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Posts Tagged: "entrepreneurs"

Don’t Let the Pandemic End Your Startup: Tips for Shoring Up Agreements Among Business Partners

Starting your own business is exciting. Finding the right partner to share the same vision is vital for the company’s future success. However, people don’t always see eye to eye when it comes to important details like finances, marketing, and a strategic business plan. Throw in a global pandemic to turn the economy upside down, and things become even more complicated. Lately, business partners have had to face unusually significant challenges due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on business operations and revenue. With uncertainty continuing to loom over our economy’s future, those challenges are likely here to stay for a while. Fortunately, some companies have been able to find relief during this stressful time through government stimulus checks, insurance claims and other types of aid. On the other hand, many have faced roadblocks, causing disagreements between partners and their visions for the future. The added disruption brought on by COVI9-19 has led some to a business divorce, which is more easily managed when there are clear contractual agreements in place. Without such comprehensive agreements between owners, businesses are in danger of failing.

The Problem of IPR Infringement in India’s Burgeoning Startup Ecosystem

For a country of 1.3 billion people who pride themselves on ingenuity, entrepreneurial spirit, and innovative thinking, a significant percentage of the Indian population is woefully unaware of trademark infringement and intellectual property theft. At the beginning of 2010, the Indian e-commerce scene was still in its nascent stage but within the next five years, the growth was unprecedented. This was a result of the rapid internet access proliferation combined with the telecom boom. The budget phone segment and the affordable data tariff pushed the tier-II and tier-III cities into the fore. Just to put things in perspective, according to recent studies, there are close to 600 million phone users in India with over 300 million smartphone owners, which is just 20 million shy of the population of the United States (as per 2018 records). With a sizeable portion of the population heavily consuming online media and transacting digitally, there is a huge market for service providers and aggregators. Leveraging the demand for such service providers, startups from all over the country have mushroomed in a frenzy. Under the current government, initiatives like “Make In India” and “Startup India” have further bolstered the growth of these SMEs.

Adding a Cybersecurity Plan to the Business Plan: Cybersecurity and IP Considerations for Startups

Imagine the following scenario: You have an idea for a new mobile application. As adoption of the app picks up, so does your business, and you hire more employees to provide sales and support assistance. You are on your way to transforming your startup into a successful business. Needing additional capital to scale the business more quickly, you identify a strategic partner interested in investing in your business. Before you can close on the funding, several employees report that they did not receive their paychecks through the direct deposit system. The investigation reveals that several months ago, your organization received a series of spear phishing emails. You learn that multiple employees opened the email and its attachment giving the cybercriminals access to your systems. Not only are you out the payroll money, but you also learn that in addition to your employees’ banking information, the criminals had access to your customer contact information and the source code for your app. A cyberattack is an unwelcome event for any company, but the effects can be especially detrimental to a startup, with 60% or more of small businesses that experience a data breach going out of business within a year of the breach. It is impossible for any size business to guarantee a system that is fully secure. However, not all companies have millions of dollars to invest in cybersecurity and by allocating even limited funds to assessing your data privacy risks, implementing a protection plan and creating an incident response plan, a startup can significantly improve its chances of surviving a cyberattack.

What Every Patent Attorney Should Teach Their Entrepreneur-Inventor Clients About the Patent Process

Navigating the patent process can often be challenging and filled with subtleties and nuances for the entrepreneur-inventor, especially for first-time filers. Having a trusted patent attorney who can not only help guide you through the process, but help inventors learn about it is truly invaluable to new entrepreneur-inventors. However, for many inventors, understanding what patent attorneys do and why they do it does not always come as second nature. Over the course of my career as both an inventor and entrepreneur, I’ve had the pleasure of working with many excellent patent attorneys on my companies’ patent filings. The best attorneys I’ve worked with have played an integral role in educating me and my colleagues on the patenting process, what makes a good specification and claim and how infringement lawsuits work should we ever pursue them. I’ve also learned that inventors and patent attorneys often have different visions for what the final patent will look like. As someone who’s been through the process a few times now, here are the four things patent attorneys taught me that I think would be useful to entrepreneur-inventor clients.

Another PTAB Casualty: Emmy Awarded Wireless Microphone Technology Could Be Invalidated

On October 25, the AIPLA Annual Meeting will host a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Inter Partes Review (IPR) trial to determine the fate of a pair of patents issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to Zaxcom for a Digital Recording Wireless Microphone. Zaxcom is a U.S. manufacturer of high-end, specialized wireless microphones and recording equipment for the film and television industries. The company was founded in 1986 by Glenn Sanders, the named inventor on the challenged patents. The Zaxcom case caught my attention for several reasons. First, this was not a patent troll asserting a stack of vague, overly broad patents, but was an inventor-owned company that was producing the invention. Second, Glenn was manufacturing his invention and creating jobs in the United States. Third, the technology has won Engineering Emmy Awards and has been honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with a Technical Achievement Award. Finally, Chief Administrative Patent Judge Scott Boalick was on the panel. How could the USPTO grant a patent, the claimed invention earn Emmy and Academy awards, and then the USPTO decide the patent was likely to be invalid? Especially when Director Iancu is traveling throughout the country and testifying in Congress that it is a new day at the USPTO and that he has restored balance at the PTAB?

An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Navigating California’s Complex Cannabis Industry

As of now, ten states have legalized recreational cannabis. Twenty-one other states allow medicinal use of cannabis, many of which are expected to legalize recreational cannabis in the near future. Investors have sunk an estimated $10 billion into cannabis-related businesses in 2018, an amount that is expected to reach $16 billion this year. The fast spreading legalization of cannabis presents a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs, businesses and investors to get in on the “ground floor” of this growing market. California, as the largest single market for legalized Cannabis in North America, has attracted outsized attention from potential investors, who also see the state’s legalization as a trend setter for other states. However, would be investors in the California cannabis market often find themselves in a maze of complicated and changing licensing rules and regulations, banking challenges and uncertainties, choice of the appropriate business structure, and protection of potential intellectual property (IP).

Celebrating Innovation: IP Laws Encourage Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Without intellectual property protections it makes it impossible for an innovator to compete, raise money, and succeed in business. That was a story told by Joe Kiani, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Masimo, who receive the IPO Education Foundation’s first IP Champion Award. “While the IP laws are still better than any other country, they aren’t as good as they used to be,” Kiani said on the video introducing himself before receiving the IP Champion Award. Kiani would explain that he doesn’t think of what IP laws mean to Massimo today, but what they would mean for Massimo back in 1980. IP laws encourage innovation and entrepreneurship, he explained.

Happy Birthday Patent System: Hope Springs Eternal

In 1790, the U.S. patent laws were first enacted and individuals could obtain a patent under the new federal government. For about a century beforehand, British citizens in the various parts of the American colonies could obtain patents for that region, and Britain and other European countries had patent laws as well. But the new American patent system was different: it was democratized in that anyone could participate, without the need for consent from the Crown. The origins of patent laws date back to the Fifteenth Century when Florentine regents sought to attract and keep innovators and their inventions. Elizabeth I was a keen ruler in passing various patent laws to encourage foreigners with ideas and inventions to relocate to Britain, as well as encourage domestic innovation.

Declines in U.S. innovation, entrepreneurship the focus at Capitol Hill patent policy event

At the same time that America’s business climate has become too acidic for a vast majority of domestic startups, the nation has also been losing its place in the global supply chain while other major global economies, like China’s, are becoming increasingly self-reliant… This report identifies trending emerging tech like virtual reality, augmented reality, machine learning, smart robots, gesture control devices, smart data discovery and virtual personal assistants, as well as consumer expectation levels and the length of time until the emerging tech becomes fully commercializable. As Aronoff noted, much of the innovation in those sectors relies on software. “Is that even protectable anymore?” Aronoff asked… With the new patent enforcement gauntlet in the U.S., what does it really take for a small company to protect its IP in the current system?

The Five Biggest Mistakes Toy Companies Make

While engaging in a manner most likely to lead to success is critical for any company, it is even more important for toy entrepreneurs for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, all too frequently costly mistakes are made. Here are five mistakes that I see toy companies make far too often… One of the ultimate ironies is that many toy companies spend most of the time coming up with the perfect name for their company but then don’t take the necessary steps to secure that name. Usually, companies either fail to run a trademark search or wait too long to file the trademark. The best time to discover a trademark issue for your name of choice is at the outset because any conflict can easily be resolved by picking a new name; and trust me while that may not seem desirable in the long run it will save you a lot of time and money.

Dear Candidate: Is patent reform a catalyst for future innovation in the US?

Patent reform is a subject that most Americans are unfamiliar with. Additionally, significant lobbying efforts and financial resources dedicated by large corporations have confused the subject further. Nevertheless, patent reform is a critical issue for our country. Will the U.S. patent system continue to be the fuel that fires genius, to paraphrase President Abraham Lincoln, or will the U.S. patent system continue to throw cold water on the spark of innovative entrepreneurism in America? I’d like to know, and the American public deserves to know, if the candidates are aware of just how cumbersome, one-sided and unfair the U.S. patent system has become.

How the U.S. is Killing Innovation and why it Matters for Entrepreneurs

The engine that made America a greatest economic power was a patent system that led to tremendous innovation by incentivizing entrepreneurial inventors.

A Rebuke to Terrorists

Long term economic growth is intricately linked with political freedom. Political freedom fosters stable international relations. Stable international relations promote wealth creation. And so the cycle grows. Innovators go around the world looking for the best ideas and talent to create prosperity. The benefits of innovation are so enormous that they improve lives even in countries at the bottom of the economic barrel. We can only imagine what would happen if the creativity in those countries were unleashed as well. Few would trade this vision for the one the terrorists have in mind.

When You Believe: A High Tech Entrepreneur’s Story

One of the Patent Examiners was surprised that I was there by myself and asked why I didn’t have an “army” of attorneys with me, as I was from Silicon Valley. I noted that not all startups are well funded like Facebook or Google. I went on to explain that well-funded startups and large companies were copying our ideas, cloning our products, selling to our customers and costing us revenue. Because of the increasing competition in NFC mobile payments, I was also having problems getting funding. I even explained how we had to downsize and put product development on hold. That was a new revelation for the patent Examiner, who was surprised.

Startups Entrepreneurship: One Simple Idea is all it Takes

We pick up our conversation with where many inventors stumble as they attempt to move from idea person to small business person. We also discuss lessons learned from a Big Bang Theory episode, as well as the important of taking reasonable risks, protecting your innovations (Key is a fan of provisional patent applications to start) and the importance of knowing the market for your product.