Seeking an attorney to provide legal advice and counseling for a startup IT company. We are currently in production of a mobile website and would like to develop disclaimers and an EULA that encompasses our business logic in the hopes of mitigating any future legal concerns. We are already incorporated.
Yuo need to hire an IP transaction attorney who can draft the necessary disclaimers and EULA and also assist you with protecting your intellectual property, your trademark, etc. Many of us offer free initial consultations. Why not use one? Good luck!
In my personal opinion, the best lawyer is one you can trust. Not necessarily one with dozens of years of experience, but one that you can work with to develop your business plan. Trust and the ability to work together is the most important aspect of the attorney-client relationship. Seek out a number of consultations with local IP attorneys in your area to determine who you prefer.
This post is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship, nor should the information contained therein be considered as legal advice. Each case is unique, and posters should seek independent counsel to handle their legal problems. This post is merely intended to be educational in nature. I am not your attorney, nor do I agree to appear in court for you by posting this information.
I agree with the responses above and would like to add that a good attorney is one that is passionate about your product, especially in the intellectual property field. Since many IP attorneys (especially patent attorneys) have backgrounds in engineering and technology. Engineers are like bulldogs, if they find an area of technology that they inspires them they will latch on and become experts. The same is true about "engineer" lawyers. If they are truly passionate about the technology behind your startup they will be more likely to go many layers deep to fully understand your company, your assets, and attempt to provide you the most protection available. As a native northern Virginian I wish you and your startup company well! Good luck with everything!
You should look for an attorney with the experience and background that you respect, as a trusted advisor. You need to also consider the particular expertise that you need for your particular business. You should not look to a Tax or Corporate lawyer for Patent and Trademark advice, and conversely, you shouldn't ask a Patent attorney for Tax advice. Look for experts in their fields that you can trust.
For more detailed advice, I recommend that you contact an experienced Patent, Trademark/IP attorney to advise you in confidence about your options and potential costs. Many IP specialty firms, like ours, offer an initial free conference by telephone, video conference or in person if you are available locally and would be happy to speak with you. Call and speak with an experienced IP attorney who can assist you.
Mr. Sack's postings on Avvo are of a general nature, based on the facts provided and are not intended to be taken as legal advice or to establish an attorney-client relationship.
All you can do is take the time to call around and talk to several before making any commitments. You want to feel comfortable that the lawyer understands your objectives and has a command of what's involved and how to approach it. The amount of time a lawyer has been in practice is not as relevant as you might think. Some younger lawyers might be way more responsive and willing to go that extra mile to see you are happy and may consider you a more important client than say others that throw them much more work. But of course on balance is experience and professionalism. I would also add that lawyers are professionals that have taken the time to learn things most will never want to look at. So like any professional they get paid well. If someone seems to offer what appears to be bargain basement prices you should be very wary of that. Further, this kind of drafting takes time. We boast very quick turnaround times and even we would want a 2-3 week latitude to craft an EULA, Terms and PP and this assumes we don't have any legal compliance issues, etc. to consider. So you should not be in a rush and I think it is foolish to pass on a quality lawyer only to hire another that has nothing else going on just so you can get documents faster.
You tagged this post under trademark. I will offer some general remarks on that as well assuming this is among your legal needs.
Before you invest in any trademark make sure you get some legal guidance upfront. It is of course best practice to clear it before you start using any trademark and starting with a strong one is your best strategy. Know as well that merely registering your business name with a state or county agency or acquiring a domain does not convey any right to use that name in commerce as a source identifier or trademark. For example, I can presumably register my new tech start up "Boogle" with the VA secretary of state because there is no other business already doing business there under that name, but this does not mean that I would not be infringing on the Google trademark, which I would be. The onus is on you to ensure the name you choose is not a problem.
Your trademark will be one of if not the most important and valuable business assets you will have and you will ultimately spend more money in support if it than you will anywhere else (advertising, marketing, PR, branding, packaging, etc.). So you owe it to your business and yourself to make sure you handle this properly upfront and the first order of business always starts with a proper and comprehensive clearance.
Whenever you endeavor into investing in a trademark it is very important that you conduct the proper clearance due diligence on all the text names upfront and before you start spending any money in support of it or submit an application to the USPTO. In the US, this means searching under both federal (USPTO) as well as common law because trademark rights stem from use in this country NOT registration. This means that acquiring a federal registration does not necessarily mean that you are not infringing on another's intellectual property. See the links below on the importance of the due diligence process and common start up mistakes from Entrepreneur Magazine and our overview guide.
I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your objectives in more detail. You can start by calling around to several for a free consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with and know you are free to work with counsel located anywhere as you have many options available not just those that provide services in your home state.
DISCLAIMER: this is not intended to be specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. No attorney-client relationship is formed with the law firm of Natoli-Lapin, LLC on the basis of this posting.
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