Do you own your intellectual property assets? Two ways to correct weaknesses and avoid business losses and conflicts

Here are some common situations where potentially you may have failed to secure ownership of your business assets and how to fix the situation:

Problem:  Hiring a website designer or content writer without having a work for hire agreement that includes a copyright assignment.

Solution:  Get a work for hire agreement you can use for future situations and get an assignment to transfer rights after the fact for earlier projects.  Cost estimate:  under $1,000 to protect the information that could lead to failure of your business.

Problem:  Verbal agreements to give others a stake in the business in exchange for services (sweat equity).

Solution:  Issue stock certificates and prepare corporate minutes and transfer documents to properly record the transaction in the corporate books and records.  Appoint and elect directors and officers to determine who is in leadership of operational issues.  Determine the value of the services and record mutual agreement on the amount of equity being given in exchange for the services.  Draft a shareholder agreement (or operating agreements if an LLC) to protect the business from disagreements between equity owners for the services (They do happen.  Don’t ignore the possibility.)