With the increased importance of technology to businesses of all types, there is a corresponding increase in the number of tech startup companies – and also in the number of disputes between companies.
Because of technology’s huge reach in the modern business world, these disputes often cross-industry borders as well as national borders.
Florida is a great place to start a tech company but how do you ensure that you are legally covered in the event of challenges and disputes?
Making mistakes in the early stages of starting a company can have serious consequences for the future of the business. The stakes are usually very high.
As experienced tech/startup company dispute lawyers based here in Fort Lauderdale, we can help you find a resolution before it impacts the long-term future of your business.
Common technology and startup company disputes
Technology is such a priceless commodity to businesses around the world that it is often carefully guarded.
The way that new technologies are developed, transferred, shared, and regulated has become extremely complex and high stakes.
This has led to an increased likelihood of technology and startup company disputes.
What do these disputes normally look like?
They are many and varied. Here are a few common examples that we have helped mediate, arbitrate or litigate:
- Founder agreement disputes
- Disputes with collaboration agreements and joint ventures
- Disputes about ex-business partners ‘stealing’ IP
- Disputes about outsourcing agreements
- Disputes with software usage agreements
- Smart contract disputes
- Breach of data or security disputes
- Disputes about media rights
Arbitration or litigation?
In the past, technological disputes were often solved through litigation upon principle.
While that option remains on the table for any companies involved in trade disputes, there is a growing trend towards arbitration.
Not only is litigation expensive and time-consuming, but there is a change of attitude in the emerging business community.
While emotions often run high when there are claims of ideas being ‘stolen’ or business partners not sticking to agreements, for example, there is a growing realization that disputes are often better settled out of court.
The founders of the tech startups that are frequently the subject of disputes are often millennials. They want to avoid litigation and seek private agreements that work for both parties.
They prefer collaboration to litigation. So, increasingly arbitration is preferred. Litigation is only used as a last resort.
Pros and cons of arbitration in startup company disputes
- Embraces the collaborative spirit of startups
- Resolutions are possible from skilled arbitrators who understand IT
- More control over procedures, times, and costs
- Win-win solutions are possible
- Fast resolutions are possible
- The solution can remain private
- More flexible than litigation
- The process may not resolve the dispute
- Some people may have confidentiality concerns with the arbitration process (however, these are usually easily resolved)
- Generally, no right to appeal
Pros and cons of litigation in startup company disputes
- A definite solution provided by the courts
- Resolutions are legally binding and enforced
- Appeals are possible
- Win-lose situations created
- Delays and unpredictability are common
- Decisions may be made by a judge not fully conversant with the tech sector
- Expensive – with less control over costs
- Appeals may make the process even more time-consuming
- Technology is often time-sensitive – delays can be costly
Which dispute resolution strategy is best for you?
If you run a technology startup, arbitration may be more attractive to you than litigation for the reasons outlined above.
Your suitability for arbitration may depend on:
- How serious the alleged dispute is
- Your attitude towards collaboration
- Your financial position
- Your relationship with the other party (or parties) involved
- The skills of the proposed arbitrators
- Your priorities for the future of the company
With arbitration, much depends on the skills and experience of those entrusted to step in and mediate.
Your arbitrator needs to be well-versed in startup and technology disputes and possess the skills to forensically analyze the situation, communicate clearly with all parties concerned, and be creative enough to propose workable solutions.
Even if you are not currently involved in a dispute, implementing a process for dispute resolution is important.
If something does go wrong in the future, you can refer to the process in order to solve the dispute and seek compensation for any losses suffered.
Contact a tech/startup company dispute lawyer today
We work with many technology startup companies in the Fort Lauderdale area. We can help you set up a dispute resolution process or resolve a dispute that you are presently involved in.
Please contact us at Bryant Taylor Law: Call (954) 282-9331 or book a consultation online.