Nutter Convenes Cutting-Edge Speakers on Legal & Business Strategies of “The Innovation Economy”Print PDF
Nutter McClennen & Fish hosted the TechLaw Spring Meeting in its offices, with international experts offering advanced legal and business strategies to assist emerging companies and investors. Speakers shared insights on complex and often controversial issues such as new investment models, intellectual property, non-competes, and government support as they pertain to high tech and life science emerging companies.
Phil Budden, Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management, delivered the morning keynote session on his research around the importance of defining and supporting “innovation ecosystems,” holistic environments conducive to entrepreneurial opportunity in the innovation economy. Diane Hessan, CEO of the Startup Institute, provided a luncheon keynote that was equally informative and humorous. She recounted her personal journey of entrepreneurship and how she confronted challenges every innovation businessperson faces: moving an idea from vision to execution, determining the right strategy for scaling up, planning an exit strategy, and how to best leverage past experiences into new ventures.
Panels of experts provided insights on critical issues facing companies in the innovation economy. Nutter attorneys working at the forefront of high tech and life science industries led each panel:
- Christopher Mirabile, Co-Managing Director, Launchpad Venture Group and Chairman-elect, Angel Capital Association; Kevin Bitterman, Partner, Polaris Partners; and Alon Sahar, Meitar Liquornik Geva Leshem Tal of Tel Aviv discussed innovative investment structures such as convertible debt and SAFEs, and focused on the differences between venture capital and angel investors. The diverse panel brought together unique perspectives on international trends around financing, including the hot topic of runaway valuations and whether the current biotech boom is indicative of a new tech bubble. The panel was led by Nutter partner Jeremy Halpern.
- Ronald Cahill, chair of Nutter’s IP Litigation Group, led a panel which explored how companies in the innovation economy are monetizing intellectual capital in different ways. Recognizing that startups in the innovation space often rely on patents to be competitive, but that the current patent process can create many hurdles for emerging companies, the conversation brought forward new models for protecting and leveraging intellectual property such as patent trusts and open source. Randall Colson, Haynes and Boone, LLP; Eduardo Castillo, Gómez-Acebo & Pombo of Madrid; and Dirk Wieddekind, Taylor Wessing LLP of Hamburg served as panelists.
- C.A. Webb, Executive Director, New England Venture Capital Association; Jennifer Lloyd Kelly, Fenwick & West LLP; and David Rubin of Nutter examined emerging issues surrounding the balance between human capital and intellectual capital in today’s information economy and the legal strategies to meet these new challenges. The discussion gave new insights on non-competition agreements, use of trade secrets, and “work for hire” issues. The attorneys from Massachusetts, a state that allows non-competition agreements, and California, where they are illegal, compared strategies for how companies in different innovation environments can recruit top talent while protecting trade secrets.
- Michelle Basil, chair of Nutter’s Life Sciences Group, led the final panel on public/private partnership. Susan Windham-Bannister, PhD, President & CEO, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, Scott Bailey, Managing Director, MassChallenge; Mitchell B. Weiss, Senior Lecturer of Business Administration, Harvard Business School; and John Menton, Arthur Cox of Dublin reviewed smart strategies for start-ups that combine available government support with private capital. The panelists looked at how emerging companies can secure grants and loans from state and federal governments as well as seek out accelerators and sovereign venture funds. The panel also engaged in lively discussion about what truly drives innovation and growth in a sector—lucrative tax breaks or investments in public infrastructure and services to draw in talent.
“As attorneys working with early stage companies and start-ups, it is crucial that we can help our clients pursue the strategies that work best for them in the rapidly evolving global business climate,” said Nutter partner Jeremy Halpern, the director of business development for the firm’s Emerging Companies Group. “Organizations like TechLaw allow us to serve our clients better by sharing the very latest insights and strategies that will help early stage companies get to market faster and achieve the outcomes they want in a highly competitive environment.”
TechLaw Group, Inc. is an international network of law firms dedicated to enhancing the practice of technology law through sharing of best practices, exchange of new ideas, and access to more than 8,100 lawyers in more than 35 countries.
About Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
The law firm of Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP represents an international roster of innovative clients involved in a range of sophisticated technologies in the medical device, biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, as well as renowned medical institutions and research universities, emerging growth companies and angel and venture capital firms. The firm was co-founded by Louis D. Brandeis and has been in continuous practice for 135 years.