Owning a business is a tremendous accomplishment, but it can also be a significant burden. As a business owner, you are constantly concerned about aspects of your company, whether they are related to the complexities of manufacturing consumer goods or how to protect your company. Being sued isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time, but if you run your own business and are responsible for decisions that affect other people, it’s bound to happen at some point. If you don’t know what you should be doing to protect yourself, get in touch with an Experienced Business Lawyer in Auckland, New Zealand.
These six steps will help keep you out of court:
1) Non Disclosure Agreement.
When you’re sharing your idea with others, whether it’s with investors or in a pitch competition, you want to make sure you have some form of non-disclosure agreement. This helps prevent people from taking your idea and presenting it as their own later on. It also protects you if someone shares confidential information about your business without permission.
A contract is an important business tool that keeps everyone on your team and within your company on the same page. In other words, it protects you from potential lawsuits and makes sure you’re all moving in the same direction. Make sure that everyone knows what’s expected of them, what they can expect of their fellow team members, and how to resolve disputes before they get out of hand by creating contracts for each person on your team as well as overarching agreements for every business entity with which you do business.
3) Litigation and Disputes
While you may hope that your business is never sued, it’s always good to plan for worst-case scenarios. An Employment Lawyer Auckland can help you identify vulnerabilities in your organization and ensure that you aren’t vulnerable to litigation or disputes in order to avoid liability. In addition, a corporate attorney can help with intellectual property issues and assist with contracts related to starting and running your company.
4) Patents, Trademarks and Copyrights
Patents and copyrights may seem similar, but they’re not. A patent is protection for an invention; it protects new and useful processes or products. A copyright is specifically for written work (books, music, etc.)—it protects original expression in any medium. Because there are so many small companies out there making big money off patents and copyrights, you should definitely talk to a lawyer about protecting your business’s intellectual property as soon as possible.
5) Corporate Governance Documents.
A business lawyer will provide you with corporate governance documents like your articles of incorporation, bylaws, operating agreements and shareholders’ agreement. These documents will specify what actions can be taken at board meetings and how management is expected to act on behalf of shareholders. Corporate governance structures vary widely depending on your company structure (for example, sole proprietorship or LLC), but these documents are critical for ensuring that your company is being run properly by those in charge.
6) Covenant Not to Compete.
In many cases, your employer will want you to sign an agreement that forbids you from working for any competitors. This is done to protect their business and business interests by ensuring that you don’t take any of their business secrets with you when you leave. If your company doesn’t have a non-compete clause, it doesn’t hurt to ask them if they would be willing to add one at your request—and it can save you a lot of headaches in the future.
In order to ensure that your business is not at risk of being sued, it’s important to consult with an experienced business lawyer. The legal costs associated with winning or losing a lawsuit can be staggering. Before taking any action against your business, a potential plaintiff will consider how much money you might be willing to pay for legal representation—and how much you can afford to pay if you lose. By consulting with an attorney who understands your industry and knows what lawsuits are common in your field, you can minimize potential damages.