As the March 19 deadline for the summer startup accelerator Startup Launch approaches, CREATE-X is hosting workshops to prepare students for applying and starting their entrepreneurial journey.

On Feb. 13, CREATE-X hosted Legal Buzz, one of the program’s regular workshops, which helps students learn about startups, find partners, and share ideas. And, while some questions can be answered in Startup Launch FAQs or I2P FAQs, this workshop invites attorneys to answer students’ legal questions. The February event featured Christopher “Rusty” Close, a patent attorney from Troutman Pepper. Here are some of the questions and answers:


How do you split the equity among people in a startup?

Get it on paper early. Inventorship is not percentage-based. There is no real way to say who did what percent, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the patent itself. It is not easy to tell someone they are not doing as much as they think they are.


Copyrights and Patents

If you’re a software-based company, is that company more dependent on copyright than patent?

No and yes. Generally, if you give someone access to how your system works, they won’t need your source code to write their own version of it. They won't copy your code; they will just make the same thing. If your user terms say you won't reverse engineer or make another version of it, then they will be violating by doing so. It is easier to say, “You used my product and you copied it,” than to use a patent. If you’re the one writing the user terms, those aren’t negotiated. People just end up clicking through it. It is hard for an enterprise to say, “Yes, I’ll license your software but I won’t copy it.” If you use Uber, are you a driver or a rider? It's not the same, depending on which seat you're sitting in.

During the session, Close also had advice on making the most of Startup Launch. “Work solely on your startup,” he said. “That’s why it’s a summer startup launch. This way you’ll have no regrets. Don’t have a job while working on your own business. You won’t give it your all, and you won’t enjoy doing both. You don’t want an employer to have the impression that your focus is elsewhere, either.”


On Monday, March 25, CREATE-X will host a virtual Legal Buzz event. Register for the next session of Legal Buzz today to learn more about the legal landscape surrounding startups. To see other CREATE-X events, visit the CREATE-X Engage page or look out for events on the Georgia Tech Campus Calendar.