Recognizing Intellectual Property and Knowing How to Protect It

There are many company owners who respond in the negative when asked if their business has any intellectual property worth protecting. They would be wrong. The name of their company alone is an asset that can be defended with state and federal trademark protection, and is probably one of the most valuable assets a business has.

Continue reading “Recognizing Intellectual Property and Knowing How to Protect It”

Fighting the Good Fight

When push comes to shove, some businessmen throw caution and all smart business practice sense to the wind. Recently the CEO and founder of FindTheBest, Kevin O’Connor, has decided to take a patent troll, who has been harassing his company, to court. Patent trolls are companies/individuals that impose patent rights against alleged patent infringers but do not make the patent in question themselves. They merely take advantage of a broken system.

Continue reading “Fighting the Good Fight”

Traklight’s Practice Safe Crowdfunding Summer Tour 2013

pscfJust under five weeks on the road, with a worcation* in Kelowna, British Columbia jammed into week number two, and only one rain shower when I crossed the Colorado River back into Arizona.  Intern Jake Hoekstra and I traveled from Phoenix to Vancouver, BC in five days and I returned solo (it was planned that way!), splitting the return drive over six days.

Armed with dozens of Practice Safe CrowdfundingTM t-shirts, we met with entrepreneurs, attorneys, customers, and partners in Santa Monica, LA, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Palo Alto, San Jose, Seattle, Everett, Vancouver, BC  and more on our PSCF tour.

Equity Crowdfunding is still a bit of a secret
While wearing my PSCF t-shirt, someone would inevitably ask, “What is Crowdfunding?”  I would immediately ask whether they had heard of Kickstarter or Indiegogo.  If no, then I knew I would have to haul out the long version available here <more on Indiegogo here>. If yes, then I would ask if they knew about JOBS Act and equity crowdfunding and take it from there <more about that here>. 

On average, not counting Bret and Ben from Indiegogo for obvious reasons, I estimate that about half the people knew about rewards-based crowdfunding but less than a quarter had even heard about equity crowdfunding.

Practice Safe Crowdfunding is achieved with these 5 easy steps:

  1. Identify your Intellectual Property (IP)
  2. Protect that IP
  3. Pick the right crowdfunding platform for your needs
  4. Build your social capital (this is not an overnight step!)
  5. Create the pitch (be very careful not to infringe)

Waze = cool app for avoiding traffic (love the crowdsourcing)
Crowdsourcing information is different from Crowdfunding.   The Waze app accesses location, speed and other information from your phone but in addition you can earn points for reporting traffic, cars on the side of the road, police speed traps and so on.

The estimated time of arrival and traffic routes are superior to other systems and winning points for miles and updates brings out the competitor in even the mildest mannered Traker. Plus this type of gamification gave us the idea for a cool twist on PSCF so stay tuned.

P.S.  Waze does not work on Blackberry so well plus no audio and as solo driver on the way back, had to resort to pulling off the side of the road to use it 🙁

Safe Driving: Books on CDs put me to sleep
Solo on the way back, I thought I would use some of the CDs that we won in the SUCESSS contest to pass the time. Not good, I was nodding off because the voice was oddly soothing.

However phone calls, using the hands-free option, were invigorating and kept me entertained for miles. Although by day six, few Trakers were taking my calls, they did a fabulous job of talking me down the coast. The only challenge was coming up with a great idea and not being able to write it down (or ask the co-pilot because he flew home!).  So I would beg whoever was on the phone with me to send me an email or text.

Rear view Mirrors are vastly under-utilized
Not really on the PSCF topic but I have to say that I could have paid for the gas and maybe the hotels if I had a dollar for each person that did not see me in their rear view mirror for miles and miles. I am thinking that maybe next year we should have Practice Safe Crowdfunding bumper stickers based on the number of tailgaters I experienced!

Nothing beats face-to -face meetings
In addition to spending time with new Trakers like Michael and Sam and some of my favorite (related to me) Trakers, Philip and Jake; meeting people for the first time in person was invaluable. It is a cliché that business is about relationships, but it is the truth. Relying on Skype or phone or, even worse, email for a relationship is the equivalent to the long distance relationship, it is not sustainable.

It is well worth the hours of planning to piece these meetings together to sit across from someone and chat about not just business.

Highlights included touring the Indiegogo’s headquarters in San Francisco, Stanford University, Startup Weekend in Seattle, watching Trakers Michael and Jake on the rides in Santa Cruz, listening to Wendy Lea at DocStoc’s entrepreneur series in Santa Monica, meeting fellow entrepreneurs in Vancouver thanks to Joy Case from AnIdeaNation.  We truly do build the resources in the IP Cloud on our SUCCEED page through relationships.

Stay tuned for Part II, where I turn in my car keys for a series of boarding passes.

* worcation is defined as working before everyone gets up, limiting calls or Skype to one per day and development/website testing is done at the crack of dawn or after dinner until it’s done. Very fun activities are from mid morning to early evening.

Is copyright extension a welcome change?

In 1998, the Copyright Term Extension Act more popularly known as the ‘Sonny Bono Act’ or ‘Mickey Mouse Protection Act’ (due to its fierce lobbying by Walt Disney and Sonny Bono’s wife, Mary Bono) extended copyright terms in the United States by 20 years. This enactment helped large corporations with exceedingly valued copyrights succeed in delaying protected works from entering into the public domain until 2019.

Continue reading “Is copyright extension a welcome change?”

Crowdfunding And Public Solicitation

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) finally lifted its 80 year restriction on advertising for Regulation D offerings. What does this mean? Unregistered companies trying to raise capital that were previously banned from seeking funding from the public at large through public solicitation can do so now in the form of equity crowd funding.

Continue reading “Crowdfunding And Public Solicitation”

Meet Our Newest Member to the Traker Team

The Traklight team continues to grow so we thought we’d share a little bit about our newest member to the Traklight team, Kenady Sorenson.  Kenady was involved in the start-up community by taking ASU’s Rapid Start Up classes and graduated with a BA in Poli Sci and Spanish.  Kenady hopes to bring customer service, sales, and all things ops to a new level as a Traker!

What I learned about IP before I started at Traklight?

I googled it, I wiki’d it, I snooped around …I also found an MIT course on IP, it was a bit outdated, yet I was still in over my head! I learned IP can be seriously tricky business. It is so very important to protect your ideas and creations. When I got a chance to play around with the ID Your IP section of Traklight, I realized how important it is to have such a user-friendly tool for IP discovery!

Something about me that would be a surprise to learn

I absolutely love cars; fast cars, old school muscle cars, and new shiny sports cars. From the noise of a throaty engine to the simplicity of washing the car, beautiful vehicles have been known to bring a tear to my eye!  I also wish to own a drive-in movie theatre someday too!

Any deep dark secrets that are past statute of limitations

This one time, in prison …. no, no, just kidding! I have no secrets! 

If you were alone in the car by yourself, what song would you sing and why? The answer to this is – any and all songs! I also frequently talk back to talk radio!



Spotlight on Indiegogo

For those of you oblivious to the concept of crowd funding, it is steadily growing as a model of financing small businesses and other endeavours. Indiegogo as a crowdfunding website makes use of social networking platforms to give easy accessibility to a vast pool of investors who typically put up small amounts into projects that appeal to them. According to Slava Rubin, who co-founded Indiegogo with Danae Ringelmann and Eric Schell in 2008, one does not need a ‘right’ time or detailed business plan to pursue something one is deeply passionate about. The website has given various ventures – including films, charities, businesses and recordings – a means to raise money and attract potential customers from a global audience.


Indiegogo really makes it as simple as just visiting their website and telling people about what one is doing, how they can help and what is in it for them. The best part is that one can start immediately! They do not sieve through the campaigns to decide which ones get featured on the website, because in their opinion every idea deserves a chance! Creating a campaign is absolutely free of cost and the website only gets a share once the campaign starts raising money. Compared to other crowd funding websites, Indiegogo charges as low as a 4% fee on a successful campaign that has reached its monetary goal. They take great pride in their 24 hours customer service. However, their most popular feature which has attracted many users to create campaigns is the proprietary “Gogofactor”, an algorithm used by the website that evaluates key characteristics and activity on each campaign, thereby providing a merit-based determination of the campaigns that get featured on the homepage.


On the other hand, investors can look forward to the satisfaction of having supported a cause that they care about or a project that sparks their interest while being offered a series of perks that range from simple T-shirts and mugs to  being featured in the credits or having their faces animated into movies sponsored! By allowing payment via PayPal, Amazon, direct credit cards and checks, Indiegogo bolsters its funder-friendliness. Their anti-fraud systems are consistently involved in identifying and eliminating fraudulent activities and scams.


They share our vision of practicing safe crowd-funding and as such we have proudly partnered with them to promote the same. Traklight is organizing a free educational webinar, “Avoiding Mistakes and Preparing for Equity Crowdfunding” on the 17th of September in part with Indiegogo and Crowdnetic.

For more information and to register for this eventclick here.

Tech Cocktail Social 2013

Tech Cocktail Phoenix Social has ended and if you missed it, you missed not only learning about a lot of fun companies that are starting up here in AZ, but also about our growing tech community.  The event provided some of these entrepreneurs an opportunity to pitch in front of a crowd for the first time.  It also allowed many to see, first hand, the incredibly supportive group that came out to encourage those pitching.

Two companies were selected by the team at Tech Cocktail to represent Arizona at the national Tech Cocktail Celebrate event held October 23-25 in Las Vegas.  Those companies are: DucoTrax, a “Cloud based inventory management platform that enables businesses to have the “Right inventory at the Right time” and TheraSpecs, “precision tinted, thoughtfully designed eyewear that filter out the harmful light that causes eyestrain, headaches, and migraines.”  Each team receives a Visa gift card to help defray the cost of travel to Las Vegas, a Traklight ID Your IP and IP Vault gift certificate and more.

My Counterpane was selected as the crowd favorite and received a ‘startup gift bag’ which included a $50 Uber ride credit.


Stay tuned….we’re looking at brining Tech Cocktail back in the spring of 2014!


A big thank you to all those who attended as well as our sponsors for Tech Cocktail Phoenix:


Starup Arizona


Quarles & Brady

Silicon Valley Bank



TCSocial Phoenix Sep4