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Joint Venture Agreement basics

A Joint Venture Agreement can help you combine forces with another company to reach a mutually beneficial goal. The goal may be to gain market exposure for a product or service, to facilitate manufacturing of a product, or to produce a large event.

Use the Joint Venture Agreement document if:

  • You want to join with another company to improve chances of winning a bid.
  • You want to collaborate with another company to lower R&D costs.
  • Your company and another want to join forces to increase market access.
  • Your company and another want to combine efforts towards a one-time product offering or event.

Joint Venture Agreements are a powerful business tool often used by large and small companies. These agreements help minimize risk and share costs, and they are usually designed to protect each party's proprietary information.

Other names for this document:

Joint Undertaking, Co-Venture Agreement, JV Agreement, Joint Venture Contract

Joint Venture Agreements basics

Joint Venture Agreements are short-term contracts between more than one business entity for the purpose of completing a "venture" or project together. An example could be a production company and a food truck organization joining up to host a large street festival. Perhaps you have an app, and you decide to work with a company that can market your app. Or, maybe your company doesn't have the resources to satisfy an RFP, but if you work with an associate, you can satisfy the needs of the request. There are many benefits to companies combining resources to achieve a specific goal.

The agreements included in the Joint Undertaking document are designed to help outline the basic agreements and the purpose of the venture. Before you complete the agreement, you and those you are choosing to work with should discuss:

  • What the purpose of the collaboration is
  • Whether you'll have a combined name
  • Where your principal place of business will be
  • How much each member will invest
  • The interest in the company each party will hold
  • How profits will be shared
  • Duties of each member
  • How expenses will be managed

While most of the contract is generated automatically by Rocket Lawyer after you submit the above information, you should know about the standard topics this document can cover:

Protection of proprietary information
While working together, you'll be privy to each other's proprietary business information including intellectual property, technology, and technology improvements. For this reason, the Joint Venture document includes a confidentiality agreement to protect business information. You can choose how long you want confidences to be kept. It also stipulates that members who work with others require their associates to sign an approved Non-disclosure Agreement to extend the protection to include third-party entities.

Protection from debts and liabilities
This part of the agreement states that each joint venturer is responsible for their own debt and obligations. If one member takes on debt or hires a service to fulfill their part of the agreement, and they don't pay their obligations, the other members cannot be held responsible for that debt.

Sale option to satisfy deadlock
If a member cannot come to an agreement during the term of the contract and reach deadlock, a sales option is included in the contract. This agreement basically states that the other member can choose to buy the other's portion of the venture. The contract also states that no member can sell their portion to a third-party without consent from the other members.

Benefits of a Joint Venture

The best Joint Ventures benefit every business entity involved. The benefit may be revenue, brand exposure, access to resources, strategic expertise, manufacturing experience, and more.

Here are several more examples of why some companies may choose to form a joint venture:

  • Two similarly sized companies join for a specific event or single-product offering.
  • A large company chooses to work with a smaller company to have access to their technology.
  • A company with an established product or service may choose to work with a foreign company to help them break into a new market.
  • A small company may decide to work with a large company who has the resources to manufacture their product.
  • Two small companies may want to combine resources to win a bid too large for them to fulfill on their own.
  • Two or more companies may decide to work together to share risk.
  • Joint Venture agreements are often formed to combine markets to increase exposure.
  • A company may have more business than they can fulfill and may choose to enter a short-term agreement with another business to help them serve their customers.

If you are considering a joint venture with another company, it is always a good idea to talk to a lawyer as part of your process.

Joint Venture vs. Partnership Agreement

While a Joint Venture Agreement involves one or more business entities working together to reach a specific business goal, it is not a Partnership Agreement. A Partnership is a type of business entity with joint liabilities, whereas a Joint Venture is an agreement between different business entities. Joint Venture Agreements are usually created for a specific goal and are temporary. If you have not yet formed a business entity and are not sure what type is best for you, see Choosing a Business Structure to help you figure out which business entity may suit your needs best.

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Sample Joint Venture Agreement

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