START-UP LAW

WEBSITE AGREEMENTS

Most start-ups have a website. The website might serve a multitude of purposes. It can be merely to provide an online presence for advertising or informational purposes. A website could also be the access point for customers to use the start-up’s services. Regardless of the purpose, the website will likely need terms of service and a privacy agreement.

The terms of service (also known as terms of use and terms and conditions, commonly abbreviated as TOS or ToS, ToU or T&C) is the legal agreement between a service provider and an individual using the services provided by the website. These agreements should be tailored in such a way as to mitigate potential liability, lay out the ground rules of how the websites should be used, provide disclaimers, limit liabilities among other things. Drafting strong terms of service can help you steer clear of avoidable liabilities and set the rules to ensure users use your website for its intended purpose.

It’s advisable that the start-up put together a privacy policy. A privacy policy details how the website operators collect, store, protect and use any personal data provided by users of the website. Privacy policies must comply with any applicable federal or state law in the US. Further, start-ups with website users based in Europe and other regions must have a privacy policy that complies with the laws of that region. The General Data Protect Regulation (“GDPR”) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) are extensive laws that you will likely need to comply with if you plan to operate in California or Europe.

Steve Ekechuku can draft a website agreement that fit your specifications and comply with the applicable law. 

 

ENTITY SELECTION

Start-ups need to choose the entity that most aligns with their goals. Founders often choose entities based on taxation, liability issues, and an exit strategy. Below are entities that you might want to consider:

Corporation (C-Corp): Legal entity that’s shareholders are taxed separately from the corporation. This entity is often favored by VCs and other companies looking to acquire a company.​

S-Corporation (S-Corp): This entity, commonly referred to as a pass-through entity, in most cases, passes income, losses, deductions, and credit through shareholders. This can provide tax savings to shareholders, but there are restrictions on who can hold shares. For instance, a corporate entity cannot be a shareholder.

Benefit Corporation (B-Corp): This is a relatively new corporate entity. The entity commits to providing a public benefit to society at large. There are various requirements for this entity.

Corporations generally have the following documents: certificate of incorporation, by-laws, director resolutions, shareholder agreements, subscription agreements, and other documents. 

Limited Liability Company ("LLC"): This is a very popular entity. This entity can enjoy the limited liability of a C-Corp and the tax benefits of a partnership. There is no corporate tax as there is with a C-Corp.  

Steve Ekechuku works with start-ups to ensure that they’re choosing the best entity.

LLCs generally have the following documents: articles of organization, an LLC operating agreement, and other resolutions.

Steve Ekechuku can form an entity, draft formation documents and provide counsel concerning entity selection for your business. 

INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR AGREEMENTS

Start-ups often rely on independent contractors until they have more stable funding or revenue. Independent contractor agreements to ensure that the company has people addressing the company’s goals. Start-ups need to ensure that their intellectual property is protected and they’re not forming an employee relationship.  Hiring an attorney to draft these agreements helps to ensure your company is protected. 

Steve Ekechuku can draft an independent contractor agreement that meets your specifications and adequately protects your business. 

TRADEMARKS

New businesses often have names, marks, logos, or designs that identify products or services. Registering a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO") is the best way to protect your trademark rights. Although you still have common law rights in your trademark if you do not register it, those rights are limited to the geographic areas that you operate. If you use your trademark in commerce or intend to use it, it's advisable to register a trademark with the USPTO.

 

An attorney can help perform a trademark search, provide trademark application services, file your trademark, respond to office actions, provide trademark portfolio management, and other services. Steve can perform these services for companies and individuals that wish to safeguard their trademarks. 

Steve Ekechuku works with companies and individuals to assist with the trademark process. 

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