The Traklight Blog

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

Uber Fires Top Employee Amidst Google Lawsuit

Protecting your company's trade secrets and other intellectual property is vitally important, even more so when your company is one of the largest in the world. Top businesses don't stay on top for long if they allow their ideas and methods to walk out the door to competitors. And having a former employee take those ideas to one of the most noteworthy (for good or ill) companies in the U.S. is bound to make for turmoil and legal drama. 

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Do Your Research Before You Innovate

Entrepreneurs spend a great deal of time working on ideas and concepts before they even take pen to paper or fingers to keyboard to place the idea into a tangible form. These ideas can consume you, keep you up at night and take over your weekends and spare moments, pressing you onward until you act upon the idea to make it something real.

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PayPal Sues Pandora for Trademark Infringement

In the world of trademarks, it can be tricky to navigate the sea of pre-existing ideas and logos to find something that can be uniquely yours. Some cases of trademark infringement could charitably be put down to a lack of research on the part of those infringing, although they do still bear responsibility for the oversight. But in the case of large, global brands, it's far harder to claim ignorance should your own logo be found to be too similar to theirs. 

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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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Why Traklight is Partnering with LegalShield

While in law school, I came up with the idea for Traklight when I saw the errors made by small business owners during my time in the Tech Ventures clinic. For one company, the lack of a business entity and co-founder agreements created such havoc that it set them back a year. I distinctly remember thinking, "if only these entrepreneurs knew about some simple first steps, they could have avoided wasting time and money." Our mission at Traklight is to remove the guesswork from starting up and running a small business. We provide a roadmap to success using software to identify issues and provide education and resources.

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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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Technology and Legal Plans

Last May I successfully ran for the GLSA Board because my personal mission is to support legal plans to  address our access to justice challenge. Further, I believe that technology within the plans is the leverage needed to serve more Americans. Join us in Scottsdale next month on May 18th to hear from some legal luminaries as we gather for the GLSA Annual Education conference in conjunction with GP Solo, more information here.

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The Evolution of Arizona Funding

Last month, I moderated a panel at the third annual Phoenix Startup Week. The event has exploded since 2015 and the session on raising capital was packed. I wrote on the challenges with fundraising in Arizona here based on my own 2013 experience. What a difference three years has made! Arizona founders are now benefiting from an evolved and mature funding ecosystem.

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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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