#LegalTechLives with Mary Juetten, Founder/CEO of Traklight and MD of Evolve Law
Learn the biggest mistakes companies make regarding protecting their IP and how Mary was part of the famous Stanley Cup riot in Montreal – but swears she didn’t loot.
Mary Juetten is a CA, CPA, and JD, and the founder and CEO of Traklight and the Managing Director of Evolve Law. Mary is an international speaker, mentor and writer, who contributes to Forbes, the ABA’s Law Technology Today, and The Lawyerist. She is also the author of Small Law Firm KPIs for Thomson Reuters. Mary is on the Group Legal Services Association Board and leads their marketing committee. She is also an advocate for LegalShield.
Ava Chisling: Your company Traklight helps protect everything from inventions to recipes. Do recipes require software to protect them? My mom kept hers in the kitchen drawer.
MJ: Funny that you mention your mom’s recipes because one of our early clients was creating a juice bar and thought, like most entrepreneurs, that she did not have any intellectual property (IP). Her recipes were trade secrets that needed protection because they were very valuable. Unlike patents, trademarks, and copyrights, trade secrets cannot be registered because they lose their value once they’re no longer secret. Our software is all about identifying the valuable IP so that it can be protected and monetized.
AC: What are some of the strangest things people have inquired about wanted to protect via your software?
MJ: Sometimes we do hear from our clients but mostly all their IP is stored within our software and we do not see what they are identifying or protecting. It’s in the IP Vault!
AC: Of course, protecting assets is not a joke. What are some of the biggest mistakes professionals make in how (or where) they keep their IP?
MJ: There are a number of mistakes made by companies, including larger organizations:
1. Paying for contract work and not owning the rights to it — whether it’s content, photographs, code, or even prototypes. When you use independent contractors, make sure that you have a contract that transfers ownership to your company.
2. Secret and confidential info walking out the door — organizations that embrace “Bring your own Device (BYOD)” risk having client data, trade secrets, or other confidential information stolen or lost. Also, without proper encryption, flash drives can be used to remove documents.
3. Putting off registrations for trademarks, copyrights, and even patents until it’s too late. Entrepreneurs get excited about bringing a product to market or creating their brand and they forget to check if they are infringing on existing companies’ IP. Also there are deadlines for patents that affect the ability to secure IP ownership.
AC: Yes, and if you don’t mind me adding one: People often forget there can be follow-up correspondence with the IP issuing office. Ignore that, and it can be problematic.
AC: You are obviously someone who embraces technology. Where do you see tech like AI going in the future, especially related to professions like law?
MJ: I believe AI can replace the routine or non-professional judgement aspect of professions, including the law. I am a firm believer in using automation, expert systems, machine learning and all types of AI to increase access to the legal system. Also, I love the personalization aspect of applications like Spotify and Netflix make possible by tech.
AC: You also co-founded Evolve Law, which I am sure does great things. Apologies if I sound a bit snarky here, but why do you think law still needs help evolving? It’s been around for a long time.
MJ: Love the snark! In a nutshell, the law is at the same place today as the accounting profession was when I was a first year student in 1986. Law school teaches attorneys to be skeptical and risk adverse which does not lend itself to innovation or change. Plus, most lawyers are not well versed in business principles that are used to streamline and automate. The idea of evolution is to adapt to changing client needs, particularly adopting enabling technologies.
AC: Here is the toughest question of all: Without naming who or where or when, explain how you and I recently discovered we are connected?
MJ: Kevin Bacon? Seriously, we were introduced as Habs fans by a misguided Leafs fan. And when we consulted Linkedin, we discovered that we both attended McGill University and that we we know the same people, including your high school prom date. Small world…
AC: You live Washington State and Arizona, and yet you’re a big Montreal Canadiens hockey fan. How did that happen? What is your favorite hockey story?
I grew up in Montreal watching Hockey Night in Canada (remember Peter Puck?) every Saturday night and going to games at the Forum. I cannot bring myself to go to the new place [Bell Centre]. My favorite story was being part of the Stanley Cup riot in the 1980s [when the Canadiens won]. I was not a looter but was shoved by the police. And yes, I used to frequent Winstons [a landmark Montreal bar] and I ran into many hockey players there. I once yelled at one who was married and tried to pick me up. Most recently, I spent many years as a proud hockey mom to my son Jake. There’s lots of hockey in Arizona, with all the retired players who love to golf and coach youth hockey.
AC: And finally, if you could wave a magic wand and invent something not work-related right now, what would it be and why? Last person I asked wanted a robot sous chef…
MJ: Teleportation. I am on yet another five hour-plus flight while doing this fun exercise and would love to at least bring back the Concorde. That would be very helpful.
It was great reminiscing with you, Mary. I am always happy to meet a fellow McGill grad — and even happier that you see technology as an integral part of business and the future, like we do at ROSS.