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Six Legal Things Outdoor Companies Should Know

Outdoor Retailer is just starting up here today in Denver. It’s no secret our attorneys are big fans of adventure, travel, and the great outdoors. We thought we would put together a quick and dirty checklist that outdoor companies should think about when starting up or growing. 
  • Protect your intellectual property. You’ve worked hard to establish your brand. This goes for any startup, but I see this time and time again where startups and businesses forget this key step. Whether you want to protect your beautiful outdoor photographs or movies, or trademark the name of your outdoor clothing company (Arc’teryx did it, trust us.) Or if you want to patent some new ski boot technology (we don’t do patents, but we can help you find someone).
  • If you’re going to act like an outfitter, then be an outfitter (get insurance and indemnify yourself). If you rent someone an ice axe and provide an experience like say… ice climbing for the day, you’re liable for anything that may happen to that person.
  • This one should be a no-brainer. You should always require a signed release before a customer demos or rents gear. Please don’t pull one off the internet. Releases need to be specific to your state and to the activities you are doing. For example, a release for climbing and skiing may be different from water sports. Also, make sure your employees can explain your release to customers because if they shrug it off, it may void the release in some states.
  • Marketing can get your company in trouble. The law doesn’t always take into account salesmanship. You can say “our harnesses are the best out there” and you wouldn’t be liable. But if you say,” our sleeping bag will keep you warm below freezing no problem,” you could wind up being sued by your customer.
  • Navigating the FTC while working with outdoor influencers. Make sure you follow FTC guidelines on promotions, contests, sponsorship, products, etc. Ideally, you have a contract between you and the influencer saying what they can and cannot do while your brand is sponsoring them.
  • If you are selling products online, make sure you have an updated Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. The major benefit of having a privacy policy on your website — aside from compliance with the laws and regulations that directly require it — is transparency. You need to tell your customers what information you are collecting, how you will use it, and who else you might give the information to. The Terms of Use is basically a contract between you and your customer which becomes much more important if the website allows users to do more complex things like making purchases of your awesome gear, uploading photos for other visitors to see, or communicating with other people on your website. In those cases, you should use a Terms of Use to manage your liability and deal with potential intellectual property issues.

What can Basecamp Legal do for you:

  • Risk Management
  • Employment agreements
  • Releases
  • Website Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policies
  • Trademark registration
  • Entity Formation
  • Purchase Agreements
  • Outside General Counsel

 Basecamp legal loves to work with local outdoor companies, entrepreneurs, and small businesses on all types of matters. We’re approachable, experienced, and keep your bottom line in mind. You can schedule your free 15-minute phone consultation here.

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