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.
Find me on:

Recent Posts

Make Sure You Own Your Work

You put a lot of work into your business. You’ve undoubtedly spent countless nights and weekends trying to create a minimum viable product so that you can get to market. You toiled long and hard to come up with the perfect name for the product and your company. After all, these things will be your brand to the consuming public. But for all the thought that you put into naming, far too many companies fail to give thought to those who are already out in the marketplace.

Read More

Lucasfilm Looks to Shut Down Lightsaber School

Few cultural properties have both the longevity and influence of Star Wars. You can see the love even beyond the walls of Comic-Con – fans have taken elements from the films and brought them to the real world it what can be seen as either dedication or lunacy. Australia recently had to ask its citizens not to list "Jedi" as their religion in their national census. Countless couples have made Star Wars the theme to their wedding. And while that level of fandom is all that any film franchise can hope to aspire to, the companies behind these tent-pole franchises are vigilant when ti comes to stopping those who they think are trying to profit off the popularity.

Read More

Have Agreements in Place to Protect Your Business

While many businesses start as solo ventures, at a certain point you have to rely on others in order to have success and grow. Whether it’s people working for you or with you, the odds are you’re going to need help at some point. And that is probably a good thing; while solo work allows you to pursue a singular vision without having to compromise, coworkers and collaborators bring new ideas and new skills that you previously didn’t possess.  But working with others isn’t always easy, and adding people to your business brings about complications that need to be addressed before they turn into serious issues.

Read More

RIAA Takes on Website Over Stream Ripping

In the digital age, piracy is one of the chief concerns of the entertainment industry. With competition for consumer dollars as fierce as it's ever been, movie and music distributors are loathe to lose any of that money to illegally ripped or recorded versions of the work they're putting out. While those on the other side of the issue would argue that the high prices demanded by these industries fuels the piracy that occurs, it is a case of two wrongs still not making a right, as the record industry looks to stop a website that they allege infringes upon their copyrights by providing audio files of YouTube videos.

Read More

Set a Foundation for Your Business

Starting a business is among the most exciting and anxious times of an entrepreneur’s life. You have so many ideas about what you want to do and how you want to change the industry and maybe the world if you’re feeling particularly ambitious. You’re also nervous thinking about all the things you have to do and all the work that goes into getting a business off the ground. There aren’t many people who are overly fond of what could be termed “administrative work”, and there is quite a lot of it that goes along with having your own business. Many business owners will put off those tasks for a later day, rationalizing that the product is the centerpiece of the entire enterprise and therefore demands all of the attention until it’s ready for market. And while having a narrow, single-minded focus can help you achieve success in the long term, ignoring important details in the beginning of your company can put you at risk for failure.

Read More

IP Mistakes from Small Businesses

Too often 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.

Read More

Small Law Firm KPIs: How to Measuer Your Way to Greater Profits

For small law firms, trying to develop and sustain success has become more than just trying to add more clients. There are plenty of firms that are able to bring in clients and yet still find themselves failing in the long run. In order to establish success that is sustainable, more and more small law firms are using key performance indicators (KPIs) or performance metrics to gauge how their firm is operating.

Read More

Patent Infringement Case Between Cisco and Arista Presses Forward

Technology has brought about a new slate of intellectual property issues that see corporations facing off in court. Google and Oracle were engaged in a lengthy court battle over the use of Java APIs in Google's development of Android software, and numerous other companies have taken legal action against their rivals for similarly unseen elements used in the development of software applications. And as more and more companies enter the same space, there is the potential for a proliferation of copyright infringement cases.

Read More

Internet Provider Penalized In Copyright Violation Cases

When it comes to piracy and copyright violation, one would reasonably assume that the entirety of culpability lies with the offender. After all, there isn't much in the way of excuse for doing something that most know to be wrong in misappropriating copyrighted material (and ignorance is a poor defense.) You might see characters on television or in the movies forced to hack computer systems and steal sensitive information under duress, but likely no one is at your house making you torrent "Vice Principals." However, a recent court ruling could bring cable providers into the mix in cases of customers' copyright infringement.

Read More

Run Your Small Business Effectively

As a small business, you have to approach things differently than larger companies in your field. But that doesn’t necessarily have to be a disadvantage. While big businesses have considerable resources to draw from for projects, they can also be the victim of an entrenched mindset that can prevent new and innovative thinking. Here are some ways that small businesses can succeed at winning an unfair game.

Read More

What Issues Do Startups Face?

When you’re starting your business, it’s natural to want to focus on the things that you want to do and accomplish and put some of the more tedious chores to the back-burner. You are the innovator, the dreamer, and what creative wants to be bogged down with the nitty-gritty of paperwork and forms and contracts? But in ignoring these details at the outset of your business, you could be placing your company’s long term future in jeopardy. Frequently, it isn’t the obvious threat that seems to be staring us in the face that does a business in, but a seemingly inconsequential oversight that can spell doom for a company. Here are some areas to pay attention to early, before they grow into larger problems.

Read More

Stephen Colbert in Intellectual Property Dispute with Viacom

For several years, Stephen Colbert occupied a unique and arguably necessary spot in our popular culture. While his fellow Comedy Central late night host Jon Stewart mixed his comedy with earnest, solemn rebukes of perceived shortcomings and failures of our political system, Colbert's critiques came from satire as he played his over-the-top, blowhard newsman character to the hilt. His persona was immediately recognizable to anyone who has seen cable news over the past fifteen years, and the audience was in on the joke; no one truly believed that the real Stephen Colbert bore any resemblance to the "Stephen Colbert" who turned up on our televisions. 

Read More

Social Media Offers  Limited Remedies for Trademark Infringement

Registering your trademarks provides creators with a number of different benefits, chief among those being the ability to take legal action against potential infringement.  And given the amount of theft that is seen surrounding trademarked material, that's nothing to be taken lightly. But one unconsidered benefit to having your trademarks on the books with the federal government is the ability to stop your content from spreading around social media without your consent. 

Read More

Intellectual Property and the Challenges of Technology, Part 2

Even when you’ve taken the necessary precautions to try and prevent theft, there are still going to be those who try and use your work, thinking that they won’t get caught given the sheer size of the internet. Having your website’s artwork or copy copied at a computer somewhere in the world isn’t quite as simple as seeing someone on your stolen bike at the local 7-11. That’s why part of intellectual property protection is vigilance. Unfortunately, there isn’t an internet equivalent of police cars roaming to deter theft. It may seem like a chore, but taking time to dome some internet searches can help catch thieves that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.

Read More

Intellectual Property and the Challenges of Technology

Technology has given us more access to available information and an incredible ability to disseminate our own messages. The internet allows us to see stories and pictures and videos from all over the world from the comfort of our devices, and the phone in our pocket can capture our experiences with high quality pictures and videos. And while the ability to find and share content on a global level is definitely a net positive, it can present its own challenges for creators and entrepreneurs.

Read More

Olympics Add Trademark Gripes to List of Problems

Most who have been following the buildup to this summer's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil are aware of the growing number of issues facing this year's Games. By various reports, the housing is sub-standard, the water polluted, and the venues possibly not finished being built. Add to that the number of athletes pulling out over concerns about the Zika virus, and one would suspect organizers are struggling to put a positive spin on this year's proceedings, and would welcome as much positive attention as they can get. However, the U.S. Olympic Committee would not share that sort of generosity.

Read More

Electronic Freedom Foundation Goes to Court Over Digital Millenium Copyright Act

When we purchase something, we assume that the item becomes ours, to do with it as we so choose. That is the understanding and agreement that exists between buyer and seller in most transactions that take place. If you go to your local department store and buy a toaster and decide to run over it with your car in the driveway, that's your prerogative; the store certainly doesn't care, as they've achieved their goal of moving merchandise and collecting your money. But the digital age has ushered in a new type of product that now comes with rights and safeguards that go beyond the point of sale.  

Read More

Expansion Franchise Runs Into Trademark Issues in Las Vegas

There's a lot that goes into starting a business. Aside from obvious considerations as to what you're going to do or make or sell, you have to think about the branding of your business. What are you going to call yourself? What kind of logo will you have? It isn't enough to settle on the first name that you think of, because unless you are absolutely certain as to its originality and uniqueness, there's a good chance you run the risk of infringing upon someone else's already established trademark.

Read More

Italian Festival In Trouble for Improper Attribution

The internet can seem at times a terrible, negative place, but it can also be a tremendous resource for collaboration and sharing. People the world over are willing to take the time and effort to create fantastic works of art, photography and video, and many are willing to share them with everyone with no desire for compensation. Others ask simply that users attribute the material they use and follow a licensing agreement. While that may not seem a particularly onerous requirement for the free use of others' works, many companies and individuals still manage to get themselves in trouble by not reading those agreements. 

Read More