Internet start-ups are a lot like traditional, brick and mortar businesses. The require all of the same things I listed here. There are also some unique matters that must be attended to when starting and operating and Internet Business. Below is a checklist of some of the things every Internet start up should have.
- A properly organized corporate entity. Just because you are doing business on the Internet does not mean you are free from the liability concerns of traditional businesses. Make sure you form an entity through which to do business and adhere to corporate formalities.
- A plan to protect your intellectual property. This should include proper registrations of copyrights, trademarks and patents. It should also include the use of confidentiality, nondisclosure, and invention assignment agreements. There should also be clear, conspicuous notices of your intellectual property rights.
- If you are an SaaS provider, make sure you SaaS agreement is bullet proof. Don't try to do this on your own! You not only need to make sure the provisions in the agreement are sound, but you also need to make sure that you have a valid acceptance of the agreement by the end user.
- Make sure you have carefully reviewed any development agreements. Among other things, this needs to be reviewed VERY CAREFULLY to ensure the scope of the project, developer obligations, warranties and most importantly intellectual property ownership are all adequately spelled out in the agreement.
This list is, of course, not inclusive. You should consult with an Internet Start Up Attorney prior to and during the operation of your Internet start up business.