I’d appreciate some advice on selecting a legal advisor geography-wise.
I am in the process of developing a globally oriented Web 2.0 site. I am based in Australia and we are incorporating in Australia. I will own 90 percent of the company, and an investor will own 10% (with an option for the investor to convert his shareholding to a loan payable from company profits). The investor is residenced in Asia and lives in the USA.
I am seeking a legal advisor initially to do the following:
I’d be more than happy to engage more than one advisor for the different tasks.
Given my circumstances, I have a couple of questions:
Thanks in advance for any help. Trish
Ok, you are NOT a global business. It is irrelevant for the stuff you discuss where your visitors come from, the ONLY thing is where you incorporate, pay corporate taxes etc.
So, get soemone from close by (!) in australia and have him do your bidding.
Agreed- you are an Australian entity.
Get an Australian lawyer first.
If your company does business (has sales to customers or has employees or the like) in other countries, then consider getting lawyers in those other countries. Your investor may push to have documents governed by US law and subject to US jurisdiction (or Asian), but not your problem for now.
I think an Australian lawyer can do everything you have described.
As for your trademarking & IP protection, that is something you want to get right and for that reason I, personally, wouldn't be comfortable in using someone on eLance. Any good IP lawyer here should be able to help you protect your IP globally. I would be looking for recommendations from other Australian entrepreneurs about someone to use for this. Going to a networking event such as the Hive (depending where you live) would be a great place to start asking these kind of questions and collecting names.
As mentioned in one of the other posts is you need to create contracts between entities in different countries, you may need to source someone outside Australia.
Thanks everyone for your comments. I understand the principle that you are suggesting - be legally protected in the country I'm incorporated in, notwithstanding the location of my website's users.
I have a couple of Australian lawyers in mind, most definitely for the shareholders agreement, but also for the TOC/Privacy policies.
I also understand the concern about Elance. Leaving the method of finding the advisor aside, I'm wondering what particular reasons there are for having an Australian lawyer submit the global tradmark application.
My trademark knowledge is limited, but your Australian counsel can file the trademark application in Australia and should be able to recommend firms in other countries for filing the trademark applications overseas.