The Traklight Blog

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

Traker BBQ

We recently got the Traklight team together for a Traker BBQ to celebrate all our hard work over the past year. Unfortunately, not all of our Trakers could make it, as we have a couple in some far away places (specifically Montana and Pennsylvania). So in an effort to try to include everyone, Becky (our Montana Traker) graciously shared her infamous Spinach and Artichoke Dip - the recipe for which she agreed to share with all of you. Mind you, this is her intellectual property (based off a CPK recipe). ;)

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Meet Jill, our COO...

It’s been said many a time that Jill’s energy is the life of the office. Well, maybe it hasn’t been explicitly stated that way, but I can assure you everyone would agree with that sentiment. Her passion for IP is contagious, and her stellar leadership of our Traker team is undeniable. So here's a few fun facts about Jill:

 

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Meet Kenady, Client Engagement

What I learned about IP before I started at Traklight?
I googled it, I wiki'd it, I snooped around Traklight.com ...I also found an MIT course on IP, it was a bit outdated, yet I was still in over my head! I learned IP can be seriously tricky business. It is so very important to protect your ideas and creations. When I got a chance to play around with the ID Your IP section of Traklight, I realized how important it is to have such a user-friendly tool for IP discovery!

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Learning From Facebook

Everyone knows who Mark Zuckerberg is; the billionaire entrepreneur who started Facebook, one of the most visited sites on the internet. He is an inspiration to entrepreneurs’ world over looking to launch the ‘next big thing’, a regular Joe who started with nothing and got everything. Well, I guess that’s not completely true. He did get everything but to say he started with nothing is far from the truth. Anyone who keeps abreast with the news or saw David Fincher’s ‘The Social Network’ knows that he had more than a little help to say the least.
In late 2003 Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss and Divya Narendra, students of Harvard, approached Mark for fixing and adding the finishing touches to their website HarvardConnection, a social network for Harvard students. Mark was given the private server location and password of the unfinished website and codes without any formal contract. Within a week, Mark decided to create his own social networking site and pretended to be working on the HarvardConnection project while working on thefacebook.com. He willfully lead the twins on so that he could finish his own project while preventing them from getting a new programmer from finishing HarvardConnection. Eventually he launched his own website and it was days before the HarvardConnection team knew what had happened and were left with an unfinished website with a competitor already in the market. 

If the Winklevoss twins and Divya had taken Traklight’s ID your IP risk quiz, history would have had a different story to tell. By taking out half an hour of their time they could’ve been making millions of dollars more than they got in their settlement. The one big mistake they made was discuss a potentially groundbreaking idea openly without having an independent contractor sign any sort of non-disclosure agreement or formal letter of employment with an anti-competition clause, a fact that would have been pointed out by Traklight’s Report. 

Mark Zuckerberg was already known to copy ideas; his popular Facemash was a duplication of the ‘Hot or Not’ website. Without any formalized agreement the courts held that their conversation amounted to no more than ‘dorm room chit chat’. The unfinished coding of HarvardConnection was not considered proprietary information by the Twins and Divya and if they had protected them as trade secrets then Mark could not have used the same coding in his social networking site thefacebook. 

In essence the two competing sites were different but had the same target audience and Mark’s willful delay on the HarvardConnection project could have been prevented. If he had been bound contractually, then he would not have been able to string them along as he would not have been able to work on a competing project at the same time. After stepping down from his post as web developer for the Twins, Mark would not be able to delay them any further. They would have managed to get their own developer on the project and since it was already near completion, have a head start on Mark’s thefacebook.com. 
People tend to underestimate the value of a good idea and the Facebook story is a cautionary tale for all aspiring entrepreneurs. Taking out the time and effort to identify and protect your intellectual property at the beginning of an enterprise is a lot better than regretting not having done so while buying a product you created with someone else’s name on it.
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It Takes A Village To Re-Launch A Website

Traklight has a new look and feel, just about eight months after our initial launch last Oct 30th. This project was months in the making and not just from a technical point of view. Biggest lesson learned, our village includes customers; members; Trakers; Advisory Board; Traker spouses, children, and pets; affiliates; and again customers and potential customers. We listened to them all and we hope the new look improves your Traklight experience!

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To NDA or not to NDA?

To NDA or not to NDA imageWho knew this question could have so many answers?

This question comes up more than you would think but maybe because I live in the startup world where scrappy entrepreneurs are looking for collaborators, co-founders, and capital. At a recent local Friday Lunch Friday Phoenix event, a founder asked if she should carry her NDA in her purse. The room exploded with diverse opinions.

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