9 Essential Legal Resources for Startups

June 10, 2012

12:00 pm

One of the biggest benefits of founding a startup is that you have ultimate authority over all decisions (or at least a sizable voice amongst other co-founders).  One of the biggest drawbacks of founding a startup, however, is that you have ultimate authority over all decisions.


Although working for a larger corporation may involve reduced control of the steering wheel, needless bureaucracy, and annoying speed-bumps, when it comes to tasks outside of your skill-set, your company will pull in the appropriate internal experts to handle the job.  When a company consists of a handful of people, however, there will be holes in the skill-set slate.  Likely this biggest gap is falls under the category of legal expertise.

Does this describe your situation?  If so, the following nine Tech Cocktail legal-focused posts are for you.

  • 3 Things Entrepreneurs Need to Know About Patent Law Reform – Three crucial takeaways from September’s 2011 passing of the America Invents Act.  Includes what startups need to be aware of when deciding what intellectual property work should be initiated immediately and which projects can wait.
  • 5 Ways to Not Respond to a Cease-and-Desist Letter – An e-mail excerpt from David Thorne’s I’ll Go Home Then; It’s Warm and Has Chairs: The Unpublished Emails includes five principles on how to handle the moment when your startup is sent a cease-and-desist letter.  Even if your startup hasn’t been dealt such an unforeseen blow, the humor of Thorne’s email is reason enough to check this one out.
  • An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Wrangling and Hog-Tying a Lawyer – Don’t let the length of this post fool you, there is plenty of value in its advice.  Here we learn three simple yet effective tips to disrupt the norms of the legal industry to help save money and headaches when working with a lawyer.
  • Avoiding Intellectual Property Issues on Twitter – Although the law is still forming around social media practices, this post outlines three sure-fire tips to avoiding intellectual property issues on Twitter.
  • Entertaining Key Employees with Tax Magic: The 83(B) Election – “So you want to give your employees equity in your growing business. But stock options seem so 1999 and phantom stock sounds like a lot of paperwork. What to do?”  Clint Costa gives us the answer: restricted stock.  Find out why this is such an enticing offer.
  • How to Avoid a Gangrene Lawyer – Every startup would rather avoid situations that require a lawyer, but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way.  And unfortunately shoddy legal work can result with last minute lawyer hunting.  Avoid this scenario by following these three simple tips.
  • How to Write Useless Social Media Policies – Intellectual property is a fragile thing.  The last thing a young startup can afford is for the just-out-of-college social media manager Tweet away a competitive advantage.  It takes millions to build a company and only 140 characters to tear it down.  On the other hand, you don’t want to insult your employees intelligence.  We answer – what should a social media policy look like?
  • License to Grow: Licensing to Leverage Your Assets & Expand Your Business Without Soliciting the Equity Market  – This in depth two-part post covers a lot of ground around licensing including, what is licensing, how it works, why to license, different licensing options, case studies, whether your startup should license and if so, what your strategy might be.
  • Online Legal Services: Are They Effective for Startups? – To lawyer or not to lawyer, that is the question.  NextAdvisor examines  the most popular online legal services to determine if they can serve as a viable substitute to hiring a lawyer.   The result?  Different services excel in different areas.  Find out which services are most appropriate for your startup.

Have more legal questions?  Let us know in the comments below and we’ll have the resident Tech Cocktail experts get on it. 

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When Zach Davis isn't getting lost in the mountains, he is hustling from Boulder, CO as Tech Cocktail's Director of Marketing. He is the author of Appalachian Trials, a book chronicling the mindset necessary for thru-hiking all 2,181 miles of the Appalachian Trail, a feat he accomplished in 2011. Zach is a green tea enthusiast, die-hard Chicago sports fan, and avid concert-goer. Follow Zach on Twitter: @zrdavis.

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