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

Supreme Court Deals Blow to Patent Trolls

Patent trolls have long been an issue in the world of intellectual property. For innovators, patent trolls represent an ever-present threat to their work, as one lawsuit could mean spending time and money they don't have on a court battle. For many observers, patent trolls are a miscarriage of the spirit of intellectual property laws, using an overly broad patent as a tool to extort money from companies rather than as a means of protecting their creations. But a recent court decision may prove a setback for future frivolous lawsuits.

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In House Tech-Savvy Counsel

Our final event of the spring season was again covering the topic of the tech savvy in-house lawyer, this time in New York. The panel offered a variety of experiences working in or with in-house legal departments for companies of differing sizes and in different fields.

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Traklight Featured on the Avnet MakerSource Podcast

Our own Mary Juetten joined the MakerSource Podcast to talk with Bob Merriman on a recent episode. Mary and Bob talked about the origins of Traklight and where the idea came from, how many startups make the mistake of ignoring or putting off IP concerns like patents or trademarks until it's too late, and the importance of protecting the "secret sauce' of your business given how many companies work in the same industry or market. They also discuss how entrepreneurs can be unaware of what they don't know when it comes to IP, and how that can lead to mistakes like not having employment agreements or NDAs for employees, not considering the security of their private data or files, or infringing on others' IP inadvertently. They also talk about how Traklight works to help startups identify their business risks and potential intellectual property and avoid early-stage mistakes with ID your IP. 

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Identifying Business Risk

We try to avoid risks everyday in most things that we do. No one wants to take on unnecessary and unwanted risks in any part of their lives, and yet too often we take on risks that we simply fail to see. This is especially true for those entrepreneurs who go into business for themselves. 

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Tech Savvy In-House Legal

We were in Toronto for our latest Tech Savvy In-House Legal event, kindly hosted by the good people of McCarthy Tetrault. Toronto has a vibrant legal technology scene, so it was an exciting opportunity to discuss the role that legal tech, and technology in general, is playing in the lives of the general counsel and in-house legal departments, and how that will continue to grow and change moving forward.

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Alternative Legal Business Models

We had our recent "Alternative Legal Business Models" event in Palo Alto hosted by our friends at Dentons. As always, the event sparked lively conversation on the topic of the current legal models, and the way that is is, could be, and should be changed for its own good and the good of those it is supposed to serve.

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Legal Issues for the Startup

Many startup companies operate on a tight budget and try to cut costs where possible. Often that includes forgoing legal advice and trying the do-it-yourself method. But not seeking legal counsel for important early stage decisions can end up being costlier in the long run. Investing in professional advice can help you avoid a number of mistakes that could threaten your business’ viability.

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Evolve Law Summit: Strategic Partnerships

Our second Summit panel was on the topic of strategic partnerships. The panel had a wealth of knowledge to draw on in discussing the idea of strategic partnerships from the perspective of both the smaller company and the larger company in the relationship.

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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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