Evaluating a Business Partnership

Source: VentureBeat, Jul 2011

Jump at every chance to leverage an established brand for your business

Work hard to make it non-exclusive – If the relationship works, you want the opportunity to structure similar deals with other leaders in the space.  You might negotiate for time limited exclusivity (say 12 months).  If the partner will not agree, then consider performance-based exclusivity (exclusivity is maintained so long as the partner exceeds mutually agreed upon sales projections).  Bottom line — make sure the deal doesn’t lock you in to a non-performing partner while preventing you from working with others.

Protect your IP – Typically, anything you conceive with a partner during a business relationship becomes IP for both entities. Sometimes, though, that can compromise your existing IP in the process.  Consult an IP specialist to ensure you don’t inadvertently give away the store.

Avoid a one-sided indemnity provision.

Remember that people make partnerships work, not legal documents.

 

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