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 Rules in Trademark Licensing Case

While most of the country only looks to the Supreme Court when matters of broad national importance are on the docket, it's worth observing the court on more under-the-radar issues that could still have a significant impact on businesses or individuals around the country. One recent case could have massive repercussions in bankruptcy cases for years to come.

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Samsung and Huawei Settle Their Patent Dispute

Long, protracted legal battles are something that no company relishes, and can often end up causing as much harm as the harm they're meant to remedy for the plaintiff. Companies of course have to take the necessary steps to protect their intellectual property, but any business would just as soon not have to go to court, even if it is in defense of their IP. Even in instances of companies with devoted legal teams and the resources to afford an extended court case, there's no situation in which anyone would invite the headache involved.

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Copyright Filters Mistakenly Catch Mueller Report

The latest tool in the fight against IP infringement is technology, but it remains to be seen how effective those tools might be in that fight. Technology can be easy and efficient, but it can fail the test when it comes to things like judgement and intuition that humans (ideally) can do better. Machines looking at certain markers or data points aren't going to be able to render the same verdict on a photo or video as someone who can literally look at the entire picture, and understand context and nuance.

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Adobe Users Could Face Copyright Claims Without Updates

Where would we be without the suite of tools provided us by Adobe? This isn't an endorsement so much as an acknowledgement that the software they distribute plays a significant role in much of what we see and hear on the internet. Beyond the many professional applications of its editing and creative tools, we wouldn't have so many of the memes that we now enjoy without Photoshop, and what is the internet without memes?

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The Need for Legal Advice for Startups

Having recently traveled to the annual GLSA conference, I've been reminded of the importance of access to justice for those usually overlooked or marginalized by the expense and complexity of the legal process. In the case of individuals, it's those of moderate to low income who are left out, but businesses can also find themselves left out when legal issues arise. Lawyer's fees and other expenses associated with the legal process can be prohibitive to startups operating on a tight budget, and the temptation can be to try and skate by, hoping that any problems that might require a lawyer will simply pass you by.

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Supreme Court Copyright Ruling a Setback for Creators

Fighting piracy has proven to be one of the greatest challenges facing content creators in this century, and has proven troublesome ever since there existed the means to replicate the work of others. Creators lose billions collectively to piracy and theft, as too many others are all too willing to perpetrate a seemingly victimless crime. For many of the victims, legal action is the only means of redress against the injury done to them; given how hard it is to stamp out piracy once a work is disseminated online, even that can seem like an ineffectual tool against an overwhelming problem.

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Microsoft Offers Patents to Startups

One truth about startups and innovation is that you need to build your product upon what is already there, to some degree. There are certain ideas that become accepted wisdom and certain things that are universally accepted features, and to go against those things would be setting yourself on an uphill path towards success. That accepted knowledge and common practice requires a certain communal spirit of cooperation; not exactly lifting one another up, but not pulling the ladder up behind you either.

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Potential Legal Issues Facing Startups

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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Campbell's Wins Trademark for "Chunky" Soup

Strong branding is the backbone of any successful company, particularly those looking to appeal and sell to consumers. Businesses want potential customers to know what they can provide and loyal patrons to know what they can expect and count on from the products and services they provide. As such, it behooves any company to take steps to protect their particular intellectual property and brand, and to be vigilant in protecting that brand against potential infringement or degradation at the hands of imitators or competitors. And occasionally, those measures can seem a bit ridiculous to the general public.

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Mitigating Business Risk

Most of us don't like to consider it, but risk is a fact of life. We take chances every day, some greater than others. None of us know what the future holds, and that can be a frightening thought. But consciously or not, we all find ways to try and mitigate that risk. We lock our cars and homes. We drive within a reasonable range of the speed limit. We exercise and visit the doctor to try to stave off illness. And yet none of these things can completely prevent us from falling victim to unfortunate circumstances Part of life is learning how to live with risk, and the same can be applied to the business world.

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Spotify's Expansion Into India Slowed Over Licensing Problems

Intellectual property concerns and copyright law are big, important matters; we've preached that message in this space for years. Despite our messaging, that importance is often up to the interpretation of the reader; is it on par with getting insurance, or securing funding for your company? (Both important, by the way.) In many cases, it seems as though concerns over IP don't often rise to the level that they should, as potential issues to grind any company to a halt.

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Protecting Your Innovation, 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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Fortnite Enters Legal Battle Royale Over Alleged Dance Theft

In the long tradition of youthful cultural crazes, Fortnite is the latest entry in a pantheon of things that, like sounds at a particularly high frequency, are lost on those over a certain age. For those as yet unaware, Fortnite is an online mulitplayer battle-royale game that is currently consuming the free hours of young people he world over. In addition to being all-consuming for kids, it's highly profitable for its creator, Epic Games, who reportedly brought in $3 billion in profit last year.

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Disney's "Hakuna Matata" Trademark Faces New Scrutiny

Few things can become as iconic as a catchphrase in a popular movie, and few things are as certain as movie studios looking to cash in on the popularity of their films in any way possible, especially when that studio is the commercial and cultural behemoth that is Disney. One doesn't need to look far to see how they've established themselves at the forefront of our cultural consciousness and, crucially, quite near our wallets as well. And for the tremendous benefits that the company has accrued itself through its aggressive branding, it has made missteps in its quest towards cultural domination.

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Tackling Your Biggest Business IP Risks

There's never a bad time to address and mitigate any of the potential risks that your business faces, but the new year is a particularly apt time for most people to reassess where their attentions and efforts have gone and where they should go in the coming months. It's a chance for all of us to do better and correct the mistakes of the past, and for businesses, it should provide an opportunity to gain a handle on that most vital part of any company's past, present and future: intellectual property.

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Protect Your IP in 2019

The new year is an opportunity for a fresh start in our personal and professional lives. But many still fail to tackle the intellectual property issues that their business could potentially have to deal with, resolutions or not. While you should be managing your IP from its inception, it's better to start late than never; here are some tips on identifying and protecting your IP for 2019.

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EU Cheese Copyright Case Probes the Idea of Taste

Dig hard enough, and you can find curious cases of copyright dispute around the world pertaining to things that you might never have guessed would be subject to a copyright claim. It seems that if there's a product or creation or invention worth protecting, people will take whatever steps necessary to try and protect it, even as it launches us into new and unexplored avenues of intellectual property that would seem more at place on the Food Network than in a courtroom.

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