Thoughts on startups by investors that
fund them & entrepreneurs that run them

Blog Archives

Rookie Cookies: Owning the Batter But Not the Chips

I’ve gotten on my soapbox before about the importance of forming a business entity as soon as there’s a new product or business worth protecting.  The most common messes encountered in my startup law practice involve founding teams that somehow never got the formation done right, including the contributions and assignments of intellectual property to the new company and the

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IP & crowdfunding: are 1,000 NDAs better than none?

Angels and venture capitalists will not sign non-disclosure (confidentiality) agreements just to listen to an entrepreneur’s funding presentation, or even to read the entrepreneur’s business plan.  Serial entrepreneurs understand this and write their plans without describing the “secret sauce.”  Investors will eventually want to validate the intellectual property (IP) prior to investing, but not just to hear about the opportunity. 

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Sisyph.us? Fighting an Unwinnable Domain War

One of the best values a young entrepreneur can absorb early on is the value of learning from mistakes, both your own and those of others.  I’m constantly amazed at the extent to which experienced entrepreneurs and angels are willing to share their accumulated knowledge and wisdom, including some painful battle scars, with others.  This bedrock of Silicon Valley culture

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Intellectual Property for Startups in the Real World

Given that 2011 is already behind us, I’d like to take a brief time-out from the usual legal and financial wonkery to wish you and your loved ones a Happy New Year.  Many thanks to David Rose, Ilana Grossman, Justin Stanwix, and the whole Gust team for making the Gust Blog such a valuable platform and resource for entrepreneurs and angel

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Nuts & Bolts of Intellectual Property for New Startups

So you’ve chosen a name for your startup, product, or both. Having covered all the bases to ensure that your corporate name is available, the domain name can be acquired, and the name doesn’t infringe any existing trademarks (as we discussed here), now is a good time to look at the categories of intellectual property (IP) that are relevant to

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A Startup’s First Steps: What’s In A Name?

Having taken stock of the main legal documents and actions involved in forming and operating a new startup, let’s crack open the “case” (disregarding the warnings about voiding your warranty) and examine a few of the steps, documents and key decisions to be made in getting a new startup ready for business.

Most startup lawyers have checklists (at least in

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Do It Right The First Time, Part II: Visit the Doctor or House Call?

In Part I, I gave a quick summary of the who, when and why of forming and documenting a new startup company. This week we’ll delve into what, exactly, is necessary or desirable to lay a solid legal foundation for a startup to build upon.

Do It Right The First Time: Avoiding “Janitorial” Legal Work

What is a startup really?  When meeting with early stage entrepreneurs for the first time, after reviewing a demo or hearing their pitch, I often ask them to articulate what they’re most focused on building.  In most cases, the answers are (1) an outstanding product or technology; (2) a successful growth business built around that product; and (3) a top-notch

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“AirB&E” and Disaster Response for Consumer Startups

Amid the remembrance of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks this past weekend, much was made of the voluminous 9/11 Commission report, which described in excruciating detail countless ways in which the United States homeland security and emergency response infrastructure failed to respond adequately to a disaster of unprecedented proportions. The “system” as it existed at the time broke down,

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