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The High Cost of Legal Indifference for Startups

In India, where the startup ecosystem is on the climb, understanding and dealing with legal nuances is a must for startups. Factors like late sales' tax refund, refusal of some government benefits due to unclear directives by the Government to credit card companies and others have been posing real challenges for startups. New startups may not have experienced what are these legal issues but in the long run they become nightmares. Legal awareness constitutes a competitive edge for an Indian startup.

In India, startups face a number of challenges when it comes to legal issues. This can be attributed to the fact that there is a lack of awareness about the legal issues of starting a business. This often leads to startups incurring heavy costs when they eventually find themselves on the wrong side of the law.

One of the main reasons for this is that there is a general lack of understanding about the law among startup founders in India. This is compounded by the fact that most startups are bootstrapped and do not have the resources to hire expensive lawyers. As a result, many startups choose to ignore legal issues altogether, which can often lead to costly problems down the line.

Another challenge that startups face in India is the slow pace of reform when it comes to laws affecting businesses. This means that outdated laws often remain on the books, leading to confusion and expensive mistakes on the part of startups. For example, India’s archaic colonial-era Company Law still governs many aspects of how businesses are run in the country, despite repeated calls for reform.

The Legal Situation for Startups in India

Startups in India have long had to contend with a challenging legal landscape. Despite the country’s reputation as a business-friendly environment, the reality is that the Indian legal system is often anything but friendly to startups. This is particularly true when it comes to the area of intellectual property rights (IPR).

The situation has become even more precarious in recent years, as the government has shown an increasing indifference to the concerns of startups. This was most recently evident in the case of Section 66A of the IT Act, which was used to target and harass startups on flimsy grounds. The government’s continued insistence on enforcing this controversial law despite widespread opposition from the startup community shows how little it cares about the negative impact its policies can have on innovation and entrepreneurship.

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The high cost of legal indifference for startups in India is not just financial; it also takes a toll on morale and motivation. When the very system that is supposed to support them is instead working against them, it makes it that much harder for startups to succeed. The government needs to do more to create a level playing field for all businesses, and that includes showing some consideration for the unique challenges faced by startups.

Departure From 100% Share Ownership to 51% Share Ownership and the Limited Liability Company (LLC)

The decision of the Indian government to reduce the foreign ownership limit in startups from 100% to 51% has generated a lot of debate. There are pros and cons to this decision, but one thing is clear – it will have a significant impact on startups in India.

Previously, 100% foreign ownership was allowed in startups. This made it easier for foreign investors to invest in Indian startups. However, the new 51% limit will make it more difficult for foreign investors to invest in India. This is because they will now only be able to own a minority stake in a company.

The main reason for the change is that the government wants to encourage more Indian investment in startups. By reducing the foreign ownership limit, the government is hoping that more Indians will invest in startups. This will help to create jobs and grow the economy.

There are some concerns that this change could hurt India’s startup ecosystem. Many startup founders rely on foreign investment to get their businesses off the ground. With the new 51% limit, they may have a harder time raising money from foreign investors.

There is also a risk that this change could make India less attractive to foreign talent. Startups need talented employees to succeed.

Cost for Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual property rights are critical for startups in India, since they provide the legal protection that helps distinguish a startup’s products and services from its competitors. However, acquiring and maintaining intellectual property rights can be expensive.

India’s intellectual property regime is still relatively new, which means that registering patents, trademarks, and other IP rights can be costly and time-consuming. Moreover, enforcement of IP rights is often weak in India, meaning that even if a startup does have registered IP rights, it may not be able to effectively protect them from infringement.

The high cost of acquiring and enforcing IP rights is a major barrier to innovation in India. Startups simply cannot afford to bear these costs, which places them at a competitive disadvantage against larger, more established companies.

This problem is compounded by the fact that many startups in India are unable to access venture capital or other forms of funding that would help them cover the cost of IP protection. As a result, they are forced to either go without IP protection or scale back their operations significantly in order to afford it.

The high cost of legal indifference for startups in India is thus a major hindrance to the growth of the country’s startup ecosystem.

Trade Marks Act, 2013: Cost, Procedures and Applicability

Startups are often lauded for their innovation, creativity and risk-taking. But when it comes to intellectual property, many startups take a hands-off approach, assuming that they can’t afford the cost and complexity of filing for patents or trademarks.

This legal indifference can be costly. In India, for instance, the Trade Marks Act, 2013 imposes strict requirements on the use of trademarks. If a startup uses a mark without first registering it, it could be liable for infringement.

The process can take up to 18 months. And if there are any objections to the application, it can take even longer to receive a registration certificate.

So why do so many startups choose not to file for trademark protection? The answer is simple: they don’t think it’s worth the cost. But the truth is, startups can’t afford to be indifferent to intellectual property.

Examination of Securities Laws or Regulations in India – Past & Present

When it comes to examining securities laws or regulations in India, it is important to first understand the country’s history. For many years, the government has taken a hands-off approach when it comes to regulating the securities market. This has led to various scams and illegal activities, costing innocent investors billions of rupees.

The government’s indifference towards regulation has also been costly for startups in India. Many startups have struggled to comply with complex and ever-changing securities laws. This has made it difficult for them to raise capital and scale their businesses. The costs of compliance can be significant, and they often outweigh the benefits of being listed on a stock exchange.

Learn More: How to Calculate Your Business Start up Costs?

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) was established in 1992 in an attempt to regulate the securities market. In 2015, the government finally decided to take action and passed the Securities Laws (Amendment) Act. The act increased penalties for violators and gave SEBI more power to crack down on fraudsters.

Despite these efforts, the securities market in India remains largely unregulated.


The high cost of legal indifference for startups in India is a critical issue that needs to be addressed. Given the current climate, it is essential for startups to have access to reliable and affordable legal services. Otherwise, they will continue to face barriers to entry and growth. We hope that the Indian government will take steps to improve the business environment for startups and make it easier for them to access quality legal services.

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