have guides for all your needs. Check them out.
The dream of becoming your own boss is seductive. Making your own hours and signing your own paycheck is only one of the many perks of becoming an entrepreneur.
But before you quit your day job, hire a lawyer for business startup. Lawyers might not seem necessary in the digital age, but a good attorney can help you avoid many common pitfalls startups face.
Let’s explore the many advantages of hiring a lawyer for your startup.
Solid Business Formation
Yes, your county’s business division might have filing paperwork available online. To save money, your instinct might be to download the articles of incorporation to mail in yourself.
This can be a risky decision if you have no understanding of how business entities impact your financial and legal standing as a business owner. An attorney can help you choose the business structure that makes the most sense for your goals.
For example, a tech startup won’t want to incorporate as a sole proprietorship if the company plans to go public at a later date. Not understanding your limitations when you choose a legal entity can mean placing limitations on your business goals.
Your relationship with customers, investors, and coworkers can all be affected by the type of entity you choose.
The bigger your dreams, the larger the legal protection you may need. Starting out correctly can help save you headaches in the long run.
Here are the most common types of legal entities:
- Limited Liability Corporation
- Limited Liability Partnership
- Sole proprietor
Navigating Intellectual Property
Intellectual property goes by many names. Artwork, designs, computer software, and literary works are just a few.
A good business lawyer can help you navigate the complex world of intellectual property and avoid theft of your ideas. If intellectual property is at the heart of your business, it’s important to put the necessary protections in place.
Lawyers can help you choose between a patent and copyright or decide whether it’s necessary to trademark the logo. Here are the common types of intellectual property.
Copyright Law applies to fine arts, publishing, entertainment, and software development. If another person or business chooses to copy, present, or display the work without permission, the owner is protected by copyright laws.
Trademarks apply to words, phrases, symbols, and design. Business entities can apply for a trademark on a design to make sure no other business copies its image or uses its branding without permission. When you apply for a trademark registration, you can protect your brand from misuse or any form of imitation and prevent others from making money on your business.
Famous brands like Coca Cola and McDonald’s have trademarks on their brands to make sure their logos are protected. If another brand creates a logo or slogan too close to your own, you can file a complaint to avoid a copycat brand.
Trademarks laws are regulated by the Federal government to protect against infringement.
The most complicated of intellectual property filings is a patent. Inventing something new doesn’t automatically give you the right to a patent.
Instead, you must prove that the invention rightfully belongs to you. This can be a time-consuming process that is best overseen by an attorney.
Patent law can apply to a design, a process, or a product. When you become the owner of a patent, you have the right to protect yourself from anyone else producing or copying your process.
Anyone seeking to use your patent must first get permission in the form of a license, assignment, or purchase.
Once you’re in business, you may establish practices, formulas, and ways of operating that give you a competitive advantage. Protect your trade secrets by consulting with an attorney.
Every idea won’t qualify as a secret, but information that’s specific to your product or service might be worth pursuing. A famous example of a trade secret is the formula for Coca Cola, which is protected by a variety of intellectual property laws.
Settling Founder Disputes
Disagreements amongst business partners are guaranteed to happen. The severity of the dispute, however, is impossible to predict.
Consulting with a lawyer during the startup phase can help you and your business partners decide how to settle any disagreements that may arise. Whether it be financial, operational or otherwise, legal documents can help set guidelines to place limits on disputes.
Taxation and Representation
Legal entities are all taxed differently. The amount of revenue you earn each year should help determine which entity you choose.
Consulting with an attorney can help you simplify this process. Choose an attorney with experience in your industry, as they’ll have access to past client financial information.
Having access through your attorney helps you make more accurate predictions on how a business in your industry should perform within a given time.
Your business entity needs to be set up in a way to maximize compliance with the IRS so that you have fewer tax surprises when you reach success.
The Best Lawyer for Business Startup
Finding a lawyer for business startup won’t be a walk in the park. Given the long long-term impact of the work of an attorney can provide your business, you should take your time choosing the right professional.
Consider the services you need an attorney to perform before getting started. Make a list and estimate the experience level, the attorney should have to perform each service.
A first-year associate may not have the experience to negotiate with a 20-year venture capitalist. Make sure the work matches up with the attorney’s areas of expertise.
Set aside time to interview potential attorneys through consultations to learn whether the firm is a good fit for your new business. A good attorney will be a trusted advisor that allows you to feel confident making important business decisions over time.
For more information on navigating the startup process, check out our blog for updates.
Getting sued sucks. Having to sue also sucks.
But what can make it suck less, or even turn into a positive for your small business, is a good lawyer.
And that need for trying to turn a negative into a positive is a wider reality than most will admit. One survey shows that 60 percent of small businesses have experienced a significant legal event in the two years before the survey.
Lawyers aren’t only needed for pursuing or defending against litigation. These professionals provide a service that is often invaluable to a small or upstart operation.
Here are the five reasons you would need a small business lawyer.
1. When Starting a Business
If you’ve never set up a business before, or you have an idea on how to start that you haven’t tried before, consult with someone who can walk you through the hurdles of corporate structures, bylaws, and basic strategies before running headlong into the unknown.
Each state has different structures that require different items for compliance. A bar-admitted lawyer that specializes in corporate law will help you get going in the right direction.
2. When Trying to Protect Intellectual Property
Your great idea for your business will make you money. You need to know how to protect it, especially if you have a genuine belief that your idea is fundamentally different than what’s come before.
Patent, trademark and other intellectual property lawyers can ensure that you don’t infringe on other people’s rights and ensure that your rights to that intellectual property remain intact.
3. When in Disputes with Employees or Vendors
It’s all too common that some accident or that someone with ill intent will cause some kind of employee dispute. Even if there is no fault on the part of the employer, everyone has a right to seek redress through the courts. These issues can range from basic contract disputes all the way up to workplace injury issues which can have a wide range in the type and the size of the compensation.
Bert Louthian of the Louthian Law Firm says that work injury compensation can cover everything from hospital bills to emotional trauma.
4. Collections from a Small Business Lawyer
Not everyone will pay what they owe for the goods or services that your business provides. There will be a time to forcibly collect on the debt owed.
But there are right ways and wrong ways to do that. A small business lawyer will know what remedies are available and the processes that surround those remedies.
5. Document Review
Not every business’s interaction will be so damaging or dramatic; sometimes it will be great news. Small business lawyers will be able to read the documents that make up the foundation for new agreements, service agreements, merger or ownership transfer documents.
Having a sharp legal mind review those will help avoid signing your name to something you might regret later.
A Small Business Lawyer Is Right for You
It’s not a matter of if or when you will need a lawyer. It’s a matter of what kind of service you will need. Hit up our directory, which you can sort by locations and specialty, to find the right small business lawyer for you.
Let us know how we can help you do what you do.