Joint Venture

A contractual arrangement, usually for a determinate period of time, tied to a specific project and involving a few, often no fewer than two, parties. A joint venture is usually a general partnership under state law although the relationship may shade over into that of principal and agent if one "venturer" is calling all the shots (and, indeed, some arrangements styled as "joint ventures" are incorporated). The distinction, if there is one, between joint venture and partnership is that a joint venture usually implies limited life and a single business purpose. As a planning point, it is important for the joint venturers to pick the form consciously; otherwise unexpected surprises may result.