Contracts and agreements are an important part of doing business. One common mistake small business owners and business entrepreneurs make is to sign agreements (or any document), without first reading it carefully. The second big mistake is, even if they read the contract, often times they don’t understand what they’ve read, YET, still sign it. Is that crazy! Signing something that you are liable for, without knowing exactly what you are liable for? With just one click of a mouse, you can sign away your valuable intellectual property rights and never even know you did it.
Another mistake often made is using contract templates without having a competent lawyer review them. It’s easy to download a contract from the Internet or “cut and paste” an agreement together without understanding the legal implications of your seemingly simple act. It’s harder to clean up the mess after you’ve done it! Investing in a competent legal expert to review your agreement and explain what it means is well worth the money you pay. Making sure your contract protects you in the way you think it does is essential. Make no mistake about it, I understand why this sometimes happens. Lawyers are expensive and it is easier to just download a document from the Internet or use contracts and agreements that your friends have used. The problem with that flawed thinking is that not all contracts and agreements are created equal, and things are not always as they appear.
Lastly another mistake is using old and outdated agreements, year, after year, after year. Like software and computers, contracts become outdated and unenforceable. As the law changes, so does the need for a new, updated, and customized agreement. Consider a yearly IP checkup, just as you would your annual physical checkup.