17
Sep-2019

Gowling WLG: The importance of legal in a world of innovation

Gowling WLG has been a proud supporter of LiON’S LAIR since its inception, and for many years we have offered our legal services as one of the LiON’S LAIR prizes. Indeed, helping startup companies get off the ground and move to the next stage of their growth is one of the most exciting aspects of our work as lawyers, patent agents and trademark agents.  

The Importance of Legal 

In addition to the traditional funding and market challenges that new businesses have always faced, today’s startups also have to deal with a complex and constantly changing regulatory and legal environment.  For this reason, making sure the legal is all lined up is a crucial step for new companies. 

The beginning stages of a startup can be filled with difficult questions, many pertaining to legal issues. Innovation always raises legal challenges, since it is often unclear how existing law applies to a disruptive technology or business model.  Intellectual property (IP) is particularly critical in the startup space, and every new business needs to make it a priority. Whether it be patents, copyrights or trademarks, entrepreneurs need to ensure that they are constantly evaluating IP risk. The value of patents in protecting against the theft of your technology is well known, but other forms of IP protection are just as valuable in their own way.  

IP, of course, is not the only legal area that startups need to consider carefully.  Do you need terms of service for your software or website? What about a privacy policy?  Does your product need regulatory approval, and if so from which level of government? Do you need a specific business license? These are just a few of the many key legal questions that startups may need to address as their business begins to grow. Again, it is important to have all the legal aspects of your business — from incorporation to share structure to employment agreements — dialled in from the very beginning.  Many investors will look for a strong legal foundation, including favourable tax strategies and IP protection, before having the confidence to invest.

Looking for legal help?

Gowling WLG advises startups, including previous LiON’S LAIR winners, on a range of issues, including financing, website terms of use, share issuance, privacy compliance, patent and trademark protection, software licensing and employment law. We also assist clients with incorporating and organizing their businesses, drafting agreements with suppliers and customers, franchising, litigation and many other areas of law. We look forward to continuing to play a role in the growing success of Hamilton’s entrepreneurial community.

ABOUT GOWLING WLG

With more than 1,400 legal professionals in 18 cities worldwide, Gowling WLG provides its clients with in-depth expertise in key global sectors and a suite of legal services at home and abroad. We see the world through our clients’ eyes, and collaborate across countries, offices, service areas and sectors to help them succeed — no matter how challenging the circumstances.

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