Startup Legals: 101


Rick Shera, Partner, LowndesJordan, @lawgeeknzRick Shera


There are many legal issues that face businesses as they start up. The first thing I’d say to teams at Startup Weekend though is that by and large these are heath check issues – you’ve got to make the baby first before you need a lawyer to check it is alive and will continue to breathe!

But, having made your baby – that kernel of an idea that you think has the ability to sustain a revenue and profit making business – there are a few health check questions it is worth considering right from the start.

I tend to divide these into two categories that we can discuss at Startup Weekend: internal and external.


Some of the internal questions are:

  • Who owns any intellectual property necessary for the business and, if the business doesn’t own it all, how is it going to be brought in and used?
  • Who are the people involved in the business and how are they legally related to it? Is Bob an employee, contractor, shareholder, director, investor, lender, advisor, or just a friendly mentor … or something else?
  • What sort of legal structure will the business operate under and how is that agreed?


External questions include:

  • Which country or countries will the business sell products or services into? Spoiler alert: The internet is not a country.
  • What sort of business is it – are there any regulatory requirements specific to that industry?
  • How is the business intellectual property to be used to maintain future revenue and profit that create business value? Should the the IP have special protection by registration (design rights, patents, trademarks, overseas registrations etc)?


I look forward to seeing everyone on the 22nd November.