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Disputes over ownership: What you need to know

When you first got into business with your partner, you were both excited and full of creativity. You were so focused on the development of your ideas that you didn't bother with the picky details about who owned the intellectual rights to those ideas. You also didn't worry much over who handled which part of the business -- you both handled everything and mostly agreed.

Somewhere down the line, things changed. Now, your business partner has a totally different vision for the product, the company and the general direction things need to go. You both had some drastically different ideas about whose company this really was and who owned those great ideas.

How do you get out of this situation? You really don't -- at least, not without a lot of legal assistance and effort. The ideal time to handle a dispute over ownership is well before that time ever comes. Once the dispute starts, there's almost no chance of avoiding a serious conflict.

Partnership agreements may sound like a lot of tedious work when you're first starting your business, but they're essential tools that can help your business evolve and grow -- without having a crisis over ownership. Just starting the paperwork may help you and your business partner identify areas where there are different expectations. That gives you the time to work out your differences and find solutions that will work for you both.

Partnership agreements also provide a framework that will guide the resolutions of any serious disputes later. That way, your business will endure even if your business partnership doesn't.

Find out more about how to avoid ownership disputes today.

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