As the global economy continues to grow, start-ups are an increasingly popular option for many business professionals. The reason for this is that start-ups offer unmatched control over business development and finances, branding and corporate responsibility, and scalability for the founders of the company. Though start-ups can offer many financial and personal benefits, this business model offers many challenges as they attempt to grow and maneuver through their specific market.
Roles of Stakeholders
One of the biggest differences and most challenging parts of start-ups compared to established businesses is whether or not the start-up ignored the legal distinction between employees, contractors, shareholders, and partners. The reason for this is that the founders and early employees of a start-up take on multiple roles within the company and instead of being paid traditional wages, these entities may receive compensation in the form of equity or other types of payments. Furthermore, because of their nature, these issues are most prevalent in the sectors where start-ups are flourishing such as technology and data analysis, consulting services, green-tech, and software and app development.
Another issue that start-ups must deal with concerns their common reliance on proprietary knowledge, skills, patents, trademarks, intellectual property, and connections. While these are key to a new business’s ability to succeed, in many cases individual stakeholders will contribute the knowledge or skills necessary to keep the company running—at least initially. What leads to legal issues is when businesses do not set out legal guidelines protecting this knowledge and information. Thus, if an employee leaves or another entity tries to steal this information it could lead to serious financial issues as well as disputes about management, control, and ownership of the technology, know-how, or intellectual property. As companies grow-espeically if they grow quickly-understanding the roles of stakeholders is extrmely complex. Thus, a DC start-up business litigation attorney is an essetial part of any new business.
Disputes Between Majority and Minority Interests
Even when start-ups are successful, disputes can arise between the majority, minority, or equal stakeholders. Furthermore, these stakeholders can consist of directors, officers, employees, contractors, shareholders, and other interested parties. These disputes most commonly occur when one or a group of stakeholders are negatively affecting the growth of the start-up or are attempting to wrongfully squeeze out or oppress opinions that are counter to their own.
Startup Company Disputes
With over 20 years of experience, our group of DC start-up business litigation attorney advise, assist, and represent clients in the following matters:
- Partnership and joint venture disputes
- Enforcing buy/sell and shotgun clauses
- Shareholder agreement disputes including oppression claims
- Investor and crowdfunding disputes
- Enforcing or defending intellectual property claims
- Technology contract disputes
- Corporate compliance and regulatory issues
- Deadlocked boards of directors
- Business agreement disputes
- Licensing disputes and franchising disputes
- Employment and dependent contract disputes
- Claims involving breach of privacy
- International and cross-border disputes
If any of these issues occur, it is imperative that you receive legal advice immediately.
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