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Top Five Legal Issues Entrepreneurs Must Know About

Here is an interesting article that identifies five major categories of laws that entrepreneurs starting a business should think about early on. These include equity; IP; tax; labor; and insurance. I found this to be a good read toward the end of our course, because it can act as a summary of the broader themes of the class. We must learn how to integrate our legal advice with the problems facing the entrepreneurs at that time in their business’s lifecycle. Articles like this, geared toward entrepreneurs, can give us valuable insight into what those problems may be.

The Supreme Court Should Bring Sanity to Patent Law

The Supreme Court Should Bring Sanity to Patent Law

This article aligns with our discussion of “patent trolls” and that could affect innovation in the bigger picture.

“The result is a loss to society. Innovators spend millions of dollars defending themselves from wasteful lawsuits that they otherwise could have spent developing new products and services.”

Soon the Supreme Court could change how the path of patent law is currently heading towards.

Any thoughts?

ND Alum “Saving Lives With Entrepreneurship”

This is an article about Notre Dame Law School Alum John Crowley, who created Amicus Therapeutics and was applauded by President Donald Trump in an address to Congress. A former attorney, Crowley created the biotech company to try and find a cure for Pompe disease, which his daughter and son survived.

The article discusses how Crowley “transitioned from a career as a lawyer to a career in business consulting and how he became a biotech entrepreneur, despite not being a particularly strong student in math and science.”

Discussing the legal field’s role, the article states: “James Farrington, an adjunct professor at the Law School and a partner in the Corporate Practice Department and Life Sciences Practice Group at Wiggin & Dana LLP in Stamford, Conn…said that it’s important for lawyers to remember how their work can impact scientific advances.

‘You’ll find in your career that you’ll be working many late nights…. One thing that motivated me – being fortunate to work in the life sciences industry – was to know that with most transactions I was working on, there was a Megan or a Patrick somewhere in the world that was affected by that,’ Farrington said.

‘Keep that in mind,’ he said. ‘It’s a race against time. I’m not a scientist, I’m not discovering the drug, but I can get that contract out a day earlier, a week earlier, and get things advanced. That’s what really motivates me and has been very gratifying for me in my career.’”

Raising an “Entrepreneurial Child”

An interesting article about an entrepreneurial father who is raising his son to be an “entrepreneurial child,” and describes his goal to “demonstrate the value of entrepreneurship at home.”

https://www.forbes.com/sites/chrismyers/2017/03/31/how-to-raise-an-entrepreneurial-child/#1d7e4f952ed4

He states: “In order to be successful in today’s competitive and often chaotic environment, you have to have a grit, intelligence, and a strong entrepreneurial spirit.”

He concludes that “entrepreneurship is an attitude, not an occupation.”

Worth the read!!

Notre Dame Entrepreneurship Students Featured in Forbes!

It’s amazing to see Notre Dame students featured in Forbes! Here’s an article about Notre Dame students who are trying to address the gap in resources available for “pre-idea social entrepreneurs.”

https://www.forbes.com/sites/annefield/2017/03/31/this-program-helps-aspiring-social-entrepreneurs-before-they-even-have-an-idea/#31345f0c549f
The article states:

“[T]he basic concept would be to help aspiring social entrepreneurs come up with ideas and get to the stage where they’re ready to apply for an accelerator or start talking to angel investors. The first cohort probably will be about six months long–enough time to think of and refine an idea–though that’s not set in stone. ‘We’d help them generate ideas and then send them off into the rest of the ecosystem for further support,’ says Mix. They figure that applicants will come from three buckets: generalists, like, say, a management consultant who enjoys problem solving; experts in such sectors as finance; and technologists.”

Under this business model, I wonder if the students will also employ attorneys as “experts.”

Entrepreneurs Shouldn’t Incorporate, Trademark, or Patent

This article focuses on practical approaches for entrepreneurs. It takes into consideration time and monetary costs, in advising entrepreneurs not to incorporate unless:

  1. Your company’s net worth is over $100,000.
  2. Your company is getting funded by investors.
  3. Your company is dealing in a business that has a high risk of liability.

I think these are good simple general guidelines for entrepreneurs.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/cameronkeng/2014/11/03/entrepreneurs-shouldnt-incorporate-trademark-or-patent/#462a79314c3e

Radiolab’s Update on CRISPR: The ethics of innovation

Radiolab is uniformly superb.  This podcast is an update from one they did two years ago, when CRISPR first started heating-up as a gene editing tool.  Of course, they discuss what CRISPR is, how it works, and some of the potential applications.  However, what I really enjoyed about this, is that they discuss the ethical implications of the innovation.  If you are presented of paying to reduce your child’s chance of ever getting Alzheimer’s or not, is there really a decision to be made?  What about manipulating the genome of an entire species?  Its easy to see where the law might start wading into the debate.  Its also easy to see how one side may seek to stop the innovation entirely, either for ethical reasons, or under the flag of IP rights and obscene licensing fees.  The IP debate over CRISPR is ongoing, but I found the ethical discussion refreshing.

http://www.radiolab.org/story/update-crispr/

Notre Dame Law School Alum Talks about Saving Lives with Entrepreneurship

Link

If anyone missed the talk hosted by the IPLS and the Health Law Society about saving lives with entrepreneurship the link to a write up about it is below. It discusses how one alum’s transition from a legal career to a business consulting and how he became a biotech entrepreneur. It’s nice to see NDLS Alum making a difference through entrepreneurship.

http://law.nd.edu/news/notre-dame-law-school-alum-talks-about-saving-lives-with-entrepreneurship/

Small Business-People vs. $260 Billion Company

This is an interesting article about Alibaba, one of the world’s largest e-commerce websites, with a primary focus on exporting goods from China. The article is written from the perspective of a small business owner in the United States, one who makes antique tables. His tables, which cost approximately $5,000, were knocked off on Alibaba for $24. (See article). The article outlines Alibaba’s claims that it proactively fights counterfeit goods, along with the small business owner’s fight against the company, armed with only “his iMac, $74-a-month image-searching software, his phone and a lot of time — sometimes, he says, 12 hours a day.” Id. 

This article is relevant to the class for a few reasons. It shows what kind of competition a small business owner and/or entrepreneur could be faced with in our increasingly connected world. It also allows for some insight into the importance of IP, especially with how much easier it is to manufacture something quickly than it was in the past. Overall, I found this to be an informative read.