Legal Issues Facing Software and Hardware Tech Startups

What exactly are the legal issues facing software and hardware tech startups? Learn more in the article below....
Legal Issues Facing Software and Hardware Tech Startups
Written by Brian Wallace
  • In many startups, the excitement of the founders often centers around innovative technology, fresh marketing tactics, or unique distribution strategies. It’s uncommon for a team of founders to show enthusiasm for pondering the potential legal pitfalls that could hinder their startup’s progress, unless one of the founders is a lawyer. However, for virtually every tech startup, a few crucial legal matters MUST be addressed from the outset. Neglecting these can jeopardize the future value of the company.

    Innovation lies at the heart of what distinguishes most “tech” companies. However, if this innovation isn’t adequately safeguarded, a software or hardware startup might be unable to remain competitive in its selected market. 

    Compared to well-established competitors, startups often face numerous significant challenges such as smaller size, lesser-known brand, weaker reputation, limited cash flow, and restricted distribution networks.

    What can make the competition more equitable or even give startups an advantage? Their unique innovations, in whatever form they may take, need to be formally recognized and protected under Intellectual Property (IP) law.

    The imperative to secure this innovation begins much earlier than many realize, occasionally even before the actual founding of the company. Founders need to consider common legal challenges that startups face as soon as possible, a step that is often missed. Check out this legal trends report for law firms to stay updated on current legal issues and challenges facing startups in the tech industry.

    Contractual Issues

    Startups frequently depend on contracts to build relationships with their clients, associates, and suppliers. These agreements typically encompass payments, guarantees, liability, and intellectual property ownership clauses. Hence, startups must confirm that their contracts are legally valid and defend their interests.

    For instance, a startup collaborating with an external vendor for product development will likely need to execute a contract. This agreement should clearly state who owns the intellectual property generated during the partnership and outline how payments will be handled.

    Missing Employment Records

    Numerous tech startups treat employment documentation as an inconsequential formality, often overlooking its significance. This negligence can lead to various unexpected issues that may tarnish your business’s image and negatively affect your reputation.

    With the right employment documents in place, terminating an employee who violates your company’s policies becomes straightforward, with little room for them to challenge the decision. However, lacking these documents could twist the narrative, casting you as the wrongdoer instead of the employee, potentially subjecting you to questioning or investigation.

    In attempts to cut costs, startups frequently recruit legal representatives with limited experience, such as acquaintances or those offering substantial discounts. This choice prevents founders from accessing the seasoned legal guidance necessary to circumvent numerous potential legal issues. Founders should interview a variety of lawyers or law practices, assessing their proficiency in any or several of the areas below:

    • Real estate law
    • Tax law
    • Employment law
    • Executive compensation and benefits law
    • Intellectual property law
    • Corporate, commercial, and securities law
    • Contract law
    • Franchise law
    • Data privacy and cybersecurity law

    While it’s not mandatory for the chosen legal professional or team to specialize in all these fields, as specific concerns can be allocated to external specialists, it’s typically beneficial for founders to partner with a practice that covers a wide range of these legal areas.


    Legal hurdles are a natural aspect of launching a tech business. By recognizing and tackling these issues, new companies can safeguard their interests and avoid expensive legal conflicts. Startups should seek advice from legal experts to devise an all-encompassing legal plan tailored to their unique legal concerns.

    Get the WebProNews newsletter delivered to your inbox

    Get the free daily newsletter read by decision makers

    Advertise with Us

    Ready to get started?

    Get our media kit