What to do before offering e-services from EU to US?


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Planning to export e-services (online services, Internet-based, SaaS) from a EU-based company to the US market, what are key things to consider ?

Saas International Internet

asked Nov 10 '11 at 23:18
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Refineo
238 points
  • We need more information about how you plan to do this. Will you have any employees/infrastructure in the US or will you be providing everything from the EU? – Kekito 8 years ago
  • Thank you, for the clarity of this question let's talk about providing everything from inside the EU. – Refineo 8 years ago

2 Answers


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I don't think there is too much that you need change. Some things that come to mind:

  • Taxes -- I'm pretty sure you won't have to pay any US taxes for your sales of services in the US from the EU. I have no idea how VAT/European taxes work so you'll have to figure that out. If you have an accountant already, then hopefully he or she can help.
  • Terms of Service -- You might want to have a different ToS for US customers or modify your existing one so that it is good for all customers. For exameple, in the US, a ToS often includes a forum selection clause, so when they sue you they have to do it where you live. You don't want to be sued in North Dakota, for example. It isn't always clear when these clauses are enforceable, but good to have them in case they are.
  • Privacy Policy -- The EU is much stricter about privacy than the Us you might be able to relax this for US customers.
answered Nov 11 '11 at 01:01
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Kekito
1,936 points

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Possible attacks from patent trolls, that is very likely. The fact that your business is registered in EU should help, but it is still a very real possibility that you will be legally forced out of the US market.

Find an experienced lawyer to tell you how you can conduct business in the US and avoid patent infringement liability.

answered Nov 10 '11 at 23:55
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Fobo
146 points
  • This isn't a concern for two reasons: (1) providing SaaS from EU to the US it is almost impossible to infringe a US patent (as long as the servers are not in the US), and (2) small companies rarely get sued for patent infringement as it isn't worth the expense to sue unless you can get a lot of damages. – Kekito 8 years ago
  • @Jeff: What if the servers are in EU but your domain name is registered in the US? Does this represent any potential risks? – Fobo 8 years ago
  • The domain name does not matter for patent infringement. What matters is where the actions are being performed that constitute infringement. – Kekito 8 years ago

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