5 Legal Advice for Beginning Entrepreneurs
5 legal advice for beginning entrepreneurs
More often than not, business owners are faced with the need to protect copyright and intellectual property, with difficulties in processing documents and conducting business activities. Consider how you can find solutions to the main problems.
1. The problem of intellectual property protection
A good startup implies a unique idea, an exclusive service or product. In order not to become a victim of “intellectual robbery” use the law to protect your creativity. Specifically, get a patent. You can patent a trademark, brand, name and even an idea, but only if you can attach a real prototype to the idea.
Registration of a patent for an invention is a long (up to three years) and complex procedure, so it is worth considering whether your idea is really new and needs to be protected. If you are determined – write an application with a description, drawings and formulas and contact the Federal Service for Intellectual Property (Rospatent).
Difficulties arise also when using someone else’s patented trademark.
Question: I bought children’s clothes (having a patented trademark). Can I put my own photos of this clothing on the website of my online store, but do not indicate on the site and photo a trademark.
Lawyer’s answer: If you purchased the specified clothes legally in Russia, then you can put photos even with an indication of the trademark. But if you hide the name of the manufacturer or give for your own, then this can be considered as an introduction to the delusion of buyers.
2. The problem of copyrights
Not only entrepreneurs are often faced with copyright. “Assigning” someone else’s photos, reprinting texts, copying the corporate style – these are the most common violations. But in the collision of the right holder and his follower, the first always wins, and if it is not possible to settle the matter through peaceful negotiations and apologies, the Administrative or even criminal case is initiated.
For all the obviousness of the problem, lawyers of the portal “Jurist” often ask questions about the legitimacy of using other people’s developments.
Question: I opened a shop for printing photos and inscriptions on souvenirs. What needs to be done to make it possible to print the logo of the game Contract Wars on mugs and T-shirts?
The lawyer’s answer: In order not to violate the law, you should:
– Check whether the logo is protected by contacting the search engines of the “Federal Institute of Industrial Property”.
– Conclude a license agreement with the copyright holder.
3. The problem of constituent documents
Constituent documents serve as the basis for the activities of any legal entity. Therefore, any changes that you want to make in them (for example, to change the patronymic of the founder or legal address) require a large number of other accompanying documents, confirmations and statements. The list of necessary securities can be found in the tax authority at the place of registration or clarified by a lawyer.
Startups are creative people, and often negligence in relation to business papers leads to their damage or loss. For the recovery of documents also ask for duplicates in the tax inspection.
4. The problem of formalizing contracts with Counterparties (Partners, Customers, Subcontractors)
The most common problem is: “money was paid, work was not done” or “everything was done, but no payment”. Such situations arise for two reasons. The first – the contract is, it is signed, but it is executed incorrectly and does not fully protect the interests of the entrepreneur. The second reason for the difficulties is when there is no contract, but there is an oral agreement and friendly relations. In this case, the relationship is not legally formalized, and there is nobody to make claims.
When concluding a contract, properly write down the subject of the contract: what has been agreed upon, under what conditions, the rights and obligations of the parties. Specify the exact terms of work, the order of payment, even a special terminology, if necessary.
A good contract template, written by a competent lawyer, will protect you from dishonest counterparties.
5. The Problem with Conducting Business Activity
Entrepreneurial activity involves a systematic extraction of profits. It is tempting to open an online store or a private services office and start “making profits” without any legal clearance. But do not do this. At some point, the hour of reckoning will come, and you will fall under one of the articles of the Code on Administrative Offenses: “The implementation of entrepreneurial activities without state registration or without special permission (license).”
The fine for illegal entrepreneurship is small, but it is better to have a legal business and a clear conscience. Much more severely punished those who work without a license, where necessary. Whether your activity falls under compulsory licensing, you can check with a lawyer, or independently study the Law No. 128-FZ of 08.08.2001. Question: Is it necessary to get a license to open a children’s club? Is this an educational activity? Lawyer’s answer: To open a children’s club, a license is not required unless the club conducts educational activities under the program, for example, pre-school education. As can be seen from the article, beginners and even experienced entrepreneurs could avoid many problems if they received the advice of a professional on time. A timely question assigned to a lawyer not only saves money and the nerves of a businessman, but sometimes saves his reputation.