Startup Business Package
When you are starting a new business, there are basic legal considerations that need to be addressed if you expect to be taken seriously and send the message that you are a professional:
Protection of Business Concept: Generally speaking, concepts and ideas (as opposed to brand names, logos, work product or inventions) cannot be protected by trademark or other intellectual property laws. Instead you need a binding commitment to keep the secret. A non-disclosure, non-circumvention agreement ("NDA") tailored to your particular business can free you to talk to others about your plans, without fear that they will copy your idea before your business actually gets off the ground. An effective NDA will address the confidentiality needs of your particular business, at this particular stage, in dealing with this particular programmer, web designer, potential investor or partner.
Company Formation: Hrbek Law can help you make an informed decision about the type of entity to create for your business. We will explain how to operate your business in a way that takes full advantage of the limited liability protection that the company affords. We will draft the necessary governing documents (i.e. operating agreement / by-laws / shareholders' agreement as applicable). Well-crafted owner agreements set up clear procedures for decision making, determination of partner compensation, distribution of profits and the handling of a breakdown in relationship between founders. These fundamental documents are critical to the health and survival of your company.
Independent Contractor / Work-for-Hire Agreements: Programmers, co-producers, website developers, designers and other creative and technical personnel may have rights in the work that you hire them to do, unless you secure ownership in writing. Make sure you are free to do what you want with the business that you are building, and that those you work with are clear what their rights and obligations are. This is key for the protection of your business as well as your relationships.
Client Agreements: Particularly when you are providing services to others, you need to have a customized standard form contract in place that clearly explains the terms of service to your clients. Critically, this agreement establishes the terms of payment and the scope of work to be performed. It can also limit your liability, protect ownership of your intellectual property, and establish a procedure for handling disputes. Well drafted agreements that are tailored to your particular business needs will minimize the risk of litigation.
Risk Management: Whatever your business, you need to brainstorm with your attorney about the potential risks, so that you can adequately protect your company from potential litigation and other liabilities and threats to the survivial of your business. Your business model may need to be tweaked to afford you the best protections. Consider what changes may need to be made before you launch, before the damage is done. We can also discuss the additional protections that you may need: general liability insurance, production insurance, errors & omissions (E&O) insurance, etc.
Branding and Intellectual Property Issues: Hrbek Law will help you determine when it is time to invest in protecting your brand name, logos and other trademarks.