You’re self-employed, and you’re pouring hour after hour into your business. Heart and soul is the essence of your work, yet a small legal problem can make your entrepreneurial world start crumbling down.
Endless hours spent sitting awake at night are not going to make legal issues go away.
Being a jack-of-all trades is great to an extent, but when it comes to the law, you need to know your limits. Whether you’re the owner of a SaaS company destined for greatness or a freelancer trying to make side income, you need to know when to hire a lawyer.
1. Cease-and-Desist Letters
The dreaded cease-and-desist letter is often due to your brand name. You may also be violating a trademark owner’s intellectual property (IP) – or a million other things. The first step is to sit down and breathe.
The next step is to contact a lawyer.
Don’t reply to the letter, and don’t panic. There are times when a claim isn’t legitimate, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the letter. Your best bet is to contact a lawyer and ask for guidance.
Receiving a cease-and-desist letter isn’t the end of the world.
You may be able to:
- Modify the mark
- Pay a licensing fee
A lawyer will discuss litigation risk and estimated costs with you, too.
If you’ve only put $1,000 into the business, it may be worthwhile to cease activity and cut your losses. Lawyers can be a bit pricey, but they’re also the source of resolution businesses need when legal issues arise.
2. Contracts and Contractual Disputes
Imagine doing tens of thousands of dollars in work only to find out that the contract has a loophole. There’s also the risk that the contract was void due to a specific clause or miswording that has now led you to a mountain of debt and bills to pay.
Always, and I mean always, seek professional help with the writing and reading of a contract.
If the project or scope of the job is going to be massive, talk to a lawyer to make sure that you understand every clause of the contract before signing. All too often, you’ll be pressured into signing a contract – we’ve all skipped over vital parts of important documents before.
But when your company is at stake, do the right thing and hire a lawyer.
If you’re short on cash and need a contract drawn up, you can use an online lawyer to draft a contract for you
3. Intellectual Property Filing and Protection
Intellectual property (IP) is costly to file and protect. A lot of research goes into making sure that your IP isn’t too similar to another owner’s in both look and design. Patents, for example, are very detailed and can be the essence of your business.
When filing an IP, you want to make sure that a lawyer works with you to ensure you’re protecting your IP and not infringing on another person’s IP.
But, you’ll also need a lawyer when you’re dealing with:
- IP Protection: You must protect your IP. Otherwise, allowing someone else to infringe on your IP can lead to losing the protection offered through intellectual property protection.
- IP Claims Against You: If you’re being accused of infringing on another person’s IP, you’ll want the guidance of a lawyer to navigate the potentially high-priced legal issues that follow.
It’s essential that you do your best to protect your IP and ensure you don’t infringe on another person’s or company’s property.
Lawyers are an essential cog in your business operations. If you’re questioning whether or not you need a lawyer, there’s a high probability that you do.