A blog about making your business leaner, faster and smarter

What does a Convertible Note look like?

Convertible notes – or convertible debt – have become the de facto standard for small (i.e., less than a million) seed-stage deals in the last few years.

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What Should I Expect to Pay in Legal Fees for Series A Financing?

Statistics from top law firms routinely show that new startups spend a good deal of their money in legal costs. The legal fees for Series A financing are reported to range from between $40-$60K – about half to 70% of which will be paid by the investors depending on how your agreement is negotiated.

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What’s the Danger in ‘Liquidation Preferences’?

The term ‘liquidation preference’ is one of the essential components of a preferred stock agreement – it’s generally considered the second most important term in a venture capital investment and it’s outlined on the term sheet.

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How do you Understand a Series A Term Sheet?

The first round of investment from a venture capitalist or ‘angel investor’ is called a Series A round and that is defined by the terms included in the Series A Term Sheet. Each round of investing has its terms and definitions and this one defines the terms the first time an entrepreneur or small business seeks outside capital funding. If you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur and have just been handed a Series A Term Sheet by a venture capitalist, whatever you do don’t sign it just yet. Many business founders have been dazzled by the numbers and signed a term sheet that was not in their favor simply because they missed a sneaky clause or discovered an term too late. Here’s an important thing to note – term sheets are non-binding which means they are just a way of moving along the process of negotiation with some terms …

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How much does it cost to get a software patent?

It’s important to remember that the strategic value of a valid software patent is in protecting your idea from inappropriate use by the competition as well as positioning your company for better earnings. The cost of a patent is relevant to the perceived value of the patent, so applying for a patent on a new miracle invention could be worth every penny you spend (and more). Applying for a patent on something that everyone knows how to work around, on the other hand, makes no sense and isn’t worth the basic application fee no matter how cool your workaround is. According to the American Intellectual Property Law Association, the typical software patent costs between $8,000 and $12,000 with the median about $10,000. Those prices including filing fees. The typical software patent on UpCounsel costs between $6,000 and $9,000 and includes representation after filing. Steps to Save Money on a Software …

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How To Transfer a Patent – Through a Change of Ownership or Sale

As objects of intellectual property, patents and patent applications may be transferred for a number of reasons, including a merger or takeover, an inheritance or bankruptcy, or as the result of some legal action. Often the person who created the idea is not necessarily the best person to market the idea and turn it into a fully commercial product – and many inventors prefer to invent, then let others do the marketing and manufacturing work so they can get back to more inventing. The idea behind a patent transfer is that it enables the inventor to sell their patent rights and let other people manage the intellectual property on both valuation and patent enforcement fronts. What’s Involved in a Patent Transfer? What’s involved with the legal transfer of a patent, also known as changing patent ownership? During examination of a pending patent application, or after the patent has been granted, …

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How Much Does a Provisional Patent Cost?

The answer to any ‘how much does it cost’ question is, as you might expect, ‘it depends’. Of course, as any lawyer worth their salt will also tell you that you should ask how much time are you are willing to spend on your provisional patent. When the inventor or entrepreneur puts in some of the effort and works closely with their attorney the cost of filing a provisional patent can be controlled. This is especially critical to businesses that are just starting up or entrepreneurs who have little money but big ideas that could earn big. Pricey and Cheap Provisional Patent Filing Methods How much a provisional patent costs depends on how you go about patenting the idea: You can write and file your own patent application (the cheapest way) to a total cost of about $900. You can hire a patent lawyer or patent agent to write and …

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How to transfer an H-1B Visa

The recent recession has had widespread reach – including into the lives of immigrant H-1B visa workers. People working in the U.S. on H-1B visas have some freedom in the job market in that they can change employers if the new employer files an H-1B application and that application is approved. The employee can do this in a couple of situations: – their current employment ends and they have the opportunity to work for another employer – they want to change jobs and work for a different employer – they stopped working for their original H-1B employer, left the U.S., and now want to return and work for a different employer As long as the visa holder’s H-1B visa has not expired, they can essentially transfer to a new employer. This action is often called an H-1B transfer and there are some risks and legalities associated with this particular event. …

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What should I do if my trademark is DEAD?

A trademark is nothing more than a symbol, design, word, or phrase that identifies a product to the public. An individual or business who has the trademark registers it with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and that agency issues the trademark registration. As you can see from the following chart, the filing of trademark applications has been steady and strong in the U.S. since 2000. An active trademark is well-maintained and regularly published in ads, in blogs, and in publications. While a trademark is active, its owner can take action in court against unauthorized use of the trademark. On the other hand, a dead trademark is one that is no longer active and it faces certain risks depending on the popularity of that trademark. Keeping your Trademark Healthy To keep a trademark healthy, the trademark owner must continue to respond to requests by the USPTO and follow …

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Announcing our revamped Attorney Dashboard

Entrepreneurs all over the world have much to say about what it takes to build a great company. One key is obsessing over your customers and their experience. We spend a great deal of time doing this at UpCounsel. In a services marketplace, attention to the service-side community is paramount. We are always thinking about ways to improve the attorney-client relationship by empowering our lawyer community. Through this focus, attorneys spend less time with the administrative portion of managing their practice (invoicing, billing, communications), they can spend more time engaging clients, being responsive and providing top-notch legal services. Which is why today I’m excited to announce a number of updates focused on our attorney community that continue to make their practice easier and more efficient. Revamped Attorney Dashboard Our attorney dashboard has been redesigned to emphasize important information first. It includes a small metrics section that highlights your UpCounsel income, …

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