We all know the situation: you have spotted the perfect business opportunity, performed customer and market research and built a prototype. But then the legal related issues pop up .You suddenly realise that you have to tackle that detail you had overlooked: the legal aspects! From business structuring, funding and intellectual property to confidentiality, employment, tax and contracts, you have a very long list to work on.
First of all, don’t panic! Establishing the right legal canvas and ensuring that your business is sufficiently protected at the outset is vital for your startup to achieve its full potential. So that’s why DLA Piper's lawyers shared 8 legal pointers that every entrepreneur should keep in mind when establishing a business:
*When looking for funding for your startup, your investors may be able to make use of the tax shelter measures introduced by the Belgian government - provided that a number of conditions are fulfilled.
*Planning to let your employees work from home (teleworking)? Under Belgian law, you will need to include specific provisions in their employment contracts.
*If you have a great idea or prototype for an original product or service and you're trying to entice funders to invest in it while being mindful of the fact that you want to protect it, you can use a formal NDA (non-disclosure agreement) or other less binding legal documents during negotiations.
*To be legally binding, all Belgian employment documents and employee communications must be in the language of the region that your company is located in.
*If you are ready to enter the stock market, the way you communicate any information about your company will change. For instance, if you make a public offer or start trading shares that the general public can acquire, all communications must be approved in advance by the Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA), and all other applicable regulatory requirements (e.g. publication of a prospectus) should be complied with.
*Financial regulations vary according to the scope of offering you make to raise equity you make - to avoid it becoming too complicated too quickly, try to target your initial offer to a limited number of specific individuals.
*When transferring ownership of Intellectual Property (IP), you'll need to draw up an IP assignment contract. Make sure you clearly define what is being assigned at the outset. Any ambiguity in the IP's description may lead to you transferring more than you wanted.
To learn more about these points and pick up other tips and tricks to help your business grow, you are welcome to register for DLA Piper's Belgium Start-ups Legal Day, taking place on September 24 in Brussels. Specialist lawyers will be on hand to talk you through specific areas of law, alongside case studies from start-ups that have made it internationally and the opportunity to network with like-minded entrepreneurs.
Freebie> DLA Piper has put together a Start-up Legal Pack that you can download for free!