Five Legal Mistakes Tech Start-Ups Need To Know About!

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Start-up businesses are a risky venture, but even the biggest, worldwide business we know today once started out as a small start-up. That means you can do it! But the early life and development of your business is going to be difficult in most cases, but you can make it easier.

While making mistakes is always going to be a risk and you shouldn’t be afraid of making some small-scale ones, there are some mistakes you’ll want to avoid at all costs. These are more serious legal mistakes and the frightening thing about them is that they are easier to make than you probably think.

Below I’ve outlined four easy mistakes start-ups can make without even realising it, and according to one of he leading lawyers in Glasgow, some of these mistakes carry important legal ramifications, while others will simply help you protect your business and products. Let’s take a look at five easy to make mistakes that any entrepreneur needs to know how to avoid.

Omitting Your Legal Requirements

Let’s start with one of the most common mistakes entrepreneurs make, it might sound a little odd but one of the easiest mistakes to make when you’re developing your start-up business is to not pay any attention to any legal considerations or to not give them the focus you should.

This doesn’t mean you’re breaking the law or doing anything illegal, but it does mean you’re cutting corners. For example, you could rush contracts or put off important legal jobs that you should really be focusing on.

Many entrepreneurs can fall into the trap of doing things like this to save time and money but while it might do that in the short-term in the long-term it’s just going to lead to more problems. So, make sure you give the legal matters of your business the time they deserve. 

Not Protecting Intellectual Property

Many start-ups, especially those working in technology, have valuable intellectual property and it can take many different forms. Despite the importance of their work, many start-ups won’t properly invest in getting their intellectual property protected.

You can protect your intellectual property in a wide variety of ways with some of the most common being things like patents, trademarks and of course copyright. There’s some leeway but these IP rights effectively give you the right to stop other people from copying your designs/ products.

Your start-up could come with an amazing piece of technology or design but if you don’t ensure it’s protected then legally someone else could come along and make it their own. Of course, you can’t trademark or patent everything these sorts of IP protections won’t cover everything so make sure you actually have a solid product, design or service of some kind in place before applying for protection.

Not Getting Non-Disclosure Agreements

Keeping your intellectual property safe requires more than just things like copyrights and trademarks. Those are perfect for when your product/ service is ready but in the early days, while you’re still in the development stages you’re going to need something else.

When you’re still juggling ideas, and coming with plans you are going to need a non-disclosure agreement. Commonly referred to as NDA’s these legal agreements will help you prevent other people from sharing any information about what you’re developing.

An entrepreneur can come with some amazing ideas and plans, that could literally change the world in extreme cases. But if you don’t ensure the people you work with sign a non-disclosure agreement they could easily share that information with others.

Not Setting Up Contracts

This one might seem unthinkable to the experienced entrepreneur but in your early days it’s easier than you think to forget about how important setting up contracts are. This is especially true for very small start-ups, and let’s be honest most start-ups are going to be small at first.

But no matter what size your business is you should get contracts set-up quickly, whether you have one employee or one hundred. Your contracts will protect you and your employees and help ensure they are all covered legally.

Contracts are also very important when it comes to setting up other agreements like for shareholders, to give just one example. No matter how excited you are to get your business off the ground never forget about the importance of a legally binding contract, a handshake is no substitute.

Not Ensuring Your Website Is Protected

Unless your new start-up business is in a very niche market you’re going to need a website, any serious business today will have one. But while you might be have the brains for business and have an amazing product on your hands you might not know how to keep your website safe and secure.

Your website will need a lot of things to make sure it’s of high-quality but we’re just focusing on the legal requirements for now. And for your website to be legally protected you will need an in-depth, high-quality terms of use agreement and a privacy policy.

The terms of use agreement is pretty self-explanatory, the privacy policy, on the other hand, is a professional legal statement that outlines what your business will do with any personal data it collects. Your privacy policy should cover both users and customers and will need to outline if any data is going to be sold to third parties as well.

It will also need to cover the use of cookies and outline how you protect any data. While it might seem like a good idea to just download a template for your privacy policy and terms of use agreement it’s important that you create your own from scratch, because they’ll need to be personalised for your site/ business.

So, that’s a look at five easy to make mistakes all entrepreneurs will want to avoid to ensure they don’t face any legal consequences. Remember many of these mistakes can be avoided by getting professional assistance and advice, one all too common mistake entrepreneurs can make is they try to do everything on their own.

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