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You don’t have to be an industry giant to do business overseas. In fact, many small businesses expand into overseas markets simply because they’re trying to lower their production costs or hoping to broaden their markets.

Before you get started on your international enterprises, however, it’s smart to consider the top legal challenges you’ll face, including:

1. Your business structure

Is your overseas operation going to be a subsidiary of your main business or an entirely new entity? How you operate determines what you need to do to stay compliant with the law. Remember — once your business goes overseas, the laws of that country, not the laws of the United States, can control its future.

2. Your intellectual property

A patent or trademark that’s valid in the United States doesn’t have any weight overseas. You need to make sure that you apply for any appropriate patent or trademark protections available in the other country with which you do business in order to protect your brand.

3. Local employment laws

Do you plan on hiring employees in another country? If so, you need to remember that your obligations to those employees may differ significantly from your obligations to your U.S. employees. Contracts may also be vastly different than what you’re used to handling here.

4. Relevant laws and restrictions

If you’re acting as a distributor or exporter to another country or operating a subsidiary, you need to make certain that you stay in compliance with U.S. laws and restrictions. Some exports require specific licenses from the United States. There may also be restrictions you aren’t aware of in your target country. The rules are constantly changing, so staying up-to-date after you get started is also going to be important.

These are just some of the potential questions you face. Once you move into an international market, everything from a simple real estate purchase to how you obtain a distributorship license can be different. Contact our firm to learn more about how we can help with your international business expansion.