The Traklight Blog

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

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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Citigroup and AT&T Locked in Trademark Battle

The past few month have seen a spate of trademark and copyright filings that some would argue border on the absurd. Several entities have either attempted to trademark or pursued legal action related to trademarks that many would consider to be fairly broad, generic terms or phrases. Perhaps most famously, YouTube personalities tried to trademark the term "react" in relation to their brand of videos. While there are many people sympathetic to those trying to protect their work from theft, it is this type of perceived overreach that can turn support against you and make observers question whether our current system for IP protection works as it should. 

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Protecting Your Big Ideas, Part 1

For entrepreneurs and others involved with small businesses and startups, there is a lot of hard work that goes into trying to make the business a success. You spend long hours and untold effort into building a strong foundation for your company. Along the way, you undoubtedly make personal sacrifices to try and achieve your goals, missing out on time with friends and family to put the extra time in that will hopefully pay off in the long run. For founders and others who care deeply about the fortunes of the company, there is almost nothing within reason you wouldn’t do to make sure that your company’s future is secure.

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Forbes Update - Startups are Personal, Part VIII: Protect Your Intellectual Property From the Start

padlock-597495_1280.jpgWe end our lessons learned series (co-authored by me and Mike Willee) with our favorite topic, intellectual property (IP). Many entrepreneurs fail to recognize the importance of IP—let alone the value of an IP protection plan in the earliest stages of their businesses. Building a brand, creating a minimum viable product, generating sales leads, and keeping your head above water all push the pressing matter of IP to the back burner. However, having a firm grasp on the importance of intellectual property from the outset can reduce future headaches and chances of financial loss.

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Big Bang or Big Bust?

tv-162002_640.pngFor years I have been a big fan of the clever writing on The Big Bang Theory. We tease various family members about sharing Sheldon’s outlandish tendencies or making the same faces as Penny. However, a recent episode had me laughing for a different reason: patent mistakes!

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Google Copyright Takedown Requests Increase Yet Again

In the modern age, Google has become the repository of almost all knowledge. There's hardly a fact or story or video that can't be tracked down with the right search. Given how much is online these days, it comes as no surprise that Google and other content hosts have to deal with copyright issues. But recent reports on the number of complaints is both shocking and concerning. 

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Why Don't Small Businesses Protect Their Intellectual Property?

It’s a widely-held belief that small businesses are the main driver of the US economy. Small businesses have a greater ability to create new jobs than middle and large-sized companies. So what is keeping them from protecting their intellectual property? While the federal government has implemented a number of measures to assist aspiring entrepreneurs to start their own business, it hasn’t done enough to educate them on the importance of intellectual property (IP) protection or the value of intangible assets. Below are a few IP-related challenges that US small businesses face today.

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Warner Music Reaches Settlement over "Happy Birthday" Lawsuit

Birthdays are a special time for most people. They offer the chance to celebrate another year, and for people to celebrate you as well. There's usually gifts, cards, a cake, and the traditional singing of "Happy Birthday." Generally speaking, songs like "Happy Birthday" have been around so long that most of us don't give much thought to where they originated, almost assuming that somehow they've always just existed. But those songs and others that exist in the collective consciousness have an origin, and a writer somewhere back in time. And understandably, the estates of those writers want to make sure that the legacy of those songs is protected. 

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