Businesses that Push the Boundaries of the Law

Cost: 
Free forSoftware Circle Members, $10 Forum Members, $30 non-members
Location: 
Nutter, McClennen & Fish, LLP 5th Floor, Louis Brandeis Conference Center 155 Seaport Blvd Boston, MA 02210
Description: 

For many, the status quo is a given. It’s not just people who treat it that way,
businesses typically do, too. Take the likes of Apple. Sure, theirs seem like breakthrough products, but when you factor out good design, good marketing and vast resources, there’s often not much really new there.
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Many startups are the same way. With founders’ life savings on the line and the majority of investors looking for short-term gain, would you expect otherwise? Sure, every startup wants to be different, but they can’t usually afford to push the boundaries too far.

There are exceptions. Zipcar comes to mind, for example. Its car-sharing service seemed more than a bit crazy at the outset, but time has proven otherwise. The company’s recent acquisition by Avis for $500 Million bears that out.

Some startups are willing to go further. They change the game not only when it comes to business, but also when it comes to pushing the boundaries of the law. Whether Uber planned it that way, the startup has been ruffling the feathers of competitors and law-makers, alike, from coast to coast. The company has been accused of violating regulations in San Francisco, Washington D.C. and Toronto, among others. Yet, travelers are receiving Uber’s upscale cab/limo service with critical acclaim.

Uber is neither the first startup nor will it be the last to run into these conflicts. As today’s entrepreneurs contemplate the global reach of the marketplace, they have to keep in mind that every new place they do business presents not only more sales opportunities but, in many cases, also a battery of additional laws, rules and regulations that they may navigate.

Join us, on Thursday, February 28, 2013, and learn from our panelists how to begin addressing those challenges.

Panelists

Rick Shera
Legal advisor to MEGA (the successor to Kim Dotcom’s MegaUpload.com)
Chairman, NetSafe Incorporated
Director, The Network for Learning Limited
Partner, Lowndes Jordan

Rick, who serves as counsel to Kim Dotcom’s MEGA filesharing service, has a Masters degree with first class honours in copyright and internet law from Auckland University. He heads up Lowndes Jordan’s IT/IP team, which acts for telcos, ISPs, cloud service providers, media companies, digital publishers and authors, webdesign houses, software and app developers and network providers/integrators, as well as providing IP and IT advice to general business and corporate clients. Rick is the first lawyer to become an IITP Information Technology Certified Professional. He is a previous Vice President of InternetNZ, where he was instrumental in formulating .nz domain name policy, and consults to the NZ Telecommunication Carriers’ Forum. He has advised numerous start-ups and growth companies from formation onwards. Rick is also chair of cybercitizenship NFP, NetSafe, and a director of Crown company, The Network for Learning Limited.

Michael Pao
General Manager, Uber Boston

Michael Pao is the General Manager of Uber Boston. Uber is a smartphone app that reliably connects riders with the nearest limo or taxi – when and where they need it. The company currently operates in over 30 cities and continues to drive a drumbeat of progress around the world in which pro-consumer, pro-innovation places such as DC, New York, Massachusetts, and California are recognizing the huge benefits that Uber delivers to consumers, driver-partners, and economic growth in cities. Prior to Uber Michael often served as a designated driver, serving as a reliable transportation option for friends unable to find a reliable ride home after a night out.

Nathan Barr
Cofounder, VerbaLearn.com
Founder, PocketMonkey.com

Nathan Barr is a developer and entrepreneur. He worked as a mechanical engineer at product development firm Cambridge Consultants for several years before founding educational startup VerbaLearn.com, which has been used by 50,000 users to learn over 2 million words. He has since worked on other startup ideas while working part-time as a software engineer for ad network Jumptap. His most recent venture is PocketMonkey – a fusion of his mechanical design roots and his startup experience. The product launched on Kickstarter in December with the support of nearly 2,000 backers.