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5 Legal Tips All Small Business Owners Should Know

As a small business owner, there are times when you will find yourself wearing a lot of different hats and trying to deal with various issues which might require you to have a broader knowledge of a range of subjects.

If you want to help your business grow, it is helpful to be aware of some of the legal issues you might encounter. Of course, if you face a more complex problem, it is always wise to seek legal advice from a company like O’Donnell Solicitors, who will be able to give you the best advice for your situation.

1. Drafting business contracts – what to be aware of

The structure of a valid contract has three basic steps; offer acceptance and consideration. There should also be some supporting provisions that will assist in ensuring that there is the proper performance of the contract. Whilst business owners can spend much of their time drafting favorable terms on a contract; they mustn’t leave the remedies provision blank or vague. Should a breach occur under these circumstances, they may be open to litigation in court, which can be expensive.

It is also essential to avoid any ambiguity, so all contracts should be drafted carefully.

2. Consider your employee handbook carefully

Your employee handbook must be compliant with the relevant laws. If you have employees in different countries, you must ensure that the handbook covers the rules for all these other locations.

Laws can also change over time, so checking your handbook regularly is necessary to ensure it complies with any changes that might have occurred. At-will employment status and how it is worded should be looked at so that there is no misconception and it does not unintentionally imply a contract where there is none.

3. Protecting intellectual property

Three types of intellectual property are the most common: copyright, trademark, and patent, and each one usually protects a different aspect of a business. They all have their importance, so as a small business owner, it is essential to ensure that you have them all in a place where relevant. Trademark protects brands and identifies a company as a service or product seller. Copyright protects a range of creative works, and patents protect inventions. It is also essential to keep all your documents legal. For example, legalize your documents with an online notary California if you have a business in California.

4. Trademark registration

Small business owners can be put off registering a trademark, leaving it until their company grows. However, this opens them up to trademark infringement risks, which can result in mandatory rebranding, which can be expensive and disruptive to businesses.

Trademark infringement can occur when another business uses a trademark that is identical on similar products or ones that are the same. It can also occur when another company uses a similar trademark on the same or similar products. There are databases that you can search to help avoid the chances of this happening.

5.IO license and assignment – why is it important?

A small business needs to understand the difference between “assignment” and “license” if you will be obtaining or giving away any intellectual property rights.

In the case of a license, the owner keeps the ownership whilst allowing others permission to use the IP temporarily. On the other hand, an assignment involves the owner giving up the ownership rights permanently. It is essential to understand the difference between these two for the future of your business. Such is their importance, however, that it is always wise to seek the advice of a legal expert if you are uncertain.

Have you managed to cover all of these legal issues within your business, or are there some you’ve not yet looked at? If so, it could be wise to seek legal advice as soon as possible, so you know all bases are covered.

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