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Site in Shining Armor

Your personal quest for intellectual property protection on the Net

This story appears in the September 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Sure, your Web site is up and running, and you're generating more orders every day. But you could lose all that good fortune-and your Web site, too-if you fail to cover your legal bases. Think about it: Litigation is not only expensive, but it could result in the loss of your logo, brand name or even the site itself.

The good news is, at least there are steps you can take to protect your company from potential legal pitfalls. The bad news is, legal issues are more complicated for e-businesses than for traditional ones. Unlike entrepreneurs who set up brick-and-mortar stores, entrepreneurs who are "setting up an Internet site subject themselves to regulation by all 50 states and, potentially, by foreign nations," says Steven C. Bahls, dean of Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio, and one of Entrepreneur's monthly columnists. "Some courts have held that the place of sale is in the state where the offer was accepted, which is every state."

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