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3 common business partnership disputes and how to avoid them

Partnership disputes when running a business can be tricky, but owners can take steps when laying out responsibilities to mitigate the severity when they happen, and possibly avoid disagreements altogether.

Sometimes it takes a team effort to create a truly successful business in Oregon. While it is possible to run a business solo, most entrepreneurs end up in some form of partnership down the line, whether that be through the contributions of shareholders or the added genius of a stellar co-owner. Yet as with any alliance, sometimes unexpected disputes arise that need to be dealt with for the good of the company and everyone involved. Nobody wants to go through a partnership dispute, but knowing what some of the common topics of dispute are can help people to avoid them in the first place or find speedy resolutions.

Intellectual property disputes

Some companies are entirely centered around a unique idea, but this can cause problems if one person is the sole creator and he or she starts to disagree with how the company is using his or her idea. It is therefore important that individual creators maintain sound documentation showing what their intellectual property is, even when that property is licensed to the company. That way, the creator can be more sure he or she has the liberty to revoke the license in the event of a dispute.

Operational disputes

Sometimes a partnership dispute just comes down to a matter of how the business is being run. Is everyone pulling their weight, or do the responsibilities match the role of each person leading the organization? This may seem like a cut-and-dry question, but not everyone will always see eye-to-eye. A good way to nip this kind of dispute in the bud is for partners to communicate clearly early on if they feel there is a discrepancy. As long as a team is willing to hear each other out and work out terms that are amenable to all partners involved, many operational disputes can be resolved with one or two simple meetings.

Monetary disputes

The most common monetary dispute happens over salaries in correlation with ownership and effort put into the company. To put it simply, sometimes a partner may feel that he or she is not getting paid enough, or that someone else is getting paid too much. One way to steer away from this tricky conversation is to stipulate the rules of ownership on the front end (possibly solidifying things with a contract) and to be transparent when communicating about allocations and expenditures.

Most disputes can be resolved with open communication and mutual willingness to change and adapt the business plan. Sometimes, however, it may not be so easy to come to an agreement. An attorney in the local area who practices business law may be able to help in these instances.

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