Silicon Valley Internet & E-commerce Attorneys: Providing Legal Counsel and Representation to Online Retailers in Various Industries
The rapidly growing field of e-commerce is quickly changing the way consumers as well as businesses across the world access various products. We were there providing advice and legal counsel from the very beginning (over 30 years ago) and we have litigated multiple disputes to successful resolution.
Thinking ahead and avoiding disputes remains a high priority for online retailers and those providing support services (such as financial services, delivery networks, and other necessary ancillary services). However, many of these businesses are facing legal challenges that have never affected traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, and many business law firms are struggling to keep up with this emerging area of law.
Fortunately, the Palo Alto, California internet and e-commerce attorneys at Computerlaw Group LLP recognize that different players in the online ecosystem have specific legal needs and we have become industry leaders in providing legal counsel and legal representation to growth companies and other businesses as well as startups and entrepreneurs in this market.
The Unique Legal Challenges of the Online World
All business owners face legal matters related to intellectual property and limiting liability, but online retailers face other distinct issues which must be addressed in specialized ways. Legal protection can help online retailers protect their brand as well as their financial and legal interests. Consider the following:
● Website production and maintenance. Online retailers often have service agreements with contractors who manage the creation of website design, domain hosting, advertising sales and management, and other similar services. Ambiguities in these service contracts can lead to not only to costly legal disputes, but also interruptions in customer access to the retailer's website - which can lead to significant losses.
● Website content. Online retailers must also protect their intellectual property interests (as well as respecting the intellectual property owned by other online retailers). A domain name, logos, technologies used within the site, and other intellectual property must not infringe on another company's copyright, trademark, or patent. At the same time, retailers must protect their legal rights by securing appropriate copyrights, trademarks, or patents in order to protect website content and brand image.
● Terms of Service. The terms of service offered by an online retailer, mobile app, or another technology platform can provide important immunity from liability for a wide range of losses users might sustain. They must, however, be carefully drafted, and cover very specific circumstances of liability. They cannot protect online companies from all circumstances of liability. Therefore, it is important to work with an attorney to develop other appropriate strategies (such as various forms of insurance policies to create comprehensive coverage) for mitigating potential liability.
● Privacy Policies. Equally important, and particularly in the era of emerging worldwide privacy regulation including the adoption of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) of the European Union (which is applicable to anyone even in the US who is serving customers in the EU regardless of whether there is any physical presence in the EU) means that privacy policies must be fashioned specially for the growing set of regulations that apply across multiple jurisdictions.
Growing Privacy and Class Action Litigation Concerns in a Digital Era
Online privacy concerns have never been as prominent in American society as they are today. The high-profile scandal involving Cambridge Analytica's improper use of Facebook user data resulted in the highly-publicized Congressional testimony of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. No technology business owner wants to find themselves summoned before Congress to answer for a company's business practices. It is therefore vital to develop a comprehensive plan for the protection of user's information and privacy, which starts by consulting with the right attorney.
As with any security issue, protection begins with limiting the number of individuals and companies that have access to any sensitive data you collect in the course of business. The more parties that have access to data, the less secure it becomes. Online retailers must often share data with other companies in order to complete e-commerce transactions. Financing companies may process credit card payments while shipping companies may receive delivery information. While these are certainly necessary services, online retailers must be sure to transmit only necessary data, and only to necessary third-party service providers.
Online retailers must carefully consider the necessity of any third party who has access to user information. Outside companies which provide marketing services, pay retailers for user data, or otherwise perform a strictly commercial function to the retailer are more likely to incur liability to an e-commerce provider.
In addition to securing data with contractors, it is also important for online retailers to take affirmative steps to protect data from improper access by hackers or other cybercriminals. In this new and developing area of law, there is not yet a standard for what steps should be taken to prevent cybercrimes involving user data. It is often left to juries to determine what protections are "reasonable." It is therefore important for online retailers to create a comprehensive plan which provides many different methods for preventing a wide variety of attacks. Such a plan can not only help online retailers minimize exposure to liability, but it can also prevent loss of goodwill and trust from existing customers and the public at large.
How Computerlaw Group LLP Attorneys Can Help Online Retailers
In the dynamic and rapidly evolving area of e-commerce regulation, it is essential to have the right legal guidance. We have practiced in these areas for over three decades; our experience with both traditional regulations and new technologies will allow business owners to carefully create comprehensive security plans. These plans can effectively address users' privacy concerns, limit liability for security breaches, and prevent public relations backlash of a cyberattack. The initial investment associated with sound legal advice often results in more secure profits for a company which is not plagued by lawsuits, angry customers, and intrusive and disruptive investigations.
In addition to privacy concerns, online business owners must consider and address other legal issues which they face in their daily operations. Effective protection of intellectual property is an important step toward brand management and security. E-commerce tax regulations and structures are constantly changing, and they vary greatly according to the county, state, or country in which the retailer and customer are located. It is important for online retailers to be prepared to meet changing tax structures. These and other government regulations can be addressed with minimum time and effort by forming effective compliance strategies with an experienced attorney.
The San Francisco Bay Area Law Firm of Computerlaw Group LLP Provides Experienced Legal Guidance to for Online Retailers
The exciting field of e-commerce is bringing drastic changes to the retail landscape as a whole. With the guidance of an e-commerce attorney, businesses can take advantage of opportunities while protecting their financial and legal interests. The experienced attorneys at Computerlaw Group can advise businesses on all aspects of e-commerce and the unique challenges faced by online retailers.
Call (650) 327-9800 or use our online contact form to schedule a no-charge (up to 30 minutes by phone) initial consultation; we help technology innovators find the most comprehensive solutions for all their business needs.