Drake University Law School hosts seminar to help tech startups

A seminar Friday morning allowed practicing attorneys an opportunity to earn Continuing Legal Education credits while also providing information for tech startups to navigate the legal maze.

The seminar included speakers and panels discussing various technology related topics from mobile applications, privacy issues, founders agreements, intellectual property and exiting a company. The seminar went from 8 a.m. to nearly 1 p.m on Friday at the Neal and Bea Smith Law Center.

Shontavia Johnson, Director of the Drake Intellectual Property Law Center—which sponsored the seminar—said as the Iowa entrepreneur and startup community grows, these questions pervade.

“We aim to offer these kinds of events and others to improve the efficacy of startups in Iowa,” Johnson said. “The topics are based on common issues that arise in the industry.”

Cory McAnelly was an organizer of the seminar and moderated the panels. He is an Intellectual Property Attorney for the law firm of Goodhue Coleman and Owens.

McAnelly told the audience he wanted to have a unique topic for this CLE seminars so it wouldn’t be the boring, typical CLE.

Drew Larson, an attorney at BrownWinick, spoke on privacy issues and website agreements.

Larson focused on privacy issues and on website terms of service.

“I’m a big believer that you want to do a good terms of service and they can be very important,” Larson said. “That first piece is knowing what your business does, and it sounds simple but it’s not just a matter of pulling the standard one down from Amazon.”

Larson said if a business is built on somebody elses platform, where you don’t control the method of delivery, founders need to pay attention to the terms of service.

“You have to comply with their terms of service and they are going to set a lot of standards,” Larson said. “So if they change them, they change them. And that’s on you to deal with that.”

He said it’s important to have a privacy policy because it’s important to customer relationships.

“999 out 1,000 people aren’t going to read it,” Larson said. “The reality is the person you are writing to is the cranky one. Customer relations matter and you want to put it out that this is how you will approach certain things.”

John Goodhue is a registered patent attorney who spoke about the legal relationship between mobile applications and the law.

Goodhue talked about what it takes for a newly developed app to be accepted into the App Store, user agreements, monetizing an app, distribution platform agreements and how an app can get rejected.

“To help understand the legal issues, (distribution platform agreements) are a great place to start,” Goodhue said. “If you look at what Apple and Google is requiring, it gives you a lot of insights into what some of the potential issues are.”

Goodhue said it’s critical for a startup company to get their app into the App Store for distribution.

“If they don’t meet all the requirements they won’t get on there,” he said. “Or they could get on and then be pulled at a later date. So compliance with these is critical.”

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Drake University Law School is hosting seminar