Master of Professional Studies in Technology Entrepreneurship and Corporate Innovation  >  Academics  >  Courses

Legal Aspects of Entrepreneurship

Navigate the legal challenges facing startup entrepreneurs and corporate innovators. Build the skills to understand and act on the legal issues encountered when creating and launching a new business.




12 Weeks


8-10 Hours per Week

Instructor Rating

3.8 / 4

By its nature, the law touches on many aspects of entrepreneurship, making it an applicable and versatile topic of study. For aspiring entrepreneurs, it's important to understand how to form the business, work with the initial customers, and hire. For active entrepreneurs, there are critical considerations on employment law, operating policies, and managing contracts. For everyone, the role that the law plays in managing the company, and its associated risks, must be properly understood to navigate challenges and capitalize on opportunities.

This course focuses on the foundational elements of law with initial attention to business formation and organization. We'll explore intellectual property, and how patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets can influence or impede your success. We'll also examine contracts and financing arrangements important to business creation and growth.

We'll study real-world scenarios and address legal and business issues in a practical manner. You will develop an understanding of what legal activities you may pursue on your own as well as when and how to select and work with an attorney.

We will develop projects in our course to apply your knowledge of new venture formation, intellectual property management, and contracts and financing arrangements. These projects may be applied in real-world contexts for those that are actively developing or managing a new venture.

What You'll Learn

Who Will Benefit

Course Topics

Module 1: Introduction to the Legal Aspects of Entrepreneurship

This module includes a welcome to the course, an orientation to our teaching approach and faculty, and an introduction to the legal aspects of entrepreneurship.

Module 2: Fundamentals

Attorney-client privilege. Hiring an attorney. Contracts. Crimes. Raising capital. Business plans.

Module 3: Mechanics of Business Formation

Articles of incorporation. Mechanics of business formation. Board of directors. Board compensation.

Module 4: Organizing Your Business

Business formation. Corporations. Partnerships. Limited Liability Companies. Choosing the right business form.

Module 5: Intellectual Property Fundamentals

Intellectual property. Copyright. Trademarks. Trade Secrets. Overview of patents.

Module 6: Managing Intellectual Property

Protecting your idea with patents. Invention disclosures. Patent application process. IP agreements.

Module 7: Torts

Negligence. Liability. Intentional torts. Remedies. Warranties. Defective products.

Module 8: Contracts

Preparing contracts. Electronic contracts. Common contracts. Sale. Remedies.

Module 9: Raising Capital

Friends and family. Angel investing. Venture capital. Joint ventures. Investment securities. Stock-related agreements.

Module 10: Hiring Employees

Hiring. Employee stock options. Employee status. Employment legislation. Employment agreements.

Module 11: Protecting Consumers and Managing Risks

Consumer protection. Advertising. Competition. Risk management. Compliance management. Insurance.

Module 12: Next Steps

Leaving your job. Going global. Buying or selling a business. Going public. IPO.

Learning Experience


Asynchronous Lectures

Coaching and Mentoring

Live Office Hours

Peer Interactions and Networking

Project-Based Learning

Real-World Assignments


Wilson L. White
Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute
University of Maryland

Wilson L. White is a results-oriented leader with nearly 20 years of experience in technology as a software developer, a patent lawyer and more recently as the global head of government affairs and public policy for several of Google's core business units. As an executive member of the policy team at Google, he has a broad set of leadership responsibilities, including: managing a global team responsible for government affairs and public policy strategy for the company’s core businesses; developing and executing Google’s advocacy initiatives on artificial intelligence, privacy and security, competition, broadband access, financial inclusion, intellectual property and content policy and other issue areas; and advising senior product and business leadership on public policy implications of the company’s product decisions.

In addition to his work at Google, he is a faculty member with the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute at the University of Maryland. He teach courses on the legal aspects of entrepreneurship for the Master of Professional Studies in Technology Entrepreneurship and Corporate Innovation and in the undergraduate program.

Before joining Google's public policy team, he was a patent litigation attorney on Google's legal team and a patent litigator at the Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP in Atlanta. Prior to that, he served as a federal judicial law clerk to the Honorable Alexander Williams, Jr. on the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.

Over the past two decades, he's acquired significant experience forming, scaling and leading diverse and high performing teams in complex and dynamic environments. As an engineer, lawyer, teacher, mentor and coach, he thrives on helping people and organizations solve their biggest challenges.

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