The widespread use of the internet by a number of start-up firms is causing many of these companies to face intellectual property difficulties, according to a Queensland, Australia-based business attorney.
According to the attorney, over the past year there has been an increase of 100 percent in the number of small businesses approaching his firm about intellectual property issues.
Through the internet, these start-up businesses are becoming more aware of the "value of ideas and creative content," the lawyer told StartupSmart.com.au.
"You need to protect your ideas but also to know which ones are good enough to protect," the attorney said. "A lot of people get away with saying 'I was doing this under license' so you need to make sure you get that in writing and have terms and conditions, rather than end up spending $5,000 fighting it in court."
Typically, such intellectual property disputes fall into four categories: employees who take client lists when leaving a company to create a start-up rival, the use and ownership of brand names, plagiarism and shared ownership of creative work, according to the lawyer.
He added that small firms often face legal claims for using other people's images on their websites.