U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case Addressing Key Patent Question


At Founders Workbench, we try to provide regular updates of court decisions and other legal developments that may impact start-up founders. Patents have been a particular area of focus in these updates because of their central importance to the business model of so many of our start-up clients. If your company operates in the technology of software industry, it’s likely that you will benefit from an understanding of what’s happening with regard to patent law, regulation, and litigation.


Recently the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case addressing an important patent question. Goodwin Procter litigation partners, and former Supreme Court clerks, Willy Jay and J. Anthony Downs have written an insightful Client Alert that we wanted to flag for FWB readers because it examines an important issue that start-ups and other companies may encounter in patent infringement cases.

Founders Flash


Google Compliance and SEO


Google is constantly evolving its search engine algorithms to vanquish spam and black hat SEO practices. As a result of recent changes, companies are making major investments to bring their websites back in line with Google’s best practices. While the cost of rewrites seem unreasonable, keeping up with SEO is essential to beat competitors. Chris Abraham, a web strategy consultant, outlines what your company should be thinking about in terms of organic search optimization, and how to approach a new SEO strategy.


Read more from “Your competitors are doing SEO” (Biznology).

Founders University: Corporate Governance

Welcome back to Founders University, our core curriculum designed to provide start-up company founders with the basics they’ll need to get their company off the ground.

In our first session, we covered the basic differences between a C corporation and an S corporation. For our second session of Founders University, we share an overview of corporate governance by Goodwin Procter partner Dave Cappillo. In this course, Dave highlights the basics of a corporation’s governance structure, including the role and responsibilities of both shareholders and the Board of Directors.

Sharpen your pencils, let’s go back to class!

Founders Flash


Some highlights from this week’s articles:


“The falls of Fab and Aereo underscore the importance of taking some liquidity along the way if you can. It’s good common sense to not have your net worth concentrated in a single, risky, illiquid investment.” – How to Protect Yourself From Your Startup’s Failure, Atish Davda, Inc.


“If you are not passionate about what you are building, you might as well pack up your bags right now, as your startup will never work.” – The Top 4 Reasons Passion Drives Startup Success, George Deeb, Forbes


“Sometimes, investors are so desperate to put money into a company that they’ll cave to a founder’s demands. Other times, offering founders a few million dollars can be a smart way to keep them incentivized.” – Whisper Is A Startup That’s Raised $60 Million — Here’s How Much Money The 26-Year-Old CEO Has Kept For Himself, Alyson Shontell, Business Insider

Bob Bishop and Amber Dolman Discuss FinTech Expertise in Banker & Tradesman


Goodwin Procter partners Bob Bishop and Amber Dolman recently sat for a question-and-answer session with Banker & Tradesman magazine, providing insights into the firm’s recently expanded FinTech Practice in a November edition of the magazine.


As co-leaders of the group, which counsels clients in both the technology and financial services industries, Bishop and Dolman offer a unique perspective on the ways that technology has impacted the financial services industry and ushered in a new wave of innovation that expands market reach and opens the door for new business opportunities.

Founders Flash

Innovation in Marketing


Innovation is a central focus for marketing teams, but it’s hard to achieve. Part of the problem is that innovation means a lot of different things to different people. A recent survey by Marketo showed what those differences are and where the majority of top marketers agree. Some of the key takeaways were that knowing your customers is the most powerful driver of innovation, that culture and limitations of the business-to-business model are the main barriers, and that technology, research and integration should be priority areas for every business.


Read more from “80% of marketers agree innovation is important — but disagree on what it means” (VentureBeat).

Founders Flash


Our favorite articles from the week discuss Aereo’s bankruptcy plans, examine how immigration reform may affect falling start-up rates, offer eight reasons to launch your start-up outside of Silicon Valley, and analyze what Spain’s new tax bill means for the start-up ecosystem.


Happy reading!

Caine Moss and Emma Mann-Meginniss Offer Founder-friendly Financing Tips to VentureBeat Community


Goodwin Procter attorneys and Founders Workbench contributors, Caine Moss and Emma Mann-Meginniss, recently wrote an article explaining founder-favorable terms to work towards when forming and financing new ventures. Posted to technology news site VentureBeat, the article offers useful tips for founders to consider when negotiating with venture investors in the current hot venture-capital and exit markets, including:


  1. Retain control: Supervoting stock
  2. Alternative: Supervoting at the Board Level
  3. Early Liquidity: FF Preferred Stock
  4. Limit the VC’s Control: Voting Control
  5. Greater Ownership: Aggressive Founder Vesting

Bob Bishop Helps Explain the Anatomy of a ‘Series A’ Term Sheet


Many entrepreneurs understand the fundamentals of finance when founding a new company. At the same time, many founders could benefit from a deeper understanding of the typical components of a financing term sheet. To help founders better grasp the key points, Goodwin Procter partner and Founders Workbench contributor Bob Bishop participated in a recent “On Air” Google Hangout hosted by The Capital Network to discuss this topic.


The following is the first in a series of posts that summarize Bob’s discussion. This first post provides some background on convertible debt vs. equity, which is a question that seed stage companies often face in contemplation of their first round

Founders Flash


Our favorite articles from the week discuss the importance of traditional media and how to obtain it. Read more about:


-How to get media coverage for your start-up


-Tactics that will help you stand out as a thought leader


-Exploring problems to actually become a thought leader