Top 10 Rookie Mistakes For Start-Ups (a 10-part series)

December 12, 2014
Rookie Mistake No 4: Failure to Develop a Capital Funding Plan

Most entrepreneurs grossly underestimate the amount of capital they will need for their company and raising capital can be a daunting proposition. The first issue can be easily remedied with a little help from mentors and experienced professionals with a strong financial acumen. Designing a credible pro-forma budget on a spreadsheet is essential for any start-up. Not only do investors look at this to see how the entrepreneur thinks, but also, this prepares a reality check for the fundraising plan, dilution and scale requirements for founders to plan for their exit number. You also need to be passionate about Newco even when people say no (and they will tell you no, time and time again- the industry average is 20 passes before receiving a commitment to fund).
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Gerber Falls Behind The 8-Ball With The FTC

November 12, 2014
Promoting the marginal value of consumer products can sometimes pose issues for brands when navigating deceptive advertising claims. While the practice of puffing is widely used by brands to induce a favorable emotional response to a new product, there is a clear line that should not be crossed. Particularly, when a brand touts features or characteristics of a product that provide some sort of quantifiable benefit, the asserted claims always need to be substantiated in order to avoid running afoul of FTC Act and various state unfair and deceptive trade practice laws.
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Top 10 Rookie Mistakes For Start-Ups (a 10-part series)

October 12, 2014
Rookie Mistake #3: Failing to Build a Credible Team

Have you ever heard that investors invest in the jockey, not the horse? This means that building a strong team is essential for attracting venture capital. While Wazniac and Jobs each had their own talents, they needed to build a team before they could actually raise money from Mike Markkula. Two guys in a garage can only go so far. Founders typically fall into two camps…the salesperson and the technical genius. Rarely are they one and the same because personalities lend to different skill sets. Given that a company requires strategy, salesmanship, operational discipline, financial acumen and technical prowess, building a well-rounded team is critical for the success of any startup.
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How Burying Automatic Renewal Disclosures in Your Terms of Service Can Lead To Dire Consequences

October 12, 2014
You wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. This nightmare was the worst. Imagine if you had to return years of revenues to all of your customers. Your company would be ruined! If you operate or work for a company that offers subscription-based services, charge recurring fees, or use automatically recurring orders to California consumers, you may want to pay attention and review your business practices.
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Top 10 Rookie Mistakes For Startups (a 10-part Series): Rookie Mistake No 2

September 12, 2014
Rookie Mistake #2. Not Having a Scalable Business Model

If you can breathe, you can have an idea. Believe me, we have lots of them….millions in a lifetime, if not more. The problem I see with most entrepreneurs is that they think too small about their business model so that they constitute a nice niche business, but not a company. There is a huge difference. Focus is important, but the upside has to be attractive for venture capital and potential acquirers.
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Top 10 Rookie Mistakes For Startups (A 10-part Series): Rookie Mistake No. 1

August 12, 2014
Rookie Mistake # 1: Handing Out Start-up Equity like M&M's

OK… cash is tight with your start-up and people don’t work for free. So what’s the cheapest form of start-up currency? You guessed it… Unfortunately, rookie entrepreneurs tend to wreak havoc on their cap table, which is a major turnoff for investors. True, equity is cheap until it’s actually worth something. But imagine how hard it is to claw back equity promises or commitments when you need to actually grow up and be a real company? Entrepreneurs need to be judicious with their equity early on and only reserve it for major contributors to the company who will have an on-going role post-funding.
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The Skins On The Skids: What It Means For The Washington Redskins to Lose Their Marks

June 12, 2014
Since 1932, the Washington Redskins has proven to be a notable NFL franchise, winning thirteen NFL Division titles, six NFL conference championships and three Superbowls. Notwithstanding this institution's 82-year history, however, on June 17, 2014, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ("TTAB") cancelled the six Washington Redskins trademarks registrations issued between 1967 and 1990.
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Sweepstakes And Contests Using Social Media And User Generated Content

December 12, 2010
Sweepstakes and contests have arguably been in existence from the time of early human civilization as an incentive-based mechanism to produce a strategic objective. For example, in 1809 Napoleon Bonaparte offered a prize of 12,000 francs to the person who invented a more effective method of storing food. The winner, Nicolas Francois Appert, submitted the method of boiling and sealing food in glass bottles (which soon were replaced with tin cans), which made food portable and killed microbes that would cause spoilage, enabling Napoleon’s army to continue their conquests across central Europe.
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Victory For Video Games

March 12, 2009
I had previously written an article in November 2005 regarding In reaction to Governor Schwarzenegger’s A.B. 1179, making it illegal for the sale of a “violent video game(s)” to anyone under the age of 18. The Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA) and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) had filed suit to seek judicial determination that the statute was unconstitutional....
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VOD or Time Shifting? The Cablevision Appeal

August 12, 2008
In May 2006 Cablevision proposed to launch a new DVR offering whereby subscribers could store their time shifted content on Cablevision’s remote servers on a “locker” type partitioned hard drive. This “remote Storage DVR System” would enable Cablevision to offer scalable DVR services to its customers without incurring the hardware expense for upgrading. Essentially, the cable box would control distribution of content, while Cablevision could remotely store a subscriber’s time shifted programming for viewing at the subscriber’s discretion. Cablevision did not seek a separate license from content owners for this service....
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Grokster on Remand: The Implications to Peer-to-Peer Social Networks

November 12, 2007
While most attorneys in the new media / IP practice are very familiar with the Supreme Court’s ruling in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd. 545 U.S. 913 (2005) 380 F.3d 1154 the recent lower court order for permanent injunction warrants some attention. Having written several articles related to the safe harbor rules of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the effect of the District Court’s holding on User Generated Content social networking sites would appear extremely relevant for technology and IP practitioners...
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California V. Video Games

November 12, 2005
Video Gaming Under Attack In California

In reaction to Governor Schwartzenegger’s signing into law A.B. 1179, which is slated to go into effect January 1, 2006, the Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA) and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) have filed suit to seek judicial determination that the statute is unconstitutional....
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State Coffers Make Land Grab For E-Commerce

June 12, 2005
Due to concerted lobbying efforts of the E-Commerce industry, Congress
has historically upheld the moratorium on state taxes attributed to e-commerce sales. According to Forrestor, in 2004, US e-commerce transactions have been estimated at $3.5 Trillion. Consequently, state taxing authorities have been angling for the opportunity to levy taxes against the online industry to beef up state coffers. With state budget deficits increasing, state taxing authorities are on the offensive to capture e-commerce revenues....
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The Future of Keying in SEO

August 12, 2004
Over the past few years, the search engine optimization practice of “keying” has been an integral component to various online marketing initiatives and proven to drive brand awareness and traffic to commercial web sites....
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A Hand in The Cookie Jar For Ad Agencies: Copyright Claim Against Chiat Day

February 12, 2004
In February 2004 celebrity rap singer Eminem filed a federal copyright infringement action filed in US Federal District Court (6th District) against Apple, Viacom and their advertising agency TBWA/Chiat Day. This past month, the case has sustained the first round of defenses and should proceed to trial unless first settled by the parties. Eminem alleges that Apple’s MTV and web broadcast advertisement depicting a ten year old singing the Oscar-winning theme song to the film “8 Mile” to promote iPod and iTunes infringes upon his copyrights.
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