IP Attorneys Guiding Entrepreneurs from Startup to Exit
Clocktower Law (http://www.clocktowerlaw.com/) is a Boston-area patent and trademark law firm whose attorneys have built startups of their own, so we get it. We get not only what it means to be an entrepreneur and what is at stake – but also how intellectual property (IP) works in the real world.
Since 2001, 36 of Clocktower’s clients have been acquired with exits valued at over $6 billion. Notable clients include:
- KAYAK (acquired by Priceline)
- AppNexus (acquired by AT&T)
- Right Media (acquired by Yahoo!)
- Agile (acquired by Oracle)
- Onshape (acquired by PTC)
- Layer3 TV (acquired by T-Mobile)
- Smarterer (acquired by Pluralsight)
- Helium (acquired by RR Donnelley)
- Unidesk (acquired by Citrix)
- BzzAgent (acquired by Tesco’s Dunnhumby)
For entrepreneurs like you, it’s important to get started protecting your IP as soon as possible – and to make sure it’s done correctly. The stakes are too high and the consequences are too great to risk waiting too long or failing to act. But we understand that hiring an attorney can be a difficult process, so we’ve made it simple for our clients. We call this the “Lather-Rinse-Repeat Process,” because protecting your IP is a process, not an event:
- Call or meet with Clocktower to discuss your business, needs, and goals (free strategy session)
- Get started protecting your IP
- Get acquired and do it again
You may be asking, “When is the best time to start?”
You can get started with us anytime, but ideally you should get started at the same time you are founding your startup, and before you launch any product, for a couple of reasons.
Timing Your Patent Filings.
The United States is a “first inventor to file” country. When filing for your patent, it doesn’t matter that you may have invented something first. So it’s important to keep your IP a secret and then act early. You should file your patent application before you make any sales, offers for sale, publications, or public use of your product, service, or improvement. This is the only certain way to protect both U.S. and foreign patent rights.
Timing Your Trademark Filings.
It is much more expensive to cure trademark problems than it is to prevent them. As such, you should fully vet any new trademark (for a company name, logo, tagline, product name, service name) by running a search of the trademark and (if the search is favorable to you) filing a trademark application quickly.
Trademark mistakes can lead to rebranding, which costs on average $50,000, or to disputes with third parties over whose use was first. In an ideal world, you would never be forced to rebrand, and you would always be the first to use, first to file, and first to register everything. But it’s never that simple. So it’s important to register your trademarks as soon as possible.
What Our Clients Have Said About Clocktower
“Clocktower Law gets it. They get how patents and trademarks work in the real world. And they really get the Internet. I’ve used Erik for patents, copyrights, and domain name purchase negotiations. I highly recommend his services and will use him again.” – Paul English, KAYAK
“Erik combines the things that I care about in legal services: deep and *current* domain expertise; pragmatic, practical advice; excellent follow-through. Highly recommended.” – Jon Radoff, Disruptor Beam
“I have worked with Erik and the Clocktower team while I was at CloudSwitch and have been working with him at Onshape. They do great work – fast, efficient and affordable.” – John McEleney, Onshape
“Erik did a great job helping me file a couple of critical patents early in Right Media’s lifecycle. I hadn’t been through the patent process before, but I knew that getting patents that clearly represented the technologies and their business implications was critical. I tried working with a larger firm, but quickly became frustrated. I connected with Clocktower, and while initially hesitant since we were in New York and Erik was in Boston, agreed to give it a try. Clocktower was fantastic. The communication process was straightforward; Erik and his team picked up on the business and technical concepts quickly; the work product was excellent. I have nothing but good things to say. We continue to work with Erik on trademark and other IP projects, and actively refer people to Clocktower Law. They’re a great choice.” – Brian O’Kelley, AppNexus
As an entrepreneur, you’re in the business of making the world a better place. And that pursuit will always face its challenges. But over the years, we have learned that challenges can always be overcome when people work together. The right support, from people who understand your journey, makes all of the difference.
Clocktower Law is here to support you every step of the way.
We look forward to getting to know you.
In the meantime, here are our Top 11 Tips for Entrepreneurs, a smattering of helpful lessons Erik Heels, our founder, has learned from a lifetime of building and advising startups.