Published On: Sun, Apr 11th, 2021

Legal Considerations of an E-commerce Store

Starting any kind of online business can be a tricky endeavor. There are different legal matters to take into consideration when choosing a domain name, making contracts, and gaining traction as an e-commerce store.

 Pertinent legal information can be found in the store’s terms and conditions. Setting up terms and conditions helps protect the business and give consumers an idea of what to expect when doing business with the e-commerce store. The terms and conditions should cover a wide variety of topics: deadlines for deliveries, shipping, refunds, and payments. Another important topic to cover is a choice of law and legal jurisdiction. With this specification, e-commerce business owners can help protect themselves from their terms and services to be interpreted by an unknown law firm. 

photo/ fancycrave1

Creating specific contracts for consumers to sign will also help protect your business. Including these steps can help protect your business from scammer-related fraudulent activity. In the contract, you can include copyright and trademark notices stating that the right to use your material is limited by law and can’t be resold for another person’s (or company’s) profit. For the sake of these contracts, it’s also important to note the difference between each legal term for trademarks, patents, and copyrights. According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, a trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of goods of one party from those of others. A patent gives limited property rights, given by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, in exchange for public disclosure of the invention. A copyright protects original works of authorship including literacy, dramatic, musical, and artistic works.

While researching trademarks and copyright agreements for your own business, you should also be making sure that you aren’t infringing on anyone else’s trademark or patent with your business and products. For example, an SEO Expert Witness – such as Peter Kent – is someone who is an expert in the field of search engine optimization. This type of witness can help explain to a jury how SEO works, which is helpful in some trademark cases or even online-defamation cases. 

Another way to help protect your business is PCI compliance. This must be well researched and implemented. Under PCI compliance, e-commerce businesses must build and maintain a secure network, test and monitor these networks, protect cardholder data, maintain an information security policy, and implement strong access control measures. As a business, you need to make sure that your customers are well safeguarded against any potential data breach. Adhering to the rules set up by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) will help protect your business and consumers. Encrypting transmission of cardholder data and ensuring no other records are kept that can be stolen are great ways to help protect your consumers. 

Another important factor to take into consideration for your e-commerce business is data. While the United States doesn’t have a specific data protection act, there are different legislations to help protect consumers’ data. The Federal Trade Commission Act. The protections differ from state to state, so doing your research will help ensure you aren’t violating any of your consumer’s rights. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) must be adhered to by all e-commerce businesses. This Act helps protect the information of any child under the age of 13. This means no personal information can be stored if the child is under 13 years old. This is crucial for any E-commerce business & especially if you have an e-commerce business that is tailored towards a younger audience. 

There are many legal concerns that potential e-commerce business owners should be made aware of before they open their store. With the proper research and preparation, you’ll be well on your way to becoming an entrepreneur with your new business. 

Author: Uday Tank

How to Expand Your E-Commerce Customer Base


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