Safford & Baker is a proud sponsor of the Savvy Entrepreneur Series brought to you by the Great Lakes Chapter of the MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF). The Series is co-produced with, and hosted by, a number of the regions leading innovation accelerators and research institutions, and provides early to mid-stage technology entrepreneurs with guidance on key topics that all startups must navigate to realize success. Sites include Dearborn, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Flint, Houghton, and Midland, with more to be added in the future. The first event for the 2010-11 Series is tomorrow, Tuesday, October 10, 2011 from 5pm to 8:30pm. A complete list of Series dates and topics follows: October 11, 2011, Tuesday. Intellectual Property: How to protect your precious IP without bankrupting your fledgling enterprise and how to navigate the dreaded NDA with prospective customers and partners. November 8, 2011, Tuesday. Building Great Team: A winning organization is more than the sum of its parts, and a losing one far less. How to recruit, retain, incentivize and inspire employees, advisers, board members and key leaders. January 31, 2012, Tuesday. ACE 2012: 12th gathering of over 500 active and new entrepreneurs to celebrate and connect. February 21, 2012, Tuesday. Angel Investors: What are they looking for, how are they different from venture capitalists and why use them? How do they think about valuation? April 10, 2012, Tuesday. Cash Flow: What is it and how can you maximize it and best practices on how to compensate the executive team to sustain it. Even if you have no cash yet, this is a top priority to ...


Intellectual property is divided into four generally accepted categories: copyrights, trademarks, patents, and trade secrets.  Given the ephemeral nature of intellectual property, many people (including some attorneys) often confuse these terms.  Here are thumbnail explanations of these terms, as defined by statutes and our court system: Copyright:  A copyright is a form of protection granted by law for original works of authorship (including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works; such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture) fixed in a tangible medium of expression.  A copyright generally gives the copyright holder the exclusive right to reproduce the copyrighted work, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work, to perform the copyrighted work publicly, or to display the copyrighted work publicly.  Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation; although it can protect the way these things are expressed.  A work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form, and lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years (or, in the case of a corporation, 100 years).  Although the registration of a copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office is not required, it can provide the copyright holder with additional rights and protections. Trademark:  A trademark is a word, name, symbol or device which is used in trade with goods to identify the source of the goods and to distinguish them from the goods of others.  A servicemark is the same as a trademark except that it identifies and distinguishes the ...


Safford & Baker PLLC in the NEWS.

Our very own Don Baker is quoted in this article appearing in the October 2008 issue of Technology Transfer Tactics.  The article concerns an "inventor" trying to secure a business method patent for a technology commercialization model he claims is novel.  Many others disagree. Money quote: The same goes for Donald H. Baker Jr., managing partner at Safford & Baker PLLC, Bloomfield Hills, MI. There are already foundations that hold entire portfolios for their respective universities doing the very thing Buck envisions, he says, pointing to the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation as an example. Other universities have similar outside "holders" of their IP, he adds, and several private companies employ a similar model. "The patent application is very much non-novel and should be disallowed," he asserts. "The application sounds like a variation in corporate organization, as opposed to creation of something new or beneficial. I think that the business idea is well worth exploring, but the patent spin on it is, to me, unjustified."