General

  • Terms of service and privacy policy for the company's website

    A. Why do I need Terms of Use for the company’s website?

    Terms of Use of a website is a written contract between the company and the users of the company’s website. It governs the relationship between the website and the user. When drafted and implemented properly, it helps protect the company from legal claims that might arise from the operation of the website. More complex and customized Terms of Use will apply when the company provides products or services through its website. Read More...

    Who owns your IP

    To successfully launch a new startup, the company needs to own, or have a license to use, the intellectual property that will be used in the business. This aggregation of IP does not happen automatically and requires careful planning with your legal counsel. Read More...

    NDAs

    A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is an agreement between two or more parties to not disclose to third parties the confidential information exchanged between the parties. These types of agreements protect non-public business information. The agreement can be one-way, where only one party is disclosing confidential information to the other or two-way/mutual, where both parties are disclosing confidential information to each other. NDAs also can be referred to as confidentiality agreements, confidential disclosure agreements, proprietary information agreements or secrecy agreements. Read More...

    Difference between a domain name and trademark

    While your domain name and your trademark may be the same word or phrase, they are different things. A domain name is a human readable Internet address, e.g., www.wilmerhale.com. It is the name that users/customers type into their Internet browser to access your website. The right to use a domain name is regulated by domain name registrars. You can obtain a domain name by purchasing it from the registrar for your particular domain name. Read More...

    Using open source software

    Open source software is commonly used by software companies, often with great success, but also often with unforeseen adverse consequences. While many open source licenses enable you to utilize the open source software with few restrictions, other open source licenses can require that (A) you make available all of your proprietary code in source code form under that same open source license if you link or integrate that open source code improperly or (B) you agree not to sue certain parties under some or all of your patent rights, among other provisions. Key points to consider include: Read More...

    Taking a good idea with you when you leave a company

    Even if you finish conceiving of or developing your idea after quitting your job, your employer could still own the rights to your idea. You should have an employment attorney review your current employment contract to determine any rights your employer may have in your idea. Considerations that are often relevant in determining whether your employer could own rights to your idea include: whether you conceived of your idea at work or on your own time; whether you used any of your employer’s resources, such as your employer’s laptop, lab or other property; whether your idea is within your scope of employment or similar to what your company is doing; and whether you used any information owned by the company, obtained through company resources, or obtained as a result of your employment in order to conceive of your idea. Read about who owns the IP. Read More...

    Consultants and their rights to IP

    Absent any agreements to the contrary, consultants typically have the rights to any intellectual property that they develop. At the very least, a company should ensure that all of their employees sign assignment of inventions agreements at the beginning of employment and that all consultants sign consulting agreements when they are first retained. These agreements should make clear what work performed within the scope of employment and/or derived from the company’s proprietary information belongs to the company. Similar provisions can also be included in non-disclosure agreements or confidentiality agreements that are provided in addition to an employment or consulting agreement. These provisions should address all inventions, invention disclosure forms, copyrightable materials, etc., not just materials that are covered in patent applications. [Cross-reference to forms] Read More...