Start-up Legal Talk

 

Silicon Valley Startup Ecosystem

 

A patentable invention must be new, useful, inconspicuous and relevant to the patentable subject as well as not barred from any grant were some of the pertinent pointers shared by Mr Miku H. Mehta, a legal practitioner.  Together with Mr Roger C. Rappoport, both Partners at Procopio, they enlightened Singapore start-ups on the legal environment when venturing into Silicon Valley startup scene.


 Organised by SiTF’s 123JumpStart, ‘Understanding the Silicon Valley Startup Ecosystem & Corporate and Intellectual Property Views’ was held on 16 Feb, 2017. Mr Mehta and Mr Rappoport shared their knowledge on the planning steps local companies must be aware of when in Silicon Valley.


Mr Miku (left) sharing about the IP Law

On Intellectual Property (IP), Mr Mehta discussed the various types of IP (eg. Patent, Trade Secret, Trademark and Copyright). It was well noted that an applicant must first obtain a patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office which entails a lengthy and expensive examination process, usually 2-3 years, unless accelerated.

Here are Mr Mehta’s nuggets of wishdom for the startups working towards a patent:

  1. Need for Speed – first in line wins!
  2. New Defensive Opportunities
  3. File Provisional Applications
  4. Prior Art Search Strategy
  5. Disclosure Policy
    1. Companies Must Protect First, Disclose Later
      1. NDA with potential customers, etc.
      2. “Public” Announcements

 

Mr Rappoport whose practice focuses on venture capital and angel investor financing, provided valuable insights on the 5 strategies to success. He shared his personal observations on the common mistakes startups make. He emphasized on the need to avoid substantial stake dilution, a situation where a founder has little control over the business and smaller upside on exit.

Here are Mr Rappoport’s 5 F’s to success:

  1. FUNDING STRATEGY: Develop an appropriate Funding Strategy to fit the business and particular circumstances. In order to do so, you will ultimately have to develop a Product Roadmap, Sales & Marketing Strategy and an IP Strategy.
  2. FUNDING SOURCES: Identify the appropriate Funding Sources to match the Funding Strategy
  3. FUNDING INSTRUMENT: Identify the appropriate Funding Instrument to match the Funding Source
  4. FUNDING PARTNER: Identify and select the right Funding Partner to match your needs (Bus Dev? Scaling? Access to acquirers?)
  5. FULLY NEGOTIATE: Fully Negotiate the Term Sheet with a clear understanding of the terms and their long term economic impact and implications on who controls the company.


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Mr Roger sharing about startup funding issues


Attendees were full of praise for the event. Betty from Miao Technology found the talk informative, useful and hopes to attend more of such event. Leong from DTS noted that both speakers were of high calibre.

SiTF 123JumpStart would like to thank Mr Mehta and Mr Rappoport for sharing their invaluable experience and knowledge.

 

Digital Economy Innovation Immersion Programme

Nanyang Technopreneurship Center (NTC) is organizing a “Digital Economy Innovation Immersion Programme” to Silicon Valley in March 2017. Eligible applicants can enjoy up to S$ 5000 subsidy. This event is supported by IE Singapore.

For more info, please visit: http://blogs.ntu.edu.sg/edpntc/deiiip/

 


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