When establishing or running a SaaS business in Australia, it’s important to ensure you’ve met all the legal requirements. Our legal team specialises in helping small SaaS business with their legal needs, from contracts to intellectual property protection and privacy. Get in touch today!

Like many other businesses, starting a SaaS business requires you to prepare the relevant legal documents. Furthermore, these documents must be drafted by a legal professional so that they are tailored to your SaaS business' specific requirements.

The following legal documents can help protect your business from key risks involved in the SaaS industry, as well as help you hit the ground running.

  • Business Plan: while not a legal document, a business plan outlines your SaaS business's objectives, target market, marketing strategy, financial projections, and more. It serves as a roadmap for your business and can be useful when seeking funding or partnerships.
  • Company Registration: it's important that you register with ASIC (if you're under a company structure), which also involves completing the necessary registration forms and registering a business name
  • Company Constitution: an incorporated company in Australia is required to have a governing document, as set out in the Corporations Act 2001. This is where a Company Constitution comes in - it sets out the key rules and internal processes of the company, which all shareholders and directors would be bound to.
  • Terms of Service: these set out the terms and conditions that users agree to before they can further engage with your business. They typically cover aspects like user obligations, IP rights, data privacy, limitation of liability and termination provisions.
  • Privacy Policy: if your SaaS business is collecting personal information form users, it's important that you have a Privacy Policy that discloses how you intend to collect, store and distribute this data. This policy should be in line with the Privacy Act 1988 and, if you're conducting business in the EU, the GDPR.
  • Employment Contracts: if you plan on hiring people to work for you, you'll need to set out the details of their employment in an Employment Contract. It should detail their salary, nature and scope of their work, IP ownership, any relevant licences, non-compete clauses and dispute resolution processes.

The simple answer here is yes. However, your software needs to meet certain legal requirements to be eligible for patent registration with IP Australia.

To benefit from 20 years of exclusive ownership and legal protection of a patent, your software must be:

  • a manner of manufacture;
  • novel;
  • involve an inventive step;
  • useful; and
  • not previously used, even if in secret.

If you've built or developed a software, you can choose to license this to another party for a profit. In this case, it's wise to get the details of the arrangement in writing to avoid any losses or messy disputes.

A Software Licence Agreement can set out:

  • Licence fees
  • Renewal
  • IP ownership
  • Reverse engineering
  • Confidentiality
  • Liability

A key risk here is that you need to retain ownership of your IP, so having a licence agreement in place can ensure both parties are on the same page with respect to IP ownership.

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