The Traklight Blog

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

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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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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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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Law Technology Today Update - Group Legal Services Association’s Annual Educational Conference

coffee-break-1177540_1280.jpgMy research into the more than 50 year history of the legal plan was assisted by a comprehensive 2014 law journal article by Jeremy Tomes, titled “The Emergence of Group and Prepaid Legal Services: Embracing a New Reality.” Tomes’ paper outlines the “tortured history” of the legal plans that started in the early 1960s as a response to the access to the justice problem. After battling ethical concerns, the plans benefited from the new model ethics rules in the late 1970s and grew from trade union into group and prepaid plans via employee benefits enjoyed today by some 20-40% of Americans. Unfortunately, the fight against the unauthorized practice of law was battled out, mainly by Legal Zoom, in most states to allow for the web-based, self-service, automated documents required to make the legal plan economical.

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Co-founders Argue Over Acquisition Payout

taxi-cab-381233_1280.jpgAt Traklight, we often preach the importance of contracts and agreements. It's an admirable quality to have faith in others, and there are many times that faith is rewarded. But the fact remains that while it's nice to hope for the best, it's prudent to plan for the worst. That even applies when it comes to those whom you choose to cast your business lot in with: your co-founders. There are far too many cases of partnerships gone awry to think that your particular pairing will never run into problems. And money can only compound those issues, as evidenced in the case of Cruise Automation, a company that was recently acquired for a considerable sum by General Motors and subsequently saw  founding members fight over shares of that prize.

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Law Technology Today Update: If The Shoe Fits, Get One in Every Color

shoes-1260815_1280.jpgEarlier this year, I attended Davis Wright Tremaine’s (DWT) Digital Download event. Hosted by Digital Counsel, the continuing education event examined themes in law, technology, and the impact of both on companies and clients. I was looking forward to the social media and wearables sessions, but my interest was piqued during the opening remarks by promises of shoes that are programmable to change color to match your outfit.

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Potential Legal Issues for 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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Find Twenty to Delight, Not Two Hundred to Spam

There are many parallels between growing your law practice and building a great company with respect to social media. The notion of delighting a small number of customers or clients versus mass marketing to thousands was a theme during our expert panel in Seattle last week on Social Media for Attorneys. Quality wins over quantity.

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LifeLock in IP Battle With Former Employee

If you've read our latest ebook on HBO's Silicon Valleyyou know the perils that can arise from issues of ownership and work created while otherwise employed. While a creator can easily separate in their mind the work done for each separate entity and see no contradiction or overlap, the law is less forgiving of such indistinction. Hooli's case against Richard and Pied Piper works so well because we've all seen cases in the news where a entrepreneur has created a product or company in their spare time, only to have the ownership of said creations disputed by their current employer. At the very least, we're familiar with David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin's telling of Facebook's sordid origins in The Social Network, embellished as it likely may be. So we shouldn't be surprised to see new cases pop up all the time, even here in the Valley of the Sun.

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Data Security Apparently Not "The Cardinal Way"

Even if you're not a fan of baseball, you're probably heard about the F.B.I. investigation into the breach of the Houston Astros' database, allegedly at the hands of staff members of the St. Louis Cardinals. And while sports news doesn't usually warrant the kind of coverage that is usually afforded to politics or world affairs, this story has considerable implications when we consider baseball as business. Since baseball was first played competitively, teams have been trying to get an edge on their opponents. Whether it's stealing signs or doctoring balls, teams are often comfortable operating in the gray area of the rules to get ahead. 

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Modern Lawyers Making Quality Content | Legal Link Love

Traklight has always tried to demysify the legal space for consumers' benefit, especially when it comes intangible assets and intellectual property. It's even better when lawyers do the same and truly understand their clients' needs.

Yesterday may have been Mother's Day, but today we applaud you modern lawyers making make quality content! 

Here are our 3 current favorites who are making high quality content:

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If My Intellectual Property Is Stolen Overseas, What Happens Next?

Intellectual property (IP) theft is a rampant issue that affects all companies conducting business overseas. Although you can obtain IP protection outside the US, business owners should always be on the lookout to ensure no one is using their brands or products without proper permission. Infringers often take advantage of the vulnerability and lack of emphasis on IP protection by US startups to make money illegally. This article addresses a question many business owners ask when dealing with IP theft or infringement: "What should I do if my IP is stolen?"

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A True Crowdfunder's Nightmare: The Importance of Safe Crowdfunding

To say that entrepreneurs work hard on their business is an understatement. They pour untold hours into their work, whether it's getting their venture off the ground or reaching for that next rung on the ladder of success. It would be fair to say that for most, it is their life's passion. Given that level of commitment, there are likely no more frightening, wake-up-in-a-cold-sweat scenarios about the theft of your idea. Unfortunately for one entrepreneur, she was forced to live that nightmare.

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To License or Assign? An Intellectual Property Conundrum

As a small business owner with intellectual property (IP), you have to leverage your assets to work for you. We have talked a number of times about the importance of protecting your IP and the necessary steps to achieve that end. The next step involves making the IP generate capital in more ways than just product sales. You may at times need to enter into an agreement with a third party with respect to that intellectual property. There are a number of different types of agreements that affect IP.

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Brand Recognition: The Intangible Asset Supporting Your Business

Paramount to the success of any business is its brand, and thus brand recognition. You can have the best product, the brightest employees, and the most upscale offices or stores, but all of that is for naught if no one knows who you are. The most successful companies are able to build their brands to become synonymous with either a service or product so that people know reflexively what they do. But what if a company lost that brand? How readily would we be able to recognize it without the name, logo, or colors we've come to associate with it? Unfortunately for one Romanian football side, they may learn exactly what that experience is like.

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