Basic agreements your startup company should use

Thinking about the legal aspects of starting your new business may not be as much fun as choosing the company name or working out goals for the first year of operation. Still, you should get the ball rolling on a few important legal agreements.

You may not have trade secrets to protect, and you might have no need for a patent. However, you will probably want to guard certain confidential information and establish terms of use for your website.

Non-disclosure agreements to protect your products or ideas

Perhaps you formed your new company around a unique product or set of ideas. This is confidential information you do not want the world to know about. However, you can share the information on a need-to-know basis with people who will sign a non-disclosure agreement. An NDA obligates signers not to disclose the information unless you specifically allow them to do so.

Confidentiality agreements for employees

Every employee you hire for the new company should sign a confidentiality agreement. This obligates employees to keep proprietary information confidential, both during employment and after they leave the company. A signed agreement also can ensure that any ideas, inventions, products or services an employee develops that are related to the business belong to the company, not the employee.

Terms of use for website users

You should have a Terms of Use Agreement for your website that sets forth such information as to how visitors can use the site, what are the limits on liability, how you will resolve disputes and what are the rights to refunds, disclaimers and more. You may also want a Privacy Policy to cover what kind of information the site intends to collect and how you will use it, what you will do to protect confidentiality and other related information.

By putting together suitable agreements from the start, you can concentrate on building your business without worrying about later legal complications.

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