Every business is unique and has its own legal needs. However, in my experience, four important contracts which are needed to safeguard an entity’s interests include:
A non-disclosure agreement (also called a “confidentiality agreement”) is important to every company in every industry. This type of contract obligates third-parties to keep your private information confidential and limits the use of it to only permitted purposes set forth in the agreement. Without such a document, there are no restrictions on how or what the third party does with your confidential information. If the third-party breaches a non-disclosure agreement, it entitles you to recover remedies such as an injunction to stop the unlawful disclosure and/or damages. Even if the non-disclosure agreement is never used in litigation, it has a powerful effect by informing the third-party that they are privy to non-public information and there will be legal consequences if they violate the trust you are putting in them to safeguard it.
When a transaction involves a buyer and a seller of goods or services, the purchase order (PO) becomes part of a contract between them. The PO should set forth the description, quantity, price, applicable discounts, payment terms, date of shipment, authorized signature, and any other important information relevant to the purchase. A buyer can implement PO tracking to manage inventory, improve clear communication, and create a sales history.
Sales Terms & Conditions
Outlining the sale terms is vital to protecting your business. It is a necessary document when you are doing business with your customers who issue you a PO. The terms and conditions of a transaction include topics such as exclusion of warranties, limiting remedies and narrow indemnification language. It is important to work with your legal counsel to identify issues that could have a detrimental impact on your business and properly address them in the sale terms of your contracts.
Intellectual Property Assignment Agreement
An Intellectual Property Assignment Agreement should be signed by all applicable independent contractors and vendors that work for your company when they are hired. Don’t make the mistake of believing that your business automatically owns the work produced by an independent contractor simply because you are paying them for it. An independent contractor is treated differently under the law than one of your full-time employees. To ensure that your entity owns the independent contractor’s contributions, you must have a written agreement that transfers the copyright to your company.
If you need assistance creating any of the above contracts or you have questions regarding your company’s contractual needs, contact Leslie S. Marell for help. We serve as general counsel to clients who do not require, or choose not to employ, a full-time lawyer in-house. Call today to schedule your initial consultation.