When it comes to initiating a new startup business, there is much legal paperwork that needs to be considered and completed to ensure a successful venture. These are just a few: a review of startups’ business model, revenue model, product development strategy and identity, intellectual property and competitive barrier strategy under copyright law, trademark law, trade secret law, patent law, contracts, and other legal and business options.
If you’re an entrepreneur, brand owner, local business owner, or starting a tech company, you probably have lots of questions about the legal implications of starting a business. Where do you start?
You can find a plethora of information online from guides, tips, or free resources. However, it’s difficult to discern what information, tools, and resources fit your situation and meet your specific needs.
We are sharing practical advice from top-rated Los Angeles-based startup lawyer David N. Sharifi, who has consulted thousands of tech startups across the world on intellectual property, trademark due diligence, Non-Disclosure Agreements, and other best practices for startup entrepreneurs.
#1 Intellectual Property Protection and Competitive Barrier Strategy™
One of the first steps for an effective competitive barrier strategy planning and execution is to understand exactly what type of intellectual property the company has and desires to protect while also considering the projected growth of the company in the near future.
There’s more than one way to officially set up a business. Choosing the right business model from the start will directly affect your business’s ability to scale to the next level. Speaking to a legal advisor of which business strategy works best: LLC, DBA, or INC. Each of these business models provides advantages in different ways, this is why it is necessary to clarify business goals, determine intellectual property, and projected growth. Some startups may need maximum flexibility on managing and running their business and a board of directors may be unnecessary. However, other businesses may go public one day and choose to issue shares to their founders, employees, and investors. It is important to consult with an experienced intellectual property attorney to compare trademarks, copyrights, and patents that fit your business needs.
#2 Trademarks, Clearance and Copyrights
A trademark protects business and product names, logos, and slogans. This means no one else can use a trademark or sell similar products and services while also allowing you to file federal lawsuits to stop competitors from using and profiting from your trademark. Copyright protects books, articles, plays, films, songs, photos, art, architectural works, software, etc. Sitting down with an experienced entertainment technology attorney will help your business get organized and pin down the right trademark and documents to protect your business.
Trademark consultation and registration services for startups and entrepreneurs may include a consultation on the startup’s specific trademark, slogan, company name, domain name, and logo design protection strategy, and preparation and filing of a Federal Trademark Registration application with the United States Patent & Trademark Office. Learn more about trademark protection and the benefits of trademark registration on our practice areas page, or under the trademark tag of the LATML Tech & IP Blog. See also David N. Sharifi’s article published in the Beverly Hills Bar Association IP & Tech blog discussing the importance of trademarks in the digital market.
#3 Customized Confidentiality/Non-Disclosure Agreement
There are a plethora of “free” non-disclosure agreements and confidentiality agreements online. These documents outline confidential material, knowledge, or information that parties wish to share with one another for certain purposes, but wish to restrict access to. Do not rely on free versions of these forms to protect confidential information since those found online will not be tailored to meet your specific needs.
After a confidential discussion with our startup clients, we may draft a customized confidentiality agreement and consult CEOs and founders on how to discuss the business with investors and other third parties on a need-to-know basis, and protect sensitive business information in the process.
Legal Protection for Startup Entrepreneurs
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Only an experienced intellectual property attorney, knows the Venture Capital landscape and can advise on startups business model, revenue model, and product development strategy and identify, intellectual property and competitive barrier strategy under copyright law, trademark law, trade secret law, patent law, contracts and other legal and business options.