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Posts tagged ‘inventions’

Five Reasons Small Business Owners Should Not Rely on Online Contract Forms

We live in a Do-It-Yourself society, especially now that the secrets of the universe can be unveiled with a simple google search. If you can learn how to build a bomb or do brain surgery on the Internet, surely you can figure out your own legal advice. So, one of the most common questions I hear is: Can’t I just download a form (or use an online service like Legal Zoom), instead of paying for a real live lawyer?

It’s a good question. And, being a life-long “Do-It-Yourself-er,” I understand the appeal. But there are lots of reasons why this is a really bad idea . . .

1) The Short Answer: Would you really attempt brain surgery based on what you read online? No of course not — at least not on someone you cared about! And while drafting legal documents is not quite the same as brain surgery (and usually won’t have a life or death impact), it is similarly difficult to do well without lots of specialized training and experience. Here’s why:

2) You Can’t Really Tell Good From Bad (And Why It Matters): When a non-lawyer downloads a legal document he has no way to determine its quality. I’ve found many “legal” documents on the web that clearly were not drafted by lawyers (this is especially true in the world of web developer and artist agreements). Even if you download from a supposedly reputable site, like Nolo.com or Legal Zoom, there is a wide range of quality in the documents available. Without legal training, you have no basis for determining best, worst or mediocre.

Why does it matter? Read more

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A Couple of Thoughts about Patents and NDA’s

At SCORE I meet a lot of clients who want help filing a patent application or drafting an NDA (Non-disclosure Agreement).  There’s a lot of fear out there about someone stealing a patentable idea.  And with good reason.  If you build a better mousetrap, odds are that somebody, somewhere (not naming any names here . . . (China)) will copy and sell it at a fraction of your price.  So, how do you protect yourself?  Applying for a patent and handing out Non-disclosure Agreements is one way, and I’m not knocking it (or trying to put my patent lawyer friends out of business).  But remember:  a patent is only as good as your willingness to sue to protect it.  And such suits can be very, very time consuming and expensive. Read more