taxAs party goers rang in 2017 this past holiday weekend, owners of Bitcoins had additional reason to celebrate as the value of the digital currency soared past $1,000 USD on Monday. The surge in Bitcoin price, up from just $200 USD in January 2015, may provide additional fodder for the IRS, who has its crosshairs set on Bitcoin users who do not properly report their income related to the buying, selling, and/or exchanging of the digital currency.

Continue Reading Bitcoin Value Surpasses $1,000: A Two-Sided Coin for Users

toysRecently, I was at a technology fair with my young son and there were multiple desktop 3D printers that were on display and for sale. One display that caught my eye showed 16 printers stacked together with each one in a different stage of printing. Several of the printers were printing figures of dragons and dinosaurs. My son thought they looked like fun and asked for one for his birthday. I asked him what he would use it for and he said that he would want to print out dinosaur figures, action figures, ships from Star Wars® or missing Lego® pieces. He said that he could make his toys exactly how he wanted his toys to look.

This got me thinking and I wondered if he could actually do it, print toys and figures that are protected by copyrights. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just print that missing Monopoly® piece?

Continue Reading Toys On Demand? A Child’s Best Friend

Money puzzleIn your free time, while not grinding away at your corporate day job, you’ve developed an early-stage version of an application that allows users to chase small digital emojis around town while staring at a smart phone. You’re confident it’s the next big thing, and the opportunities to monetize are endless. The problem: you’re not independently wealthy and the Powerball odds are awful.

Often, the first place founders look for cash is from friends, family and their professional network. Incubators, accelerators and “angel” investors may also be sources of initial seed funding. There are many considerations when navigating early-stage seed investments from valuation concerns to guaranteed returns to management and voting rights. There is a useful alternative to standard equity in early stage investments: convertible debt. Find out about its convertible debt’s key features, terms, and hang-ups in this post on our Food & Ag Law Insights blog.

 

websitePosting terms of use document on your website or mobile application defines the terms which govern your customer’s use of your website or mobile application and greatly reduce your exposure to liability when providing goods or services through a web-based application. A privacy policy describes to your consumers what information you collect, how you collect it and how you use it.  Posting a privacy policy provides notice to your customers so that they can make an informed decision on whether or not they want to use your web-based application after considering the data you collect and how you use it.

Continue Reading Terms of Use and Privacy Policy: Your Navigation System in the Ocean of E-Commerce

Anthony GriceAnthony Grice, a Labor & Employment associate in the firm’s Technology, Manufacturing & Transportation group, was honored by the National Bar Association (NBA) with the “40 Under 40 Best Advocate” award at a gala July 18, 2016 in St. Louis.

The NBA 40 Under 40 awards recognize lawyers under age 40 who exemplify a broad range of high achievement and community involvement. Grice devotes his practice to employment and human resources issues and is a member of the firm’s Cortex team that assists technology and manufacturing start-ups with various employment needs. He was honored with other “40 Under 40” recipients during the NBA’s 91st Annual Convention in St. Louis.

Infrigement of patents

A tactic sometimes used by a well-established competitor against a startup is to accuse the startup of patent infringement. Unless the startup has deep pockets, it cannot really afford to defend a patent lawsuit – an expense that often runs into the millions of dollars if the case goes to trial. The startup is fragile at this juncture, can be terrified about the prospect of a patent suit, and sometimes negotiates a settlement where the competitor receives rights to use the startup’s technology at less than fair value. Continue Reading Accused of Patent Infringement?

Many intellectual property disputes boil down to a few simple questions: who, what, and when?

    business team ipad

  • Who was there when a new technology was conceived, when was it made into reality and what did each person contribute?
  • Exactly what features were present in the new technology when it was patented or licensed? What features were covered by the patent or license?
  • What was the exact date a key innovative feature was conceived?

Finding the answers to these questions can be surprisingly tricky, especially if the questions are asked months or years after the events occurred. Being able to find the answers (and being able to produce the documentation that supports those answers) can be critical in determining the outcome of disputes about patents, licenses, trade secrets, and other efforts to commercialize your new technology.

Continue Reading Protecting Your New Technology: Keeping Track of “Who,” “What,” and “When”

Boardroom PeopleAs Techweek kicks off in Chicago this week, it seems appropriate to discuss one of the most important first steps startups should take: securing protection of their intellectual property.

One of the most influential factors that play into the success of a startup is investment.  This is often thought of in financial terms, with investors contributing capital to the startup.  However, a startup’s investment in protecting its intellectual property is equally as important. There are several reasons why, but this post will focus on one significant point: Capital Investors Care. Continue Reading Protecting Your Investment to Secure Investment: Why Startups Should Protect Their IP Before The Pitch

intellectual property patent trademark, copyrightAll businesses but especially startups should become acquainted with the patent process. All too often this happens after the horse has left the barn and it’s just too late. This short introduction should help you to protect your right to get a patent.

You may be asking yourself “Why bother? Who cares?” The answer to that is pretty simple. Patents add value to your enterprise. Patents also indicate that your invention is more than a routine development. Patents give you the right to stop others from using your invention unless they obtain a license from you (a source of income). Also, someday you may be targeted by another patent-holder, and having patents of your own that others want to use can help to solve the problem (cross-licensing). The downside of a patent is that it constitutes a public disclosure of your invention. But how long can you keep it secret anyway?

Continue Reading Protecting Your New Technology with a Provisional Patent Application