Erik J. Heels

Erik Heels


Erik J. HeelsErik J. Heels is a patent and trademark lawyer for Boston startups, Red Sox fan, MIT engineer, musician. He blogs about technology, law, baseball, and rock ‘n’ roll at

Erik has been on the Internet since 1984 and has extensive experience working in high-tech companies such as Bolt Beranek and Newman (BBN), Cayman Systems, and Verio.

In 1992, Erik wrote “The Legal List,” the first book published simultaneously on the Internet and in print. Erik’s 15 minutes of fame started after reviews of that book appeared in Internet World, Wired, and The New York Times.

After law school, Erik worked for six years for six Internet companies, including a four-year stint with Verio, which was sold for $6 billion cash in the largest cash deal for an Internet-related company in history. In 2001, he launched Clocktower Law Group, a patent and trademark law firm in the Boston area.

From 2007-2008, he co-founded, launched, and sold the shoe store (a high end boutique for women’s shoes) with the domain name originally used for his law firm.

Erik is a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Maine School of Law (2011-2014, teaching patent law), and a is frequent speaker about issues related to law and technology. He earned his BS in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and his JD from the University of Maine School of Law (Maine Law).

In his spare time, Erik enjoys hacking with computers, writing, baseball, and seeking the perfect Hammond B-3 sound on his keyboard. On Erik’s desk are pictures of his three children: Sam, Ben, and Sonja. His life adventures include living in Finland, swimming in the Arctic Ocean, pulling 6 Gs and soloing a jet in the Air Force, and traveling to 10 countries and to the 48 contiguous United States.

Practice Areas

  • Patent Law
  • Trademark Law

Real World (Non-Lawyer) Experience

  •; Boston, MA, and Charlotte, NC; 2007-2008. An online retail shopping site for designer women’s shoes.
  • Verio Inc.; Boston, MA, and Denver, CO; 1997-2000. The world’s largest web hosting company and a leading provider of comprehensive Internet solutions. Sold to NTT Communications in 2000.
  • Inherent.Com Inc.; Waltham, MA, and Portland, OR; 1996-1997. A leading provider of websites and other Internet and intranet solutions for legal professionals.
  • Lawyers Cooperative Publishing; Cambridge, MA, and Rochester, NY; 1995. A leading legal publisher and a division of Thomson Legal Publishing. Publisher of the 6th and 7th editions of “The Legal List.”
  • Cayman Systems Inc.; Cambridge, MA; 1990. Manufacturer of internetworking hardware and software, including the GatorBox, a Macintosh-to-Ethernet network gateway.
  • United States Air Force; Reese AFB, TX, and E-3 Airborne Warning And Control Systems (AWACS) Program Office, Hanscom AFB, MA; Active Duty Officer; 1989-1992.
  • Bolt, Beranek & Newman (BBN); Cambridge, MA; 1988-1989. A pioneering company that helped invent the Internet. Manufacturer of the Butterfly GP1000 parallel-processing computer.
  • Rautaruukki OY; Raahe, Finland; 1988. Europe’s largest steel plant.

Publications & Presentations (Selected)

  • Books
    • RedStreet’s Best Legal Websites 2000,” GiantPeople, 2000; with Richard P. Klau (ISBN 0-9678607-0-9).
    • Law Law Law on the Internet: The Best Legal Web Sites and More,” American Bar Association, 1998; with Richard P. Klau (ISBN 1-57073-553-0).
    • “The Legal List, Law-Related Resources on the Internet and Elsewhere,” Seven Editions, Lawyers Cooperative Publishing (6th and 7th), 1992-1995 (ISBNs 0-7620-0012-0, 0-7620-0000-7, 0-9643637-0-4). “The Legal List” has been excerpted, cited, or reviewed in many publications including:
      • Internet World (March 1995; “the de facto source of legal and law-related sites on the Internet”)
      • Wired (December 1995; “a brilliant resource for the electronically inclined”)
      • The New York Times (August 19, 1994; “many on the Net consider [‘The Legal List’] the most authoritative guide of its kind”)
    • “The Internet Compendium: Guides to Resources by Subject,” Neal-Schuman, 1995; with Louis Rosenfeld et al. (ISBN 1-55570-220-1).
  • Articles
    • blog, 1966-present.
    • “” column, Law Practice magazine, American Bar Association, 1996-2008.
    • The Meaning of Life Online, Judges’ Journal, American Bar Association, February 2000.
    •, New York Law Publishing Company, with Richard P. Klau, 1997-1999.
    • “Online” column, Student Lawyer magazine, American Bar Association, with Richard P. Klau, 1995-1999.
    • “The Case Against Daubert: The New Scientific Evidence ‘Standard’ and the Standards of the Several States,” Journal of Forensic Sciences, American Academy of Forensic Sciences; with Thomas L. Bohan, Ph.D., J.D., 1995.
  • Presentations
    • Bentley University, Entrepreneurial Thinking MG-335 class, Waltham, MA, guest lecturer, 2015.
    • “Alternative Careers For Engineers,” Massachusetts Institute Of Technology (MIT) Global Education & Career Development (GECD), Cambridge, MA, panelist (with Jasmina Aganovic and Barbara Donohue), 2011.
    • “Scaling Google’s Core Values: Innovation And Disruption,” Google Legal Summit, New York City, panelist (with Nicole Wong, Steven Levy, Nicholas Thompson, and Rick Klau), 2010.
    • “Got IP? Top Ten Tips for Identifying, Protecting, and Making Money from Intellectual Property,” Babson College, Engineering Program, Entrepreneurship and New Ventures class, guest lecturer, 2004-2005.
    • “Software Patents: Good or Evil?” University of Maine School of Law, The Technology Law Center’s 4th Annual Law and Technology Conference, 2003 (CLE).
    • “Patents vs. Trade Secrets,” Babson College, MBA Program, Technology and E-Commerce Law class, guest lecturer, 2002.
    • “The Future of Legal Research,” Harvard Law School, Advanced Legal Research class, guest lecturer, 1998.
    • “The Internet for Practical Litigators,” American Law Institute-American Bar Association (ALI-ABA) Video Law Review, televised over the American Law Network, 1997 (CLE).
    • “Ease-of-Copying in the Digital Age – Turning a Negative into a Positive,” International Business Communications (IBC), Seminar – Commercial Strategies for Intellectual Property, Patent, and Copyright Protection on the Internet, 1996 (CLE).
    • “Beyond the Buzzwords – The Future of the Internet,” American Bar Association, TechShow, 1996 (CLE).
    • “The Internet – Opportunities and Challenges on the Electronic Frontier,” American Bar Association, Annual Meeting, 1995 (CLE).
    • “The Internet and the Law,” Maine State Bar Association, Summer Meeting, 1995 (CLE).
    • “How to be Pleasantly Surprised by the Internet,” Arizona State Bar Association, Annual Meeting, 1995 (CLE).


  • American Bar Association
    • Law Practice Management Section, Magazine Board, 2001-2007.
    • Law Practice Management Section, Publishing Advisory Board, 1996-1997.
    • Law Practice Management Section, New Media and Internet Board, 1996-1997.
    • Law Practice Management Section, Internet Services Board, 1995-1996.
  • American Bar Foundation, Life Fellow, 2003-present.

Bar Admissions

  • Maine Bar, 1995.
  • Massachusetts Bar, 1995.
  • “Patent Bar” (i.e. registered to practice before U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, reg. no. 39,218), 1994.


  • University of Maine, School of Law (JD), Portland, ME, 1995.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (BS Electrical Engineering), Cambridge, MA, 1988.