EP #29 - Christian Meisser: Legal Advice For Early Stage Startups - Swisspreneur

The Episode In 60 Seconds

There are 5 legal areas every startup should have covered:

Corporate law

  • Have a clear agreement in place of how the departure of a co-founder would be handled.
  • Critically look at shareholders agreements and make sure you understand the implications in case of an exit.

Contract law

  • Make sure that any IP produced for you by a third party will also belong to you.
  • Always read contracts before signing. In the B2B business, there is no 30 day return policy.
  • Ensure liability caps on sales contracts in case your product causes unintentional harm to your client.


  • Be aware of how tougher privacy and data protection laws affect you and your business model.
  • Know which sectors you need special licenses for.

HR law

  • Make sure your employee contracts contain a provision for IP created by employees.
  • Sign any employee contract by hand.
  • Consider employee stock option plans.

Intellectual property

  • Software is usually protected by copyright rather than patent law. The only way to effectively protect your code is by not disclosing it.
  • For hardware, be aware of existing patents and consider patenting yourself.
  • Consider protecting your company name if it is crucial for your business.

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