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MoFo Tech A blog dedicated to information, trend spotting & analysis for science- & tech-based companies

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Show Them the Money

SecondMarket provides new liquidity options for startup investors and employees The listless IPO and M&A markets have not been friends to young companies this past decade.  “The median time from a company’s initial funding to either an IPO or an M&A exit has nearly doubled since 2000, with IPO exits now taking around nine years,”… Continue Reading

Re Advertising: Public Input on Online Privacy

In late February the Obama administration unveiled a “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights,” drawn up by a U.S. Department of Commerce task force, based on principles including individual control, transparency, respect for context, and security. This Thursday, July 12th, the Department of Commerce will bring together companies, privacy advocates, academics, and other stakeholders in the… Continue Reading

To Catch a Thief

Trade secrets: now more enforceable— and more important When Bloomberg released its list of the 10 biggest intellectual property verdicts of 2011, the most noteworthy thing about it may have been that the jury award total was twice that of 2010.  The second-most noteworthy: the two largest verdicts weren’t for patent infringement but trade secret… Continue Reading

The End of Fishing Season

For companies daunted by the high cost of intellectual property litigation, some relief may be at hand in the form of proposed limits on the discovery process. A council that advises the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit last year decried the use of discovery as a “tactical weapon.”  It pinpointed the increasing… Continue Reading

Risk & Responsibility

New corporate form lets companies pursue sustainability with less chance of backlash In January, the California legislature created a new kind of company: the Flexible Purpose Corporation.  This is the latest effort to create a corporation targeting social purposes alongside shareholder value.  The traditional corporate form does not prevent companies from pursuing social goals; the… Continue Reading

Biosimilars: On a Different Path

Brand-new FDA guidelines have created a long-awaited shortcut for bringing biosimilars—cheaper versions of biologically derived pharmaceuticals—to the U.S. market. But the pathway won’t be nearly as straightforward as the one for generic versions of less complex, chemically based drugs that was created under the Hatch-Waxman Act in 1984. Unlike the Hatch-Waxman route, the biosimilar guidelines… Continue Reading

Rolling in the Deep: Piracy might get the headlines, but industry problems—and solutions—run much deeper

Shortly after the rude arrival of Napster, the pioneering peer-to-peer file-sharing site, in 1999, this uninvited guest was eating the music industry’s lunch and eyeing its supper too.  Within a year, Napster could offer Madonna’s single, “Music,” even before its commercial release, and by 2001 it had more than 26 million users worldwide.  Adverse court… Continue Reading

California Goes Nontoxic: The state passes an unprecedented green initiative

Continuing its tradition of cutting-edge environmental reform, California is close to releasing a series of regulations for the use of toxic chemicals in everyday consumer products.  The state has chosen to build an ambitious new system from the ground up that will call on manufacturers, importers, retailers, and others to limit or even ban certain… Continue Reading

From .com to .younameit

As a semiconductor manufacturer, how would you—or your competitor— like the exclusive right to the Web domain suffix “.chip”?  The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is accepting applications for new generic top-level domains that can be comprised of virtually any name or number string.  Top trademarks and brands have taken notice.  “Some trademark… Continue Reading

Who’s in Charge Here?

Executives face liability for crimes they don’t know about  Legal principles traditionally shield corporate officers and employees from criminal liability for violations by their companies in which they did not take part.  An exception is the Responsible Corporate Officer Doctrine, or RCOD, which holds executives criminally liable for corporate activities that occur on their watch—even if… Continue Reading

Patent Pending: Shifts in patent law, and their impact extend beyond the America Invents Act

Once upon a time, patents were supposed to reward—and protect—innovation. That was before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (or PTO) got snowed under with applications, slowing the patent process to a crawl.  Before the PTO started issuing streams of patents that many viewed as vague and overly broad.  And before so-called nonpracticing entities, or… Continue Reading

FAQs: The America Invents Act

Could the America Invents Act help reduce the backlog of patents pending before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office? The PTO has long suffered from budgetary shortfalls, resulting in a backlog of some 670,000 applications.  The AIA gives the PTO the right to boost its fees and keep at least some of its own funding. … Continue Reading

Power to the People: Saving energy by sharing information

Social media adoption is increasing rapidly. So why not leverage this trend to realize a desired social outcome, like energy savings? That’s the inspiration behind a joint effort between San Francisco-based startup Opower, Facebook, and the National Resources Defense Council’s new app that empowers people to reduce their use of energy. Leveraging the Facebook platform,… Continue Reading

Keep Control in the Cloud: Good governance practices in the cloud reduce future risks and costs

More companies are implementing cloud-computing solutions, lured by the promise of lower costs and the ability to adjust capacity as needed.  While many companies have focused on cost, flexibility, and security when choosing their vendors, they shouldn’t overlook governance, or the degree of control the company can exert over its own data.  Good governance is… Continue Reading

China: Innovation for Sale

The Chinese government has been encouraging overseas pharmaceutical companies to outsource R&D to Chinese firms—part of an effort to move into more high-value work.  The draw: a growing, cost-effective bioscience talent pool made up of both local graduates and “sea turtles” who went to U.S. universities and returned, according to Morrison & Foerster partner Gordon… Continue Reading