Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

Supporting Local Entrepreneurs

Posted on June 10, 2011 by

This past Wednesday, Hyperion Law sponsored the monthly Innovation Nights event. If you haven’t already heard about this you should check out the web site and stop by one of the events. At each event, about ten companies get selected to show off their products. From those ten, the community votes for four companies to give five-minute pitches to the entire group. This is a great opportunity for companies launching new products to give demos, perfect their pitches, and get feedback from a group of entrepreneurs and service providers. It’s also a chance to get to know start-ups, experts, and friendly faces from around the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The next one is on July 13th – join us!


A “Twitterview”

Posted on June 1, 2011 by

"Microphone with 'On Air' light" So, I had my first “Twitterview” yesterday. Until a few weeks ago, it hadn’t occurred to me that you might use Twitter to interview people. Then I got introduced to @22Twts and The Godard Group, where they do exactly that. They send you the questions a few hours in advance and then you respond to 22 tweeted questions.

Now that I think about it, this is brilliant. It’s a fun challenge for the lawyer – you only get 140 characters to respond to really interesting questions! – and a fun way for Twitter users to get to know the lawyer. Here are some of my favorite questions (and corresponding answers) from the interview:

Q: What would you say is the single most important legal issue affecting clients?
A: Understanding case law’s impact on software #patents & how to draft claims satisfying legal reqs while remaining useful to business

Q: How do you describe what you do to people you meet at a cocktail party?
A: “I help companies protect their world-changing technology via strategic use of IP. And run a radically different law firm to do so.”

Q: What would you do if you weren’t a lawyer?
A: An astrophysicist or an anthropologist. Or maybe an anthropologist who studies humanity’s obsession with the universe ;)

You can see a transcript of the entire exchange here. And thanks again to Lance Godard and @22Twts for this opportunity!


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Thoughts on Trademarks in the 21st Century

Posted on May 21, 2011 by

I have been thinking a lot about trademarks recently, having just attended the INTA (International Trademark Association) annual meeting. As a small business entrepreneur myself, I’ve invested a lot in my own trademark and branding, and this issue is frequently on the minds of my clients. Now that I’m back, and with trademark law on the brain, I thought I’d share some of the highlights I learned about trademarks last week.

Lesson #1 – When enforcing your ownership of your trademark, find creative solutions that won’t accidentally alienate your customers and fans. When lawyers from BP tried to get a tweeter critiquing BP’s handling of the oil spill to stop using “BP” in the handle, it created a huge backlash and actually swelled the numbers of people following the tweeter. There wasn’t anything inappropriate about BP’s request – they have to be sure that the “BP” mark is well defended – but an angry cease and desist letter created a big PR nightmare.

Lesson #2 – Software and virtual world brand owners need to figure out their position on trademarks. I think if you’re a large cola company or a famous burger seller or a well known sneaker maker, you’re very accustomed to having to watch out for other people trying to sell goods under your name. But what if you sell virtual shoes in a virtual world, or create virtual restaurants so cool that avatars pay to hang out there? As these virtual good entrepreneurs build out their revenue-generating virtual businesses, they will begin to care about knock-offs, such as spam-generating, virus-laden virtual goods going out under their same product name. For those virtual good entrepreneurs: If sorting out your trademark policy isn’t already on your radar screen, it should be!

Lesson #3 – The Internet can actually be a trademark owner’s friend. When traditional trademark owners think of the Internet and social media, I suspect they think of the headaches – of new venues in which they have to police the use of their brands, of new ways people can generate knock-offs. But companies can benefit from embracing these technologies in developing their brands – their participation on fan pages and micro-blogging sites becomes a meaningful contribution to their brand image. There are plenty of good examples of ‘normal’, well-established companies embracing these technologies to really engage with their customers. We are moving to a world where regardless of industry, nearly every brand has an on-line presence and reputation. Reach out to social media/community management experts – and keep your trademark lawyer in the loop!

Trademark gurus (and I’m looking at you, @balmatlaw and @massiplaw!), I’d love to hear your thoughts on these and other trademark issues for brand managers. Please comment below or send us links to sites where we can learn more!


Protect Patentability When Creating Buzz

In my previous post, I discussed some of the painful risks and pitfalls that can occur due to early or inadvertent disclosure of an invention. Public disclosure of your start-up’s next big idea before all of the paperwork has been filed runs a serious risk of voiding your rights to win and maintain a patent.

So, what’s an inventor to do? Let’s break it down into three steps…