Even the best efforts to register intellectual property appropriately cannot always succeed in preventing litigation. Dispute resolution can help sort out disagreements over IP, copyrights, website domains,andassetownershipinasmall startup. When a company or person needs to take legal action to protect IP, getting a litigation lawyer that specializes in IP is essential. There are a few steps to take before initiating a law suit, all of which attempt to achieve a satisfactory and less expensive solution before going to court. However, sometimes the other side is intractable and the only option left is to sue them for infringement to retain rightful ownership.
Law suits over IP ownershiparewon based on different sets of factors depending on the specific property in question. But they all essentially amount to uncovering who took the necessary steps to establish legal ownership. These steps are very clear, whether for a copyright, a patent, a trademark, or a web domain, and there is no reason not to expend the limited resources necessary to take the preventative step of registering IP to establish legal ownership. This is the first way a lawyer can be helpful in decreasing the chances of this type of dispute before litigation ever even comesup.Thesame holds true for the more contentious disputes that can arise between cofounders and owners of small companies and startups. Proper documentation at the incorporation of the startup should explicitly lay out contingencies for these types of disagreements to help everyone know exactly where they stand and what their rights and options are. However, when this fails despite the best efforts of everyone, a lawyer can be called on either to act as an impartial agent for dispute resolution, to represent one side in some form of resolution or arbitration, or to begin litigation.In this situation, it may be advisable to put a extra effort into legal dispute resolution before resorting to litigation. First off, if the conflict is over details or an issue that doesn’t point to a clear set of facts based on previous documentation, it is up to the two parties in the disagreement to negotiate a solution. Dispute resolution can help if emotions and frustration prevent them from doing this through normal means. It also tends to be far less expensive than paying for multiple attorneys and court fees. That way, if a financial agreement is reached less of the settlement gets eaten up by these legal fees.
If these negotiations break down, then litigation can be the only option. Assuming the client in question is actually in the right from the law’s perspective, all the above steps regarding proper registration and document preparation will continue to be helpful. They can form the legal foundation for the claim of ownership made in the suit. The point is that any time there’s a chance for disagreement over valuable assets such as IP, effective lawyers are essential to protect them.
Litigation Can Rear Its Head between Startup Founders. Strong Documents and Dispute Resolution Can Prevent Costly Litigation.