The Traklight Blog

Explore the world of intangible assets and IP with guest blogs, business owner interviews, and more.

Mike Willee

Mike is Traklight's Internet Media Coordinator, handling any project thrown his way. No matter how big or small, important or trivial the task might be, give it to Mikey. Before joining Traklight, Mike spent four years in the Navy, where he saw the world; the ocean parts of it, anyway. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Toledo, which is a superior school to Bowling Green State University in every respect. In his spare time, Mike enjoys writing about baseball and complaining about how underrated Joey Votto is to anyone who’ll listen.
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Recent Posts

What Business Assets You Need to Protect

If you're just now opening doors to your new business, you probably have a flurry of important questions running through your head about customers and rent and upkeep and all the day-to-day things that will determine your long-term success. But one important question you might not be considering is, "Do I have intellectual property (IP) that needs protecting?"  Your IP helps you and the economy when you can protect the items you either create or use to help produce commerce for your company. You're also assuring your financial future by seeking out IP you can protect on a national and international level so no one else can profit from them.

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Tech Savvy In-House Counsel

We were back in Los Angeles on February 22nd for another great legal tech event, hosted by Dentons. We had a great panel who had a lot of interesting ideas about the future of technology in law, and how tech is changing the role of the in-house counsel.  Technology is an inexorable part of everyday life, and as such attorneys need to be familiar with it in order to not only address the emerging legal issues that can arise from technology, but also to protect their clients' information. But there is that familiar tension between lawyers and technology as attorneys worry about machines one day replacing them. The role of attorneys continues to change and adapt as in-house counsel and in-house legal departments become more and more prevalent at big corporations. The interaction between business and legal serves as a positive to the case for the continued existence of the human lawyer, as human relationships and judgment can't be replicated or replaced by machines.

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Culture and Intellectual Property

In much of our writing over the years, we have noted the intersection of intellectual property laws and rights with the culture we consume and the things we buy. Looking at history, many of our commercial institutions grew to their current stature through their ability to rightly or wrongly dominate their respective marketplace, and much of that is seen in the brands and intellectual property that they have built over the years. There are ideas and products behind those companies that have venerated them long after their one-time competitors have faded into history.

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Know the Rules for Fair Use

You never want to infringe on trademarks. In addition to being a legal violation, it seems doubtful that any business would want to be viewed as unoriginal. So what happens if your business creates something that is slightly similar to an item that has already been trademarked?  Fair use applies to trademarks as much as it does to copyrights. But you still have to be very careful or you could end up dealing with complicated legal issues.

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Form an IP Strategy

The best way to make sure that you are handling the tasks you need to is to come up with a plan or strategy. Relying on your memory or some hastily scribbled notes that might not make sense the next day isn't the best way to methodically run a business or any enterprise. And given the amount of things you have to do, a haphazard approach to your work is bound to lead to things being forgotten.

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Bridging the Technology Gap in Law

We had a terrific event in Atlanta on January 25th, not least for the fact that I was able to attend. For those legal tech fans who haven't had the chance to come to one of our events, I would highly recommend it; it's a great opportunity to meet other like-minded individuals and hear from legal tech innovators and thought leaders. For this event, the format was slightly different; instead of a panel, we had our three speakers presenting individually on their own thought-provoking topics.

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Sort Out Potential Legal Issues For Your Business Early

No one likes to think about, much less tackle, the potentially tedious tasks that come with the responsibilities of life. That's why so many of us put off doing our taxes or going to the DMV. Often there are things that are more pressing, and if you're honest with yourself, you really don't want to do it, even though you know you're going to have to eventually. Procrastination is easy, especially when you're the driving force of your business. You should be out there leading your employees or dreaming up the next project! But small details matter, especially when they can become big problems. There are a few key areas to mind to prevent disaster.

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Have a More Productive 2017

We all struggle with productivity in one way or another. Perhaps we find it hard to tackle certain tasks that nevertheless need to be done. Possibly you've put off important decisions that seem difficult. Or maybe you feel that for all that you feel you're doing, you aren't accomplishing as much as you would like. We've all been guilty of not working up to our abilities in one way or another, and as much as we want to change it, we find ourselves stuck in old habits that can exacerbate these tendencies.

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Nokia and Apple in Legal Standoff

 

When it comes to intellectual property lawsuits, there are usually a couple of different types observed. More often than not you can come across a startup or small business suing a major corporation, claiming the industry giant has come in and stolen their idea to further enrich themselves. Within that, there are usually those with a solid case mixed in with those deemed "patent trolls", looking to cash in on their broad patents that otherwise go unused. But on the occasions that you see two big names enter into a legal battle, it is worth noting, as the future of entire industries can shift based on a court decision.

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Get Ready for the New Year

As the holidays approach, many of us get caught up in planning and preparing and various family events and functions, and our focus on work can begin to wane, if only slightly. And that isn't necessarily a bad thing — after all, many of us work hard throughout the year in part to be able to enjoy this time with family. But the holidays also herald the end of the calendar year, and that offers an opportunity to examine both yourself and your business.

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Tackling Security for your Law Firm

At our recent Evolve Law event in Austin, the topic of cybersecurity at law firms was raised, as more and more attorneys have to consider the security of the sensitive client information they are charged with. While no security is absolute, LawPay has laid out relatively simple steps that any firm can take to make sure that their security measures are up to par; be sure to give the full articles (linked below) a read for more in-depth advice.

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IP Mistakes from Small Businesses, Part II

In my previous blog, I wrote about the importance of intellectual property (IP) and the ways in which small businesses can go about protecting their own.  But often many businesses fail to recognize the importance of their intangible assets, instead overlooking them in favor of more immediate concerns. But failing to recognize the value in intellectual property can lead to mistakes that put businesses at risk. Here are some of the most common causes of IP mistakes and how to avoid them.

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IP Mistakes for Small Businesses

If you have a small business, you might think that your assets are limited to what you have on hand. But the reality is that you haven’t considerable intangible assets tied up in your business that you haven’t considered. If your business is just getting started, the overwhelming majority of your company’s value comes from your intellectual property (IP). But despite their importance, most small businesses don’t do enough to protect their IP because they don’t know enough about it. Here are a few basics to help you get started.

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Ohio State Defends Against Trademark Infringement

There is nothing quite like the community that develops around collegiate athletics. It manages to be both universal and provincial, important to so may around you but inconsequential beyond the borders of your schools' influence. And the relatively long history of many universities has allowed for traditions and rituals that come to define both a team and a locale.

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Think About the Future

When you’re looking to start your own business, there is a lot to consider. Beyond the immediacy of names and product ideas and an office to set up shop, you want to make sure that you are preparing for success rather than simply working hard with the aim of seeing where things go. Envisioning a goal or target can help you get through those long days and nights. But while you’re on the road towards achieving that goal, there are a lot of other details along the way that can threaten to take your business off track.

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Supreme Court Considers Fashion Copyrights

In looking at cases involving intellectual property rights, it's important to consider the wider implications that can cascade from one court decision. A precedent set in one patent or trademark case can have a ripple effect that shapes an entire industry. And if a matter rises to the Supreme Court, the decision handed down therein can provide a definitive stamp on a previous decision that fundamentally changes the course of the U.S. economy in some slight degree.

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Avoid Legal Disputes to Keep Your Business on Track

You value the work created by yourself and your employees. You take great care to make sure that you take the necessary steps to protect it with patents, trademarks and copyrights, and you are diligent in making sure that your employees aren’t divulging sensitive information like trade secrets outside the office.  You understand that the intellectual property your business generates is valuable, and you want to make sure that you are protecting that value by not allowing others to use it. But are you as considered when it comes to the rights of others?

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