Marco Zappacosta

Too often HR or legal policies solve for the exception — but then you force everyone to operate in a worse environment simply because someday there could be a bad actor who does a bad thing. I’d much rather solve for the 99%.

How to Win Against Counterfeiters

Online fakers are coming after everybody—but even the small and scrappy can fight back.

A New Approach to Contracts

Companies understand that their suppliers are critical partners in lowering costs, increasing quality, and driving innovation, and leaders routinely talk about the need for strategic relationships with shared goals and risks. But when contract negotiations begin, they default to an adversarial mindset and a transactional contracting approach. They agonize over every conceivable scenario and then try to put everything in black-and-white. A variety of contractual … [ Read more ]

How to Regulate Innovation — Without Killing It

Digital innovation is giving rise to new business models. Uber and Airbnb are household names today, when not so long ago we were all learning about the sharing economy. The regulations don’t always evolve as quickly as technological change — at least that’s the perception. So what should policy makers and regulators do? Wharton legal studies and business ethics professor Kevin Werbach recently shared his … [ Read more ]

Open Source Funding Documents

Cooley, one of the top startup law firms, has open sourced the legal documents required to do a Series Seed or Convertible Note financing.

Consistency Drives Success at Telus

The Canadian telecom giant transformed its business by adopting a clear, stable approach to strategy and culture.

John Levis, Don Fancher, Eziah Syed, John Hudson

IP management now goes well beyond protecting one’s inventions. For instance, patent filings can be used as a very important sensing mechanism. A disciplined program of monitoring and reviewing filings that have the potential to be relevant to one’s space enables companies to stay on top of emerging threats and identify trends. … IP-related activities were historically used for protecting your own products and services; … [ Read more ]

Are Corporations Really People?

In his recent book, Business Persons, a Legal Theory of the Firm, Wharton professor of ethics and legal studies Eric W. Orts answers the question: Are corporations “people?” In this Knowledge@Wharton video interview, Orts explains why corporations should be treated as “persons” in some — but not all — instances.

How Startup Founders Can Stay on the Right Side of the Law

In the passionate rush it takes to get a startup to market, legal issues can often be overlooked. Here are some things to consider if you want to optimize the trajectory of your startup.

Resolving Patent Disputes that Impede Innovation

Technical standards both spur innovation and protect the innovators, but abuses in the intellectual property protection system threaten US competitiveness. Josh Lerner and Jean Tirole discuss remedies.

David Teece

Unless you have truly fundamental inventions that no one else can copy, you need both [intellectual property rights and dynamic capabilities]. Strong intellectual property protection, in itself, will only help you on the first round of innovation. During that time, you can rent other people’s complementary capabilities. But sooner or later, you’re going to get copied, so you’ve got to move quickly to build the … [ Read more ]


Docracy is an open collection of legal contracts. It also offers a comprehensive solution for having the documents verified and signed online.

The Impact of Bankruptcy Laws on Startups

Entrepreneurship is widely recognized as one of the most important drivers of economic growth. But it’s also risky: The majority of new ventures fail, and many end in bankruptcy. Given that track record, when entrepreneurs consider a new international market, they regularly weigh such factors as logistics and differences in cultural attitudes and financial regulations.

But according to this paper, business owners would do well to … [ Read more ]

3 Must-Have Business Agreements

It’s a good idea for small business owners to put agreements in writing. Here are three agreements that you should definitely consider getting in writing.

How to Get Your Sheet Together

An entrepreneur with a term sheet for investment has a range of decisions to make. Among the most important is which points to negotiate and which points to leave alone. You cannot negotiate every point or you will (a) drive away the investor and (b) fail to concentrate your firepower on terms that do matter.

How to Read a Term Sheet

Looking for venture capital? Don’t be so quick to sign on the dotted line. Here’s what you need to know about liquidation preferences and preferred stock.

Series Seed Documents

A decade ago, a company would need to raise a couple of million of dollars to create a new product and effectively bring it to market. Today that amount is dramatically smaller. The advent of cloud computing, open source software, platforms with APIs, and numerous other changes have lowered the cost of launching a new enterprise. For this reason, startup companies are … [ Read more ]

Protect Your Business Brand: The Proper Use of Trademarks

I know that proper use of trademarks and service marks gets confusing for many entrepreneurs. The following is a simple and handy guide on the proper use of the marks in your business. It’s important to review your website and marketing material and make sure that you are preserving potential legal protection for your marks

Properly Documenting the Creation of Your Startup’s IP

If you think that you and your employees may be creating valuable IP, it is well worth the effort to require good idea and invention record keeping — from the start.