The Traklight Blog

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

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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Avoid Haunting IP Mistakes

The holiday season offers a chance for reflection and thought, not only on months and years past, but our current positions and where we see ourselves in the near future. For business owners, the process of assessing the past, present and future is necessary for planning your next steps. But mistakes made in the past can have serious implications for the future.

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Keep Your Intellectual Property Safe

Each year, companies lose billions of dollars to intellectual property (IP) theft. Particularly, small businesses that are still in their early stage seem to be the most vulnerable. This is because small business owners are widely known for their reluctance to allocate part of their annual budget to the protection of their ideas. But protecting your IP doesn't have to be a budget-busting proposition. There are simple, reasonable steps that can be taken to keep your work safe, as well as your budget

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Learning From Failure

It is said that we learn more from our mistakes than our successes, and while that may be true, it is nevertheless painful. It can be especially painful for entrepreneurs, for whom mistakes can potentially have far more impact, especially if they are working with others. Unfortunately, there is as of yet no way to entirely avoid the occasional hiccup, but learning from the past failures of others can be instuctive in avoiding similar blunders. 

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Keep Your Business Safe This Summer

Summer is here, which means we are in the midst of one of the most dangerous times of the year. With the summer holidays comes the opportunity to relax and enjoy time with friends and family. But there is a level of responsibility that comes with the fun and festivities of the season so that everyone can enjoy themselves without fear of injury. The same can be said of businesses, not only in summer but year-round. Taking steps to make sure your company is secure is vital to allowing your business the freedom to create and innovate without having to fret over potential risks. Here are some of the most important measures you can take to keep your business protected.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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