The Traklight Blog

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

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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Know the Rules for Fair Use

You never want to infringe on trademarks. In addition to being a legal violation, it seems doubtful that any business would want to be viewed as unoriginal. So what happens if your business creates something that is slightly similar to an item that has already been trademarked?  Fair use applies to trademarks as much as it does to copyrights. But you still have to be very careful or you could end up dealing with complicated legal issues.

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Small business funding options: Angel investing, equity fundraising, crowdfunding & startup loans

Growing your business is difficult, particularly when you need money to fund your plans. Many entrepreneurs use personal savings or the revenue from the company to “bootstrap” their way to success. But sometimes that’s not possible because either you lack the personal wealth or the company needs too much upfront investment prior to revenue generation. Traditional fundraising from professional investors can be daunting both in terms of time and money. However, over the past few years, some additional small business funding avenues have become available.

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Form an IP Strategy

The best way to make sure that you are handling the tasks you need to is to come up with a plan or strategy. Relying on your memory or some hastily scribbled notes that might not make sense the next day isn't the best way to methodically run a business or any enterprise. And given the amount of things you have to do, a haphazard approach to your work is bound to lead to things being forgotten.

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Bridging the Technology Gap in Law

We had a terrific event in Atlanta on January 25th, not least for the fact that I was able to attend. For those legal tech fans who haven't had the chance to come to one of our events, I would highly recommend it; it's a great opportunity to meet other like-minded individuals and hear from legal tech innovators and thought leaders. For this event, the format was slightly different; instead of a panel, we had our three speakers presenting individually on their own thought-provoking topics.

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Sort Out Potential Legal Issues For Your Business Early

No one likes to think about, much less tackle, the potentially tedious tasks that come with the responsibilities of life. That's why so many of us put off doing our taxes or going to the DMV. Often there are things that are more pressing, and if you're honest with yourself, you really don't want to do it, even though you know you're going to have to eventually. Procrastination is easy, especially when you're the driving force of your business. You should be out there leading your employees or dreaming up the next project! But small details matter, especially when they can become big problems. There are a few key areas to mind to prevent disaster.

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Sidestepping Common Startup Mistakes

This article originally featured on the GoDaddy blog

Starting a new business venture is exciting. Whether you’re joining the ranks of the startup CEO, creating new products and services, or becoming your own boss in a more traditional business, you’ll most likely feel a mixture of thrill and fear. Don’t get too overwhelmed, though, or you’ll skip over important steps in the first several months that are critical to ensuring the best foundation for your new business. Let’s first look at the top three startup mistakes early-stage companies make:

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