Legal considerations for AgTech companies
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Agriculture in Australia represents around 12% of our GDP and occupies almost two thirds of our country’s landmass. AgTech (AgriTech) is what will differentiate us from the rest of the world and drive productivity. Whether you are in IoT, Artificial Intelligence, robotics, remote sensing or other surveillance technologies, it is now the opportunities exist for Australian businesses.
Kicking off your AgTech (AgriTech) venture is always going to be an exciting but daunting endeavour. However, with IT Lawyers Brisbane you will never be flying solo. We are here to help you each step you take and work through the range of legal considerations for AgTech companies with you.
Key legal considerations for AgTech companies
Common considerations include, corporate structure, capital raising, shareholder and employee relations, IP and software development.
The following are 5 common legal matters which AgTech (AgriTech) companies need to consider:
In most cases founders and tech entrepreneurs choose a corporate structure through which to run their business. However, it is rarely that simple. When dealing in any tech-oriented field Intellectual Property Protection usually needs to be considered. With valuable IP in the mix, two companies may be set up, one a holding company which owns the intellectual property and the other the trading company which interacts with suppliers and customers.
Founders will often choose to hold the shares in the companies through a discretionary or Family Trust.
IT Lawyers Brisbane can assist you in choosing, and setting up, the right structure for your AgTech (AgriTech) enterprise.
There are a range of options to consider when funding an AgTech (AgriTech) company. Typically, the options fall into either debt or equity categories, however, more complex options arise from hybrid securities.
IT Lawyers Brisbane can assist with loan agreements, share issues and small scale capital raisings (colloquially known as the 20/12 rule).
Shareholder and employee relations
Businesses are owned and operated by people, shareholders and employees respectively. AgTech companies will typically enter into a range of different agreements with both its employees and shareholders.
Especially where there are two or more founders, a Shareholders Agreement may be entered into between the company and each founder. This agreement sets out the rights and obligations surrounding issuing, selling and transferring shares, dividend policies, obligations on the founders and how the meetings of directors and members will be conducted.
Employment agreements should also be put in place for each person, and for executive directors if they draw a salary. Such agreements may include bonus or sweat equity provisions.
IT Lawyers Brisbane can prepare a Shareholders Agreement suited to your circumstances and draft cost effective employment agreements.
Intellectual Property Protection
Having an IP holding company is only one part of an intellectual property strategy. Even before the IP holding company can be utilised that intellectual property has to be created and transferred. It is often presumed that if a company pays for the development of some intellectual property, (computer code for example) then they own it. However, it is not as simple as that. In our computer code example, the copyright in that code needs to be assigned in writing by the owner before it can sit securely in the IP holding company. This may be achieved through an Intellectual Property Assignment Deed or as part of the Software Development Agreement, depending on the circumstances.
When it comes time to speak to a Software Development Lawyer, who better to speak to than one who used to be a software developer. Whether you need a Services Agreement for a Freelancer or someone to review and advise on a Software Development Agreement we are here to assist.
Read more about the Legal Considerations When Hiring a Freelancer here.
There is more to a Software Development Agreement than just liabilities and indemnities. We have a deep understanding of common software development life cycles and project management. We understand what IP you can own and why you probably don’t want to own all of it. Engaging a lawyer who speaks tech, business and law improves the chances of your software project being a success.
How can IT Lawyers Brisbane help your AgTech (AgriTech) company?
Speak with a lawyer who has worked in IT, science and agriculture.
Our principal, Michael Barber, undertook research on herbicide resistance while at James Cook University where he completed a Bachelor of Science majoring in Botany (Plant Physiology) before taking up with CSIRO where he worked on cattle feed trials and sugarcane modelling projects. From there his career took a more commercial trajectory into technology consulting and finally technology, commercial and corporate law. Although, his love of agriculture never faded. He can regularly be spotted roaming around South East Asian subsistence farms or pottering in Australian community gardens.
We provide legal advice across commercial and corporate law and apply our scientific and deep technology domain experience to delivering those legal services to our clients. We help our clients work through the range of legal considerations for AgTech companies.
IT Lawyers Brisbane also forms part of the IT and Startup Lawyers group. We service AgTech (AgriTech) startups across Australia with cost effective legal solutions to help business owners and entrepreneurs execute their ideas. As part of the same business structure as Startup Lawyers Brisbane, contact us to speak to a Commercial Lawyer for Startups or a Corporate Lawyer for Startups.
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