Business & Employment Law Attorney
866-693-5541 | 303-424-4286

Denver Business and Commercial Law Blog

Alphabet asserts third patent claim against Uber

Colorado residents may be aware of the ongoing legal dispute between Alphabet and Uber about self-driving car technology. Alphabet, the parent company of Google, previously filed an intellectual property lawsuit against Uber, and the company has now added a patent claim to its complaint.

Waymo, the self-driving car division of Alphabet, filed the lawsuit. It alleges that a former employee stole 14,000 files of confidential information about technology for detecting light and sensing ranges that is used in autonomous vehicles. In its original complaint, Waymo alleged that Uber infringed on two of its patents. The complaint was amended to add a third patent.

The importance of a business plan for funding in Colorado

A number of individuals who have great ideas for new products never obtain the funding they are seeking. One reason for this may be that they have created workable product plans but not full business plans. In reality, both are essential parts of starting up a successful organization.

Generally speaking, a business plan should tell someone not familiar with a business how it will run, and it will go over a wide range of things. Good plans should cover things like funding, financial projections and business strategies. These plans should also include some information about market competition and how this business' product is better or more attractive than ones made by other organizations.

What to do when the business hits a standstill

From time to time, even the most successful companies can experience a lull in growth. Colorado business owners experiencing similar troubles may find the following tips helpful.

Sometimes competition, a slow economy and market changes can bring occasional roadblocks to business owners. Other times, customer expectations and demands change or technology shifts, causing growth to taper off and producing a lull in a company's activity. At this point, business owners should consider making some changes that could revive their organizations and cause them to flourish again.

Businesses outside major cities may struggle for venture capital

Venture capital may be less accessible for investors in Colorado and other locations outside of the Silicon Valley, according to one report. It found that almost half of every dollar of venture capital goes to Silicon Valley. Los Angeles, New York and Boston receive almost a third of all investments, so there is less than 25 cents of each dollar remaining for the rest of the country. In 2015, five states didn't receive any venture capital investments.

Entrepreneurs report a geographical bias for the coastal cities, and an individual in St. Louis was advised to say he was moving to San Francisco. If venture capital investors expanded their geography, many smaller communities throughout the country could see enormous economic benefits.

Thinking like a business owner

Colorado workers who are transitioning from employee to business owner may find it difficult to get used to their new role. However, new business owners can take advantage of certain strategies to make the adjustment easier.

Entrepreneurs should use their businesses' overall purpose to guide all their actions. The objective should go beyond making money or being able to work one's own hours. The ideal business purpose should instead focus on the customer.

More metro-area businesses are closing than opening

Colorado entrepreneurs who are interested in starting their own businesses should be aware of the results of a report that has been released by the Economic Innovation Group. It showed that in 2014, the most recent year with available data, there were more company closures that startups in two-thirds of all metropolitan areas around the country.

The number of startups had surpassed that of business closures every year for decades even during slow periods. However, the economic downturn in 2008 caused these figures to reverse. While it's normal for recessions to slow the growth of new businesses, recovery from the last one has been especially weak. For example, the report reveals that in 2014, there were still 182,000 fewer businesses than in 2007. This decrease in the formation of new enterprises has led to a phenomenon where more Americans than ever before are working for established companies.

Pointers to help entrepreneurs raise venture capital

In order to become successful, small business owners in Colorado and across the country need capital, but securing it may be difficult. There is some advice available for entrepreneurs who are just starting out and need venture capital to help them reach their business goals.

Since venture capital involves venture capitalists having an active role in the business, entrepreneurs who finance their companies this way must be willing to accept constructive criticism and advice from another person or people with business experience. In fact, entrepreneurs could possibly lose absolute control over their companies' activities and even the directions they take since venture capitalists will only distribute funds as each business goal and milestone is reached.

Using competitive insights to succeed in business

Colorado entrepreneurs in Colorado may be able to learn a lot by watching the activities of other businesses. For example, the new 'basic economy" class that United Airlines has announced may be interesting to analyze. Whether the new budget option helps United Airlines to grow or cannibalizes the airline's higher-priced options is yet to be seen. Whatever happens, it's clear that United Airlines is taking a cue from competitors that have already started to sell cheap, no-frills tickets.

Many business owners view their competitors as their rivals, but this mindset is not always productive. Instead of getting bitter about a competitor's successes and happy about its failures, an entrepreneur can simply learn from what a competitor does. Taking the time to analyze what a company did right or did wrong can lead to competitive insights that are very valuable.

Trademark Trial and Appeal Board clarifies family of marks

Some Colorado businesses want to trademark a family of marks that they have been using in their advertising. In order to better understand what is required to do so, business owners might want to be aware of a case involving Little Caesar's.

The pizza chain was told that its use of repeated words, such as 'Pizza! Pizza!' or 'Deep! Deep!" are not families of marks within trademark law. According to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, the chain's repeated use of the terms does not rise to meet the definition of a family of marks. The board outlined what is required for families of marks to reach a level of distinctiveness, however.

Crowdfunding could be a valuable tool for entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs in Colorado have traditionally found it difficult to compete for venture capital funding with nascent companies located in major business centers like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, but the growing popularity of crowdfunding could be helping to level the playing field for them, according to a study. Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley and Yale University looked at business startup projects listed on the crowdfunding website Kickstarter, and they discovered that these offerings were often of great interest to venture capital firms.

According to the study, which was published by the online journal Science on Dec. 23, firms that provide seed capital often look to websites like Kickstarter for ideas and to gauge how well a company is likely to perform. The researchers say that when the number of Kickstarter projects being offered in a given area increases by 1 percent, a similar increase in venture capital activity will likely be observed the following year. The researchers focused mainly on technology crowdfunding offers and ignored arts-related opportunities like film projects.