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

Freelance Writers Win Copyright Suit Against Publishers

The business of freelance work can be fraught with complications not otherwise experienced with employees, especially when intellectual property is involved. Contracts have to be specific about ownership of the work created once it is transferred from the creator to the contracting party. And use beyond what was originally agreed can complicate matters, as a recent long-running class-action lawsuit proved.

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Using Creative Works to Grow Your Business

We devote a lot of writing in this space to the issues and concerns of small businesses and startups, but there is an entire subset of professionals that are part of the business ecosystem that is often forgotten, and that is the independent artists and creators that can produce the work that are often needed to fill in the gaps for growing companies.

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Copyright Lawsuit Against HBO Dismissed

Television can be fertile ground for copyright lawsuits, given the amount of creative work that goes into producing a single episode of original programming, to say nothing of the hundreds of scripted programs that now exist across the largest number of channels and streaming platforms that have ever existed in the history of the medium. But not all lawsuits are the same, and not every case is an example of an entertainment company taking advantage of a creator (though those undoubtedly exist in substantial numbers.)

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Romance Novelist Turns Trademark Troll

We may look at the romance novels we see at supermarkets or airport shops as something of a joke, with overwrought titles and lascivious covers. But romance novels are a big business; according to the Romance Writers of America website, romance novels account for over $1 billion in sales and make up 34% of the fiction market. For successful authors, there's a good living to be made in writing romance fiction, or, in the case of one writer, potential money to be made in aggressively pursuing trademark lawsuits.

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Intellectual Property and the Challenges of Technology, Part One

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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Major League Baseball Faces Patent Infringement, Trade Secret Theft Lawsuit

Technology is an increasingly important part of sports, not only in the playing of the games themselves, but in how people are consuming them. Fans have an appetite for more and more information about the action in the games they're watching, especially in the statistics-heavy world of baseball. Major League Baseball has invested heavily in tools that allow teams and fans alike to measure every action on the field, but a recent lawsuit is claiming that some of the developments might be ill-gotten.

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Use Signed Contracts and Agreements to Protect Your Company, Part 1

The early days of a business are a hectic time for any entrepreneur. Almost all of your time and energy is spent trying to get your business off the ground, often by yourself. Your worries tend towards the basics of keeping the lights on as well as figuring out how to grow. But as your business starts to develop and move beyond these early stages, you will start to run into new challenges and new areas of concern. As new opportunities present themselves, so will new risks that need to be mitigated. Taking the proper precautions to address that risk can help you feel secure in the future of your company while you continue to grow.

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Protecting Your Ideas on a Budget

The birth of a company and the idea that fuels it can come at any time. If entrepreneurs waited until the conditions were ideal to start a business, many of the brands that we've come to know and rely on may never have gotten off the ground. Often early-stage businesses are run on shoestring budgets, trying to stretch every dollar as far as it can go.

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Is Copyright Automatic?

So many people have unique creative ideas, but a lot of those ideas never come to fruition. Part of that is due to the fleeting nature of inspiration, and people simply throwing out ideas without any serious thought to trying to make more of them. But a number of people are held up from capitalizing on their ideas because they don't know how to and don't understand what rights they may or may not hold to any idea or work. Too many people fail to bring these terrific ideas to fruition, and those who do are often at a loss as to how to combat having their work misappropriated by others. Understanding the basics of intellectual property protection is the foundation for artists and creators to receive the credit and compensation they are owed.

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Students Lose IP Rights in Art and Writing Contest

Young artists are always looking for opportunities, and are often willing to make sacrifices and compromises in their search for a break. And for many, a lack of expertise can lead to mistakes that deprive them of a full share of any profits derived from their work. While some businesses are dealing in good faith with artists, there are others that are seemingly willing to take advantage of young, inexperienced creators without the power to demand a better, more equitable deal.

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Maximize Your Clients' IP Value, Part Two

Intellectual property serves as the backbone of any business, and as such, it needs to be protected and managed to increase your company’s valuation and keep your business’ future secure. Here is the second part in our series of tips on maximizing IP value for your business.

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Maximize Your Clients' IP Value, Part One

Intellectual property (IP) represents a tremendous source of value for businesses that can either go entirely wasted or prove a goldmine if properly managed. Unfortunately, too many small businesses fail to create an IP strategy to take advantage of this value. Many startups will choose to forego IP protection, believing that their scarce dollars are better spent elsewhere on areas that might seem to more directly impact growth and revenue. But this position fails to understand that intangible assets like IP are equally important to anything else within your business. Having a sound IP strategy is crucial to long-term success in any industry.

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Darwin Challenge: Defending Technology Adoption

rohit-tandon-411851.jpgOur first event of 2018 was the Darwin Challenge: Defending Technology Adoption,  hosted by Evolve Law and Above the Law and sponsored Wolters Kluwer, Integra Ledger, and VortexLegal. The Darwin Challenge provided a new twist on our old Darwin Talk format - instead of merely presenting their ideas, presenters would have to answer questions on their suggested pitch for legal tech.   Our challenge was moderated by Elie Mystal, Executive Editor of Above the Law, and innovators were made to defend their arguments to our expert panel, featuring Above the Law Tech Editor Joe Patrice, Wolters Kluwer VP Legal Markets, Innovation Dean Sonderegger, and Davis Wright Tremaine DeNovo Team Surge Specialist Ginni Chen.

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Grumpy Cat Wins Copyright Suit, Remains Displeased

pete-nowicki-49759.jpgOur internet culture hurtles ever forward, bringing our global conversations forward while simultaneously leaving more of us beyond a certain age behind. I'm talking, of course, about memes. Internet memes have become the common language that we never knew we needed, and perhaps didn't want. Nevertheless, it is upon us, and people from around the world have singular images to serve as touchstones in communicating with others on the other side of the globe, relaying an idea through a single image that has a collectively understood context.

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Ten IP Startup Mistakes, Part One

kc-luk-188412.jpgIntellectual property (IP) is having its moment in the sun, but often not for the best of reasons. For every story heralding the importance of IP in business, there are multitudes more indirectly doing the same thing when discussing the latest lawsuits over copyright or patent infringement or co-founder feuds over who holds the right to their creations. Too many startups make early-stage mistakes regarding their IP that can at best hinder and at worst sink their burgeoning businesses, often due to nothing more than oversight or ignorance on the subject. Here are some of the top mistakes made by startups.

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Three Ways to Protect Your IP

mohammad-alizade-341348.jpgDo you know how to prevent your ideas from being stolen? If you have an idea lying around that is easily accessible, you risk losing it. It’s vital that your company take action and create an intellectual property (IP) strategy in order to be successful. Getting the necessary protection for your ideas is the most important step you can take to help ensure its future. But what types of protection can you get for these ideas?

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Spotify Faces Another Copyright Lawsuit

For music listeners, Spotify has become almost ubiquitous. The service offers users access to a vast catalog of songs on demand and at their fingertips. And fans of music and podcasts are overwhelmingly taking advantage of the easy-to-use service — a recent story puts their subscriber base at 7o million users. But if the streaming era of media has taught us anything, it is that digital rights can prove problematic in the relationship between artist and platform, and music has proven no exception.

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