Category Archives: General Information

Make the Impossible Possible

I recently read Bill Strickland’s inspiring new book “Make the Impossible Possible“, which describes how Pittsburgh’s Manchester Crafstmen’s Guild grew out of Bill’s vision and passion.  Although the book covers Bill’s activities in the non-profit world, it struck me that Bill has the characteristics of an inventor and entrepreneur.  His book provides a terrific roadmap for inventors and entrepreneurs who want to make their idea a success. Continue reading

Price Detail in a Government Contract can be a Trade Secret

The Freedom of Information Act ordinarily requires public disclosure of government records.  However, there are several exemptions from these requirements.  Exemption 4 of the Freedom of Information Act protects “matters that are . . . trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential.”

The D.C. Circuit recently confirmed that line-item pricing information in a government contract is a trade secret that is exempt from public disclosure.  In Canadian Commerical Corp. v. Dept. of the Air Force (No. 06-5310, Jan. 29, 2007), the court explained that Continue reading

US Presidential Candidates’ Views on Intellectual Property

Now that the field of U.S. presidential candidates is starting to narrow, and with “Super Tuesday” primary elections coming up next week, I found a recent post by Intellectual Property Watch to be very interesting.  In the post, which can be found here, IP Watch summarizes the presidential candidates’ positions on international trade and IP (especially as it relates to China), copyrighted content, Internet neutrality, and the effects of the patent system on generic pharmaceuticals.

If that’s not enough to help you decide who will win your vote, spend a minute or two with the WQAD-TV “select a candidate” online quiz to automatically see which candidate agrees with you the most on issues such as taxes, the war, health care and immigration.  (After taking the quiz, I wonder if my results would be different if WQAD included questions about IP in the survey . . . )

3 Rivers Venture Fair Offers Opportunity for Companies Seeking Capital

The 3 Rivers Venture Fair is in the process of identifying promising, capital-seeking technology and life sciences companies for participation in the 3 Rivers Venture Fair (3RVF) being held April 16 – 18, 2008 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, PA.The event debuted in 2002 and has become one of the most successful investment forums in the northeast. Past featured companies have gone on to raise more than $250 million, collectively, since their participation in this investment showcase. In 2006, 46 percent of the presenting companies were successful in raising capital as a result of the Fair.If you are or know of a technology of life sciences venture that is exciting, innovative and seeking capital, consider encouraging them to apply for a spot on the 3RVF roster.

There is no deadline to apply, but applications are accepted on a rolling basis and once all the spots are gone the process is complete.

This year the Fair is targeting promising ventures from, but not limited to, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, western New York, western Maryland, D.C. and northern Virginia regions.

For more information and to apply online, visit

Best Practices for Maintaining Brand Security – Part 2

When performing due diligence, it often suprises me how often a company claims to have no intellectual property or other intangible assets.  However, even a company with no patents, registered trademarks or registered copyrights will have a significant amount of its value tied to intangible assets such as customer and supplier relationships, reputation, and other elements generally associated with goodwill.  In my last post, I wrote about preventive actions that a company can take to help manage adverse events that can damage a company’s goodwill.  In this post, I’ll discuss actions that a company can take after an adverse event — and hopefully after it took preventive actions — in order to guard against long-term harm to its brand. Continue reading

Best Practices for Maintaining Brand Security – Part 1

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the annual meeting of the Intangible Asset Finance Society.  The meeting provided a forum for panelists and attendees to share ideas about how a company can best protect its intangible assets.  Intangible assets include not only legal assets (patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets) but also other intangible competitive advantages (such as know-how, customer goodwill, and supplier/distributor/collaborative relationships).  Various sources have estimated that intangible assets make up between 65 and 80% of the market value of most S&P 500 companies. 

One of the most interesting discussions related to actions that companies can take to protect the security of valuable brands.  Although registration and enforcement of a trademark is important for brand security, managing the goodwill associated with a brand can be even more important.  Goodwill can have many elements:  reputation, consumer loyalty, perceived ethical standards, and collaborative relationships all factor into the overall perception of a company’s goodwill. 

Goodwill can erode quickly when an adverse event occurs.  We’ve all seen examples of recent challenges to corporate goodwill:  lead paint on toys, harmful bacteria on produce, external tampering with pharmaceutical packaging, potentially illegal activity by employees, accidental disclosure of customers’ personal information.  How well a company recovers its goodwill in such a situation depends in large part on the company’s preparation for such an event.

The panel discussed many actions that a company can take in order to protect its brand security.  Recommendations included: Continue reading

Best Practices for Intangible Asset Finance

The Intangible Asset Finance Society will hold its annual meeting on September 24-26, 2007 in the Syracuse, NY area.  This year’s sessions will focus on intangible asset finance best practices, including best practices for managing intellectual property, security and other assets.  Only a few registrations remain available for the meeting.  For IAFS membership and meeting details, click here.