Emerging Technologies

We are currently experiencing a technological revolution that is changing every aspect of our lives.  For businesses and entrepreneurs to survive and thrive, they must adapt to and implement new technologies.  These technologies range from e-commerce stores to social media platforms to cloud computing to electronic records.  While these new technologies create more efficient ways of doing business, they also create new areas of risk.  Many of the companies driving these technological developments, such as Google, Facebook, and Square, did not exist ten or fifteen years ago.  These companies' successes have inspired countless other individuals to develop a new business or technology.

MacDonald Illig has created the "Emerging Technologies Practice Group" to help clients identify, manage and mitigate the risks associated with implementing new technologies and/or bringing their own ideas to the marketplace.  The practice group is intended to serve start-up companies and existing companies with a different approach to the risks of each.  To achieve this mission, the group draws on the skills and experience of attorneys throughout the firm, particularly in the areas of intellectual property and business law.

Market conditions continue to make it easier for entrepreneurs to start businesses.  Crowdsourcing websites, angel investors, and venture capitalists are making sources of capital more readily available.  Entrepreneurs are also receiving more outside assistance through private-sector incubators or government-offered tax incentives.  Here in Erie County, entrepreneurs can turn to the Small Business Development Center, Blue Tree Angel Investors, Knowledge Park at Penn State-Behrend, the Erie Technology Incubator, the stARTup Incubator, or any other of a number of entities to help with the myriad of issues in starting and developing a business.  The Firm is already working with several clients who have created successful crowdfunding campaigns through Kickstarter.

The goal of the Emerging Technologies Practice Group, with respect to entrepreneurs and start-ups, is to counsel individuals and entities on the challenges of starting and scaling a technology-related business.  The Group's lawyers provide guidance on traditional and non-traditional transactional issues such as corporation formation and contracts, but with a particular focus for the concerns of a tech start-up.  This Group also counsels on tech specific legal matters such as intellectual property or regulatory issues.

Tech entrepreneurs and start-ups are not the only businesses affected by this current technological revolution.  MacDonald Illig has served many clients who are grappling with new technologies.  Some have adopted new technologies and thrived.  Other clients have either failed to adopt new technologies altogether or are struggling with their implementation.  As technology evolves, our clients will continue to face challenges.

The goal for the Emerging Technologies Practice Group, with regards to existing companies, is to counsel about the risks associated with the adoption and implementation of new technologies.  This means advising clients on how to protect themselves from the risks affiliated with already-implemented technology, such as adding "Terms and Conditions" to the company website or inserting a Social Media Policy to an employee handbook.  It may also mean counseling clients on the potential risks affiliated with developing technologies, such as cloud computing and mobile payments.

The Emerging Technologies Practice Group assists entrepreneurs, start-ups and existing companies.  Here is a brief list of the types of services that are specifically provided to the two different groups.

Entrepreneurs and Start-Ups

  • Corporate Formation & Governance
    • Counsel on corporate formation and governance matters, such as tax, real estate and employee issues.
  • Financing
    • Assist in identifying and securing appropriate funding, from traditional banks to incubators and accelerators to angel investors and venture capital funds to non-traditional crowdfunding or other sources.
  • Intellectual Property
    • Identify intellectual property and ensure that it is properly registered, protected, accounted for, and/or secured.
  • Regulatory
    • Advise on compliance with local, state and federal rules and regulations for all new technology.

Existing Companies

  • Company Websites, Mobile Applications & Internet Transactions
    • Advise on appropriate Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policies for corporate websites and mobile applications.
    • Advise on evolving state and federal tax laws for e-commerce stores and transactions conducted via the internet.
    • Advise on issues related to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
  • Data and Privacy Policies
    • Develop strategies for compliance with all state and federal laws applicable to the collection, storage and use of information, such as for the electronic storage of medical records.
  • Employee Handbooks
    • Draft appropriate Computer and Internet Usage Policy, Document Retention Policy and Social Media Policy for incorporation into employee handbook.
  • Intellectual Property
    • Identify intellectual property and ensure that it is properly registered, protected, accounted for, and secured.
  • Regulatory
    • Advise on compliance with local, state and federal rules and regulations for all new technology.

If we might be of service to you for these types of matters, please do not hesitate to contact us