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How Much Should Startups Invest in Intellectual Property?

Before investing in patents, all startups should take two simple, low-cost steps: briefly check freedom to operate and put the right legal documents place.

Part 6: The Cavalry - Defending Your Castle from Attack

With well-written contracts in place acting like a gate to guard your interactions with the outside world, you can finally rest content. You have set up all the elements needed to create an IP fortress, and your walls are growing every day. There’s just one topic left to cover – what to do if your castle is attacked?

Part 5: The Gate - Protecting Your IP Outside the Company

Next it is time to venture outside the castle, but you don’t want to let your ideas walk right out the front gate! Learn how to hold technical or scientific discussions without sacrificing your ability to file and control patents, and find out how best to structure joint development agreements with allies.

Part 4: The Walls - How to Run an Ongoing IP Program

Whenever you uncover a valuable invention, you have a system in place to identify, protect, and file on the right intellectual property. Each time you do, you will be building an additional outer wall to protect your core IP. Read about a comprehensive system for managing those processes in this section.

Part 3: The Keep - Your Critical First Patent Sprint

Now that you have a foundation cleared up, it’s time to build your fortress, and at the center of every fortress is the most protected area of all, the Keep. We better explain our castle analogy, and then tell you step by step how to get started.

Part 2: The Foundation - Before You Incorporate

In this section, we discuss how to evaluate a technology or science available to license, how to figure out if there is room to start a new company without getting sued by existing patentholders, and how to make a fair deal with a university or government lab licensing officer.

Part 1: A Primer on Patents

What is a Patent? What Are the Parts of a Patent Application? Why Are Patents Valuable? What Types of Inventions Can Be Patented? Russ Wilcox answers all of these questions and more in Part 1: A Primer on Patents.

How To: Navigate CFIUS

Tips for Entrepreneurs Coping with FIRRMA, CFIUS, and Export Control.

How To: Build an IP Fortress Overview

Pillar VC’s A to Z Guide on All Matters Intellectual Property for Start-Up CEOs.

How to: Choose a Startup Lawyer

For many first-time founders, hiring a lawyer might seem like a necessary evil to navigating financings. The reality is that when you choose right, your lawyer is a true partner, helping you navigate unforeseen challenges.

Startup Software

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DocuSign

DocuSign

DocuSign

DocuSign offers a suite of applications and integrations for automating and connecting the entire agreement process, for contracts, legal documents, etc. Send secure documents for electronic signature.
Latham & Watkins

Latham & Watkins

Contact: Stephen Ranere

Latham & Watkins

Contact: Stephen Ranere

Pillar has worked with Latham & Watkins' John Chory, Stephen Ranere, and Emily Taylor on a number of deals. The firm also has a suite of resources in their LathamDrive website, which provides entrepreneurs the tools and expertise they need on various topics including formation, capital raising, liquidity, beyond IPO and more.
Company Counsel

Company Counsel

Company Counsel

Company Counsel provides legal support for emerging startups. Pillar's Sarah Hodges has worked with Steve Cagnetta across several startups from inception through exit on everything from employment agreements to employee options to contracts and more. Steve is particularly helpful for startups who would prefer not to work with a big firm, and are looking for a more accessible advice. See our Pillar VC CEO Templates for several free legal documents from Company Counsel.
Cooley

Cooley

Cooley

In 2007, Cooley launched a small office in Boston’s historic Back Bay to provide legal counsel to technology and life sciences companies and investors in the region. During the last decade, Cooley has been one of the fastest growing law firms in Boston and is now home to more than 120 lawyers, technology specialists, quantitative analysts, paralegals and staff. Cooley's clients include strategic and financial buyers and sellers in public and private acquisitions, including private equity sponsored leveraged buyouts and take-private transactions. We work with Al Browne at Cooley.
WilmerHale

WilmerHale

WilmerHale

WilmerHale provides global legal representation across a comprehensive range of industry and practice areas that are critical to our clients' success. WilmerHale's Launch Program (https://launch.wilmerhale.com/) is tailored specifically to startups. Pillar's Sarah Hodges worked with the firm on the sale of Smarterer, a Boston-based startup that was acquired by Pluralsight. We work with Mick Bain at the firm.
Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton

Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton

Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton

Boston-area Business Law Firm Morse, Barnes-Brown & Pendleton, PC assists companies of all sizes — from startups to Fortune 1000 — in legal services areas. Pillar had a great experience working with the firm on our office lease. We work with Michael Jabbawy at the firm.
Gunderson Dettmer

Gunderson Dettmer

Gunderson Dettmer

Gunderson Dettmer has been ranked the #1 law firm globally for high-growth technology and life sciences companies and investors for six years in a row by PitchBook. The firm handles the majority of Pillar's legal needs in addition to supporting growth technology and life sciences companies from start-up to maturity, and 250+ of the world's leading venture capital firms. We work with several lawyers at the firm including Jay Hachigan, Jeff Engerman and Vanessa Smith.
Goodwin Procter

Goodwin Procter

Goodwin Procter

Goodwin Procter is a global law firm with an office in Boston serving companies from early to late stage. Goodwin lawyers count on the professional staff at the firm to develop true partnerships with our clients, sharing in their collective success and creating deep and long-lasting relationships. Founder's Workbench provides comprehensive resources for founders. Pillar companies have worked with Bill Schnoor and Dave Capillo at the firm.
Jeff Goldman Immigration

Jeff Goldman Immigration

Contact: Jeff Goldman

Jeff Goldman Immigration

Contact: Jeff Goldman

Jeff Goldman Immigration is a law firm devoted exclusively to all aspects of business-based and family-based immigration law.  Jeff Goldman has helped several Boston founders navigate complicated immigration concerns.
Looney Cohen & Aisenberg

Looney Cohen & Aisenberg

Contact: James H. Cohen

Looney Cohen & Aisenberg

Contact: James H. Cohen

Looney Cohen & Aisenberg LLP is a boutique law firm focusing on commercial and real estate transactions, leasing, business law, non-competition disputes and business related litigation.
Langer & McLaughlin

Langer & McLaughlin

Contact: Anne K. Reynolds

Langer & McLaughlin

Contact: Anne K. Reynolds

Langer & McLaughlin, LLP is a small Boston-based law firm specializing in transactional commercial real estate.

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