When you’re planning your startup’s future, it’s normal to focus on the major aspects of the business, such as marketing, production, and operations. But it also makes sense to foresee the possible legal disputes that you may have to deal with. The last thing you will want to happen is to exhaust your energy and exert effort solving legal dilemmas – the time you are using to deal with such problems could have been spent on developing new and groundbreaking ideas.
However, some startup leaders make the mistake of thinking that their venture will not face any legal problems soon. It may be unlikely now, but no one can predict the future, so it would be wise to have some safety measures in place.
If you’re looking for some ways to avoid legal disputes in the future or at least minimize your risks of exposure to it, here are some of the things that you may want to keep in mind:
Talk to an attorney
At the very start, you should work with an attorney. A corporate lawyer will help you draft your bylaws and internal rules and regulations to close loopholes and avoid fights and debates down the road. The delegation of tasks and division of powers should also be discussed with them. If your startup is already transitioning to a much more established business, it will also be wise to consider planning the formation of a legal team. In this regard, you may want to include attorneys specializing in civil lawsuits and corporate laws.
Get liability insurance
A liability insurance policy may be an added cost for your business, but know that it’s a safety net that will offer you much-needed protection. Your future legal problems may involve court meetings and such, but with a liability insurance plan, you are actually reducing your exposure to such events. Liability insurance policies do not only protect you from personal injury and property damage claims. Some plans can actually cover customers’ and competitors’ claims of misleading and false advertising, copyright infringement, slander, and libel.
Protect your technology
Sometimes, the technologies and ideas of startups can disrupt the norm and create a new need in the market. In case that happens, your startup may attract the attention of larger corporations. Some of them may try to copy the tech and make it appear that they have made a breakthrough. Fighting them over this can be costly, so protect yourself from the get-go. One of the best things that you can do is to apply for a patent. If this is quite a difficult task for you, experts recommend hiring a patent attorney who may specialize in startup laws and legalities.
Do something about your intellectual properties
Remember that legal battles over intellectual properties can be messy and expensive. It may have a disruptive effect on your company. To avoid such problems, you should protect your intellectual properties, such as trade secrets, logos, branding cues, taglines, product names, and the likes. Other than patents, other methods of protecting your intellectual properties are trademarks and copyrights.
Study employment laws and similar areas
Sometimes, legal disputes happen within the organization. And usually, these stem from the management’s misunderstanding of an employee’s rights. To avoid fights with your employees in the future, you need to study employment laws. Carry out activities and measures that will retain your employees’ loyalty.
Protect thy business
Your business is a living entity. And as it breathes and grows, you will realize that it will face events and factors that may threaten its very existence. To avoid these dilemmas, you need to set up protective measures from the get-go.