Many clients have come to adopt us as their outside general counsel, particularly scaling tech and social impact enterprises. As a result, we’ve come to identify as the GC+ firm. We offer the accessibility and advocacy of a general counsel, but with greater resources, as well as distributed and enhanced legal and market inputs.

Business Organizations
Commercialization
Copyrights
Patents
Trademarks
Litigation

BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS

A business organization is a life form in and to itself – an evolving, personable entity with rights and responsibilities – legally in some senses and practically in others. As caretaker and beneficiary of this organization, you want to nurture it to its maximum potential. Accelerators and incubators everywhere are teaching SELL, SELL, SELL, AND SCALE, SCALE, SCALE, but few of them are teaching COMPLY, FORMALIZE, ORGANIZE. That’s where we come in.

Compliance
It’s one thing to establish a business entity, it’s another thing entirely to conduct good corporate governance. Without proper operations, your corporation or LLC can be exposed to unnecessary liability. Your business’ state of jurisdiction, type of structure, board makeup, stock class profile, any many other variables all bear heavily on how your business should be run, and how that running should be recorded. We help businesses implement necessary structures and operations to maintain effectiveness, limit liability exposure, and position for desirable investment and acquisition.

Contracts
There are the money clauses and then there are the non-money money clauses. The non-money money clauses are those that often catch parties by surprise, overlooked as downstream or low-probability hypotheticals that don’t impact immediate ‘my dollar for your baseball card’ terms. These clauses include legalese like indemnification, setoff, venue and jurisdiction, notice, warranties, covenants, representations, etc. Our attorneys have gone toe-to-toe with Google, Samsung, IBM, Honeywell, Synthetic Genomics, you name it, and we’ve been exposed to perhaps all the tricks that skew a fair term sheet into a bad deal. We help businesses negotiate not only the best terms but also the best contracts to ensure today’s closing doesn’t mean tomorrow’s closure.

Filings
Just because you live in D.C. doesn’t mean your company should be chartered in D.C. – you may be better off as a Delaware corporation…or public benefit corporation…or public benefit LLC. Well, you see where this is going. Where and how to organize your business is critical to your market objectives. We can help you evaluate the pros and cons of certain formations vs others, optimizing your business’ potential for success.

M&A
Our theory is that if you must have 100+ pages of fine print gobblety-gook surrounding an asset transaction, why not make sure that gobbledy-gook sufficiently protects you after the fact so that you never had to gobblety-see it again. For technology companies in particular, IP is a critical component of the due diligence process. Fortunately, that’s our specialty. We’ll help you evaluate your position in a potential purchase or sale, and follow through with all the proper negotiations, disclosures, and formalities.

COMMERCIALIZATION

Our attorneys are experienced commercialization agents. We’ve dealt with companies like Affymetrix, Atomic Energy, BASF, Intuitive Surgical, and Lockheed Martin, to transition early stage inventions out of academic and federal labs and into products that benefit society. In representing licensors, licensees, and spinouts, we know how to work the various angles, financials, and regulations that make open innovation practical.

CRADAs: Cooperative Research and Development Agreements
Hundreds of U.S. federal labs use CRADAs as mechanisms for collaborative R&D. Consequently, there are thousands of nuances to this federal template as each lab adopts its own variations to sections like data control and intellectual property rights. If you’re looking to collaborate with the Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Energy (DOE), National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), or other federal research agency, we can help you secure the best possible terms in the best possible timing. We’ll also help you avoid unnecessary red tape and collaboration landmines that might prevent you from fully exploiting the innovations arising out of your collaboration.

Licensing
Whether in-licensing or out-licensing, whether dealing for patents, trademarks, or copyrights, we’ll help you secure the terms you need for freedom of operation, optimal monetization, or collaborative iteration.

SBIR: Small Business Innovation Research / STTR: Small Business Technology Transfer
The SBIR + STTR programs are coordinated efforts among federal agencies to enable small businesses (<500 employees) to develop processes, technologies, and tools relevant to the missions or particular needs of the respective granting agencies. Our attorneys and agents have served on review panels and assisted awardees on partnerships, IP strategies, patent filings, and regulatory approvals at every level. We can help you at the earliest stages position your company for growth with this valuable source of non-dilutive funding.

Sponsored Research
Indirect costs, royalties, derivative invention rights, publication rights – we speak the language of tech transfer. Our attorneys and agents have backgrounds within some of the world’s powerhouse tech transfer offices. We put those experiences to work for you, building success strategies, developing relationships, and negotiating advantageous terms for your company’s sponsored research or joint research collaboration.

COPYRIGHTS

Unlike patent law, copyright rights vest in the creator the moment the copyrightable content is fixed in a tangible medium. And just because something is patentable doesn’t mean it can’t find protection under copyright law.

Let the experienced team at RVL® help you with…

Copyright Registration

Cat got your tongue, aka contractor got your copyright? That’s just one of the issues that we’ll help resolve in positioning your art or software for registration.

Open-Source Software Audit / Software Due Diligence

Working through the 31 flavors of open source to determine where your software stands? We can help you untangle the web of mismatched license restrictions to best position you for commercialization in the marketplace.

Master Service Agreements / Licenses

You’ve already done the heavy lifting in creating something that everybody wants. Now let us develop the framework for how you best monetize it.

PATENTS

A patent (or portfolio of patents) may be important for securing market position in a particular technology, or for distinctive positioning in a research grant application. A patent may be absolutely critical, as in the case of a novel biopharmaceutical where a company expends billions of dollars in development costs, or it may be subservient to other intellectual property rights or market strategies in fast-growth technology or creative content industries. The need for a patent is dependent upon numerous market considerations and should not be taken as an assumption.

Our patent-related services include…

Patent Search / Prior Art Search

We shake the trees, sift the sands, excavate the boulders…whatever it takes to identify prior art that might impact the ability to patent your invention. 

Patent Search Opinion / Freedom to Operate

We’ve heard it a million times: “I know this industry and swear I’m the only one that’s come up with this.” Inevitably, we nearly always find something relevant in our prior art searches. Our goal, of course, is not to hamper your ability to patent or market your invention, but to best safeguard you in the marketplace. Our opinions provide you with the analysis you need to develop a patent claims strategy, proceed with an R&D plan, tailor your marketing, confidently discuss your ideas with investors and, often, save money.

Patent Prosecution / Patent Registration

With backgrounds in business development and entrepreneurship, our patent team drafts patents with a particular focus on marketable claim sets. 

Patent Litigation

Feel like suing or getting sued? Of course not! It’s a risky business with a million different rules, scenarios and technical interpretations. It’s why if push comes to shove, you want a team that gets not just the science and law, but the people component of litigation. We’re entrepreneur-attorneys; we know how to sell science on the pitch and in the courtroom.

Patent Licensing

Our patent team has locked up with the big boys, negotiating intellectual property deals with Affymetrix, BASF, Google, Honeywell, Merck, Samsung and Synthetic Genomics, to name(drop) just a few. We’ve got the mettle to ensure you don’t just settle.

Patent Strategy

How do I patent internationally? Do I need a design patent, utility patent or both? How do I know what my competitors are patenting? How much are my patents worth? How can I challenge my competitors’ patents? Can my patents be challenged? If I change the design of my technology, is my patent still valid? These are some of the questions we’re here to answer.

TRADEMARKS

One of the most difficult tasks when developing new business names, logos or products can be generating a strong trademark. Too often, new companies pick these names according to what would seem easy to advertise, which may not align well with trademark registrability. But don’t fret — we at RVL® are here to help you understand trademark considerations and make them work for you, protecting your ideas from infringement while also protecting you from outside claims of infringement.

RVL® offers a full spectrum of trademark-related services, including…

Trademark Search

You’re not going to get very far looking through googly eyes. Similarly, Google’s algorithmic eyes can only get you so far in identifying business and product names and logos that you’ll want to avoid. We’ve got you covered with trademark-specific databases and search platforms to comb not just ecommerce and store shelves but also corporate pre-market pipelines.

Trademark Search Opinion + Freedom to Operate

Trademark law is the law of confusion and dilution. What’s that mean? More than just avoiding names, phrases and graphics you see on store shelves. We can advise on what and why you need to avoid in going to launch.

Trademark Prosecution +  Trademark Registration

Here’s a free tip: Examiners are government employees with quota-based metrics for advancement. Examiners have limited time to spend with your application and might actually be incentivized to act against you by the nature of the system. We use this information and other knowledge and experience to best position your trademark application for success from the outset.

Trademark Litigation

When someone is operating under your marks — or claiming you’re operating under theirs — your business faces serious risk. With so much at stake, you shouldn’t just hire any ole’ attorney. Times of trouble call for expertise…and we happen to be trademark ninjas (just check trademarkninjas.com).

Trademark Licensing

One of the best parts of creating a successful brand? Reaping the profits. But hey, we know this business is still your baby. So when you want to retain some control and not sell everything you’ve worked so hard for, it’s time to talk about licensing. We can help you maneuver in those deals with even the largest companies, stepping in to make sure you don’t get stepped on.

Trademark Strategy

What new brands and products are your competitors launching? Do you need to pursue state or federal trademark registration, and what’s the difference? Is your brand strategy effective in terms of building a robust trademark portfolio? How should your strategy change in international markets? We’re here to develop an optimal strategy for your venture.

Trademark Oppositions + Cancellations

Bad news. An Opposition Proceeding means that someone doesn’t want you to register your mark . . . and they’ve brought their case before the Trademark Trial and Appeal board (TTAB). Opposition Proceedings are initiated to prevent a trademark application from reaching registration. Oppositions involve evidence, arguments, testimonies, and (most likely) lawyers. So, essentially a pseudo-lawsuit. Yikes! The team at RVL® are experts on Oppositions. 

Cancellation Proceedings attempt to terminate a previously registered mark. This is a difficult process for all involved, and can be costly, timely, and disheartening. Having the right legal team by your side can pave the pathway to success. Rockridge Venture Lawyers work with you to meet your best interests and see your business goals come to fruition.

LITIGATION

Protecting, defending, and enforcing IP is vital for corporate success in today’s technology driven economy. Our litigation team understands that when it comes to patent, software, and trade secret litigation in particular, it’s not necessarily the story you tell, but how you tell it that wins the day. Our attorneys have real world experience litigating for and against Fortune 500 companies, and crafting trial narratives around medical devices, electronics, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, agriculture and chemicals.

IP litigation is a risky business with a million different rules, scenarios and technical interpretations. We have the experience, knowhow and fortitude to counsel clients through all phases of IP litigation. You name it, we can handle it.