Mitigating Legal Hotspots On the Road to Growth and Expansion FEI SME Conference November 10, 2011
Highlights  <ul><li>Legal beyond corporate and litigation </li></ul><ul><li>Employment and Consultant Agreements </li></ul...
Employment and Consulting Agreements <ul><li>Sign it in advance </li></ul><ul><li>It’s still a contract for services… </li...
Commercial Contracts <ul><li>You can’t give what you don’t have </li></ul><ul><li>When do you pay?  How do you get it back...
Drafting is an Art… <ul><li>Subject to the termination provisions of this Agreement, this Agreement shall be effective fro...
Partnering <ul><li>There is no joint venture legal entity </li></ul><ul><li>Agency, Reseller, Referral, Supplier, Corporat...
IP Protection  <ul><li>Start from within – confidentiality, contracts </li></ul><ul><li>Patents vs. Trade Secrets </li></u...
Questions ? Joe Milstone ( [email_address] )
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Mitigating Risk Strategies For SMEs

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Mitigating Risk Strategies For SMEs

  1. 1. Mitigating Legal Hotspots On the Road to Growth and Expansion FEI SME Conference November 10, 2011
  2. 2. Highlights <ul><li>Legal beyond corporate and litigation </li></ul><ul><li>Employment and Consultant Agreements </li></ul><ul><li>Business Contracts </li></ul><ul><li>“ Partnering” </li></ul><ul><li>IP Protection </li></ul>
  3. 3. Employment and Consulting Agreements <ul><li>Sign it in advance </li></ul><ul><li>It’s still a contract for services… </li></ul><ul><li>Set scope of contemplated work and return </li></ul><ul><li>How can it end, and what are the terms? </li></ul><ul><li>NDA and IP, including non-competes </li></ul><ul><li>Understand the difference – is it really a duck? </li></ul><ul><li>Any consultant is a vendor – think implications – IT, taxes, privacy, RFP’s, insurance </li></ul>
  4. 4. Commercial Contracts <ul><li>You can’t give what you don’t have </li></ul><ul><li>When do you pay? How do you get it back? </li></ul><ul><li>Service levels and audit rights </li></ul><ul><li>IT – support, escrow, improvements, open source </li></ul><ul><li>Limitations and exclusions of liability </li></ul><ul><li>Boilerplate counts… </li></ul>
  5. 5. Drafting is an Art… <ul><li>Subject to the termination provisions of this Agreement, this Agreement shall be effective from the date it is made and shall continue in force for a period of five (5) years from the date it is made, and thereafter for successive five (5) year terms , unless and until terminated by one year prior to notice in writing by either party. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Partnering <ul><li>There is no joint venture legal entity </li></ul><ul><li>Agency, Reseller, Referral, Supplier, Corporation </li></ul><ul><li>Consider what’s not written on the napkin – who, what, when, where, how </li></ul><ul><li>Always be thinking IP and ownership </li></ul><ul><li>Implications of a true partnership </li></ul>
  7. 7. IP Protection <ul><li>Start from within – confidentiality, contracts </li></ul><ul><li>Patents vs. Trade Secrets </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Patent: useful, novel (i.e. innovative) and non-obvious </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Typically lasts for 20 years but can take 4-5 years </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Must be disclosed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cost of a patent infringement suit: $2M to $5M </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prior art search: www.uspto.gov </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In US/Canada: one year from disclosure of invention to file for patent. In Europe, you can’t file after invention has been disclosed. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Canada: first to file. US: first to invent. Keep good notes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provisional patent: establishes filing date and gives you 12 months </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Questions ? Joe Milstone ( [email_address] )
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