FGD Law helps innovative business leaders protect and leverage their intangible assets in commerce with a range of options that best suit their current stage along the developmental journey. Such assets may include:
A business or brand name
Business processes or methodologies
With our deep history and resources in accounting and financing, we can help you determine the types of intellectual property your business creates, owns and utilizes – and then identify revenue streams that entail strategically licensing that IP and your portfolio both domestically and abroad.
There are a number of IP protection management options to consider:
At the launch of a new business, due diligence is required to take into account the name you want to do business under and the appropriate jurisdiction and field in which you want to operate – including on a federal level. FGD Law can guide you through various branding strategies, such as minimizing your exposure to infringements and attaining the scope of appropriate trademark protection. We offer a flat-fee option for trademark work that includes preparing and prosecuting an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Our team is also highly experienced in sound trademark defense and prosecution.
Trade Secret Protection
Some businesses have particular practices that are unique but not necessarily (affordably) protectable. These may be trade secrets. This type of information is only protectable as long as it remains a secret and must have value based on its secrecy and any reasonable efforts to maintain that secrecy. FGD Law can help you consider appropriate best practices for trade secret protection as well as for protecting your company assets and proprietary intelligence.
Creators and authors benefit from understanding how copyright law affects their ownership and rights regarding their works. For business owners, it helps when hiring independent contractors to design or contribute works (such as logos, software code, etc.). Understanding what rights are granted to the author of a copyrighted work, the benefits of registration, and how doctrines like “fair use” and “work for hire” impact the ability and intentions to use or leverage a work in commerce is pivotal. The FGD team counsels all parties involved in such rights – from creators, licensors and licensees to those wishing to acquire ownership rights in works they have “commissioned.”
Intellectual Property Licensing
In all cases, licensing out your IP that may be in your technology and that is protected by a patent – or other similar strategies – may provide you with needed cash for new initiatives. In addition, licensing IP from another entity may increase the value of a company and its overall assets.
Ideas and some other intangible assets are not generally protected under state and federal laws. FGD Law provides guidance on the utilization of contracts in this case, such as Assignment of Invention, Non-Disclosure Agreements and Confidentiality Agreements. These documents protect ideas and assets that you may share with third parties in pitches, employment relationships or transactions.
Fostering the Creative Sector Economy
FGD Law supports the legal needs of innovators who operate in the creative economy – offering entertainment law, fashion law and technology protection services.
We help fashion and jewelry designers protect their works, understand copyright and trademark laws, and manage their businesses throughout their developmental journey. Our team also works with authors, musicians, television-movie producers, and artists to draft and negotiate workable contracts that protect their interests while conducting business.
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While filing for bankruptcy is never a first option for solving temporary financial challenges, FGD Law understands that circumstances may sometimes dictate that the most advantageous alternative for restructuring debt is the one that is most readily at your disposal.
Our team has a successful track record in guiding both entrepreneurs and businesses as well as individuals navigate a path to resolution of financial issues that enable them to take responsibility in a manner that enables moving forward. Sometimes a bankruptcy filing is the best strategy for producing a reorganization that ensures forward movement for all parties involved.
When considering a bankruptcy filing, you need to consider the types of debt that are causing the most stress, review your complete asset picture, understand how your debts rose to their current levels, whether they are secured, and the pending actions, if any, that are threatening loss of those material assets (i.e., a foreclosure or repossession of property). You may also want to assess your situation for determining whether a filing will resort in an attachment of your current wages or bank account, and the additional stress that may impose on current income streams.
As an official debt relief agency, FGD Law can provide counsel on your options as well as a fully integrated restructuring strategy to get you and/or your business back on track:
A trustee is appointed assume management over your property. Any property of value will be sold or liquidated to satisfy the claims of any creditors. You may be able to retain some personal possessions and possibly real estate holdings but that is determined by the laws of the state in which you reside in addition to any applicable federal laws.
In this instance, you may usually keep your property, but must earn wages or generate some other source of regular income. This filing requires you to pay a portion of any income to your creditors in a payment repayment plan that fits with a budget that is all approved by the court. A trustee is appointed and collects the payments from you to pay your creditors, and ensure that all of the terms of the repayment agreement are adhered to.
Similar to the stipulations of in a Chapter 13 filing, this option is designed for family farmers and family fishermen.
This type of filing is the one most commonly utilized by businesses. While you may continue to operate your business, you must devise a plan to resolve outstanding debt to your creditors that is approved by the courts. This filing does not require the appointment of a trustee, unless the judge determines that one is necessary. If one is appointed, that trustee will then assume active control of both your business and your property.
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A different landscape in which most companies are competing has shifted the role of corporate counsels and expanded the portfolio of concerns that are now filtered through the domain of legal departments.
With a next generation of employees moving in, human capital issues are becoming more dynamic. Meanwhile, a globalized supply chain has redefined what constitutes risk from concerns over disruptions to business continuity or enhanced sourcing standards under the watch of regulatory scrutiny.
The scope and nature of business issues and other matters that must now filter through the most minimal review of internal legal counsel and their teams has ballooned. Corporate counsels are under considerable pressure concerning budgets and outcomes.
As a result, corporate counsels and an organization’s broader leadership are increasingly seeking new ways of relating to their outsourced trusted advisors. They require interactions within a circle of influence and decision-making where the trusted legal advisor contributes specialized expertise as part of a greater understanding of the client’s operational and strategic business imperatives.
Fostering Trust, Predictability and Accountability
FGD Law was one of the first to recognize, and respond to, the changes in how clients prefer to engage with their legal advisors. We interact with you and your leadership team in a manner that fosters trust, predictability and accountability.
By configuring our resources as a seamless extension of your own, we render real-time solutions to your business issues as they unfold – avoiding the escalation that can disrupt your focus. Our team thrives on cost-efficient, high-quality service to deliver exceptional value from a deep understanding of your business and its operational context.
Our integrated service model provides end-to-end specialized resources to support the full complement of corporate legal needs, including matters to do with:
- Entity formation
- Intellectual property
- Corporate management
- Commercial transactions
- Business and individual taxation
- Private financings and investment funds
- Alternative investment representation
- Mergers and acquisitions
- Alternative dispute resolution
- Regulatory law
- Commercial real estate
- Wills, trusts and estate planning
FGD team members offer extensive experience at every stage of the developmental journey, from guiding executive leadership teams or business owners in setting up a corporation or entity, managing the initial actions and ongoing entity maintenance to developing a funding strategy and executing the plan to closure.
FGD Law also provides advice and representation – including negotiation – on matters to do with commercial leases and real estate acquisitions or sales, the purchasing of other businesses, selling a business, and navigating the complex tax issues that are core to these transactions.
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FGD Law offers a highly-seasoned team steeped in the private equity and finance sector who understand what’s important to PE firm partners – especially in the post-recession market context. We are uniquely equipped to pinpoint unforeseen exposures and provide creative problem solving on issues impacting deal flow without damaging the prospects for deal closure.
In addition to our work with PE firm partners, our team advises individual investors, angels and small venture funds in their formation, growth and asset management strategies.
In addition to our core legal services, we assist with:
Private Financings and Investment Funds
Our attorneys have strong connections to debt, equity and other financing sources, including experience in state and federal grants, loans, contracts and the SBIR programs. We collaborate with company leaders on sourcing to closing.
The FGD team also offers expertise in the formation of an investing entity to support angel investors or an angel group; a venture capital, private equity or hedge fund; or a secondary fund. We can help you with the preparation of offering documents, navigating the fundraising process, forming a general partnership, conducting investment due diligence and in acquiring targets, including secondary fund interests.
Alternative Investment Representation
FGD Law represents high-net-worth investors or those heading an endowment, foundation, private pension plan or other institutional vehicle. We work with you from your initial targeting and the due diligence through liquidation of the fund or your earlier disposition of the interest as a secondary transaction.
If you are reviewing investment opportunities in hedge, PE or VC funds, real estate funds, opportunity funds or other similar vehicles, our expertise may be applied to the legal due diligence – including navigation of the investment process, completion of subscription materials, negotiating side letters and fund amendments, and reviewing ancillary documents that might require action during the life of the fund.
Mergers, Acquisitions and Liquidation Events
The FGD team can help develop the strategies and execute the transaction when a client determines that an acquisition or merger with a competitor makes sense. We may also help you create a subsidiary or an affiliate to own certain assets or cater to different audiences. Furthermore, we may assist when you desire to sell a business as an exit strategy.
In other cases, sometimes funding or customers have been too hard to find, thus requiring your company to sell off its assets, assign them to creditors or file for bankruptcy or dissolution. The FGD team recognizes the difficulty of such a situation and its impact upon the management team, employees, the board and investors. We offer extensive experience in such situations, especially in helping you maximize the value of the entity and conduct an efficient wind down.
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Growing and sustaining a successful business is far more of a dynamic endeavor than during any other time in history, especially with globalization and our virtual marketplace.
As a result, relationships between people inside and outside of the work environment are increasingly complex. Given the hyper-competitiveness of our world, more individuals and organizations are turning to legal counsel to resolve a range of disputes that a generation ago would be addressed less formally.
While litigation may be the best route to formal resolution of large, multidimensional disputes – especially when significant sums are at play – it is rarely an efficient process. It can be disproportionately expensive, time consuming, emotionally draining and unpredictable.
Indeed, the overall negative fallout from any outcome can often weigh more heavily on both parties than the initial dispute. Moreover, litigation outcomes are never guaranteed, no matter how confident you are in your position. Given this negative fallout and uncertainty, ADR is an attractive alternative to litigation.
FGD Law works with both individuals and organizations to successfully resolve the full range of disputes through alternative means that avoid the expensive litigation. These include:
A quick and cost-effective approach to conflict resolution, mediation is increasingly viewed as economically beneficial – particularly to businesses. It is not limited by constraints of adjudication or law and offers a proactive process that promotes solutions favorable to all parties.
Mediation is increasing popular with the courts as part of the litigation process as it reduces court dockets and trials, therefore avoiding the high costs of going to trial for both the prosecuting parties and the courts. Some states require mediation at the onset of litigation before they will place it on the trial calendar. In fact, mediation creates an environment for all involved to freely and confidentially express their position in front of a neutral third party. It attempts to limit the issues and induce a proper perspective. It also helps to defuse the hostility inherent in litigation.
Mediation can be used for any kind of dispute, at any point, when a situation is appearing “unworkable”. The parties do not have to wait until a dispute results in a lawsuit. As a pre-lawsuit alternative, mediation is confidential, non-binding, relatively quick and inexpensive.
If the parties come to an agreement, they articulate that agreement in writing, sign it, and it becomes a binding contract.
FGD Law provides full mediation services for both internal and external disputes, including:
- Negotiation facilitation and direct representation
- Mediation preparation and decision-support
Like mediation, arbitration employs a neutral third party for oversight, but arbitration results in a binding decision.
Arbitration is generally conducted with a panel of multiple arbitrators who assume a role similar to that of a judge, making decisions about evidence and giving written opinions. Arbitration allows for a more streamlined and customized process, including the ability tolimit discovery, simplify rules, and schedule in a flexible manner.
FGD team members can provide guidance in selecting this dispute resolution option and offer significant experience from having served as arbitrators themselves.
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Most businesses and business relationships are stretched in various ways throughout their evolution and every leader hopes for steady forward movement without major disputes to disrupt focus, or even threaten business continuity. The same is true for individuals and the web of personal entanglements that sometimes ensue.
FGD Law offers a team of seasoned litigators who collaborate with you to develop a strategy for managing your dispute to the most desired outcome. We leverage all the appropriate and advantageous options that fit with your intentions and protect the integrity of your business or personal interests.
Our experience includes the successful prosecution of several precedent-setting cases and reported decisions for plaintiffs and defendants in several industries from medical, accounting, legal, architectural and engineering.
- A $7 million product liability case successfully defended and resulting in no payment by our client
- Lender liability claims resulting in jury verdicts for our clients of $2 million and $3 million
- A $4.5 million verdict and subsequent settlement of claims for our client regarding a building design defect
- A $2 million settlement over failure to design and deliver manufacturing equipment
- A $1.3 million settlement after trial concerning lease rights
- Environmental cases up through the U.S. Supreme Court; major construction and real estate claims disputes over insurance coverage
- Technology law cases involving the recovery of clients’ proprietary and industry-leading software innovations as well as the successful return of other IP (trade secrets, copyrights, trademarks and technology developments)
- Civil rights cases including a leading sexual harassment case
- Fraud cases along with IP non-compete and employment disputes
- Successful settlements and trials in family business disputes
- Leading divorce cases involving asset distributions and fraud plus a leading legal malpractice case in a divorce
An Integrated Strategy
The FGD team is ready to assist you with general business and commercial problems, contract disputes and the recovery of business damages or losses. We have represented individuals and an array of organizations in state and federal courts throughout the Commonwealths of Massachusetts and Maine, and in jurisdictions across the U.S.
Our client work involves matters to do with:
- IP protection – including trade secrets
- General and product liability
- Technology law
- Environmental and construction disputes
- Partnerships and closely-held corporate problems
- General tort or personal injury claims
- Employment and civil rights disputes
- Family law
FGD team members also offer assistance in choosing additional counsel in multiple jurisdictions, regulating costs and rates, preparing experts or executives, and producing complex documents. We also provide second or independent reviews of disputes similar to those conducted by jury consultants, in a due diligence review or during compliance audits.
Sensitive to the Dynamics in Family Enterprises and Private Partnerships
Individuals invested together in a family enterprise or small partnership operate with unique organizational characteristics in which personal and business dynamics often intertwine.
At times they cannot resolve their differences and those disputes result in litigation. FGD Law has represented family members who have sued, and who have been sued, in such situations.
Our team offers expertise in partnership, estate and family disputes that enables a prompt and fair resolution for all parties. We have been involved in full litigation through trial or settlement as well as mediation and ADR mechanisms in addition to facilitating negotiations. Often, following some litigation, the parties can agree on a new management structure and a constructive path to move forward successfully.
Experts in Navigating the Best Path to Favorable Resolution
For many years, FGD litigators have been proponents of advocacy and persuasion techniques for negotiation, mediation, ADR and settlement options versus litigation and trial.
Increasingly, alternatives to formal litigation can produce the most cost-effective route to a resolution. ADR is particularly suitable for foreign corporations doing business in the U.S., self-insured entities, insurers and high litigation-risk businesses.
Read more: Alternative Dispute Resolution
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Family enterprises are the most common form of business entity in the world.
Present in every sector and geography of the economy, these businesses have complex ownership, management and family configurations that require specialized knowledge and expert skills in order to effectively guide them along their developmental journey. They may include operating entities or businesses with intellectual property, real estate and stock portfolios to trusts, foundations and endowments.
FGD Law has a long history of successful relationships with a range of privately-held businesses and family enterprises, most of which are small to mid-sized entities.
FGD Law is prepared to guide privately-held and family enterprises in the effective response and management of any number of key operating matters, such as:
- Succession planning
- Buy-sell agreements
- Private financings and investment funds
- Banking relationships
- Estates and trusts
- Governance structures and compliance
- Board of director obligations and shareholder rights
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Inventing a product or developing a breakthrough technology is risky business. The sacrifice and commitment to bringing an innovation to life is significant. If you are successful, the rewards are great and can be limitless.
FGD Law was founded nearly a decade ago out of a deep affinity for those who dare to make a real contribution to a vision of the future. With many of our team members having long involvement in private equity, venture funding and other start-up circles, we understand at gut level what is required to invent, scale, grow, compete and exit.
Most new companies starting out have little to leverage and no bargaining power. It is critical that the leadership remain vigilant about protecting the bottom line. For innovators, that starts and ends with their intellectual property.
This is where FGD Law makes all the difference for early stage and growth companies.
FGD Law recognizes the criticality of all your business assets. We develop protection management strategies to ensure that the value of all your assets grows proportionately with the scaling of your enterprise.
With our own network of venture firms and other sources of capital as well as partnerships with patent specialists, valuation and accounting experts, we guide you to the best options for securing, protecting and maturing your assets throughout the developmental journey.
Addressing Key Issues Head On
Many early stage or even mature innovation companies outsource various aspects of their IP development. What many business leaders fail to do however is properly scrutinize that resource and diligently manage the contractual agreements.
If all of the potential variables or contingencies are not accounted for in solid agreements from the onset, unanticipated issues could trigger costly litigation as the result of a resource failing to meet expectations.
Too often, clients can fail to patent their processes and formulas, holding them only by trade secret. FGD team members are masters of trade secret licensing and protection – especially regarding software and general IT, copyright and patent issues. We understand the technical nuances at the intersection of your underlying assets and your growth imperatives.
As your committed advocate, we immerse ourselves in your business, provide reliable decision support that’s grounded in analysis and proper documentation, and help you anticipate all of the issues that may arise so you are prepared for any uncertainties.
Early Stage and Growth Companies: What We Offer
With the initiation of a new business, FGD Law can guide you through the important early steps of whether to run and structure it as a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability or corporation and then determine the appropriate jurisdiction. Our team can also help you navigate the most viable options for your situation regarding attracting investors and planning for future funding as your grow. We also counsel and support non-profits in seeking an IRC 501(c)3 determination letter.
The FGD team offers new business owners extensive experience in the range of complex structures, processes and compliance requirements for effective governance. Our collaborative approach can meet your needs as a fully outsourced provider or an internal of-counsel resource – from employment issues, board of director obligations and shareholder voting rights to taxation of income, and day-to-day operations.
Contracting should never be executed without the assurance of reliable legal counsel. Our team supports the full range of transactions likely to occur during the developmental journey – from licensing, manufacturing, distribution and sales agreements to vendor relationships, leasing or real estate acquisitions.
FGD Law is particularly experienced in the range of tax matters that both individuals and businesses encounter – especially transaction structures and their correlating tax consequences. We are experts at preparing and understanding complex tax returns, managing audits, and providing effective representation in federal or state administrative hearings and court proceedings.
Financing Guidance – including Venture Capital and Secondary Offerings
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FGD Law is a team of legal and other professionals, many with large marquee firm backgrounds, who provide accessible, responsive and multidisciplinary services aligned with the needs of today’s innovation-driven, smart growth organizations.
We’re the firm you turn to for your legal solutions at every stage of the developmental journey as you invent, scale, grow, compete and exit.
With decades of wide-ranging industry and business experience combined with specialized advanced education, our team applies insights into the essential legal, regulatory and competitive dynamics that organizations and their leaders depend upon for confident decision-making.
FGD Law team members are accomplished authors and widely-regarded analysts whose scholarship on such case law involving product liability, indemnity and other issues has been cited by State Supreme and State Appellate judges and courts, attorneys and law professors.
FGD members have successfully prosecuted many precedent-setting cases and reported decisions for plaintiffs and defendants in industries from medical and accounting to architectural and engineering. They have also been invited to conduct guest lectures on numerous occasions at such institutions as the MIT Enterprise Forum, the MIT Startup Clinic and other MIT-based organizations.
A Collaborative, Interactive Service Model
Originally formed to offer early stage and emerging growth companies with strategic business and legal guidance, FGD Law has evolved over the years to become successful for a wide array of organizations in size and operational context throughout New England:
- Early stage or fully scaled technology innovators
- Mid-cap or middle market manufacturers
- Mature publicly-held companies
- Privately-held and family enterprises
- Dynamic, market-leading nonprofits
- Trusted advisory firms who service all of the above
Our collaborative, interactive service model often has clients feeling as if they have retained personal counsel. From this attentive approach, grounded in robust analysis, we produce practical, customized solutions that deliver to clients immediate operational enhancements.
Understanding How Your Needs Have Changed
As a specialized entrepreneurial firm, FGD Law was one of the first to recognize, and respond to, the changes in how clients prefer to engage with their legal trusted advisors.
A majority of our team members have spent time as a senior partner or associate at large marquee firms. We understand how hierarchical models can subject clients to overblown fees for work that is often rendered by junior associates within a service relationship that can be ill-equipped for rapid response and interactive problem solving.
As more clients experience challenges from globalization and the volatility that arises out of economic and political uncertainty – a complex web of issues confronts organization leaders, requiring their legal advisors to be ever more efficient, transparent and accountable.
Law firms are now expected to bring greater context to a client’s issues portfolio – whether it involves risk management, finance and accounting or business development, operations, regulatory affairs and the supply chain.
FGD Law interacts with you and your leadership teams in a manner that fosters trust, predictability and accountability. We configure our resources as a seamless extension of your own, rendering real-time solutions to your business issues as they unfold – avoiding the escalation that can disrupt your focus.
Our team thrives on cost-efficient, high-quality service to deliver exceptional value from a deep understanding of your business and its operational context.
Our firm focuses its offerings in these key areas:
- Early Stage & Growth Companies
- Family Enterprises
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Private Equity & Finance
- Corporate Affairs
With our firm’s commitment to the environmental industry in New England, FGD Law has always had an affinity for companies advancing market developments in energy and clean technology within a region widely recognized for its proactive public policies and favorable economic climate.
Our team members offer an integrated portfolio of strategy, commercialization and legal guidance services to suit the unique requirements of early stage and smart growth companies in this sector.
Their issues range from conventional natural resources law to intellectual property and advanced materials – including matters related to the potential conflicts surrounding the placement of their technology. The business focus may revolve around developments in renewable energy, pollution control and the battle against climate change or the protection of natural resources and the creation of green jobs.
FGD Law clients are operating within one of four principle economic subsets: energy, water, materials or transportation. Their product and service categories may include: Energy Generation, Energy Storage, Energy Infrastructure, Energy Efficiency, Transportation, Water and Wastewater, Air and Environment, Materials, Manufacturing and Industrial, Agriculture, Recycling and Waste.
In addition to our core legal services, we also assist with matters to do with:
- Federal and state legislative, land use and regulatory issues
- Environmental impact – such as emissions and hazardous chemicals
- Disposal of hazardous materials
- Obtaining legal or regulatory rights to install underground systems
- Biomass, particularly when combustible fuels are used
- Zoning regulations
- Operating permits and licenses
- Performance-based contracting
- Leasing provisions – such as integrating environmental considerations
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