Archive for July, 2015

Recent Crowdfunding Success a Good Sign for Social Entrepreneurs

Last week MIBiz reported a somewhat surprising result of the MEDC’s grant-matching initiative (Public Places Community Spaces Initiative).  I  wrote about this initiative in a prior post.

The MIBiz article headline:

State-backed crowdfunding initiative hits 97% success rate in first year

This is an amazing success rate by any calculation

As stated by Ebrahim Varachia, president and co-founder of Detroit-based Patronicity

“It is quite rare…[to see crowdfunding initiatives with that level of success]”

What Projects are being funded?

Its worth looking at the type of projects that were successfully pitched to the public and funded, per MIBiz:

“They range from a historic manufacturing building restoration in Calumet and a recreational sports complex in Sparta to an outdoor soccer field a few blocks from the Capitol Building in Lansing and a public art installation in downtown Grand Rapids. They also include a neighborhood opera house in Detroit and a new pavilion along the Kal-Haven trail in Southwest Michigan.”

What is the take away?

Although equity-based crowdfunding still carries with it a lot of open concerns and uncertainty, the latest success of the MEDC’s initiative at a minimum shows that

people are willing to invest in projects that will enhance their local community.

This is what makes local equity-based crowdfunding attractive for social entrepreneurs.

A Social entrepreneur whose business model is rooted in serving some facet of your local community – there is a place for you and your business.

Questions? Comments?



Michigan Business Law Update: A Tool for Business in Fighting Against Patent Trolls

Routinely I will get an e-mail from a business client who received some e-mail “notice”  from some “legal department” across the country/world about a photo or other media that my client may have innocently posted to their business website.

You may know the scenario I’m referring to – those who apparently patrol cyberspace in search of anyone using a stock photo without giving credit to the owner.  Once they find you – you get a demand letter and a request for a quick cash pay off.

I am not an Intellectual Property attorney – but representing businesses, I come to rely on IP attorneys. Occasionally I’ve had to pick up the phone and call a good IP attorney and ask them “what’s going on with these demand letters my clients are getting?”

Two words:

Patent Trolls.

Last year the Washington Post published an article that stated 67% of new IP lawsuit were filed by “patent trolls”.

Some Michigan legislators want to give businesses a tool to fight against bad faith patent trolls.

The Michigan Senate just introduced Senate Bill 289 the “Bad Faith Patent Infringement Claim Act” check out the bill analysis

It would prohibit the making of bad faith patent infringement claims.

On its face, the Bill looks to have some teeth to it:

  • Allow the AG’s office to initiate investigations and prosecute claims:
  • Provide an aggrieved party with a private cause of action, including the recovery of “treble damages”

I will be sure to track the progress of this legislation.

From my perspective, it would be great to have another tool for my business clients to refer to the next time they face an over-aggressive claim of patent infringement for innocently posting a photo to their website.

Questions? Comments?