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Provisional, Omnibus, and Continuation Patent Applications This post highlights patent strategies that support these objectives: cheaply and timely protecting inventions, buying time during the patenting process to slow cash burn, raise funds, assess commercial viability, adapt to competitive developments, and optimize between patent and trade secret IP protections, preserving alternative trade secret strategies, and growing a family of patents that evolves in response to product developments, competitive developments, exit opportunities, and USPTO examiner feedback. First,…
In this post I share trade secrets and insights on a novel career track and legal service model – working for multiple companies as in-house, part-time General Counsel. A Win-Win Model This legal service model is relevant to attorneys considering career options and to companies wondering how to meet legal needs. Attorney benefits: exposure to varied business models, industries and teams, being on the team and not just an outside adviser, eligibility for equity compensation…
Corporate Governance Best Practices and Red Flags Sometimes even well-managed companies get caught off guard by a flaw in a contract, an unexpected change in regulatory policy or even misbehavior by a senior officer. Fortunately, most legal and regulatory problems don’t strike out of the blue. There are usually “red flags” – incidents or conditions hinting at trouble. The Price of Bad Governance Bad governance is worth catching and correcting because it’s costly. In 2017,…
Pitching VCs and angels is a vital core competency for most founders. Here are a few tips to consider. Know Your Audience First and foremost, don’t bother pitching investors who are not interested in your space, other than for practice as suggested below. Do your research and focus your efforts on those who are most likely to be excited about what you are doing. Second, understand and accept the fact that VCs and angel investors…
Keys to writing success for in-house counsel A reputation for exceptional writing ability can make any professional a more highly valued member of the team. At the risk of belaboring the obvious, good, clear writing is often associated with good, clear thinking. Since we’re in the business of being great thinkers, lawyers should aspire to be great writers. The career implications of good or bad writing for in-house lawyers can be particularly significant. Unlike many…
“If Susan introduces us to investors, can we pay her a fee based on how much they put in?” The short answer is “wouldn’t be prudent….” In general, state and federal securities laws prohibit the payment to non-broker-dealers in securities transactions. It doesn’t matter if those payments are called finders fees, referral fees, consulting fees or success fees. This is because registered broker-dealers play highly regulated gatekeeping functions between sellers of securities and purchasers of…
For many in-house counsel, working on transactions is the best part of the job – debt and equity financings, mergers and acquisitions, reorganizations, joint ventures and commercial transactions of every kind. In-house counsel often help negotiate, document and close key deals. But where there’s action, there’s also risk. And those risks can survive well past closing. Fortunately, by minding a few key ethics obligations, in-house counsel can reduce and almost eliminate their potential disciplinary, malpractice…
When a board of directors fails in its mission, impacts to shareholder value can be catastrophic. The financial press has a field day when a public company practically evaporates, but private company boards experience many of the same struggles – strategic missteps, regulatory problems, miscalculated mergers, and so on. Less frequently discussed, though, are the challenges that boards of all stripes sometimes face from within – challenges caused by “dysfunctional directors.” Providing strategic direction to…