Posted on November 16, 2015
The New York Times recently ran a three-part series on how arbitration clauses in many contracts “stack the decks” against consumers.
These clauses include language like the following from a contract used by American Express:
You or we may elect to resolve any claim by individual arbitration.
That doesn’t sound so awful – but those dozen words give rise to a host of legal issues.
Posted on November 11, 2015
A services agreement is just what it sounds like: an agreement to provide services. The type of services involved could be anything that a freelancer, startup, or small business might need or provide. For example:
- Software/app development
- Marketing/SEO services
- Janitorial services
- Catering for a launch party
- Computer and/or office equipment maintenance
- Development of a website
- Content creation services
Two problem areas where people often get into trouble are:
- Technical services people don’t understand
- Long-term agreements they can’t get out of
Posted on October 26, 2015
Legal fees can burn through a startup’s resources fast when firms bill at $500+ per hour. Fortunately, there are alternatives. Your startup can save money on legal services.
Some lawyers are willing to defer their fees until a startup is more solidly established, and others may be willing to work for equity in the company.
We’re going to explore some of these money-saving options:
- Go to a startup legal clinic
- Find a law firm you can pay in equity
- Defer fees
- Pay-as-you go
- Use free contract templates
- Hire a lawyer online
- Review contracts at lawgeex.com
Posted on October 13, 2015
No startup is an island. To succeed you’re going to have to form relationships with lots of other people and businesses: co-founders, investors, employees, vendors, customers, etc. To reduce risk and uncertainty, many of those relationships should be formalized with contracts. Here’s a short guide to the types of contracts your startup needs during the different business stages.
Posted on October 4, 2015
In the previous installment, we talked about how Sweet Street Desserts and Better Bakery worked together to create a pretzel sandwich, sharing information under an NDA.
Unfortunately, the parties had a falling-out. Sweet Street claimed Better Bakery had a secret scheme to steal the design and product development qualities of Sweet Street’s pretzel sandwich. Better Bakery denied the “secret scheme,” but it did start selling pretzel sandwiches to third parties.
Sweet Street sued for breach of the NDA.
Posted on October 1, 2015
Entrepreneurs often ask their lawyers for “bullet-proof” non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) that will prevent their business associates from stealing their great ideas.
The problem is, no such thing exists.
We discussed in this previous blog how an NDA won’t necessarily protect your ideas. The best way to protect an idea is to jump through the legal hoops that turn an idea into intellectual property– as we discuss in this blog.
Posted on September 28, 2015
This is part three of our three-part blog on making money from your great ideas.
In this blog, we’ll be talking about how to turn intellectual property into cash.
Posted on September 22, 2015
*Note: this is part one of a three part blog. Check back or follow us for the next two parts.
“How can I make money from this great idea I have for a business/product/service/movie?”
People often post questions like that on Q&A boards such as Quora.
Unfortunately, there isn’t really much of a market for “bare” ideas – especially since they’re as common as dirt.
Posted on September 9, 2015
Signing a contract is serious business. Every word is important and a contract should not be signed without reading and understanding it. Contract clauses can bite!
If the contract presented to you contains a ridiculous clause and you sign it, you will be bound to it (no matter how ridiculous the clause is)!
We thought we’d share some examples of ridiculous clauses from actual contracts, hoping you’ll be careful about what you sign!